College isn’t how I remember it…it’s a mine field

Today’s atmosphere of political correctness, trigger warnings, virtue signals and cancel culture has sadly mutated what was once the most exciting adventure young people could aspire to outside of a theme park pimped by a giant rodent. The University system that once was a refuge for classical liberals that ferociously defended civil liberties has been mutated by the “liberal progressives” seeking “social justice.

Where higher education once guarded free speech like a mama bear defending her cub, today we see a steady stream of remarkably anti-free speech policies trying to set roots and choke off the free expression of students and professors alike. They call this progress.

In years past, college selection was a process that parents and their soon to be high school graduate kids undertook with anxious excitement. Common criteria were location, tuition, scholarships, and quality of instruction. Kids looked ahead to college as a new adventure, possibly their first experience being away from home. Parents often found themselves in a swirl of emotion ranging from pride and joy, to anxiety about their kids college experience striking a balance between fun and educational, while also feeling trepidation about their students safety and well-being. Couple this with the completely understandable concerns about paying for it, and both parents and students alike found d themselves neck deep in a stressful situation.

Now, in the 21st century, progress has taken hold. And progress, they say, is a good thing. It’s necessary for the betterment of mankind. Oops. I meant to say “personkind”. Yes, our enumerated rights guaranteed by the Constitution weren’t enough, it seems, to ensure the appropriate level of equality or social justice, so the Progressives have been fighting hard to make college life “more equal.

Universities that once provided an education that prepared us for the world now must first cushion every corner, eliminate any possible situation where someone may be offended or feel “unsafe”. This has led us to a bizarro world where students must worry about every word uttered or written for fear of being brought on academic charges and expelled.

Now in addition to location, tuition or how good their math department is, parents need to also consider things like the schools policies on free speech and adherence to due process, should something come up and their child find themselves in trouble with the Dean.

This all sounds very grim. And it is, to be sure. Indoctrinating an entire generation of young people into a culture that suppresses expression and erodes civil rights dooms our Republic to a future where the norm is no longer to impinge on our rights, but to eliminate them without so much as an argument.

We do, however, have places we can turn to for help. thefire.org is one such organization. They have made it their mission to advocate for the protection of free speech on behalf of students and instructors. When colleges start clamping down on public speakers, or censoring the school paper, or instituting free speech codes, thefire.org steps in.

In recent years, thefire has expanded to include protection of due process. This is in response to so many incidents where based on little/no/flimsy evidence, an accused student is brought on charges and expelled with no semblance of a fair hearing.

The fire has always made their research, information, and school ratings data available to the public to make college selection less stressful and help students make informed choices about the school they choose.

Now, thefire.org has announced a new, and powerful tool to help even more with this process.

From their website:

Announcing the Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker!

FIRE is excited to unveil the Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker, a collection of easily digestible case briefs summarizing the most important recent decisions affecting the procedural rights of students in campus judicial proceedings. We hope that the tracker will serve as a vital research tool for attorneys, journalists, and members of the public who want to learn more about students’ rights on campus.

In April 2011, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague” letter that transformed the way colleges and universities adjudicate claims of sexual misconduct on campus, leading many schools to abandon critical due process protections for accused students. While the letter was officially rescinded in 2017, and new regulations are forthcoming from the Department of Education, its impact continues to be felt on campus. As a result, since April 2011, more than 500 accused students have filed lawsuits alleging that they were denied a fair process in campus judicial proceedings — including more than 70 suits filed so far in 2019.

Prior to this wave of litigation, judicial decisions about the procedural rights of students in campus proceedings were few and far between. Over the past eight years, however, as these cases have begun working their way through the courts, there have been hundreds of decisions affecting students’ procedural rights.

These rulings contain a wealth of useful information for lawyers, reporters, and anyone else who wants to keep on top of this rapidly developing area of the law. Until now, however, there has been no easy way to find and sort through all of these decisions. That is why FIRE created the Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker. Our new database of case briefs is searchable by a range of fields and keywords to allow users to find the cases that most directly relate to their research. It contains a range of cases affecting students’ procedural rights, from constitutional due process cases at public universities, to breach of contract and Title IX cases at private universities, and more.

The tracker is an evolving resource that will continue to be updated and expanded with both newly-decided and older cases, so please check back frequently.

This could prove to be an invaluable resource for anybody considering going to college.

The erosion of our rights is matter of serious concern. Our Constitution is under constant threat. Please don’t let complacency or over confidence in government fool you into letting our rights be stripped. Remember….those rights are there to protect us from the government. If we casually let them be eroded away, we will never get them back.