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ASU Students for Life case draws Hon. Sandra Day O'Connor

Posted on October 13th, 2009 Uncategorized | No Comments »

Next Tuesday, October 20th, ADF Center for Academic Freedom attorney Heather Gebelin Hacker will argue ASU Students for Life v. Crow to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Last week, the Court released the names of the panel who will hear the case:  Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor, retired Associate Justice for the United States Supreme Court, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski and Circuit Judge Sandra Segal Ikuta.

The argument will take place at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law at 10 a.m.  The case involves several First Amendment issues, including whether ASU’s campus is a public forum for students, whether ASU can require students to obtain insurance before they engage in speech, and whether ASU can limit outdoor space reservations for student organizations to one zone per day.  More information about the case is here and here.


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - University Project

FIREd up over William & Mary

Posted on October 12th, 2009 Uncategorized | No Comments »

Kudos to FIRE for helping to repeal the College of William & Mary’s speech code.  The College eliminated its “bias incident reporting system,” which sounds very similar to a program recently removed at the Community Colleges of Spokane in an ADF litigated case, and revised its unconstitutional harassment policies.  Great work, FIRE!


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - University Project

Weekly media roundup: Oct. 5 – 9

Posted on October 9th, 2009 Uncategorized | No Comments »

The media covered these ADF Center for Academic Freedom cases this week, October 5-9:

Oct. 5
Campus pro-life victory brings policy changeOneNewsNow
Conservative Christian group fighting higher ed free speech rulesStar-Telegram

Oct. 7
Jeremy Tedesco on The Don Kroah Show to discuss the ADF University ProjectThe Don Kroah Show
Spokane Falls Community College to change speech policy after ADF suitThe Baptist Bulletin

Oct. 8
David French on The Michael Gallagher Show to discuss the University Matching GrantThe Michael Gallagher Show

Oct. 9
School tosses student paper out with the garbageOneNewsNow


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - University Project

True Diversity Needed

Posted on October 8th, 2009 Uncategorized | No Comments »

Over at the American Thinker, (h/t Pope Center), Jon Lipsman writes about his experience as a conservative professor in academia over the course of a few decades.

He began his career as a young McGovernite, but personal experiences led him to reevaluate his political beliefs and he became a conservative.  Voicing those beliefs in opposition to all of his colleagues only resulted in a negative impact on his career, so he did what many professors in that position do—he kept his mouth shut.  Only then did he receive the promotion he deserved.  In the years leading up to his retirement, however, he decided to speak out once more.  The reaction from his colleagues wasn’t a vigorous debate, or even a mere discussion.  Instead, they essentially ignored him, dismissing his ideas out of hand.

Unfortunately, Professor Lipsman’s experience is all too common.  I know I’m not the only one who knew a conservative or Christian professor who dared not speak out until they received tenure.  And the ADF Center for Academic Freedom is currently representing Professor Mike Adams, who found out the hard way what happens to a professor who dares to convert to Christianity and speak about it prior to becoming a full professor.

Professor Lipsman’s description of his experience should send chills down the spine of any freedom loving person, conservative or liberal:

I was not the only one failing to make waves. In fact, there were no waves whatsoever. There was no debate, no controversy; just the calm serenity of a campus at peace with its almost universally accepted mind set. I attribute this to three things. First, of course, anyone raising an objection was viewed, as I was, as hopelessly out of it and worthy only of being ignored. This has a chilling effect, perhaps even more effective than derision. Second, I suspect that those who believed as I did were still in lockdown mode — for the same reasons as I was over the years. And third, I believe the liberal brainwash has been so effective on campus — and in the national educational system in general — that many in the liberal majority can’t even fathom that there is anyone who doubts the legitimacy of their point of view.

It is frightening to realize that those in academia—those charged with thinking of new ideas, challenging our assumptions, making new discoveries—are so closed-minded to any ideas outside of the accepted norm on campus that they refuse to even entertain them.

This has serious implications, not just for individual professors discriminated against because of their beliefs, or students who learn only one perspective.  As the Supreme Court stated many years ago, “[t]he essentiality of freedom in the community of American universities is almost self-evident. . . . Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; otherwise our civilization will stagnate and die.”  Keyishian v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of N.Y., 385 U.S. 589, 603 (1967) (quoting Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234 (1957)).

It is not overstating the case, then, to say that free inquiry in our colleges and universities has a direct impact on our democracy as we know it.  All of us, regardless of political belief, should hope that colleges and universities soon learn that “diversity” means more than skin color, and embrace their role as the marketplace of ideas once again.


ADF Legal Counsel - University Project

Canadian pro-life club gets funding pulled indefinitely

Posted on October 8th, 2009 Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Choose Life, a student organization at McGill University, hosted a pro-life event last night, but the event came at a price.  The Students Society of McGill University (SSMU), the student government, voted to make Choose Life “ineligible for funding from the SSMU for the remainder of its existence.”   The SSMU also demanded that administrators shut down the event, but to his credit the deputy provost said he would not cancel the event.  All this comes in the wake of the University of Calgary pursuing criminal trespassing chargesagainst a pro-life student organization after it held a pro-life rally on campus.  Thankfully, in the United States, SSMU’s actions would be unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination under Southworth and Rosenberger.  But that does not mean it hasn’t happened.


ADF Senior Legal Counsel - University Project

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