Private School Petition Project

For the past two years, Speech First has worked to prevent university bureaucrats from infringing upon students’ First Amendment rights. We’ve challenged the toxic culture of censorship in four public universities by suing them in court.

Private schools, on the other hand, are a little bit trickier; that’s because the First Amendment applies to the government – not private actors.

But that does not mean that we cannot hold private schools accountable. Many private schools claim to provide speech rights to their students, yet they don’t actually deliver on that promise. This is false advertising and students deserve to know where their schools stand on the issue of free speech in academia.

With that in mind, we launched a new petition program to try and affect change at private universities that promise to protect free speech on campus but continually choose censorship when it’s convenient.

  • Our petitions cite issues with specific speech policies and urge university leadership to reform their errant policies.
  • Our petitions can be signed by anyone, but we particularly encourage alumni and current students to identify their relationship to the university.
  • Once signatures are collected, we will deliver a formal letter to university presidents, board of directors, trustees and will promote our efforts in local media.

Our hope is that these petitions will put public pressure on private universities to reconsider how they approach free speech on campus.

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