Helping schools avoid dampening enthusiasm

Monday, November 18, 2013
Bob Kellogg (

FIRE's Speech Code of the Month award goes to an Oklahoma university for its policy that appears to chill spontaneous expression.

Students at Rogers State University wanting to hold a peaceful protest have to meet three days in advance with campus police and the Office of Student Affairs to facilitate such an event.

But as Robert Shibley of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) points out, that can dampen the enthusiasm of students fired up about an issue.
"It's simply a big chilling effect on speech," he contends. "How many people care enough about things that they want to have a meeting with the police and then wait three days before they try to get their message out? That really tends to chill speech on campus."
Shibley asserts that FIRE's objective is not simply to call out and embarrass colleges for their unconstitutional speech codes. His organization stands ready to help.
"FIRE is always ready to help universities and administrators who want to have constitutional and good free speech policies for free," he states. "We are happy to help them, we have a lot of resources to do that, and I would hope the Rogers State administrators would reach out to us."
The FIRE spokesman encourages students who believe their school has a policy that qualifies for Speech Code of the Month award to email with a link to the code and a brief explanation of why they think it qualifies.
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