Op-Ed in ‘Boston Herald’ Echoes FIRE’s Back-to-School Warnings About Student Rights

By August 29, 2011

As the new school year gets underway at university campuses across the nation, FIRE has been issuing many a warning to incoming college students and their parents—in a variety of places, including the New York Post and The Daily Caller—about the threats to student rights that await them at too many campuses.

Today’s Boston Herald echoes these thoughts with an op-ed from Jennifer C. Braceras, an attorney and political commentator. Braceras opens her piece with this bit of advice to students around the country:

This week, college students are moving into dorms, purchasing textbooks and signing up for classes.

While they’re at it, they also should consider lawyering up.

Why? Because, unbeknownst to many students and their parents, college campuses today are increasingly run by petty bureaucrats who police all matters of student behavior—from alcohol infractions and relations between the sexes to controversial political speech and even personal conversations.

Braceras goes on to cite the unconstitutional speech codes present at a number of local colleges and universities, noting that FIRE "has identified at least two dozen Massachusetts colleges and universities with policies that muzzle free expression." Read on in the Herald to learn more about the speech restrictions at these institutions, and about Braceras’ take on the due process failures at too many institutions.

Of the federal mandate to impose the low "preponderance of the evidence" evidentiary standard for allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment, she writes:

Shockingly, under the "preponderance" standard, colleges have "convicted" students of assault even where local police have decided not to file charges because the allegations lacked credibility!

And so, on the basis of flimsy evidence, students can be suspended, expelled, and forever labeled "rapist."

I encourage our readers to check out this well-written op-ed in its entirety. Our thanks to Jennifer Braceras and to the Boston Herald for bringing further attention to these serious matters.