Rights in the News: As CFN Conference Goes on, FIRE Keeps Pressure on Bucknell and UCSB

By on June 20, 2009

It’s a momentous week here at FIRE, as our second annual Campus Freedom Network Conference enters the weekend. Students from universities around the country have attended lectures and panels featuring such esteemed figures as author and professor KC Johnson, law professor Derek Shaffer, former FIRE President David French, Board of Directors Member Daphne Patai, and co-founder and chairman Harvey Silverglate, in addition to several members of FIRE’s senior staff.

Outside the sphere of the conference (during which—to my detriment—a bowl of M&M’s and a freezer of ice cream are readily available), pressure continues to mount on Bucknell University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. FIRE’s exposure of Bucknell’s blatant suppression of political activities by the Bucknell University Conservatives Club has sparked dozens of letters, including many from concerned Bucknell Alums. This week Indoctrinate U filmmaker and 1994 Bucknell graduate Evan Coyne Maloney criticized his alma mater’s actions via his blog Brain Terminal. The grassroots alumni group Alliance for a Better Bucknell has called on Bucknell to reverse course as well. An admonition often repeated at this year’s CFN Conference is the influence that alumni can exert on a wayward school; the outpouring from the Bucknell alums is a case in point.

Today the Santa Barbara Independent reports on FIRE’s call for the UCSB administration to drop its investigation of Professor William I. Robinson—a figure probably as far apart politically from the BUCC as he is geographically. In other words, a pretty typical week at FIRE.

And as Robert noted earlier this week, Minding the Campus featured Harvey Silverglate’s retrospective on his campaign as a petition candidate for Harvard University’s Board of Overseers, during which even he was surprised at the lengths Harvard would go to in order to ensure its preferred slate of candidates prevailed. Of course, losing in 2009 means he can run again in 2010. Harvard should know better than to expect less from him.