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  • VIDEO: How Fans of 'Firefly' Stopped Censorship on One College Campus

    College campuses would seem to be ripe environments for intellectual diversity to flourish. But rather than celebrate free speech, academic institutions across America routinely censor student publications and individuals. Such was the case recently at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

    Professor James Miller came under attack from the campus administration when he posted a picture and quote from the science-fiction show “Firefly” outside his office door. It was removed by campus police because it was perceived to be a threat to others. When Miller fought back by posting another sign condemning fascism, it was also removed.

    The university defended its actions — that is until the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education took up the case. FIRE’s advocacy campaign inspired author Neil Gaiman to get involved, along with “Firefly” actors Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin. Suddenly, millions knew about the university’s censorship and flooded the campus with messages defending the professor’s free speech. This attention prompted the University of Wisconsin-Stout to back down.

    FIRE produced a video documenting the case, a must-watch episode that documents the censorship challenges that happen routinely on college campuses today.

    Have you experienced censorship like this or do you know of an incident we should investigate? Please post a comment below, email us at scribe@heritage.org, or send me at tweet @RobertBluey.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to VIDEO: How Fans of 'Firefly' Stopped Censorship on One College Campus

    1. bpitas says:

      Awesome – amazing that after all of these years, Firefly is still a factor in American culture! Kinda like StarTrek:TOS – the network just has no idea what good TV looks like.

    2. Laurie Davis says:

      Censorship on campus has become a very serious problem… "The most fatal blow to progress is slavery of the intellect. The most sacred right of humanity is the right to think, and next to the right to think is the right to express that thought without fear" Helen Gardner

    3. Bobbie says:

      college administrations act on opinion? only! Who's life was threatened by the teacher who posted the scripted words from a man on "firefly?" Lets get some reason behind this overreaction! The problem with most all school administrations! So much single opinion drilled into everyone's minds it runs as fact! "this isn't censorship!! this is an act of sensitivity?" Whose sensitivity? it's a demeaning OPINION while denying students their natural ability to form an opinion of their own! that surely narrows the minds free thinking… most all democrats (minus Doug Shoen and the like minded?) have dragged society down to believe in opinionated circumstance as fact while government is regulating it EVERYWHERE! regulation on freedom of expression right here.

      unless the sign of condemning fascisim is a threat to the ideal works of this administration, their removal of the sign doesn't stand to reason but does stand to be a warning…

      • CFORUS says:

        Marching in line is what attending is in too many Universities in America has become. Attending lectures, not questioning the professors opinions or politically slanted lesson plan, not raising your hand for fear of being down-graded, and writing papers to fit into the narrow minded view of the grader has become the norm. My nephew attended a Political Science lecture at UNR in Reno where the professor stated "we should let all black prisoners out of prison because they were likely wrongfully convicted based on racial biases – (hands up) "what would we do with all of the released prisoners?" (answer) "we could give them all green jobs". When he challenged the view in his first paper (in my view a well written paper) he was given a failing grade. He was forced to withdraw from the class to retain his GPA. I'm not faulting the professor for airing his viewpoint, it's his right as a U.S. citizen. I do have a problem with stifling a bright students viewpoint. In the end I find this a vile form of censorship.

        • Bobbie says:

          are you serious? I can't believe he used such a stereo ignorance for today and put a skin color on it…
          doesn't he have racial quota in his class? I can't believe people didn't find this appalling…

          Students need facts to open their individual minds without the personal opinion of the educator unless requested by the students but stifling a bright student's viewpoint will only stop when public schools or schools funded in anyway through taxes and at all levels meet the standards expected and that standard is teaching fact without personal educators bias opinions! with the nations education standards not being met and no accountabilities in matters government took outside our control still helping themselves to everyone elses money working below their expectations, all points to the indoctrination of socialism. I'm surprised there isn't more teachers blowing whistles in favor of the opening of minds to the truth of the American way…

    4. Jacque Steubbel says:

      Thanks to FIRE for the outstanding video documentation on the case involving Professor James Michael Miller and the "Firefly" controversy at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. This university censored a creative professor who doesn't think inside the box, but rather constructs his own box. Had FIRE not intervened, there is a good possibility that he would have ultimately been fired, not to mention the damage to his academic credentials. Universities need to graduate critical thinkers who are creative and bold in their ideas. Professors pass this legacy onward to their students. The ideal of a classroom education, versus online studies, is to stimulate thought and vision, excitement in knowledge, tap the senses, and, yes, INSPIRE, rather than graduate corporate robots who are careful to stay within the dotted lines. Congratulations to Professor James Michael Miller and FIRE for supporting responsible individual rights in education and true free speech. This is still America and silence is no longer an option.

    5. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Do we not recognize that "free speech" applies only to leftist views. Why, on college campuses, conservative are not allowed to express their views without being shouted down and disrupted by those that will not allow any opinions, other than that of the left, to be aired or discussed openly. Do we not understand that this is a prime example of the tail wagging the dog? Yet the stupidity of this university to take the original action without having the courage to defend it, not only gives the radical left minority more courage to defy the first amendment, but discourages the majority from taking a stand. Write a book review on Amazon favoring a conservative book. The attacks from the leftist is almost funny. Most use the Saul Alinsky tactic of personal attack, not on the marit of the book, but that anyone would dare to have an opinion that is not of them and their ilk.

    6. san says:

      Question authority

    7. Mike says:

      My observations, especially in the last 15 years, is that the left has become increasingly intolerant of opposing viewpoints, and rabidly desire to control the message. Leftist demostrators routinly shout down their opposition at public forums, completely disregarding the right to be heard. This occurs with the assistance of major news outlets, that also shut out the message of right leaning factions. Really, would any political party have as its platform "starving children", or pushing senoirs over a cliff as one of their goals? Yet that is the perpetual message from the left regarding conservative policies.
      This is all "celebrated" as democracy in action; when the right is stifeled from getting their message out, and the destructive measures from the left are championed or outright hidden from the public .

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