‘Roanoke Times’ Covers Press Censorship at Virginia Tech; Gets FIRE Totally Wrong

By February 12, 2010

The Roanoke Times (Va.) is covering Virginia Tech’s recent shameful foray into press censorship, which Adam discussed at length yesterday on The Torch. Writer Tonia Moxley’s coverage is actually pretty good and worth a read, but unfortunately Ms. Moxley seems to have a very erroneous idea about the nature of FIRE.

Regarding FIRE, she writes:

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is a conservative advocacy group opposed to affirmative action and diversity initiatives on colleges [sic] campuses. In April, the group objected to discussion of diversity policies that might have affected employment decisions at Tech.

Moxley got our name right in this passage, but unfortunately not much else. FIRE is not conservative or liberal; rather, we are proudly non-partisan. We take First Amendment and free speech and press cases from the left, the right, and anything in between. A quick visit to our website’s list of all FIRE cases should amply demonstrate this to any reasonable person’s satisfaction.

Second, FIRE is not opposed to affirmative action and diversity initiatives on college campuses. FIRE, in fact, has no opinion on non-coercive diversity initiatives, nor do we have an opinion on legal affirmative action programs. Unfortunately, Virginia Tech seems determined to institute a coercive diversity initiative, and we do have a massive problem with that.

Third, we did not object to discussion of diversity policies at Virginia Tech. In fact, we support discussion of policies and issues of all kinds on campus. Again, though, we do object to Virginia Tech’s promulgation of coercive "diversity" policies that intrude on freedom of conscience and academic freedom.

I have penned a letter to the editor of The Roanoke Times asking for corrections to this paragraph and hope they will correct these errors.

Schools: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Cases: Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech Threatens Student Newspaper’s Future over Protected Anonymous Comments on Its Own Website