Bryan Stascavage—a 30-year-old Iraq veteran and Wesleyan student—wrote an opinion column for the Wesleyan Argus, a student newspaper, criticizing Black Lives Matter’s tactics and messaging. Almost immediately students began protesting the article, starting by vandalizing and destroying copies of the newspaper across campus. The protestors also demanded that the student government defund the Argus unless a series of diversity-based demands were met. Due to widespread backlash from the administration and the general public, the student government dropped the defunding proposal.
Jason Roberts—a student at Texas Tech University Law School (“TTU”)—requested permission to give a speech and hand out literature on campus detailing his religious and political views on homosexuality. Roberts declined to use the “free speech area” at the school, instead requesting a specific location on a street corner on campus. Although the school ultimately granted his request—albeit at a location across the street from his desired location—Roberts filed suit against TTU in the Northern District of Texas alleging that the school’s speech policy violated his First Amendment Rights. Even though TTU amended their speech policy after Roberts filed suit, the court held that the amended speech policy still violated the First Amendment due to its overbreadth and due to TTU’s failure to show a sufficient interest in controlling student speech to justify the speech policy’s intrusion on students’ First Amendment rights. Thus, the court struck down several provisions of TTU’s amended student speech policy as unconstitutional, granting declaratory and injunctive relief to Roberts.
Student was instructed by university official that she and her friends would need “special permission” to display political signs on campus, and to remain within the college’s “free speech zone” if she wanted to demonstrate. As part of the settlement agreement, Blinn College agreed to revise restrictive policies targeted in the lawsuit to comply with the First Amendment. Blinn also agreed to pay student Nicole Sanders $50,000 for damages and attorney’s fees.
A student at Texas Christian University was disciplined for publishing Tweets that the school viewed as inconsistent with its student code of conduct.
Marc Lamont Hill, a professor at Temple University and commentator for CNN, gave a speech at the U.N. that was highly critical of Israel and which many construed as advocating for the elimination of Israel. CNN promptly fired Hill and students at Temple began protesting and demanding that the university follow suit. Despite some administrators calling for the school to look into “remedies” it could take against Hill, the university reprimanded Hill but did not terminate his employment.
In October 2015, an email sent by Yale Professor Erika Christakis sparked protests among Yale Students, who called for Erika and her husband Nicholas to resign from their roles as “faculty-in-residence” at the Silliman dormitory on Yale’s campus.
In February 2015, Professor Laura Kipnis published an article criticizing Northwestern University’s policy against sexual relationships between professors and students and claiming that college campuses had a growing climate of “sexual paranoia.” In response, Northwestern students called for an apology and filed Title IX complaints against her. Northwestern ultimately found Kipnis innocent of wrongdoing.
The University of La Verne took steps to terminate tenured law professor Diane Klein as a result of Klein’s remarks that she was willing to assassinate a member of the law school faculty.