FIRE Letter to The Johns Hopkins University President William Brody, September 5, 2006

By September 5, 2006

September 5, 2006

President William Brody
The Johns Hopkins University
Office of the President
242 Garland Hall
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218

Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (410-516-6097)

Dear President Brody:

FIRE is distressed to write to The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) for a third time regarding the state of liberty on your campus. FIRE first wrote to JHU on May 19, 2006, to object to the violation of freedom of the press regarding The Carrollton Record (TCR). After receiving an ambiguous response from JHU Deputy General Counsel Frederick Savage, FIRE next wrote to JHU’s Board of Trustees on August 9 to inform them about the university’s refusal to protect freedom of expression for TCR. Again, JHU’s response was entirely inadequate, as Executive Director for Communications and Public Affairs Dennis O’Shea failed to address any of FIRE’s concerns regarding press freedom at JHU.

FIRE now writes to ask you to answer three simple questions:

  1. Does JHU plan to continue the investigation into the complaint of harassment filed against TCR staff members after the May issue of TCR was distributed?
  2. Does JHU plan to condemn the theft of approximately 600 copies of TCR from the Milton S. Eisenhower Library that took place between May 13 and 14, 2006?
  3. Does JHU intend to clarify its arbitrary and viewpoint discriminatory distribution restrictions that subject TCR, but not other campus papers, to a vague “postering policy” in order to keep issues of TCR out of the dorms?

 
If JHU hopes to facilitate an environment conducive to “the free and open exchange of ideas,” as O’Shea stated, then it will address the issues that FIRE has presented. As the fall semester commences, FIRE calls upon JHU to protect the freedom of expression and equal treatment of the members of TCR and all JHU students. Again, until JHU assures FIRE and the entire campus community that free speech is welcomed at JHU, FIRE will continue to use all of its resources to support the staff of TCR and the freedom of the student press. We request a response by Wednesday, September 13, 2006.

Sincerely,

Greg Lukianoff
President

cc:
Raymond Mason, Chair of the Board of Trustees, The Johns Hopkins University
C. Michael Armstrong, Board of Trustees, The Johns Hopkins University
George L. Bunting, Jr., Board of Trustees, The Johns Hopkins University
Susan Boswell, Dean of Students, The Johns Hopkins University
Ralph Johnson, Assistant Dean of Students, The Johns Hopkins University
Linda Robertson, Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs, The Johns Hopkins University
Stephen Dunham, Vice President and General Counsel, The Johns Hopkins University
Shelly Fickau, Residential Life Director, The Johns Hopkins University
Dennis O’Shea, Director for Communications and Public Affairs, The Johns Hopkins University
John Miller, Politics Editor, National Review
Jered Ede, Editor, The Carrollton Record

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Schools: Johns Hopkins University Cases: Johns Hopkins University: Viewpoint Discrimination Against Student Newspaper