Former FIRE Intern on Brandeis President’s Unfortunate Legacy

By November 26, 2013

In The Justice, a student newspaper at Brandeis University, former FIRE intern and Brandeis alum Daniel Ortner has penned an excellent editorial on the tattered free speech legacy of former Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz.

As Daniel points out, Reinharz’s time as head of the institution should be remembered first and foremost for the university’s shameful treatment of professor Donald Hindley. Daniel writes, in relevant part:

Unfortunately, Reinharz ignores one of his more dubious accomplishments as president of the University—landing Brandeis University on the list of “Worst of the Worst” protectors of liberty on campus by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. In 2011 and 2012, students reading U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges and Universities issue and considering where to apply were faced with full page ads declaring that Brandeis had “displayed a severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of their students and professor,” and that students looking to apply to Brandeis should “[T]hink twice before applying.”

Brandeis undoubtedly merited its placement on the list due to its shameful treatment of Prof. Donald Hindley (POL), deplorable treatment of its Faculty Senate and continued lack of remorse. Hindley was accused of racially harassing a student after he discussed and critiqued the origin of the term “wetback” as part of a “Latin American Politics” class. Rather than dismiss the complaints as unfounded, the University shamefully investigated and ultimately placed a monitor in Hindley’s class and ordered him to attend sensitivity training. Hindley was not given a written account of the charges or allowed to defend himself in violation of University policy. As a result of the uproar including a class walk out, protests in front of the administrative building, a scathing publicity claim and strong support by students and faculty, sanctions were not imposed on Hindley. However, the accusation and charge of racial harassment still remain on Hindley’s record.

You can read much more about this important case in The Justice today, so check it out. Our thanks to Daniel for his stirring editorial.