John Leo on Censorship Tactics in ‘The New York Sun’

By May 3, 2007

Yesterday’s issue of The New York Sun includes a very telling opinion piece by John Leo that looks at the ploys used by university administrators in their efforts to stifle student speech.

“It’s not news that the modern university is censorship-prone, particularly when conservatives wish to speak, but the tactics of the censors keep changing,” Leo writes, and Torch readers undoubtedly realize the truthfulness of such an observation. Leo goes on to recount different approaches we at FIRE are all too familiar with, as many of these examples are straight from recent FIRE cases.

Leo’s list of censorship devices includes slapping student groups and their sponsors with fees for increased security (a tactic we fought against—and won—at the University of California–Los Angeles in March); using anti-discrimination policies to ban student groups with belief-based membership criteria (just as in our recent victory at Central Michigan University); and cracking down on satire (a tactic we have seen time and time again, most recently at the University of Rhode Island and Tufts University).

This column is well worth a read for FIRE supporters, new members of our Campus Freedom Network, and anyone concerned about the state of liberty on campus. Arming oneself with knowledge of the most common attempts at censorship could certainly prove useful for battling those techniques on campuses near you.

Schools: Central Michigan University University of Rhode Island Tufts University University of California, Los Angeles Cases: Tufts University: Conservative Student Journal Found Guilty of Harassment