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Sunday, January 23, 2022

When Can This Be Stopped: NY's Finest Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora Shot In the Head While On Duty


Jason Rivera (left) and Wilbert More (right)
From Betsy Combier:

We believe in our nation's finest, the men and women who serve to protect us all. Defunding the police is nonsense, built up by hysterical people who in the end profited greatly from the sheeple who followed this insane road to social disorder.

Should officers of the law be given additional training? Absolutely, training in what to do in panic-driven situations where people with guns may be having mentally unstable episodes is a good place for taxpayer money. Let's do that, pronto.

Betsy Combier

They served us all: NYPD Officer Jason Rivera is dead and his partner Wilbert Mora is in critical condition because of an angry man with a stolen gun

First, we mourn. Angrily, we mourn. For a man wielding a gun stolen in Baltimore five years ago — a grotesque weapon with a high-capacity magazine holding up to 40 rounds — has cut down two of New York’s Finest. Jason Rivera, a 22-year-old rookie and son of Inwood who had written earnestly his desire to “better the relationship between the community and the police,” is dead. Wilbert Mora, just five years his senior, lies in critical condition at Harlem Hospital.

Two officers with careers of service ahead of them and a third partner were responding to a mother’s 911 domestic violence call about her son. As they headed down the hall after a brief conversation with her and another son, police say Lashawn McNeil came out shooting. The 47-year-old was on probation after a 2003 felony drug charge; he had four arrests in other states including assaulting a police officer in Pennsylvania and a North Carolina gun charge.

Fortunately, the third officer present shot and wounded the man who had just put bullets in his partners’ flesh.

There is a sickness in this city. Twenty-two days into 2022, Rivera and Mora are the fourth and fifth cops hit with gunfire. New York is awash with firearms, and crawling with people emboldened to believe they can squeeze the triggers and risk or take lives without facing serious, certain consequences.

And there is a still deeper sickness in this nation — when, even as there are already far too many weapons already in the hands of far too many criminals, the Supreme Court stands poised to invalidate New York’s strict gun laws, effectively allowing anyone to be legally armed anywhere.

As the city wipes its tears and channels its rage, it falls to Eric Adams, as suited to rise to this challenge as any mayor in recent memory, to lead the charge to staunch the flow of deadly weapons into the five boroughs — and, just as if not more critical, to ensure that those who demand those guns, who put bullets in their chambers and wantonly squeeze their triggers at civilians and cops, know that there will be hell to pay for the lives they destroy and the fear they instill. May his honor find willing, able allies in every quarter.

‘It’s a significant injury’: Surviving NYPD officer rushed to brain surgery after Harlem shooting, sources say
by Mary Murphy, PIX11, Jan. 22, 2022

HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — Wilbert Mora, the 27-year-old police officer who was shot in the head Friday night, and survived the gunfire that killed a fellow officer, was rushed into surgery “to alleviate swelling in the brain,” two high-ranking law enforcement sources told PIX11 News on Saturday.

Both Mora and NYPD officer Jason Rivera were shot in the head, the sources said. Rivera, 22, died from his injuries.

The two young officers had been responding to a domestic incident involving a mother and son. Chief of Detectives James Essig announced Friday evening a Glock .45 was recovered near a back bedroom in the apartment where the shooting took place on West 135th Street in Harlem.

Rivera, a rookie officer and son of immigrants, was carried by fellow cops across the street to the emergency room of Harlem Hospital but was pronounced dead. Mora’s condition was grave, as well. Police described his condition on Saturday as still “critical.”

“He was rushed immediately up to the O/R,” a law enforcement official told PIX11 News about Mora. “It’s a significant injury. We hope he makes it through … It was a large-caliber bullet, a .45, which is a very significant, very powerful ammunition.”

Regarding the high-quantity magazine that was attached to the bottom of the Glock, the source noted, “It’s like a drum, a small drum. It can hold 40-50 bullets. It makes an ordinary handgun into a killing machine.”

Who was NYPD officer Jason Rivera? Rookie cop killed in Harlem shooting

Mora, who joined the NYPD in 2018, was with Rivera and another officer from the 32nd Precinct responding to a domestic incident at the home. A mother called 911 about her 47-year-old son, identified by police as Lashawn McNeil, an ex-convict with multiple arrests for narcotics and weapons possession. McNeil was on probation for a drug conviction in New York City.

When the police arrived at the apartment, they spoke to the mother and another son in the front room. Nothing was mentioned about McNeil being armed. That’s when Mora and Rivera approached the back bedroom.

Chief Essig said Friday night McNeil suddenly opened the door and ambushed them with rapid gunfire. The law enforcement official said the incident was a reminder that “Everything has the potential to turn deadly … quickly.”

NYPD officers shot: Suspect Lashawn McNeil was on probation, previously arrested for assaulting cop, police say

On Saturday afternoon, PBA President Patrick Lynch released a statement from his police union, saying, in part, “In the coming days, New Yorkers will get to know these heroes. What they’ll find is they know them already. They are your sons. They are your husbands, fathers, and brothers. They are your neighbors. They walked these city streets beside you.”

On Friday night, Lynch had asked the public to come to Rivera’s funeral to show support for the men and women in NYPD Blue, who are trying to stem the gun violence in New York City. He repeated that call Saturday.

“We respectfully ask you, once again: please join us to mourn Police Officer Jason Rivera as if he was your own flesh and blood. And please pray hard for our injured brother, because he is your brother, too.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Judicial Watch Uncovers Ineligible Voter Registrations Throughout the U.S.


Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch

The Advocatz team are fans of Tom Fitton and his Judicial Watch Group for many years.

He is responsible for uncovering a lot of the hidden secrets of corruption and fraud in America, and we applaud his efforts to give us a clear view of what is going on.

Here is an Amici Curiae Brief recently submitted to the Supreme Court:

and we urge you to read his book The Corruption Chronicles.

Exclusive: Judicial Watch Uncovers Dirty Voter Rolls, 
Fights for Election Integrity
In a high-impact case of potential voter fraud you’ll learn about only from Judicial Watch, a new investigation reveals likely ineligible voter registrations around the country.

In November, Judicial Watch’s election integrity team sent letters to officials in five states warning of apparent serious violations of the National Voter Registration Act. The NVRA is a critical election integrity measure that directs the states to make “a reasonable effort” to remove from voting rolls “the names of ineligible voters” who have been disqualified from voting due to death or failure to provide notification of change of residence.

Dirty voter rolls matter. Leaving the names of inactive voters on registration rolls creates opportunities for fraud, such as dead people voting or double voting. Sometimes it takes only a few votes to swing an election.

The numbers of potentially ineligible voters identified in the new Judicial Watch probe are staggering. The NVRA requires states to remove registrations of voters who fail to respond to an address confirmation request and then fail to vote in two consecutive elections. States are required by federal law to report to Congress how many ineligible voters are removed from their rolls for this reason. Judicial Watch mined the statutory reporting data for some astonishing revelations: over the most recent four-year reporting period, large counties in powerful states such as New York and California reported few or no removals of ineligible voters from voting roles.

For example, in the heart of New York City, Manhattan, with 1.2 million registered voters, state authorities removed a grand total of two ineligible voters from voting rolls for failing to respond to a notice and vote, according to data New York itself provided to Congress.

In Brooklyn, with 1.7 million registered voters, the number removed for this reason: zero. In Queens, with 1.3 million registered voters, the number removed as ineligible: zero. In the Bronx, with 867,000 voters: one ineligible voter removed. In Staten Island, with 344,000 voters: zero.

The story is the same in California. Large counties show impossibly small number of ineligible voters removed from voting rolls for failing to respond to a notice and vote. In San Bernardino County in Greater Los Angeles, with a county population of 1.2 million registered voters, a total of fourteen ineligible voters were removed from the voting rolls for the entire four-year reporting period, according to data the state provided to federal officials. For Sacramento County, with over one million registered voters: zero removed. In Fresno County, with more than 500,000 registered voters: two ineligible voters removed.

“About 10% of Americans move every year,” notes Robert Popper, Judicial Watch’s director of voting integrity efforts. “Those counties should generate hundreds of thousands of cancelled registrations. There is simply no way to comply with federal law while removing so few outdated registrations under its key provision.”

Judicial Watch sent warning letters to state election officials in five states—New York, California, Oregon, Arkansas, and Illinois—noting the impossibly low numbers of statutory removals. The warning letters give the state 90 days to correct the record. “If the data are incorrect,” the Judicial Watch letters note, “please provide what you believe to be the correct numbers.” If the numbers are not corrected or otherwise resolved within 90 days, “we will commence a federal lawsuit.” Read the letters here.

Judicial Watch supporters know that this is not our first rodeo.

In California, we uncovered 1.6 million inactive voters on electoral rolls in Los Angeles County and sued, forcing LA to clean up its act.

We sued Pennsylvania for failing to make reasonable efforts to remove ineligible voters from their rolls. Pennsylvania revised its numbers, admitting it had reported incorrect information to a federal agency on the removal of ineligible voters. But even the new figures are too low. Pennsylvania now admits that in eighteen other counties—which together contain twenty-five percent of the entire state’s registered voters—it removed a grand total of fifteen inactive, ineligible voters in a two-year period.

We went to court in Colorado, where studies have shown that a majority of the state’s counties have registration rates that exceed 100% of the voting-age population. Our lawsuit charges “an ongoing, systemic problem with Colorado’s voter list maintenance obligations.”

We filed a lawsuit in North Carolina for the same reason—large numbers of ineligible voters on the state voter rolls.

We’ve successfully taken on Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana as well. In Ohio, a Supreme Court decision upheld a voter-roll cleanup stemming from a Judicial Watch lawsuit. In Kentucky, we sued for a voter-roll cleanup and won. Indiana agreed to clean up its rolls after Judicial Watch launched an investigation.

The new warning letters put California on notice (again) and expand Judicial Watch’s electoral integrity work into New York, Oregon, Arkansas, and Illinois. “Once again, Judicial Watch is leading the charge for clean voter rolls and election integrity,” says Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These letters are just the beginning of another sweep, in federal court if necessary, to clean voter rolls throughout the country.”

Micah Morrison is chief investigative reporter for Judicial Watch. Follow him on Twitter @micah_morrison. Tips:

Investigative Bulletin is published by Judicial Watch. Reprints and media inquiries:

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Sarah Palin: Keep My 'Masked Singer' Appearance Out of My Defamation Case Against the New York Times


Sarah Palin

By NOAH GOLDBERG, NY Daily News, Jan. 11, 2022

You betcha Sarah Palin wants to keep her “Masked Singer” appearance out of the courtroom.

L-R: Host Nick Cannon and Sarah Palin in an episode of the Masked Singer. (Michael Becker/FOX / HANDOUT)

The former Republican candidate for vice president has asked a judge to keep her shocking March 2020 reveal as a contestant on “The Masked Singer” from jurors who will render a verdict in her defamation trial against The New York Times.

Footage of Palin singing “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot while wearing a blue-and-pink fuzzy bear costume should not be shown to the jury because it would cause “unfair prejudice and confusion,” lawyers for the former Alaska governor argued in a Manhattan Federal Court filing Monday.

“The bear is part of my nickname growing up, and the whole mama bear thing,” Palin explained on the show after taking off her mask.

"Did you guys notice I changed the lyrics? it was all about men’s butts, not women’s!”

“The Masked Singer” footage was one of an assortment of exhibits Palin hopes to keep out of the trial. Other proposed exhibits include the politician’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, as well as a 2008 Wall Street Journal article about how her vice presidential candidacy was exposing “divisions among women.”

The Times has not yet responded to Palin’s request.

Palin sued the newspaper in 2017, claiming that an editorial, “America’s Lethal Politics,” defamed her by linking ads from her political action committee to the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.)

The Times editorial said the ads put “Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized crosshairs.” But the crosshairs were actually over images of electoral districts rather than individual politicians.

The Times ran a correction. The Times and former Opinion editor James Bennet, who resigned in 2020, are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Palin’s trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 24. A lower court judge initially ruled that Bennet’s mistake did not meet the legal standard for defamation of Palin, who is a public figure. That decision was overturned by an appeals court.

Sarah Palin defamation suit against New York Times revived by appeals court on technicality

AUG 06, 2019 AT 10:46 AM

Sarah Palin won a legal victory Tuesday with a federal appeals court revival of her defamation lawsuit against the New York Times over an opinion piece that tied her to the 2011 shooting of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The ruling by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a decision by Judge Jed Rakoff, who had tossed Palin’s lawsuit on the grounds that an error in a June 2017 Times editorial was not “made maliciously.”

The panel made no judgment on the merits of Palin’s claim that the Times improperly accused her of inciting the shooting that wounded Giffords in a Tucson, Arizona strip mall. Instead, the ruling revolved around an unusual evidentiary hearing in which Rakoff heard testimony from the writer, editor James Bennet. The three-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals determined the hearing did not follow proper protocol.

“District courts are not free to bypass rules of procedure that are carefully calibrated to ensure fair process to both sides,” Judge John Walker wrote.

The Appeals Court said Rakoff had let Bennet’s testimony influence a “negative view” of Palin’s allegations. The judge was also too dismissive of Palin’s claims that Bennet had a personal connection to the shooting through his brother, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, the panel wrote. The districts of some of Michael Bennet’s Democratic allies were targeted in Sarah Palin’s map.

“It is plain from the record that the district court found Bennet a credible witness, and that the district court’s crediting his testimony impermissibly anchored the district court’s own negative view of the plausibility of Palin’s allegations,” the appeals panel wrote.

Palin’s suit alleged the editorial, “America’s Lethal Politics,” defamed her by linking ads from her political action committee to the 2011 shooting. The editorial said the ads put “Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.” But the crosshairs were actually over images of electoral districts rather than of individual politicians. The Times ran a correction.

"We are disappointed in the decision and intend to continue to defend the action vigorously,” a Times spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Public figures like Palin generally face a very high legal bar when suing news organizations for defamation. They must prove not only that the material was false but also that the writers or editors acted with “actual malice” against them.

Monday, December 13, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses To Block Vaccine Mandate For Health Workers in NYC Despite No Exemption For Religious Reasons


Justices won’t block vaccine mandate for NY health workers

AP, December 13, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court refused Monday to halt a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers in New York that does not offer an exemption for religious reasons.

The court acted on emergency appeals filed by doctors, nurses and other medical workers who say they are being forced to choose between their jobs and religious beliefs.

As is typical in such appeals, the court did not explain its order, although it has similarly refused to get in the way of vaccine mandates elsewhere.

Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented. “Now, thousands of New York healthcare workers face the loss of their jobs and eligibility for unemployment benefits,” Gorsuch wrote in a 14-page opinion that Alito joined.

New York is one of just three states, along with Maine and Rhode Island, that do not accommodate health care workers who object to the vaccine on religious grounds.

The court had previously turned away health care workers in Maine, who filed a similar challenge, with the same three justices in dissent.

As of Oct. 19, roughly 90% of health care workers were fully vaccinated and most of the rest had received one of two doses, the state told the high court. Fewer than 2% of nursing home, adult care facility and hospital workers had sought a religious exemption, the state said.

In his dissent, Gorsuch drew a link between the health care workers and the World War II-era Jehovah’s Witnesses schoolchildren who refused on religious grounds to stand and salute the American flag for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The court at first refused to intervene when a public school in Pennsylvania expelled the children. But three years later, the justices overruled the earlier case in a landmark decision that declared schools couldn’t force students to salute the flag or recite the pledge.

“Today, our Nation faces not a world war but a pandemic. Like wars, though, pandemics often produce demanding new social rules aimed at protecting collective interests — and with those rules can come fear and anger at individuals unable to conform for religious reasons,” Gorsuch wrote.


Friday, October 22, 2021

Southwest Airlines CEO Says Unvaccinated Employees Will Not Be Fired


‘Makes No Sense’: Southwest Airlines Says It Won’t Fire Workers Who Don’t Get COVID Vaccine

October 22, 2021 Updated: October 22, 2021

Southwest Airlines’ CEO said the company will not fire employees who do not get the COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 9 following a Biden administration mandate that was announced last month for federal contractors.

In a statement to news outlets Friday, the Dallas-based carrier confirmed to Fox News it does not want to “lose any employee” over President Joe Biden’s mandate, adding that firing a worker over the vaccine “makes no sense.” It came a day after Southwest CEO Gary Kelly made a similar announcement during an earnings call.

“This is an evolving process working with the government in terms of what they expect, and very clearly, we wanted our employees to know that nobody is going to lose their job on December the 9th if we’re not perfectly in compliance,” Kelly said, according to news reports. The Epoch Times has contacted Southwest for comment.

“It is a work in progress, and we’re going to continue working in good faith to meet the requirements of the executive order. But I’ve already said, and I’m sure you’ve heard, we’re not going to fire anybody who doesn’t get vaccinated,” he continued.

Biden’s mandate will start on Dec. 8, requiring federal contractors to make sure their workers are vaccinated. Employees can be granted a medical or religious exemption.

But Kelly’s and Southwest’s announcements this week mark a reversal in the carrier’s vaccination stance. Earlier this month, Southwest stated that workers would have to be fully vaccinated or receive an exemption to “continue employment with the airline” after it conducted a “thorough review of President Biden’s COVID Action Plan and determined that the carrier’s contracts with the U.S. government require full compliance with the federal vaccination directive.”

Also on Thursday, Southwest said in its quarterly results that it lost some $75 million after thousands of flights were canceled and delayed earlier this month. The firm blamed the weather and unspecified staffing issues, although there was widespread speculation that pilots and other employees walked out over the vaccine requirement.

“I’m not going to fire anybody,” Kelly told CNBC Thursday after the quarterly results were released.

Hundreds of workers and others also demonstrated outside Southwest’s Dallas headquarters on Monday, demanding an end to the vaccination requirement.

Earlier in October, Southwest’s pilot’s union filed a lawsuit against the company, arguing that the COVID-19 shot could trigger potential career-ending side-effects for pilots.  In court filings over the weekend, Southwest asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit and said an injunction against its vaccine mandate could potentially harm its business.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said this week that unvaccinated workers also will not be fired by the Dec. 9 mandate, saying the company will “work with” those who haven’t got the shot.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Judge Upholds University of California's COVID Vaccine Requirement For Those With "Natural Immunity"


FILE PHOTO: A student receives a dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine on the
campus of the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., July 22, 2021.
REUTERS/Karen Pulfer Focht

U.S. Judge Upholds COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for Those With 'Natural Immunity'

By Tom Hals

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge upheld the University of California's COVID-19 vaccine requirement against a challenge by a professor who alleged he had immunity due to a prior coronavirus infection, in what appears to be the first ruling on the issue.

U.S. District Court Judge James Selna in Santa Ana, California, said the university system acted rationally to protect public health by mandating the vaccine and not exempting individuals with some level of immunity from an infection.

More than 43 million Americans have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some opponents of vaccinations have argued that immunity from an infection negates the need for an inoculation.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Aug. 6 that a study showed vaccines offer better protection than natural immunity gained from prior infection, which wanes over time.

On Wednesday, a group of physicians who are Republican members of Congress wrote to the CDC to urge the agency to acknowledge natural immunity.

The lawmakers said if the growing number of vaccine mandates ignore natural immunity it could lead to labor shortages as people are fired for failing to get a shot. Their letter said such mandates could even trigger a security crisis because up to 20% of the military faces "separation" and many of them "likely have natural immunity."

Selna's ruling denied a motion for a preliminary injunction by Aaron Kheriaty. And while Selna said the professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine did not show a likelihood of success, Kheriaty said he plans to continue the litigation.

He told Reuters he plans to use the discovery process to determine how the policy was formulated and to question the university's expert witnesses about their reasoning for rejecting his arguments on natural immunity.

The university did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Chicago Statement on Freedom of Expression

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“Because the University is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn . . . . [I]t is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

—Excerpt from the Chicago Statement

What is the Chicago Statement?

The “Chicago Statement” refers to the free speech policy statement produced by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago. In July of 2014, University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Eric D. Isaacs tasked the Committee with “articulating the University’s overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the University’s community.” The Committee, which was chaired by esteemed University of Chicago Law School professor Geoffrey Stone, released the report in January of 2015.

This Statement is part of a long tradition of reports emphasizing the importance of freedom of speech at institutions of higher learning, including the American Association of University Professors’ famous 1915 “Declaration of Principles” and 1940 “Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure,” Yale University’s “Woodward Report,” and the University of Chicago’s Kalven Report.

FIRE quickly endorsed the Chicago Statement because it embodies the principles that FIRE defends every day. The statement is also an important reflection of how the principles of free speech are essential to the core purpose of a university. Since its release, FIRE has been working with colleges and universities around the country to adopt their own version of the Chicago Statement, in order to combat censorship on campus and protect the free speech rights and academic freedom of students and professors.

Who has adopted the Statement?

Faculty bodies, administrations, and institutional governing boards have officially endorsed the Chicago Statement at over fifty-five institutions including Princeton University, Purdue University, American University, Columbia University, Georgetown University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, among others.

Why is adopting the Chicago Statement important?

When your school adopts the Chicago Statement, it shows that your institution values free expression for all students and faculty. Free speech rights benefit everyone on campus, and reaffirm the core purpose of a university – a place for free inquiry, debate, and discourse. Whether your goal is to campaign, protest, do research, or simply learn in an environment that promotes open inquiry and the free exchange of ideas, the Chicago Statement will help hold your institution accountable for protecting the free expression rights of students and faculty.

My school maintains “yellow light” or “red light” speech codes. Can we still adopt the Chicago Statement?

Yes. In fact, adopting a version of the Chicago Statement often gives the impetus for speech code reform. Thus, the adoption of the Chicago Statement by non-administrative groups can be an important step toward securing student and faculty free speech rights and achieving FIRE’s highest, “green light” rating. When a faculty senate, university-wide committee, or student government endorses the Statement, it sends a strong message to university leadership that students and faculty want their speech to be fully protected.

My university earns a green light rating from FIRE. Do we still need to adopt the Chicago Statement?

The green light rating is given to colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect freedom of speech. Even if your school has received FIRE’s green light rating, it is still important to adopt the Chicago Statement. A free speech statement is a set of principles the university community aspires to achieve. Adopting the Chicago Statement describes how the university hopes to cultivate an atmosphere of expression and debate – an endeavor that is important even if university policy already nominally protects free speech.

How can I bring the Chicago Statement to my campus?

Here are several tips for ensuring that your university will be the next institution to stand in solidarity with the Chicago Statement’s principles:
Work to pass a student government resolution calling on the university to adopt its own version of the Chicago Statement.
Reach out to faculty members and work with faculty governing bodies on campus.
Build a broad coalition of students and groups, particularly across the ideological spectrum, to support the Chicago Statement and raise awareness on campus.
Publish articles and op-eds in student newspapers and other outlets.
Host events on campus, such as debates, speakers, and panels to discuss the principles supported by the Chicago Statement.
Communicate and collaborate with members of your university’s administration.
Host a petition drive, asking students to pledge their support for the Chicago Statement’s principles in a petition that will go to the administration.

FIRE’s Chicago Statement Resources
Model Freedom of Expression Resolution Based on the Chicago Statement
Template Letter to Alma Mater
Washington Post op-ed by FIRE’s Will Creeley and University of Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone
FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff in The Huffington Post: “Every University in the Country Should Adopt the University of Chicago’s Academic Freedom Statement”

FIRE’s Newsdesk article “Universities should endorse free expression now, avoid criticism laterPledge Your Support for the Chicago Statement

 Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression

 The Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago was appointed in July 2014 by President Robert J. Zimmer and Provost Eric D. Isaacs “in light of recent events nationwide that have tested institutional commitments to free and open discourse.” The Committee’s charge was to draft a statement “articulating the University’s overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the University’s community.” 

The Committee has carefully reviewed the University’s history, examined events at other institutions, and consulted a broad range of individuals both inside and outside the University. This statement reflects the long-standing and distinctive values of the University of Chicago and affirms the importance of maintaining and, indeed, celebrating those values for the future. 

From its very founding, the University of Chicago has dedicated itself to the preservation and celebration of the freedom of expression as an essential element of the University’s culture. In 1902, in his address marking the University’s decennial, President William Rainey Harper declared that “the principle of complete freedom of speech on all subjects has from the beginning been regarded as fundamental in the University of Chicago” and that “this principle can neither now nor at any future time be called in question.” 

Thirty years later, a student organization invited William Z. Foster, the Communist Party’s candidate for President, to lecture on campus. This triggered a storm of protest from critics both on and off-campus. To those who condemned the University for allowing the event, President Robert M. Hutchins responded that “our students . . . should have the freedom to discuss any problem that presents itself.” He insisted that the “cure” for ideas we oppose “lies through open discussion rather than through inhibition.” On a later occasion, Hutchins added that “free inquiry is indispensable to the good life, that universities exist for the sake of such inquiry, [and] that without it they cease to be universities.” 

In 1968, at another time of great turmoil in universities, President Edward H. Levi, in his inaugural address, celebrated “those virtues which from the beginning and until now have characterized our institution.” Central to the values of the University of Chicago, Levi explained, is a profound commitment to “freedom of inquiry.” This freedom, he proclaimed, “is our inheritance.”

More recently, President Hanna Holborn Gray observed that “education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think. Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.” 

The words of Harper, Hutchins, Levi, and Gray capture both the spirit and the promise of the University of Chicago.Because the University is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the University the community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn. Except insofar as limitations on that freedom are necessary to the functioning of the University, the University of Chicago fully respects and supports the freedom of all members of the University community “to discuss any problem that presents itself.” Of course, the ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive. Although the University greatly values civility, and although all members of the University community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community. 

The freedom to debate and discuss the merits of competing ideas does not, of course, mean that individuals may say whatever they wish, wherever they wish.TheUniversity may restrict expression that violates the law, that falsely defames a specific individual, that constitutes a genuine threat or harassment, that unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or confidentiality interests, orthat is otherwise directly incompatible with the functioning of the University. In addition, the University may reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of expression to ensure that it does not disrupt the ordinary activities of the University. But these are narrow exceptions to the general principle of freedom of expression, and it is vitally important that these exceptions never be used in a manner that is inconsistent with the University’s commitment to a completely free and open discussion of ideas. 

In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission. 

As a corollary to the University’s commitment to protect and promote free expression, members of the University community must also act in conformity with the principle of free expression. Although members of the University community are free to criticize and contest the views expressed on campus, and to criticize and contest speakers who are invited to express their views on campus, they may not obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe. To this end, the University has a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it. 

As Robert M. Hutchins observed, without a deep commitment to free and open inquiry, a university ceases to be a university. The University of Chicago’s long-standing commitment to this principle lies at the very core of our University’s greatness. That is our inheritance, and it is our promise to the future.

 Geoffrey R. Stone, Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law, Chair 

Marianne Bertrand, Chris P. Dialynas, Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, Booth School of Business 

Angela Olinto, Homer J. Livingston Professor, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Enrico Fermi Institute, and the College 

Mark Siegler, Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Surgery 

David A. Strauss, Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law 

Kenneth.Warren, Fairfax M.Cone Distinguished Service Professor, Department of English and the College 

AmandaWoodward, Williams.Gray Professor, Department of Psychology and the College

35 Universities Adopt 'The Chicago Statement' On Free Speech--1,606 To Go