How Can Brandeis University Get Off FIRE’s Red Alert List?

By on August 26, 2009

Over the last few days, FIRE has been driving home reminders about the dire state of free speech at Brandeis University, whose misdeeds we featured in not one but two major print advertisements. In addition to being highlighted as one of the six schools on FIRE’s Red Alert list in our full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report for a second straight year, FIRE also took out a prominent ad in the Brandeis student newspaper The Justice, as Greg announced earlier today on The Huffington Post.  

Prospective matriculants should think twice about applying to Brandeis upon seeing the U.S. News ad, and current Brandeis students and facultywhose heated opposition to the administration’s grave wrongs has been admirablewill be reminded that the fight for free expression is not yet over.

The problem began in fall 2007, when Brandeis professor Donald Hindley critiqued the term "wetbacks" in his Latin American Politics course. Without following Brandeis’ stated policies and procedures, and without ever laying out the evidence against him, Brandeis administrators declared him guilty of racially discriminatory harassment and then placed a monitor in his classes for the remainder of the term. In spite of widespread condemnation from faculty, the media, students, and the public, the Brandeis administration has remained unrepentant about its mistreatment of Professor Hindley. The faculty fought back, withdrawing faculty support for the university’s harassment and non-discrimination policy, suspending the hearing of new faculty grievances because they could no longer trust in the good faith of the administration, and commenting on the atmosphere of intimidation that has persisted on campus under Provost Marty Krauss and President Jehuda Reinharz. The Brandeis administration, as Robert has pointed out, has essentially been at "war" against its faculty.

So how can Brandeis finally get off the Red Alert listwhere it has dwelled since February 2008and spare itself further embarrassment? As FIRE has said over and over again, the solution is simple.

All Brandeis has to do to get off the list is to finally deliver justice to Professor Hindley. Come on, President Reinharz, how hard is it to acknowledge that the Faculty Senate has a point? How hard is it to acknowledge that the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, which had full access to the details of the case, found that serious mistakes of both process and policy interpretation were made in the prosecution of Hindley? It is probably too late to go back to the beginning and give Hindley all the due processnot to mention the respect for his libertiesthat he legally and morally deserved. Take back the wrongheaded letter that declared Hindley guilty of making "inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory" statements in class. End this absurd abuse of academic freedom and reverse the finding of guilt once and for all.

Schools: Brandeis University

How Can Brandeis University Get Off FIRE’s Red Alert List?

By on August 26, 2008

The current edition of U.S. News and World Report‘s "America’s Best Colleges" issue, released on Monday, includes a full-page advertisement by FIRE highlighting the five colleges and universities that have earned FIRE’s Red Alert distinction for being the "worst of the worst" when it comes to liberty on campus: Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, and Valdosta State University.

Students should think twice before choosing to attend one of the Red Alert schools. Faculty also should think twice about joining these academic communities, which got on the list because they not only have committed egregious violations of individual rights, but even after sustained public scrutiny have refused to back down from their actions.

How can Brandeis get off the Red Alert listwhere it has been since February 2008and save itself from further shame?

In his fall 2007 course on Latin American Politics, Brandeis professor Donald Hindley critiqued the term "wetbacks" in his Latin American Politics course. Without following Brandeis’ stated policies and procedures, and without ever laying out the evidence against him, Brandeis administrators declared him guilty of racially discriminatory harassment and then placed a monitor in his classes for the remainder of the term. In spite of widespread condemnation from faculty, the media, students, and the public, Brandeis remains unrepentant about its mistreatment of Professor Hindley. The faculty fought back, withdrawing faculty support for the university’s harassment and non-discrimination policy, and suspending the hearing of new faculty grievances, because the faculty could no longer trust in the good faith of the administration. Some faculty members have pointed out the atmosphere of "intimidation" that has persisted on campus under the administration of Provost Marty Krauss and President Jehuda Reinharz. The Brandeis administration, as FIRE’s Robert Shibley has pointed out, is essentially at "war" against its faculty.

But for the purposes of FIRE’s Red Alert list, all Brandeis has to do to get off the list is to finally bring justice in Hindley’s case. Come on, President Reinharz, how hard is it to acknowledge that the Faculty Senate has a point? How hard is it to acknowledge that the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, which had full access to the details of the case, found that serious mistakes of both process and policy interpretation were made in the prosecution of Hindley? It is probably too late to go back to the beginning and give Hindley all the due processnot to mention the respect for his libertiesthat he legally and morally deserved. Take back the wrongheaded letter that declared Hindley guilty of making "inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory" statements in class. Reverse this absurd abuse of academic freedom and reverse the finding of guilt once and for all.

Schools: Brandeis University