Rights in the News: A Good Week for FIRE at Virginia Tech

By April 17, 2009

I blogged on Wednesday on the press generated by FIRE’s successful effort to get Virginia Tech President Charles Steger to shelve a requirement that would have more deeply ensconced a "diversity" requirement for tenure and promotion for the university’s arts and sciences faculty. FIRE’s efforts and success at Virginia Tech were reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) and the Richmond Times-Dispatch as well as several blogs.

You also may have noticed that there was a bit of a ruckus kicked up by University of Pennsylvania professor John L. Jackson, Jr., in a post on Brainstorm, a blog maintained by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Professor Jackson’s post prompted this rebuttal from Adam and Will, as well as dozens of comments from readers defending FIRE’s work.

I’m also thrilled to report that, as of this writing, FIRE’s short film Think What We Think…Or Else: Thought Control on the American Campus has crossed 19,000 views on YouTube in just two weeks, nearly doubling in views this week alone. Thanks so much to the bloggers and tweetersor, as sportscaster Tony Kornheiser calls them, "tweeple"who have helped the film spread so quickly. (WorldNetDaily‘s article on the video has also been helpful.)

And for the second time in a week, a FIRE staffer has helped frame the debate over the collision of First Amendment rights and NCAA recruiting regulations. Last week it was Adam featured in a widely read Associated Press article about a North Carolina State University student who was given a cease-and-desist letter by the school’s NCAA compliance officer over his Facebook site, which encouraged the recruitment of a top high school basketball player. This week Robert commented on a similar situation involving his alma mater, Duke University, for the Duke Chronicle.

Further, as many of you know, FIRE has been waging war against the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for its repeated displays of disrespect for free speech. We encourage FIRE friends to take action and send the UMass administration an e-mail through our activism page.

Schools: Duke University Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University North Carolina State University – Raleigh University of Massachusetts – Amherst