College campuses have traditionally been considered bastions of free speech, where students can express their views and engage in robust discussions without fear of censorship or retaliation.
However, there have been instances where students’ freedom of speech has been curtailed or violated on campus, leading to concerns about the limits of free speech on college campuses.
If you find yourself in a situation where your freedom of speech has been violated at your university, it can be a confusing and frustrating experience. Our team at the DC Student Defense has experience with these situations so we can help you figure out what the steps you can take to protect your rights.
Freedom of speech cases at a college or university
Because college students are no longer minors, they tend to have more protections when it comes to freedom of speech.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always mean that universities and colleges follow the rules.
In fact, they may still try to retaliate against students in different ways, which can include:
- Threatening scholarships
- Putting you on academic probation
- Disciplinary procedures against students or student organizations
Whether they are justified is another matter.
If you feel like your rights have been violated, it’s important to consult experienced attorneys like ours at DC Student Defense. Universities may seem confident in their actions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are in the right.
Are there different rules when it comes to freedom of speech and private colleges vs. public universities?
Yes, there are different rules when it comes to freedom of speech and private colleges versus public universities.
Public universities are bound by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech, among other rights. As government entities, public universities cannot restrict speech unless it falls into specific categories of unprotected speech, such as incitement to violence, obscenity, or defamation.
Private colleges, on the other hand, are not bound by the First Amendment. While many private colleges may have policies that protect freedom of speech, they are free to set their own rules and restrictions on speech as they see fit.
That being said, private colleges that receive federal funding must abide by Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education, including sexual harassment and assault. In recent years, there have been debates over whether Title IX has been used to stifle free speech on college campuses.
Overall, while both public universities and private colleges may have policies that protect freedom of speech, public universities are bound by the First Amendment, which places greater constraints on their ability to regulate speech.
What to do if you think your free speech has been violated at your university
If you think your free speech has been violated at your university, there are several steps you can take to address the situation and protect your rights:
- Document the incident: Write down the details of the incident, including the date, time, location, and what was said or done that you believe violated your free speech rights. Be as specific and detailed as possible.
- Review university policies: Review your university’s policies on free speech and expression to determine whether your rights have been violated. If you’re not sure where to find these policies, contact your university’s student affairs office or ombudsman.
- Talk to the person or group involved: If possible, talk to the person or group who you believe violated your free speech rights. Explain your concerns and try to come to a resolution.
- Seek legal advice from a dedicated student defense attorney: If your university doesn’t take action to address your complaint or if you believe your rights have been violated under the law, contact a lawyer like our team at DC Student Defense.
Don’t hesitate to speak up and take action if you believe your free speech rights have been violated.
Contact our team of attorneys at DC Student Defense
Students, whether kids or young adults, should be able to exercise their rights and advocate for themselves. And they don’t have to do that alone. DC Student Defense proudly works to fight for students in the now. That way, we can help protect their future, but also our future as a society. Contact DC Student Defense now to discuss your case.
These materials have been prepared by Cohen Seglias for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.