Johns Hopkins University: Viewpoint-Based Rejection of Pro-Life Group

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Johns Hopkins University

On March 12, 2013, Johns Hopkins University’s Student Government Association Senate voted to deny recognition to pro-life student group Voice for Life (VFL) on the basis that the club’s activities might make people feel “uncomfortable.” Minutes of the senate’s meeting showed that personal distaste for VFL’s mission factored into VFL’s rejection, and Student government members also wrongly claimed that VFL’s activities violated Johns Hopkins’ harassment policies. The Johns Hopkins Office of Institutional Equity rebutted this allegation, funding VFL’s activities “fully in accord with the university’s robust commitment to the values of free expression and open debate.” On April 8, FIRE wrote the SGA Judiciary Committee, urging it to grant VFL’s appeal and reverse the senate’s vote. The committee unanimously overturned the senate’s rejection and granted VFL official recognition the next day.

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    by  A. Barton Hinkle Reason.com Virginians who think of colleges and universities as bastions of free inquiry and no-holds-barred arenas for intellectual engagement might be shocked at how inaccurate that picture can be. Some of the state’s colleges and universities have put in place policies that make a mockery of such notions. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has issued a report on the state of free speech on U.S. campuses. It makes for dispiriting reading. Fewer than half the institutions in America provide a robust defense of free expression. Virginia’s record is likewise mixed: Six of its public institutions – Christopher Newport, […]

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  • Advocacy Groups Face Discrimination at Johns Hopkins University

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