Rights in the News: After Championship Win, Court of Public Opinion Less Kind to Duke

By on April 9, 2010

Duke may have gotten a little lucky on the basketball court against Butler Monday night. The court of public opinion, meanwhile? Not so much.

On the heels of FIRE’s swift victory in Durham last week, when the Duke Women’s Center apologized for having prevented a pro-life student group from using its space (to which The Morning Call gave a nod this week), Duke is in the spotlight again, this time for its unjust sexual misconduct policy. KC Johnson, Helen Smith, Joanne Jacobs, Pope Hat, and Protein Wisdom are among the many blogs hitting Duke on the policy; The Washington Examiner has gotten in on the act as well. Meanwhile, several dozen supporters have used our site to write Duke President Richard Brodhead and ask for fairness and common sense, and you can add your voice to the chorus here.

Coincidentally this week, FIRE has seen a high incidence of student papers taking aim at their colleges’ speech codes. Azhar had his excellent letter in The Daily Eqyptian chastising Southern Illinois University’s hugely unpopular sexual harassment policy, and we’ve also seen speech codes covered in The Shield at the University of Southern Indiana; The Cavalier Daily at the University of Virginia; and The Wesleyan Argus at Wesleyan University. Erica Perez, meanwhile, noted the demise of San Francisco State University’s free speech zone at California Watch.

Final note: a number of our supporters writing to President Brodhead made a point of saying that they would withhold their alumni donations, as they darn well should. On that note, check out FIRE’s "Give Half For Liberty" campaign, and find out how to make sure that your alma mater is respecting student rights.