For Third Straight Year, FIRE Exposes Worst Abusers of Student and Faculty Rights in ‘U.S. News’ Red Alert Ad

By on August 31, 2010

Once again, FIRE is calling out the worst abusers of student and faculty rights in a very public way.

As today’s press release announces, FIRE has placed a full-page advertisement in the 2011 edition of U.S. News & World Report‘s Best Colleges issue, publicly chastising the institutions on our Red Alert list—Bucknell University, Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University—for egregiously violating the rights of their students and faculty. This is the third consecutive year FIRE has publicly criticized Red Alert schools in U.S. News & World Report‘s college rankings issue, which hits newsstands today. We’re also increasing the ad’s impact by running large advertisements in the first issue of student newspapers at each of these institutions, warning new students about the repressive culture on campus.

All of the schools on FIRE’s Red Alert list have refused to remedy their own egregious offenses against fundamental rights. Over the next few days here on The Torch, we’ll be examining just what each of these schools did to wind up on our Red Alert list–and what they can do to remove themselves. But here’s a short round-up from today’s press release: 

Bucknell University, the newest addition to the list, repeatedly used flimsy or patently false excuses to censor a conservative group’s satire of President Obama’s stimulus plan and the group’s “affirmative action bake sale” protest. Brandeis University found a professor of nearly 50 years guilty of racial harassment for using the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics class—in the context of criticizing the term. Colorado College found two students guilty of “violence” simply for posting a flyer that satirized another flyer circulated by a student group.

Johns Hopkins University suspended a student for what it deemed an “offensive” Halloween party invitation posted on Facebook.com, and then passed a repressive “civility” code over the protests of student leaders. Michigan State University found a student government leader guilty of “spamming” after she e-mailed 8 percent of the faculty to encourage them to express their views on a proposed shortening of the school calendar. And Tufts University found an entire student newspaper guilty of “harassment” for publishing two pieces satirizing affirmative action and Islamic Awareness Week. The latter of these two pieces included only factually verifiable information about Islam, as well as quotes from the Koran.

Stay tuned for more on each of these shocking cases. In the meantime, I urge you to check out the story of the student featured in our ad, Andre Massena. Torch readers may remember Andre was nearly expelled from SUNY Binghamton (now known as Binghamton University) for publicly criticizing a faculty member. Andre believed the faculty member, who also held a government job as Executive Director of the Binghamton Housing Authority, was responsible for social injustice for evicting people from public housing. With FIRE’s help, Andre was able to graduate. Here’s a short video of Andre telling his story:

Stay tuned for more on FIRE’s Red Alert list!