ACTA is an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America's colleges and universities.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has chalked up three victories in three days. On Monday, FIRE announced that it has convinced Dartmouth College to rescind its speech code; on Tuesday, FIRE announced that SUNY Brockport has decided to rescind its speech code after FIRE's legal network attorneys sued the school for maintaining policies that were inconsistent with the university's obligation to uphold the First Amendment. And today, FIRE announced that it has convinced Princeton University not only to recognize a Christian student group that has arbitrarily been denied recognition, but to review policies that unfairly discriminate against religiously-oriented student organizations.
These are the sorts of cases that constitute FIRE's bread and butter. FIRE has devised airtight arguments against speech codes and for freedom of religious association on campus--so much so that it can convince private schools such as Dartmouth and Princeton to obey the sorts of rules they would have to follow if they were, like SUNY Brockport, public institutions. That FIRE is able now to use moral suasion as effectively with private schools as it has used legal leverage with public ones speaks not only to FIRE's power as an organization dedicated to individual rights on campus, but also to the clearsightedness and decency of administrators at both Dartmouth and Princeton.
FIRE's success is part of a larger, growing movement to ensure academic freedom and individual rights on campus. In particular, ACTA has fought steadily and successfully for academic freedom since the day it was founded, most recently defending University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill's right to make incendiary statements about the events of 9/11. It is the steady, reasoned, cooperative chorus of groups such as FIRE and ACTA that is ultimately responsible for the slow but definite shift toward freedom that we are beginning to see on certain key college and university campuses.
Inside Higher Ed, Greg Toppo
Chronicle of Higher Education, Lindsay Ellis and Lily Jackson
Wall Street Journal, Tunku Varadarajan
Education Dive, James Paterson
Chronicle of Higher Education, Keith E. Whittington
Education Dive, Natalie Schwartz