When George Mason University cancelled a speech by filmmaker Michael Moore, the Phi Beta Kappa Society denied George Mason University’s application for a campus chapter of the honor society, citing academic freedom concerns. Given the Society’s professed commitment to freedom of speech, FIRE wrote to Phi Beta Kappa Secretary John Churchill to point out the speech codes that abound at Phi Beta Kappa member institutions. FIRE’s letter specifically called attention to outrageous codes at Cornell University, Oberlin College, The Ohio State University, Penn State University, Rhodes College, theUniversity of Illinois at Chicago, and West Virginia University. Given Phi Beta Kappa’s stance on GMU, it seems reasonable to assume that the society would uphold the same tenets of academic freedom that it expects from others.
December 1, 2005
The Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education criticized the honor society Phi Beta Kappa Tuesday, citing the society’s inconsistent policies regarding freedom of expression. In a nine-page letter, FIRE program director Samantha Harris referenced several possible constitutional free-speech violations by seven universities in which Phi Beta Kappa chapters are present. “Nearly all of Phi Beta Kappa’s member institutions maintain speech codes of some kind, many of them unconstitutional or an unlawful violation of contractual promises made to students and faculty,” Harris said in the letter. “Policies such as [these] pose a real and imminent threat to academic freedom at […]» Read More
November 30, 2005
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is calling on Phi Beta Kappa, the honor society, to start demanding that its member colleges drop speech codes that limit what students and faculty members can say. While Phi Beta Kappa has spoken out about academic freedom, it has not gotten involved in debates over speech codes.» Read More