Brandeis Silently Faces Barrage of Media Coverage

By January 25, 2008

Professor Donald Hindley’s case garners more attention in the media and blogosphere with every passing day.

An Associated Press article in today’s Boston Globe features a great recap of the case. The most noteworthy part of the article, in my opinion? Brandeis’s deafening silence as it refuses to comment to the press who are covering the story.

In the Globe article, university spokesman Dennis Nealon said, "The university feels that this is a personnel and private matter and above all else the university is obligated is to protect the confidentiality of the individuals involved in this case."

The idea that this is a "private matter" is simply a dodge, as the assault on academic freedom represented by Brandeis’s actions has rightfully been seen by its faculty as an assault on them collectively. Yet Brandeis administrators are apparently hoping that if they bury their heads deep enough in the sand, this will all blow over. Indeed, according to the Globe, calls to Hindley’s main antagonist, Provost Marty Wyngaarden Krauss, as well as to President Jehuda Reinharz were not returned.

Yet this story is not simply going to go away. The Boston Herald also covered the story, pointing out the same thing—Dennis Nealon "declined to comment." Attorney Wendy Kaminer, a member of our Board of Advisors, commented on the ridiculous nature of Brandeis’s actions, saying, "It’s like being in some Woody Allen film. It’s a self-parody of political correctness." The Herald also reported that students in Hindley’s class staged a sit-in in support of Hindley, criticizing Brandeis for not involving them in its investigation.

The school’s student newspaper, The Brandeis Hoot, spoke to FIRE’s Adam Kissel, who explained more on FIRE’s stance on the case:

As Justice Brandeis said, ‘sunlight is best disinfectant.’ What that means to FIRE is when a university has done something plainly wrong, and that wrong thing has been publicized and the public gets to see it, the university generally corrects its actions… a university won’t do in public what it thinks it can get away with in private.

[...]

[I]f FIRE doesn’t hear back from Brandeis, we stay on the case, continue to post press releases through our website and web blog, until we feel satisfied that justice has been served.

The blogosphere has also been abuzz with the story of Brandeis’s disregard for Hindley’s rights, with posts on Instapundit, National Review‘s Phi Beta Cons blog, and various other mentions drawing attention to this case.

With all this attention, it seems like Brandeis administrators would speak up and at least attempt to share their side of the story, but it looks like there’s nothing much they can say in defense of their actions on this one.

For all of the media coverage on Brandeis, click here.