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‘Nature News’ Evaluates the Costs and Benefits of Campus Threat Assessment Teams

By January 8, 2014

Recently, Brendan Maher, an editor for Nature News, interviewed me to get a civil libertarian’s perspective on the growing use of threat assessment teams on college campuses nationwide—a topic I have written about previously. Today, his comprehensive piece, which provides a fair analysis of both the costs and benefits of this new practice, has been published online. Here is what I had to say in the piece:

There are costs to all this watchfulness, however, says Joe Cohn, legislative and policy director for [FIRE]. “It’s not unusual for universities to engage in behaviours that chill freedom of speech in the name of safety,” he says. He cites recent examples in which a student was expelled for protesting over the construction of a parking garage and a professor was reported to a threat-assessment team for hanging posters with aggressive messages outside his office. He urges teams to include civil libertarians to better ensure that universities do not encroach on people’s rights.

Please read the full article in Nature News. For more of my thoughts on how universities are encroaching on students’ privacy interests, you can also check out my recent blog about Yale University’s policypermitting the school to screen students’ emails.

Image: “Yale University Sterling Law Building” - Shutterstock