Rights in the News: ‘F-bomb’ Ignites Media Storm in Mississippi

By on May 21, 2010

We started the week by announcing FIRE’s new video in anticipation of the publication of the new book New Threats to Freedom. Both the video and Greg’s chapter in the book tell the story of Washington State University student Chris Lee, whose satirical musical was brutally shut down by WSU students with the financial and moral assistance of their own administration. Greg promoted the video and book at The Huffington Post, as did Nick Gillespie at Reason online. (We’ll see him Monday at the Reason-hosted release party for New Threats to Freedom.) 

As New Threats to Freedom was hitting the shelves, the drop of a single "F-bomb" at Hinds Community College in Mississippi caught fire in the media, thanks to The Washington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and a slew of other local and national press outlets, after the news broke of student Isaac Rosenbloom’s punishment for that single utterance outside of class time. I wrote about the media reaction here on Wednesday; Washington Monthly has since covered FIRE’s efforts at HCC as well, and the commentary at Rate Your Students is a kick to read. Rosenbloom will be a guest on Fox & Friends tomorrow morning, and hopefully you caught Adam’s appearance on MSNBC Live yesterday afternoon, reminding Americans that the right to free speech does not stop at the schoolhouse gate. We’ll keep Torch readers updated on HCC.

Finally, we are planning a blog series on the significant decision out of the Ninth Circuit yesterday in Rodriguez v. Maricopa County Community College District, which vindicated the rights and academic freedom of a faculty member who sent e-mails that some colleagues found offensive, as well as the rights and academic freedom of those who refused to punish him for exercising his liberties. Stay tuned for more on this case next week.