Category: Free Speech
Schools: Binghamton University, State University of New York
Binghamton University graduate student Michael Gutsell was expelled by the Department of Social Work following two incidents where his classroom speech drew complaints from fellow students. Despite the fact that the speech was relevant to the class and broke no university or department rules, the hearing panel recommended his dismissal. After appealing the decision, however, Gutsell learned that these two incidents were “not the primary basis” for his expulsion, and that BU may have determined that he was unfit for social work because he was not conforming to others’ subjective expectations about individuals’ proper conversational style, even outside of the professional context. The appeals panel upheld his expulsion without explaining to Gutsell what other factors it may have considered or giving him an opportunity to defend himself against them. Notably, the department had forced Gutsell to sign a contract earlier in the semester, one of the conditions of which was that the department could never hear that he had made any fellow students or instructors “uncomfortable.” Gutsell has had to leave the United States and return to his native Canada as a result of his expulsion. Binghamton did not respond to FIRE’s letter detailing our concerns and asking the university to respect Gutsell’s rights.
September 1, 2010
Civil-rights organization highlights universities that are ‘unrepentant’ violators by Bob Unruh WorldNetDaily A permanent blemish on a student’s record for a parody, an attempted expulsion for criticism of a “social injustice” and the formal censorship of a political satire: All of these actions have earned American colleges and universities a citation in a full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 edition of its “Best Colleges” issue. The ad warns parents and students to “think twice” about considering attending the schools. The ad was taken out by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which highlighted Bucknell University, […]» Read More
February 1, 2011
By now, I hope you’ve had a chance to read our list of the “12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech,” which we highlighted on The Huffington Post last week. Our “Dirty Dozen”—which is made up of the six colleges and universities on our Red Alert list, as well as six other institutions that have shown a profound disregard for free speech rights over the years—has quickly generated a good deal of attention and response. Peter explained on Friday why DePaul University was one of the schools outside of our Red Alert list to be selected for this dubious distinction. Today, […]» Read More