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Jury Finds Former College President Personally Liable for $50,000 in Victory for Student Rights [Feb. 14th, 2013|08:46 pm]

ATLANTA, February 1, 2013-A federal jury today found former Valdosta State University (VSU) President Ronald M. Zaccari personally liable for $50,000 for violating the due process rights of former student Hayden Barnes in the case of Barnes v. Zaccari. In May 2007, Zaccari expelled Barnes for peacefully protesting Zaccari's plan to construct two parking garages on campus, calling a collage posted by Barnes on his personal Facebook page a "threatening document" and labeling Barnes a "clear and present danger" to VSU. Barnes first came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help in October 2007.

"College administrators have been blatantly and willfully violating student rights for decades, but they have far too often dodged personal responsibility. Not so today," said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. "We hope this serves as a much-needed wake up call to college administrators that it's time to start paying close attention to the basic rights of their students."

"After five years, I finally feel vindicated. This is a victory for me but it's also a victory for students everywhere," said Barnes. "I hope that other college administrators take heed and see that violating students' rights can be costly and that they will be held accountable. I thank my legal team and FIRE for making this victory possible and my friends and family for standing by me through this difficult fight."

Barnes' ordeal began in the spring of 2007, when he protested Zaccari's plan to construct two new parking garages on campus at a cost of $30 million. By posting flyers and sending emails to Zaccari, student and faculty governing bodies, and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, Barnes expressed his concerns and proposed what he saw as environmentally friendly alternatives. Barnes also penned a letter to the editor of the VSU student newspaper about the proposed parking garage plans and wrote to Zaccari to ask for an exemption from the mandatory student fee designated for funding the construction.

In response to Barnes' activism, Zaccari personally ordered that he be "administratively withdrawn" from VSU in May of 2007, ignoring the concerns raised by members of his administration. Zaccari absurdly claimed that Barnes presented a "clear and present danger" to both Zaccari and the VSU campus on the basis of a cut-and-paste collage Barnes had posted on his Facebook page that included pictures of Zaccari, a parking deck, and the caption "S.A.V.E.-Zaccari Memorial Parking Garage." Given no notice or opportunity to defend himself, Barnes came to FIRE for help in October 2007.

Today's verdict follows five years of litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels. In January 2008, Barnes filed suit in cooperation with eminent First Amendment attorney and FIRE Legal Network member Robert Corn-Revere of Davis Wright Tremaine in Washington, D.C., and Cary Wiggins of The Wiggins Law Group in Atlanta.

In September of 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found that because Zaccari expelled Barnes without notice or a hearing, Zaccari violated Barnes' constitutional right to due process. In its opinion (PDF), the district court ruled that because Zaccari ignored "clearly established" law in punishing Barnes, Zaccari could not avail himself of the defense of "qualified immunity," and could be found personally liable for damages.

Zaccari and the Board of Regents appealed the district court's ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in October 2010, and oral arguments in the case were heard in Montgomery, Alabama, in November 2011. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the district court's denial of qualified immunity to Zaccari, finding that Barnes "had a clearly established constitutional right to notice and a hearing before being removed from VSU." Joined by 14 other organizations from across the ideological spectrum concerned about student rights on public campuses, FIRE had authored and filed an amici curiae brief with the Eleventh Circuit in April 2011 urging that result.

Following the Eleventh Circuit's ruling, the case returned to federal district court. The trial began on Monday, January 28, 2013, before the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Valdosta Division, and ended today with a verdict in Barnes' favor. In addition to the $50,000 judgment, attorneys' fees still remain to be assessed against the losing party. Barnes' separate breach of contract claim against the Board of Regents remains pending in state court.

"We are very pleased to have secured a just outcome for Hayden," said Corn-Revere.

FIRE has aided Barnes since learning of his case in October 2007. FIRE wrote repeatedly to Board of Regents officials, urging them to undo VSU's unlawful actions and uphold the Constitution within the university system. Under pressure from FIRE and the federal lawsuit against Zaccari and other VSU administrators, the Board of Regents finally reversed Barnes' expulsion early in 2008, and Zaccari retired months earlier than planned. Under further pressure from FIRE, former VSU President Patrick J. Schloss dismantled VSU's unconstitutional free speech zone in September 2008.

FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation's colleges and universities. FIRE's efforts to preserve liberty at Valdosta State University and on campuses across America can be viewed at thefire.org.

CONTACT: Will Creeley, Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, FIRE: 215-717-3473; will@thefire.org

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ARTICLE: Free Expression in Crisis - OP-ED by Edward Tabash [Dec. 10th, 2012|04:34 pm]
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free-inquiry-coverFrom the publication, Free Inquiry, December 2012 / January 2013 Volume 33, Number 1
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How Does The First Amendment Impact Your Life? [Oct. 22nd, 2012|08:38 am]

How Does The First Amendment Impact Your Life? 

A new essay has been submitted:
Name: Thomas
Essay: I'm a teenage male feminist. I don't live in America, but when I go back to go to university I might need to invoke my first amendment rights. I am an atheist, and I wish to express that and many of my progressive anti-religious, anti-superetitious, pro-lgbt, pro-feminist, anti-mra and many more views. I might not need the first amendment, depending on how progressive my workplace and university is, but I also might need it direly if I meet conservative biggots.
more essays >>
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FFE gets a call-out in a controversial media case down under . . . [Sep. 12th, 2012|12:24 pm]

FFE gets a call-out in a controversial media case down under . . .

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/dont-let-the-prudes-deprive-us-of-the-spice-of-sexual-banter-20120717-228cs.html

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The Free Speech Pamphlet Series: Prostitution [Aug. 31st, 2012|09:46 pm]
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The Free Speech Pamphlet Series: Prostitution
A proposed revision of the laws governing prostitution is a complicated and multi-faceted issue. Feminists for Free Expression advocates the decriminalization of prostitution. This paper sets forth why this position is necessary and why prostitution is a feminist issue. Although decriminalization will not solve all of the problems associated with prostitution, it is a first step in granting women and other members of the sex worker population their basic civil rights.

http://bit.ly/OEi9LM
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The Free Speech Pamphlet Series: Pornography [Aug. 8th, 2012|03:17 pm]
The Free Speech Pamphlet Series: Pornography
Feminism and Free Speech: Pornography is part of the Feminism and Free Speech series produced by Feminists for Free Expression, a national, not-for-profit anti-censorship organization. FFE has prepared this publication to aid in the understanding of pornography, its uses and benefits, and its relation to violence. Below is an overview of the scientific and cross-cultural research, and legal and historical data on sexually explicit material. Popular beliefs are followed by research review.

http://bit.ly/MzaNxZ

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The Free Speech Pamphlet Series: The Internet [Jul. 21st, 2012|02:01 am]

The Free Speech Pamphlet Series: The Internet
The Internet is growing at a dizzying rate with seemingly unlimited potential. It is a networking tool and community builder, a communications highway that delivers authoritative, expert-approved information and entertainment, as well as personal reports and subjective reviews. The Internet lends itself to the consumption, creation and distribution of multimedia content for information, fun and profit. Many websites thrive on content that is not just interactive, but user-generated, created and uploaded by people making media for fun, and participants in online communities that grow around an immense variety of interests. Savvy internet users not only read news online and research topics of interest, but also visit and write personal and entertainment blogs, watch and make online videos, and listen to and record audio podcasts.

With the growth of the Internet have come many questions that relate to the work of Feminist for Free Expression: Who regulates online content? How do users maintain privacy? How pervasive is adult content? Is there a need to regulate political content? How are young people affected by the wealth of information and social interactions that are available online?

This free and free-wheeling exchange of information has raised questions of control -- who should determine and how, what is allowed on this powerful communication?

http://bit.ly/NQXKH8
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The Free Speech Pamphlet Series: Arts Censorship [Jul. 6th, 2012|06:11 pm]

The Free Speech Pamphlet Series: Arts Censorship
Feminism and Free Speech: Arts Censorship is part of the Feminism and Free Speech series produced by Feminists for Free Expression (FFE), a national, not-for-profit anti-censorship organization.

Recent years have seen increasing demands for censorship of artistic expression. Attacks on books in libraries, demands for censoring television and prosecutions of bookstores and museums have become a popular response to words, ideas or images that some Americans find offensive. Feminists for Free Expression is deeply concerned about this trend, for censoring disagreeable ideas will not make the disagreeable realities go away, and only distracts people’s attention from addressing the real causes of social ills. Censorship harms all groups working for social change—especially women.

see ffe web site for full document and more position statements: http://bit.ly/N69y5G

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CALL FOR ESSAYS: How Does The First Amendment Impact Your Life? [Jun. 18th, 2012|06:34 pm]
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How Does The First Amendment Impact Your Life?
 A recent survey concluded that young people feel the First Amendment is not vital to their lives. We at Feminists for Free Expression believe that conclusion is wrong. We want to challenge it - not with another survey, but with something more substantial and personal. That's where you come in.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
We invite you to tell us about a specific instance in which the First Amendment protected or inspired you.  We also want to know if your First Amendment rights were denied you. Or simply tell us why you feel the First Amendment is important to you. Ask your friends to do the same.

http://ffeusa.org/html/itallstartshere.php

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FFE Executive Board Members from the adult film industry take part in a candid & provocative panel. [Jun. 4th, 2012|06:32 pm]


FFE Executive Board Members from the adult film industry take part in a candid and provocative panel discussion at NYC's Museum of Sex, June 12th.

http://museum.museumofsex.com/ai1ec_event/club-90-golden-girls-of-porn/?instance_id

May 29th, 2012

For Immediate Release

NYC'S GOLDEN GIRLS OF PORN:
MOSEX HOSTS A REUNION OF THE WORLD'S FIRST PORN STAR SUPPORT GROUP

Five adult film stars from the "Golden Age of Porn": Veronica Hart, Gloria Leonard, Candida Royalle, Annie Sprinkle and Veronica Vera were the original "Sex and the City" girls. Turning to one another for the support they needed to navigate their way through life after blue movies, these dynamic women created "Club 90" in 1983, forming a bond that would continue for nearly thirty years. They went on to pursue their personal goals, and in the process, blazed new trails in the fields of human sexuality, women's empowerment, erotic expression, and free speech.

Come get a taste of the good old days when NYC was America's sex film capital, movies were shot on 35mm film, and Times Square was x-rated! And most of all, come share the laughs, the drama & the intimate stories of this controversial support group. This rare reunion promises to be candid, informative and electric!

When: June 12th, 2012 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Where: F*ck Art Gallery 233 5th Ave New York, NY 10016
Cost: $25 Contact: Yari Perez 212-686-6337 yperez@museumofsex.com
For more information: http://museum.museumofsex.com/ai1ec_event/club-90-golden-girls-of-porn/?instance_id

Sponsored with Distribpix Inc./Video-X-Pix, Feminists For Free Expression(FFE), and CineKink/Lisa Vandever. 
Photos by: Dona Anne McAdams

BIOS

Candida Royalle™, president of Femme Productions®, is best known for having pioneered the concept of adult movies from a woman's perspective for couples to share. A former actress during the "golden age" of adult movies, it is her work as director/producer of 18 internationally acclaimed erotic movies of which she is most proud. Continuing to innovate in the field of sexuality, she partnered with Dutch Industrial designers, Groet Design to create the revolutionary line of Natural Contours® sexual wellness products. In 2004 Simon & Schuster published her first book, How to Tell a Naked Man What To Do: Sex Advice From a Woman Who Knows, followed by the paperback in February '06. Candida Royalle™ has become a sought-after speaker, having lectured at such venues as the Smithsonian Institute, the American Psychiatric Association's national conference, and the World Congress on Sexology, as well as several sexuality conferences and universities including Princeton, Columbia, Wellesley College and New York University. She is a member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, (AASECT) and a founding Board member of Feminists for Free Expression (FFEUSA.org). http://www.candidaroyalle.com

Veronica Vera is author of two books: Miss Vera's Crossdress for Success (Villard, 2002) and Miss Vera's Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls (Doubleday, 1997), both are based on Miss Vera's Finishing School, the internationally known, world's first crossdressing academy which she founded in 1992. She is a respected visionary in the transgender community. Prior to that, in the early 80's, after leaving her job as a Wall Street stock trader, Veronica wrote hundreds of articles on the subject of human sexuality. In many of them, she was an active participant exploring her own sexual issues. She testified for freedom of expression before Arlen Spector and a committee of the Senate Judiciary. Her testimony was later incorporated into the Meese Report. Veronica starred in a number of adult movies, collaborated as a model with Robert Mapplethorpe and other artists. In 1989, she helped re-organize P.O.N.Y. (Prostitutes of New York). Veronica is a founding member and on the Executive board of Feminist for Free Expression. See,www.missvera.com.

Annie Sprinkle Ph.D. was a NYC prostitute and porn star for twenty years; then morphed into a performance artist and sexologist. She has passionately explored sexuality for forty years, sharing her experiences through making her own unique brand of feminist sex films, writing books and articles, visual art making, theater performances, and teaching. Annie has consistently championed sex worker rights and health care and was one of the pivotal players of the Sex Positive Movement of the 1980′s. She got her BFA at School of Visual Arts in NYC. Annie Sprinkle is the first porn star to earn a Ph.D., which is in Human Sexuality. She's a popular lecturer whose work is studied in many colleges and Universities. For the past 11 years she has been collaborating on art projects with her partner, artist and professor, Elizabeth Stephens. They are movers and shakers in the new "ecosex movement," committed to environmental activism. They started Occupy Bernal (San Francisco) where they live. www.anniesprinkle.org andwww.sexecology..org

Veronica Hart aka Jane Hamilton, a UNLV graduate with a BA in theatrical arts, has performed on stage in many roles and became a star in adult cinema's golden age in such classics as "Amanda by Night", "Roommates", and "Wanda Whips Wall Street". She has won Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress in the Erotica and Critics Adult Film Awards and is included in several Adult Hall of Fames. Veronica has performed in over thirty R-rated movies and numerous television appearances playing Viveca St. John in "Six Feet Under", the custody judge in "Boogie Nights" and Veronica Del Rio in "One-Eyed Monster". As Jane Hamilton producer and as Veronica Hart director, she has made over twenty features for VCA and also produced Michael Ninn's features. She produced and directed three r-rated features for Mainline Releasing Group, produced the horror film "Parasomnia" with William Malone directing, and is now working with author/director John Skipp to produce "Rose" a bizarro zombie musical. A former board member of the Free Speech Coalition, Veronica is the mother of two fabulous young men, works at the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas and is in a wonderful relationship with her high school sweetheart, Stan Clawson.

Gloria Leonard. In a career, which both began and ended behind the scenes, front and center is where Gloria Leonard spent most of her professional life. Whether as an actress or director of such adult classics as "Misty Beethoven," "Fortune Smiles," "Taboo: American Style," or as a much sought-after guest on countless talk shows (Oprah, Geraldo, Maury, Larry King, Howard Stern et al), Gloria is an enigmatic presence whose patrician earthiness vies with a disarming intellect for your attention. Ms. Leonard has also been the host of her own television shows – "The Leonard Report: For Adults Only" and later, "Gloria Leonard's Hot Shopper Hour," a humorously hedonist paean to TV home shopping which featured sexy merchandise, interesting guests, film reviews and comic relief. Vogue magazine's review recommended that the Fox Network snap her up. Gloria's fourteen-year stint as Publisher of High Society magazine often thrust her into the eye of intense media hurricanes. She pioneered both the publishing of "celebrity skin" (Margot Kidder, Ann-Margret and Barbra Streisand all attempted to sue) and the then controversial concept of phone sex, a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court, ultimately ruling in her favor. With Gloria at the helm, High Society became one of the best selling newsstand magazines in America. Ms. Leonard is an ardent feminist and First Amendment advocate who has debated extensively on the issues of pornography, censorship and their impact on the women's movement at dozens of colleges and universities. She has served as President of the Adult Film Association, Administrative Director of the Adult Video Association and is two-term President Emeritus of the Free Speech Coalition. Gloria Leonard was born in New York City and single-handedly raised a successful, charming daughter, who in turn, has a daughter of her own. Yes, Gloria is a Grandmother.


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