Michael ONeil

About Michael O'Neil

Michael O'Neil is the Communications Director. He coordinates the annual Youth Film Contest and is responsible for the website, online projects and PR. Michael received his BA in Communications and Theater from Case Western Reserve University and has provided creative messaging for First Amendment and social justice campaigns since 2003.

Free Speech Groups Launch “Cameron Post” Essay Contest For Delaware High School Students In Response to Book Censorship

By |2019-03-07T22:51:44-04:00August 1st, 2014|Press Releases|

Contact: Michael O’Neil, Communications Director National Coalition Against Censorship p: 212.807.6222 x. 107 // c: 347-788-1646 // michael@ncac.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Free Speech Groups Launch "Cameron Post" Essay Contest For Delaware High School Students In Response to Book Censorship NEW YORK 8/01/2014– Eight organizations concerned about free speech and education are inviting high school students in Delaware to write a 250-500 word essay saying what [...]

Expert Argues That Profanity Is No Reason to Remove Cameron Post From Cape Henlopen High School Summer Reading List

By |2019-03-07T22:51:29-04:00July 23rd, 2014|Updates|

Two weeks ago, NCAC's Kids' Right to Read Project and other organizations sent a letter to the Cape Henlopen school district in Delaware expressing serious concerns over the removal of Emily M. Danforth's award-winning novel The Miseducation of Cameron Post, from a summer reading list for the high school's college prep and honors classes. This week, we enlisted the aid of [...]

John Green’s Looking For Alaska Challenged in Wisconsin

By |2019-03-07T22:51:31-04:00July 21st, 2014|Incidents|

A parent in Waukesha, WI has formally requested a district-wide ban on John Green's award-winning and beloved novel Looking For Alaska, reportedly claiming the book is "not suitable for teenagers." It's worth noting that the book won the American Library Association’s prestigious Michael L. PrintzAward, which is given annually to “the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit.” [...]

Tell the FCC to Defend Net Neutrality!

By |2019-03-07T23:00:44-04:00July 16th, 2014|Blog|

You still have time to add your voice to the FCC's general comment period on Net Neutrality! Hundreds of thousands of concerned netizens have submitted comments so far, but there's still something missing: You! The Electronic Frontier Foundation has provided an easy, online form at DearFCC.org to add your comment in favor of a neutral Internet. You can also comment [...]

“Miseducation of Cameron Post” Removed From Cape Henlopen High School, KRRP Responds

By |2019-03-07T22:51:26-04:00July 9th, 2014|Incidents|

Update July 30: The school board has voted 6-1 to eliminate the entire summer reading list for incoming students at Cape Henlopen High School. Rather than reinstate Cameron Post, they will " return to the district's previous summer reading requirements, which demand college preparatory students read one book for the summer and honors students read two books," according to Delmarva Now. Update [...]

Florida School District Removes John Green’s “Paper Towns” From Summer Reading List (Update: Victory!)

By |2016-01-15T15:59:41-04:00June 30th, 2014|Incidents|

Update 7/16: Paper Towns has reappeared on the latest version of the John Long Middle School summer reading list! Previously: NCAC's Kids' Right to Read Project has expressed concerns over the removal of John Green's award-winning novel Paper Towns, from the 8th grade summer reading list at John Long Middle School in Pasco County (FL). A parent who objected to sexual content and references in the book expressed her concerns in an email to a member of the school board, who in turn forwarded the message to school officials on Friday, June 20. By the following Monday, the book had been removed from the reading list, even though the objecting parent did not request the book’s removal, but merely complained because she had not been alerted to its content.

Nat’l and International Organizations Warn That Cancelling Death of Klinghoffer Screenings Endangers Creative Freedom, Undermines Institution’s Credibility

By |2019-03-13T14:59:48-04:00June 19th, 2014|Press Releases|

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NEW YORK, 06/19/2014-The National Coalition Against Censorship has been joined by the National Opera Association, Article 19, The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, Free Expression Policy Project, freeDimensional, Freemuse, and PEN American Center in issuing a statement (available here) opposing the Metropolitan Opera's cancellation of live, high-definition screenings of John Adams' opera, The Death of Klinghoffer, to 65 countries. The statement urges the Metropolitan and its [...]

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman Removed From 7th Grade Class in Kentucky

By |2018-06-26T13:42:05-04:00June 11th, 2014|Incidents|

NCAC's Kids' Right to Read Project has sent a letter to the Murray Independent Schools district in Kentucky regarding the decision to remove the novel UnWholly from 7th grade reading at Murray Middle School, and the ongoing conversation about book challenge policies and how they are implemented in the district. The parent of a student complained that the book’s content [...]

Florida School’s Cancelling Little Brother Assignment Causes Big First Amendment Concerns For National Organizations

By |2016-02-03T16:04:35-04:00June 9th, 2014|Incidents|

In a letter sent today, NCAC’s Kids’ Right to Read Project expressed concerns over the cancellation of Cory Doctorow's novel Little Brother, as the assigned text for Booker T. Washington High School's school-wide summer reading program. The letter points out that "the book was selected after an extensive process by the professional staff", yet the program was cancelled despite "no formal [...]

NCAC, ACLU-SC and Allies Decry South Carolina Legislature’s Infringement On Academic Freedom

By |2016-02-05T13:40:21-04:00June 9th, 2014|Press Releases|

Political Micromanaging of College Curriculum and Punishing Colleges for Teaching Books with LGBT Content is an Assault on Academic Freedom June 9, 2014 Media Contacts: Michael O'Neil, Communications Director, National Coalition Against Censorship; michael@ncac.org, (212) 807 6222 x 107 Victoria Middleton, Executive Director, ACLU of South Carolina; vmiddleton@aclusouthcarolina.org, (843) 720 1424; The National Coalition Against Censorship, ACLU of South Carolina [...]

Potential Challenge to Absolutely True Diary in Same NC County Where Color Purple Was Under Threat

By |2019-03-07T22:49:27-04:00June 4th, 2014|Incidents|

No lie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian will likely face another challenge, this time in Brunswick County, North Carolina, where the The Color Purple was challenged earlier this year. NCAC sent a letter in the Color Purple case and the book was ultimately kept. A formal challenge has yet to be filed regarding Absolutely True Diary, though NCAC sent the below [...]

TruthDig Radio Interviews Svetlana Mintcheva on “Top 40 Threats to Free Speech”

By |2019-03-07T22:49:11-04:00May 23rd, 2014|Blog|

TruthDig Radio, which broadcasts on radio stations across the country and is available as a podcast, had a great discussion with Svetlana about our "Top 40 Threats to Free Speech Right Now!"  post. It's a wide-ranging dialog, from the government's war on whistleblowers to Facebook's war on nipples. The interview starts at about 17 minutes in.

The Long And The Short Of It

By |2019-03-08T00:05:30-04:00May 23rd, 2014|Censorship News Articles|

NCAC screened our 2013 Youth Free Expression Film Contest Winners at the New York Film Academy on March 29. Top prize went to Ani Akpan of the Bronx for his visually dazzling Future Warfare III, followed by Peter Ackerman of Augusta, Maine and Austin Guerrero of Gresham, Oregon; Daniella Sanchez won the People’s Choice Award with the greatest number of [...]

“Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You” Survives School Library Challenge!

By |2019-03-07T22:35:42-04:00May 15th, 2014|Updates|

District 196, serving the Rosemount – Apple Valley – Eagan regions near the Twin Cities, has announced that the committee convened to decide whether the book Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You should be retained in the district's libraries has voted 10-0 to keep the work. A parent challenged the book for the use of the word "retarded" in the story. The review process [...]

“Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You” Challenged in School Libraries Near the Twin Cities

By |2019-03-07T22:35:38-04:00May 14th, 2014|Incidents|

Update: The book as been retained. Click here for details on the decision. Barthe DeClements' award-winning Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You has been challenged for a school library removal in Rosemount - Apple Valley - Eagan Public Schools (District 196) near the Twin Cities in Minnesota. A parent filed a complaint over the use of the word "retarded" in the [...]

10 Cool Things About the New NCAC.org

By |2019-03-08T00:04:22-04:00May 12th, 2014|Blog|

by CarolineS on Flickr We've launched a new website with an updated design on a completely new platform. It has already made a big difference in how we promote free speech! Here are 10 reasons why we think you'll like it, too: 1. Welcome Home, Blogging Censorship! Our free expression commentary and news blog, Blogging Censorship, is now [...]

“Reset the Net” in Plain English: Making it Harder to Spy on You

By |2019-03-07T21:52:06-04:00May 5th, 2014|Blog|

As free speech organizations continue to push the government for changes in surveillance policies, there are technical changes we can implement to thwart online mass surveillance that require no government permission at all. Reset The Net is calling on everyone who hosts a website or publishes an app to take action.

“Two Boys Kissing” Book Challenge Rejected by Fauquier Review Committee, Decision Could Be Appealed

By |2019-03-07T22:34:20-04:00April 29th, 2014|Updates|

According to Fauquier.com, a Fauquier County Public Schools review committee has unanimously rejected a book challenge that would have removed David Levithan's Two Boys Kissing from the high school library. NCAC's Kids' Right To Read Project sent a letter to the school board prior to the meeting, warning that removing the book based on objections to the content was a disservice [...]

Why Half a Million Books Were Given Away For World Book Night, and How You Can Get a Free Ebook Now

By |2019-03-07T22:34:06-04:00April 24th, 2014|Blog|

World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading for pleasure, and the fun of passing on a book to someone in your community. Each year, 30-35 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers for distribution on the evening of April 23rd. The authors waive their royalties and the publishers cover the cost of producing a [...]

“Two Boys Kissing” could be purged from Fauquier High School library

By |2019-03-07T22:33:59-04:00April 23rd, 2014|Incidents|

Update: A review committee unanimously decided to keep the book, though an appeal is possible. NCAC's Kids' Right to Read Project has written the Fauquier County Public Schools superintendent and board with regard to a challenge to David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing in the Fauquier High School library, because of objections to the same-sex themes explored in the book. We [...]

Read an excerpt from Svetlana Mintcheva’s essay in the new “Handbook on Intellectual Freedom”

By |2019-03-07T21:57:31-04:00April 14th, 2014|Blog|

We're excited about the just-released Library Juice Press Handbook of Intellectual Freedom because, in addition to being a landmark resource on the state of free inquiry and expression, it features a new essay by NCAC's Svetlana Mintcheva on censorship, past and present, in the arts. Library Juice talks about the need for this handbook on their blog: The existing reference literature on intellectual [...]

Huxley’s Classic ‘Brave New World’ Targeted in Delaware

By |2016-01-25T10:59:05-04:00April 10th, 2014|Incidents|

NCAC's Kids' Right to Read Project has sent a letter to the Cape Henlopen School District in Delaware to warn against labeling Aldous Huxley's 20th Century classic Brave New World as potentially "inappropriate" for some Advanced Placement English students, as has been proposed by school board members. Though no one on the board has yet proposed that the book be removed [...]

Secret without Reason and Costly without Accomplishment: Questioning the National Security Agency’s Metadata Program

By |2016-01-12T16:38:53-04:00April 4th, 2014|Blog|

Mueller, John & Mark G. Stewart, "Secret without Reason and Costly without Accomplishment: Questioning the National Security Agency's Metadata Program," I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society (2014) Download a PDF. Excerpt When Edward Snowden’s revelations emerged in June 2013 about the extent to which the National Security Agency was secretly gathering communications data as part of the country’s [...]

Rap Lyrics Used as Evidence in Criminal Trials

By |2016-01-12T16:36:35-04:00March 31st, 2014|Blog|

In a disturbing development that directly threatens the freedom to imagine, rap lyrics are being brought in as evidence in criminal trials (New York Times story). An amicus brief (below) filed by the New Jersey chapter of NCAC participating organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, argues That a rap artist wrote lyrics seemingly embracing the world of violence is no [...]

Press Release: Proposed South Carolina Higher Education Budget Cuts Violate First Amendment Principles, Basic Tenets of Academic Freedom

By |2019-03-06T14:22:42-04:00March 18th, 2014|Press Releases|

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), ACLU of South Carolina, American Association of University Professors, Modern Language Association and other free speech organizations today sent a letter (below) to members of the South Carolina Senate criticizing the recent defunding of public institutions of higher learning because of objections to assigned reading. "The proposed budget cuts are designed to punish the [...]

Free Speech Defender Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Honored at NoVa Teen Book Festival

By |2019-03-07T21:46:56-04:00March 17th, 2014|Blog|

In 2012 we honored author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor as a Free Speech Defender for her groundbreaking Alice series and Shiloh. Shelf Awareness reports that Phyllis was one over 20 authors celebrated last week at the inaugural NoVa Teen Book Festival, founded by an Arlington, VA bookstore in partnership with local schools and libraries. Here's a video of Phyllis speaking (at 1:17) with other [...]

NY State Legislators Take Aim at Protected Political Expression and Activity at State Colleges and Universities

By |2016-01-27T22:08:13-04:00February 27th, 2014|Incidents|

National Coalition Against Censorship criticizes academic boycotts, but warns public officials against interference with political expression and open discussion and debate. The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) issued a statement on Wednesday in opposition to state legislative proposals (A.8392a and S.6438) that would "penalize professional associations and their members for engaging in protected political activity," according to NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin. [...]

Vermont legislation would “refuse material support” for NSA mass data collection

By |2016-01-14T11:41:27-04:00February 5th, 2014|Blog|

Similar legislation has been introduced in 12 states. From Truthout.org: On Tuesday, January 28th, a transpartisan group of four Vermont state representatives introduced legislation that would block some of the practical effects of mass data collection by the National Security Agency (NSA). Rep. Teo Zagar (D-Windsor-4-1), along with co-sponsor Reps. Susan Davis (P/D-Orange-1), Patricia Komline (R-Bennington-Rutland) and William Stevens (I-Addison-Rutland) [...]

Dramatists Guild to Washington DC’s Embattled Theater J: “Stand Strong”

By |2019-03-15T16:26:25-04:00January 27th, 2014|Blog|

NCAC participating organizations the Dramatists Guild and the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund have sent a letter (PDF embed below) to Theater J in Washington DC in support of the venue's staging of Motti Lerner's The Admission. A group called Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art has waged a smear campaign to vilify the play as anti-Israel. The reason we dramatists feel so strongly about this [...]

NCAC joins 53 other organizations to oppose the FISA “Improvements” Act – Add your voice today!

By |2019-03-07T21:56:49-04:00December 18th, 2013|Blog|

Fifty-four civil liberties and public interest groups sent a letter to Congressional leadership today opposing S. 1631, the FISA Improvements Act. The bill, promoted by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), seeks to legalize and extend NSA mass surveillance programs, including the classified phone records surveillance program confirmed by documents released by Edward Snowden this summer. From EFF’s blog post on the [...]

Sociology Professor Sanctioned for Class on Prostitution at University of Colorado Boulder

By |2019-03-15T16:42:36-04:00December 17th, 2013|Blog|

Why is it that every time sex enters the conversation in academia, harassment always appears to shadow it? How perverse - and unfair to real victims of harassment -  that this serious charge is used against a professor for nothing else than creatively doing her job. In a lecture on prostitution, a highlight of her regular course on deviance, University [...]

Happy Nude Year! Lawsuit Forces Display of Nudes Until January 17

By |2019-03-07T12:08:03-04:00December 13th, 2013|Blog|

Court settlement extends San Bernardino County Government Center exhibit, to compensate for time during which paintings had been removed. Today NCAC and and the ACLU of Southern California were please to see the final court settlement that extends the exhibition time of three recently restored paintings at the San Bernardino County Government Center. The extended display period will compensate for [...]

We Have an Op-Ed in Today’s “Times of Trenton” Fighting Video Game Disinformation

By |2019-03-15T17:47:21-04:00June 27th, 2013|Blog|

Check out today's Times of Trenton op-ed page for a piece by NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin calling out the dubious logic and "research" behind a bill the New Jersey legislature just passed that would put the state Department of Education in charge of a disinformation campaign to scare parents about the effects of "violent media." This kind of initiative [...]

So You Heard About the SAGA/Apple/ComiXology Flap, and You Want to Know More About Digital Gatekeepers?

By |2019-03-07T23:33:37-04:00April 11th, 2013|Blog|

We can help with that! NCAC is concerned with censorship in all its forms, even those instances where private enterprises are within their legal rights to marginalize or ban content based on a point of view. Users engage with the Internet as a democratizing public square but, in reality, most of the online channels we rely on are controlled by [...]

Small-Town Librarian Takes On Sony–and Wins

By |2019-03-15T17:22:43-04:00November 28th, 2012|Blog|

Don’t mess with Abbe Klebanoff, the head of public services for Pennsylvania’s Lansdowne Public Library. She encouraged teens to create a music video called "Read It" to the music of Michael Jackson's song, "Beat It," and posted it on YouTube. What followed was predictable—Sony objected and took it down, claiming copyright infringement. The passionate Klebanoff, who spent weeks helping the teens [...]

“User Generated Censorship” Talk at Knight Foundation

By |2019-03-14T17:46:56-04:00August 1st, 2012|Blog|

NCAC board member Chris Peterson gave an excellent presentation --as part of a MIT Civic Ignite program with the Knight Foundation-- on how "user generated censorship" can emerge in social media like Digg and Facebook . Chris' talk starts at about 9:43 but the whole video is full of great information for free speech defenders. Update: You can watch a [...]

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Joins Letter Opposing Censorship of Mexican American Studies

By |2019-03-07T23:31:37-04:00May 2nd, 2012|Blog|

Our joint letter opposing the massive censorship of Mexican American Studies in the Tucson Unified School District has a new signer: the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. The letter was launched in late Janurary and has now attracted well over 30 national and regional organizations dedicated to education and free speech.

NCAC and FIRE Issue Joint Letter To Villanova U. on Cancellation of Tim Miller Artist-In-Residency

By |2019-03-07T21:51:10-04:00February 24th, 2012|Blog|

This week, Villanova University's administration cancelled a weeklong, artist-in-residency program led by performance artist Tim Miller. NCAC and FIRE are calling on Villanova to reverse this decision. The joint letter (below) points out that the decision to cancel Miller's residency violates the principle of academic freedom. Miller is known as one of the "NEA Four" – four artists whose grants [...]