Michigan State University: Program of Thought Reform

Category: Freedom of Conscience
Schools: Michigan State University

  • MSU responds to group’s criticism

    March 20, 2007

    Critics of an MSU’s disciplinary program said they’re confused by the university’s response in reviewing the program. In February, MSU officials said the seminar was an optional punishment for students found violating a university regulation. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, said the Student Accountability in Community Seminar stifles students’ constitutional rights and demanded the program’s termination, prompting the university review. The accountability seminar was presented by officials from Student Life and MSU Safe Place at a 2002 Association of Student Judicial Affairs’ International Conference, which FIRE’s president, Greg Lukianoff, attended. “Every day they run the SAC […]

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  • MSU pursues Orwellian thought reform

    February 7, 2007

    The new year of 2007 has arrived—but at Michigan State University, it feels more like 1984. MSU students, be warned: Your school is engaged in a program of thought reform reminiscent of George Orwell’s classic dystopia. The program is called Student Accountability in Community (SAC), and its lack of respect for the constitutional rights of MSU students is shocking. The program defines itself as an “early intervention” into the lives of MSU students who are observed using “power-and-control tactics” in their interactions with other students. Thought control program  One example given at a seminar about the program explained that a […]

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  • Orwellian dystopia at Michigan State

    December 18, 2006

    “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” Justice Robert H. Jackson, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) The adage that universities are integral to our national health has been said so many times in so many venues it hardly needs repeating. Our young people file through the doors of the university and emerge citizens of our nation and productive […]

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  • Victory for Freedom of Conscience

    May 3, 2007

    EAST LANSING, Mich., May 3, 2007—After months of public pressure, Michigan State University (MSU) has ended its controversial Student Accountability in Community (SAC) program. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) urged MSU to end the SAC program because it forced students whose speech or behavior was deemed unacceptable to undergo ideological reeducation, or else face effective expulsion. “Until now, engaging in free speech at MSU could have resulted in mandatory pseudo-psychological counseling or the end of a student’s academic career,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “We’re overjoyed to learn that students no longer have to fear potentially ruinous […]

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  • Rights group tells MSU to improve

    April 5, 2007

    Officials at a national First Amendment organization say they could list MSU as a place where constitutional speech isn’t protected—unless the university responds satisfactorily to their demands. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, wants MSU to dismantle a disciplinary seminar it says stifles students’ constitutional rights. The possible placement on the list “sounds to me like a threat,” said Lee June, MSU’s vice president for Student Affairs and Services. After the group’s initial criticism of the Student Accountability in Community Seminar in February, June conducted a formal review. “We examine programs for their educational value and the […]

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  • MSU blocks free speech, group says

    December 15, 2006

    An independent watchdog group is demanding that Michigan State University end a program that counsels students for inappropriate remarks or actions, claiming the program violates the students’ first amendment rights. MSU Vice President Lee June declined to comment on the accusation Thursday, saying the university is looking into the allegations. The program, called the Students for Accountability in Community seminar, is for “students who have intimidated, harassed or abused another community member on the basis of individual characteristics like race/ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation,” according to the MSU Web site. Students pay $50 for the four-part seminar, plus $10 for […]

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  • Michigan State University Engaged in Thought Reform

    December 14, 2006

    EAST LANSING, Mich., December 14, 2006—It may be almost 2007, but it feels more like “1984” at Michigan State University. The university’s Student Accountability in Community Seminar (SAC) forces students whose speech or behavior is deemed unacceptable to undergo ideological reeducation at their own expense. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is challenging Michigan State to dismantle this unconstitutional program, which presents a profound threat to both freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. “Michigan State’s SAC program is simply one of the most invasive attempts at reeducation that FIRE has ever seen, yet it has been allowed […]

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