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.
Erik Prince, an associate of President Trump and the controversial founder of the security company Blackwater, was invited by the Young Americans for Freedom (“YAF”) at Beloit College to discuss the private sector’s contributions to national security. In response, protestors gathered before Prince arrived and created a barricade of furniture on the stage, hanging a banner on the barricade that read “Erik Prince = War Criminal.” At this point, the school canceled the event, citing safety concerns. Although the school started an investigation into the incident, it is unclear whether any students were punished for their roles in the protest.
A student group at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Students for a Conservative Voice (“SCV”), in conjunction with the Young America’s Foundation, invited speaker Ben Shapiro to campus to speak to students. Members of SCV reserved several venues around campus to ensure that a large space would be available for the event. After they reserved these spaces, however, SCV was notified that the event would be a considered a “Large Scale Event” and was relocated to a smaller venue because of security concerns.
On two separate occasions, J. Michael Brown and other individuals associated with the Young Americans for Liberty group engaged in speech activity on the campus of Jones County Junior College, including attempting to solicit individuals for their group and soliciting their opinions on the potential legalization of recreational marijuana. As a result of that speech, Brown and others were reprimanded by campus officials, prevented from engaging further in such speech, and told that they needed a prior approval from the school before they engaged in such activity.
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 Kanye West-themed party at UCLA sparked outrage and protests among some students, who considered the party and the costumes allegedly worn by some attendees to be racist. UCLA announced that it would investigate the incident.
The University of Oklahoma expelled two students after a video surfaced showing them singing a racist chant on the way to a fraternity event.
Worcester State University’s student government declined to recognize Turning Point USA as an official student organization. FIRE wrote a letter to the University arguing that the action violates the First Amendment and urging it to overturn the action of the student government.
Pro-life student group sues college for limiting demonstrations to “free speech zones” and requiring two weeks’ notice before demonstrating.
Southern Illinois University—Edwardsville (“SIUE”) implemented a “Speech Zone Policy” that prohibited First Amendment activities outside of a twenty-foot radius around a campus monument—unless the school granted permission. The College Republicans chapter filed suit in the Southern District of Illinois alleging that the school’s student speech policies violated the First Amendment. Before the court issued a ruling, the school settled and agreed to revise its speech policies. Importantly, the school eliminated the narrow “free speech zone” and allowed students to engage in First Amendment activities on any publicly accessible location on campus without any permit requirements.