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Newsletter > March 2023 > "FIRE Publishes Additional Resources for Fraternal Groups"
FIRE Publishes Additional Resources for Fraternal Groups
Timothy M. Burke, Fraternal Law Partners, email@example.com
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), which has a remarkable record of defending the freedom of speech, association, and due process rights of students and faculty members across the country, has now published two pamphlets directly addressing the rights of fraternity and sorority members.
“Greek Life: Know Your Rights!”1 is directed to active members of Greek groups. It provides short comments on the Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Association, and Due Process Rights of members of fraternities and sororities.
“Guide for Greek Organizational Advisors”2 highlights for advisors of Greek groups thoughts on the best practices for protecting the rights of the active members and their organizations.
Both pamphlets have helpful links to other FIRE publications. An important addition is that both pamphlets invite those whose rights may be in jeopardy to submit the case to FIRE for its consideration, and FIRE offers a link to do that.
Zach Greenberg of FIRE, who invites being contacted about questions relating to the pamphlets at firstname.lastname@example.org, will be speaking at the 2023 Fraternal Law Conference in November.
Of course, FIRE’s recommendations only concern situations in which a university is infringing upon the constitutional rights of students or student organizations. As FIRE’s “Greek Life: Know Your Rights!” document points out, “punishments from Greek organizations, such as chapters and national headquarters, are generally permissible, as these groups are private organizations that do not promise their members free speech.” As such, and just as one example, the organizations retain the ability to discipline members for offensive comments, even if those same comments might not be something for which a university could sanction the student.
Additionally, each group should ensure that their members, chapters, and advisors are aware of the processes and procedures that govern their own approaches to interacting with university representatives. After all, it is easy to imagine a situation in which an individual could take it upon him/herself to represent the organization without consulting others, creating unnecessary problems that may be difficult to unravel.