University of Chicago: Facebook Photo Album Censored for “Disrespect”

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Chicago

The University of Chicago promotes freedom of expression in its Student Manual, writing, “At the University of Chicago, freedom of expression is vital to our shared goal of the pursuit of knowledge.” However, when student Andrew Thompson posted photographs of his ex-girlfriend on within an album entitled “[Name of ex-girlfriend] cheated on me, and you’re next!” Thompson was asked to delete the post. The Dean of Students in the College, Susan Art, informed Thompson that his ex-girlfriend had come to her and complained, and that the album needed to be removed. After deleting the album, Thompson asked if the school was allowed to prohibit internet speech, and was told by Art that the Student Manual gives her the ability to censor “disrespectful” speech. FIRE contacted the University, and was eventually told that since FIRE was not threatening litigation, the University of Chicago did not want to engage in any further discussion regarding the issue.

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    The University’s free speech policies were criticized last Tuesday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), who claim that the U of C has not carried through with its promised commitment to open student discourse. The academia-focused civil liberties group also found fault with the University’s policies on bias reporting and organized protest. “The University of Chicago has chilled speech across the campus,” Adam Kissel (M.A.’02), director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, wrote in a press release. FIRE’s attention was drawn to the U of C after reading a Maroon article last quarter about the administration’s request that […]

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    May 6, 2009

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  • University of Chicago Censors Student’s Facebook Photo Album

    May 5, 2009

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