Rights in the News: Victories at UCSB and Wright State as Pressure on Bucknell Intensifies

By June 26, 2009

FIRE’s victories for religious liberty and academic freedom at Wright State University and the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) were in the news this week, while Bucknell University’s continuing refusal to acknowledge its wrongful and discriminatory treatment of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club has only intensified the media spotlight it is trying to avoid.

As Torch followers read this week, The Wall Street Journal’s law blog and The Philadelphia Inquirer both ran in-depth stories on Bucknell’s suppression of the political activities of the BUCC. Susan Snyder’s article for the Inquirer, since its publication on Tuesday, has been one of the newspaper’s most-viewed and most-circulated articles this week. (Indeed, it was so widely read that the Associated Press took notice.) Bucknell alumni Evan Coyne Maloney and Allison Kasic have continued to turn the screws on their alma mater this week via the blogosphere. Maloney (filmmaker of Indoctrinate U) draws attention to Bucknell President Brian Mitchell’s sudden decision to retire following the 2010 academic year on his blog ‘brain terminal’. Kasic, a member of the grassroots alumni group Alliance for a Better Bucknell, has continued to call attention to Bucknell’s misdeeds with her post at Phi Beta Cons. Following Bucknell’s latest attempts at justification of its actions, expect the spotlight on them to grow harsher, and for even more concerned citizens and alumni to write President Mitchell and express their discontent.  

The picture is brighter at UCSB and Wright State, fortunately. Shortly after receiving the news that charges against Professor William Robinson were no longer being pursued, Greg took to his blog at The Huffington Post to express FIRE’s satisfaction at the outcome. Inside Higher Ed and the Santa Barbara Independent both call attention to FIRE’s efforts as part of a broad coalition of organizations urging Chancellor Henry Yang to bring a speedy and just end to Robinson’s investigation. Meanwhile, FIRE’s efforts to ensure the recognition of the Campus Bible Fellowship at Wright State finally bore fruit this week, as reported by OneNewsNow and the Dayton Daily News. (For another good take on religious freedom in the academy, be sure also to check out FIRE Board of Advisors member Wendy Kaminer’s blog entry for The Atlantic, which mentions FIRE’s amicus brief in Truth v. Kane.)

Hopefully we’ll have better news to report on Bucknell soon. But so long as it keeps feeding this beast of its own creation, Bucknell remains squarely in FIRE’s sights.

Schools: Bucknell University Wright State University University of California, Santa Barbara