Emory Free Speech Forum, Emory University

From October 2021 to March 2022
Emory University (Private college or university)
Atlanta GA

Identity of Speakers

  • Emory Free Speech Forum (EFSF)

    EFSF is a nonpartisan student group committed to providing a platform for different perspectives on various issues.

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
  • Incident Political Orientation:
    Not Clear
  • Incident Responses:
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • Did not involve Speech Codes


In November, 2021, the Student Bar Association (SBA), Emory Law School’s student government, unanimously rejected a charter request by the Emory Free Speech Forum (EFSF).  The SBA’s stated reason for denying the charter was because the group’s goals overlapped with other established clubs.  Additionally, the SBA said it was concerned with the lack of safeguards, such as moderators, to facilitate discussion.  In the SBA’s letter on the subject, it wrote that “it is disingenuous to suggest that certain topics of discussion you considered, such as race and gender, can be pondered and debated in a relaxed atmosphere when these issues directly affect and harm your peers’ lives in demonstrable and quantitative ways.”

The denial of the charter came under fire from many national “free speech organizations,”  such as the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR) and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), as well as prominent First Amendment scholars.  These criticisms accused the SBA of infringing upon EFSF’s rights to free speech and academic freedom.

Responding to criticisms of the charter denial, Emory Law School said that the University had announced a pandemic-related moratorium on chartering new student groups through March of 2022.

On March 23, 2022, the SBA granted EFSF a temporary charter, allowing for EFSF to reserve university space, request funds from the SBA, and function as a viable campus club.