Brandeis University

Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
Website: http://www.brandeis.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Brandeis University has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

  • Brandeis University: Professor Found Guilty of Harassment for Protected Speech

    February 5, 2008

    Brandeis University declared a professor guilty of racial harassment and placed a monitor in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. Professor Donald Hindley, a nearly 50-year veteran of teaching, was neither granted a formal hearing by Brandeis nor provided with the substance of the accusations against him in writing before a verdict was reached. Determined not to be branded as a racial harasser simply for using a word in the process of explaining it, Hindley appealed the decision. Provost Marty Krauss pointedly ignored various responsibilities to consult with the […]

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  • Brandeis University: Refusal to Provide Due Process to Person Accused of Sex Offense

    May 4, 2000

    David Schaer, a student accused by a fellow student of sexual misconduct, was tried in an absurd kangaroo court, denied basic standards of due process, unable to question or face his accuser, and ultimately found guilty. Schaer sued the university for violation of promised due process rights. In an important decision, Schaer v. Brandeis, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts reaffirmed the longstanding precedent that rights guaranteed to students in college handbooks have the force of contract. In addition to ruling that colleges and universities can be sued for breach of contract based on promises contained in student handbooks, the […]

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Red Light Policies

  • Student Development and Conduct: Sexual Misconduct Information 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    What is Sexual Harassment?

    For example:

    * subtle pressure for sexual activity
    * unnecessary touches or contact
    * offensive sexual graffiti or cartoons
    * inappropriate sexual innuendoes
    * verbal sexual abuse disguised as humor
    * whistling, cat-calls, obscene gestures

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook: Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination and Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    There are other forms of
    harassment/discrimination as well that create a hostile
    educational or work environment on the basis of race,
    color, ancestry, religious creed, national or ethnic origin,
    sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, genetic
    information, disability, Vietnam Era veteran, qualified
    disabled veteran or other eligible veteran status or status in
    any group protected by federal or state law (together,
    "protected class status").
    Depending on the circumstances, the following are
    examples of behaviors that may constitute
    harassment/discrimination under this policy. This is not an
    exhaustive list: Jokes, comments or innuendoes that make fun of,
    denigrate or are based on an individual's or group's
    protected class status; Epithets or slurs based on an individual's or group's
    protected class status; Objects, posters, cartoons or pictures which make fun of,
    denigrate or are based on an individual's or group's
    protected class status whether directed to an individual,
    placed on University premises or displayed or circulated
    on campus; Displaying, sending, forwarding, downloading or
    otherwise distributing materials via the Internet,
    computer, or email that make fun of, denigrate or are
    based on protected class status; Other verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or
    shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or
    group based on protected class status.

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  • Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook: Use of Campus Facilities 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, Statement

    The University requires 10 days' advance notice for the reservation of space unless waived by the Department of Conference and Event Services. The University reserves the right to withhold its approval of any requested use of a facility, to establish financial charges for any use, and to require a security deposit or impose other such requirements including, but not limited to, security personnel and equipment.

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  • Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook: Library and Technology Services- Civility 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, Statement

    Material that is explicitly sexual or offensive may not be displayed, consistent with the Brandeis University Policy Statement on Non-discrimination and Harassment.

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  • Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook: Respect for the Health, Safety, and Rights of Community Members 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    The University will not tolerate any and all behavior that a. intimidates
    b. threatens
    c. harasses or bullies (see also Section 7 on Harassment)
    d. physically harms (examples: hitting, pushing, or
    physical altercations/violence of and kind)
    e. invades personal privacy, or
    f. endangers the health, safety or welfare of any
    other person or oneself on or off campus.

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  • Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook: Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination and Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Depending on the circumstances, conduct which may constitute sexual harassment includes but is not limited to: ... Unwelcome sexual conduct toward an individual, including offensive comments, touching or sexual propositions; Leering, making sexual gestures, touching, patting, pinching, rubbing, impeding or blocking movements, displaying of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons or posters, suggestive or obscene letters or emails, notes, invitations or gifts; Making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or jokes with a sexual content; Persistent unsolicited and unwelcome invitations for dates, encounters, or pressure to engage in sexual activity of an implied or explicit nature;
    Persistent inappropriate and unwelcome questions asked about personal life;
    Comments to, or about, any individual or their appearance that is sexually graphic or would otherwise tend to be degrading;
    Displaying, sending, forwarding, downloading or otherwise distributing sexual materials via the Internet, computer or e-mail.

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  • Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook: Campus Demonstrations and Protests 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, Statement

    All members of the community are expected to conduct dialogues with dignity and courtesy.

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Green Light Policies
  • Three Points You Must Not Overlook in Discussing the Brandeis/Hirsi Ali Controversy

    April 14, 2014

    By Greg Lukianoff at The Huffington Post Ever since Brandeis University decided last week to revoke an honorary degree it was poised to grant to controversial women’s rights activist and atheist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Internet has blown up with discussion, with some people condemning the decision, others defending it, and still others playing the culture war role of saying,“Double standard! I bet you wouldn’t feel this way if Hirsi Ali was criticizing a religion other than Islam.” So, in other words, it’s a typical culture war fight on the Internet. There are a few points, however, that I believe any serious and […]

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  • Brandeis Caves In To The “No Platform For Our Opponents!” Crowd

    April 14, 2014

    by George Leef at Forbes Online There is a growing trend on American college campuses, a trend that augurs badly for free speech and robust debate. I refer to the way various groups of people use expressions of hurt feelings to trump speakers they disagree with. The most recent manifestation of this was at Brandeis University. Brandeis had invited the Somalia-born Ayann Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary doctorate and speak at the university’s commencement exercises. Her remarkable story is certainly worth honoring. She fled her native Africa to avoid one of those “arranged marriages,” finding asylum in The Netherlands. While […]

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  • “Disinvitation Season” Is in Full Bloom

    April 14, 2014

    By Jesse Saffron at National Review Online In his inaugural Phi Beta Cons post, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Robert Shibley wrote about some of the threats to free speech on American campuses. In recent months and years, a dangerous kind of political correctness has permeated colleges and universities. This brand of PC has stifled open and honest debate by silencing speakers and public figures whose views happen to clash with some (usually left-wing) campus constituency. Rather than listen to “the other side” present his or her point of view, such campus groups want their avowed enemies banned and blacklisted. Unfortunately, that barbaric mob […]

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  • Reflections of an Ashamed Brandeis Alum

    April 11, 2014

    By Avi Snyder at National Review Online Here at NR, Charles Cooke and Tom Rogan have already written thoughtful pieces on Brandeis University’s shameful disinvitation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. And many others have editorialized eloquently about the issue. But I’m taking the opportunity to chime in, because this time, it’s personal. As a proud alumnus of Brandeis University (’13), I was very pleased when I read about the remarkable individuals Brandeis had chosen to honor at this year’s commencement, Ayaan Hirsi Ali among them. Hirsi Ali has overcome almost unimaginable obstacles to become the advocate for women’s’ rights and free speech she is today. I am aware of Hirsi […]

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  • Brandeis Bows to Islamic Censorship

    April 11, 2014

    By Brent Bozell at Townhall.com It’s graduation time. Many college students are preparing for their commencement ceremonies. On some campuses, some students are playing a game of what we might call “Dump the Speaker.” Conservative speakers chosen to deliver commencement addresses are being howled off campus by leftist student organizations and faculty as well. It’s either a left-wing speaker — or none. Rutgers University recently faced this by inviting Condoleezza Rice and refused to budge. But Brandeis University has just knuckled under to student and faculty protests over its announced speaker, author Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She was disinvited. You’d think […]

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  • University’s Decision to Rescind Degree to Critic of Islam Not Going Over Well

    April 10, 2014

    Robby Soave at The Daily Caller The decision made by Brandeis University to cancel the conferral of an honorary degree on Ayaan Hrsi Ali, a fierce critic of radical Islam, has drawn the ire of free speech enthusiasts who believe Brandeis succumbed to political correctness in service of religious fundamentalism. Hirsi Ali was raised as a Muslim in Somalia, and survived mutilation and an arranged marriage by escaping to the Netherlands. She was a member of Dutch parliament, and wrote the screenplay for “Submission,” a film that criticized Islam. The film’s director, Theo van Gogh, was assassinated by an Islamic […]

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  • Re: The Shame of Brandeis

    April 10, 2014

    By Michael Rubin at Commentary Magazine John Podhoretz rightly castigates Brandeis for rescinding an honorary degree for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an important critic of the manner in which many women are treated in the Islamic world. While I do not always agree with Ayaan, whom I have met two or three times, John is absolutely right to call the decision of the president of Brandeis an act of a “gutless, spineless, simpering coward.” That said, it’s important not to see such an act in isolation, for what happened at Brandeis is increasingly the rule rather than the exception. When I was in […]

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  • Experts Rail Against Brandeis U.’s Capitulation to Islamic Extremism

    April 10, 2014

    By Robby Soave at The Daily Caller The decision made by Brandeis University to cancel the conferral of an honorary degree on Ayaan Hrsi Ali, a fierce critic of radical Islam, has drawn the ire of free speech enthusiasts who believe Brandeis succumbed to political correctness in service of religious fundamentalism. Hirsi Ali was raised as a Muslim in Somalia, and survived mutilation and an arranged marriage by escaping to the Netherlands. She was a member of Dutch parliament, and wrote the screenplay for “Submission,” a film that criticized Islam. The film’s director, Theo van Gogh, was assassinated by an […]

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  • Is the Truth Politically Correct?

    March 6, 2013

    Greg Lukianoff, the author of Unlearning Liberty, was recently interviewed in The Wall Street Journal on the subject of politically correct speech in colleges and universities. Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is alarmed by the loss of free speech on university campuses.  Lukianoff says baby boomers who remember universities as institutions of free thinking would not recognize today’s schools. Where once there was freedom of speech, now there are strict speech codes determined by extreme political correctness. Just how bad is it? In 2007 Brandeis University made a finding of harassment against a professor for simply explaining the […]

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  • Colleges have free speech on the run

    November 30, 2012

     In 2007, Keith John Sampson, a middle-aged student working his way through Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as a janitor, was declared guilty of racial harassment. Without granting Sampson a hearing, the university administration — acting as prosecutor, judge and jury — convicted him of “openly reading [a] book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject.” “Openly.” “Related to.” Good grief. The book, “Notre Dame vs. the Klan,” celebrated the 1924 defeat of the Ku Klux Klan in a fight with Notre Dame students. But some of Sampson’s co-workers disliked the book’s cover, which featured a black-and-white photograph of a Klan […]

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  • Don’t speak: Report ranks 2012’s ‘Worst Colleges for Free Speech’ in the country

    April 2, 2012

    Last week, the Foundation For Individual Rights in Education released its second-annual “Worst Colleges for Free Speech” list. The Philadelphia-based nonprofit named 12 U.S. colleges and universities that, in its view, continue to impose limits on student speech — even after intense pressure from FIRE and others.  FIRE president Greg Lukianoff released the list on his Huffington Post blog.  Topping the dozen was the University of Cincinnati, due to a pending civil rights lawsuit filed against them by Young Americans for Liberty, a Ron Paul-inspired activist group. In February, the officially sanctioned student organization was limited to a small “free […]

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  • The top 12 worst colleges for free speech

    March 28, 2012

    Who doesn’t love a good awards show? The gowns, the acceptance speeches, the brutal infringements of civil liberties … the excitement just never ends. Once again, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work), has sorted through the hundreds of colleges and universities across the nation that severely restrict the First Amendment rights of their students, and is ready to present a “dirty dozen” of colleges that have attacked freedom of speech with such zeal that we cannot help but (dis)honor them. While it was difficult to choose from such a wide talent pool, certain schools took our breath […]

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  • Outing Campus Censors in ‘U.S. News & World Report’

    August 31, 2010

    by Greg Lukianoff The Huffington post   Today, for the third year in a row, my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, took out a full-page ad in the college rankings edition of U.S. News & World Report to highlight abuses of free speech on campus. This year, the ad focuses on the outrageous case of Andre Massena at SUNY Binghamton. We also prepared a short video about his case: While the complete details of Massena’s case would be enough for a full-length documentary or a feature article, a quick summary of the case goes like this: Andre […]

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  • The Hindley case: Not over yet

    November 7, 2008

    After the furor over the mistreatment of professor Donald Hindley (POL) last year, featuring student strikes outside of Bernstein Marcus, and the freezing of all Faculty Senate Buisness for the semester, the lack of resolution or follow up this semester has been striking. We could be lulled into thinking that because Hindley continues to teach without restraint and the faculty senate is back to business, that the matter is closed. However, in reality the matter is like a festering wound draining the vigor and light from the name of Brandeis, and, if renewed public attention is any indication, one that […]

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  • Editorial: Brandeis shames itself

    October 25, 2008

    Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., is named for the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, a passionate defender of freedom of speech. The university has dishonored its name, it appears, in its persecution of Prof. Donald Hindley, a politically liberal member of the faculty for 48 years. Mr. Hindley’s troubles began last year, not long after he told his Latin American politics class that Mexican migrants to the United States were (and are) discriminated against and disparaged as “wetbacks.” Certainly, such a statement would be factually correct. Indeed, in 1954, the U.S. government itself named one of its programs to […]

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  • HENTOFF: Fear and intimidation at Brandeis U.

    September 29, 2008

    Having reported on many cases of college and university administrations attacking students and professors for purported prejudicial speech that could be “offensive” on campus, I have just discovered an even more appalling case than in my book, “Free Speech for Me But Not for Thee – How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other.” At Brandeis University in Massachusetts, professor Donald Hindley, on the faculty for 48 years, teaches a course on Latin American politics. Last fall, he described how Mexican migrants to the United States used to be discriminatorily called “wetbacks.” An anonymous student complained to the […]

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  • Brandeis University dishonors its name

    September 24, 2008

    For years, I have reported on many cases of college and university administrators infected with “political correctness,” punishing students and faculty members for allegedly prejudicial and otherwise “offensive” remarks – as if there were a constitutional right not to be offended. I have now found the most outrageous case of all. At Brandeis University in Massachusetts, professor Donald Hindley – on the faculty for 48 years – teaches a course on Latin American politics. Last fall, he described how Mexican migrants to the United States used to be discriminatorily called “wetbacks.” An anonymous student complained to the administration, accusing Hindley […]

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  • Free speech ‘dead’ on campuses

    March 18, 2008

    by Anya Bergman The Justice   Harvey Silverglate, founder and chairman of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, gave a lecture titled “The Death of Free Speech, Parody, and Vigorous Debate on Campus: Why Has It Happened, and What Is to Be Done?” last Wednesday in the Shapiro Campus Center Multipurpose room. FIRE is a nonprofit organization that examines issues of free speech in higher education. Silverglate started his speech by saying that free speech, parody and vigorous debate have died in American higher education and are “worth fighting [for].” He explained that liberal arts campuses should be devoted […]

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  • FIRE founder discusses speech

    March 14, 2008

    Harvey Silverglate, founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, spoke to an audience of over 60 about the decline of the freedom of speech on campuses Wednesday. FIRE, a civil liberties non-profit group, was a vocal defender of Prof. Donald Hindley (POL), who was reprimanded by Provost Marty Krauss in November for alleged discriminatory remarks and ordered to attend anti-discrimination training. “Free speech—the right to parody and free speech and vigorous debate—have died in American higher education,” began Silverglate. “Universities, especially liberal arts universities, are among the least free places in our society…it used to be the opposite. […]

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  • Prof investigated for offensive class remark

    February 6, 2008

    Though college campuses are normally considered havens for candid and challenging conversation, a Brandeis University professor recently learned some classroom topics are not always open for discussion. After political science professor Donald Hindley allegedly used the term “wetback” in September, Brandeis students, alumni and faculty said the school mismanaged the ensuing investigation. The comment was allegedly made during class about discrimination. Hindley declined comment for this story, but his lawyer told The Boston Globe Hindley used the word in a discussion about racist terms people use. Brandeis sophomore Mike Mendel, a student in the Latin American politics class in which […]

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  • ACLU statement criticizes Provost

    February 1, 2008

    Both the Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Provost Marty Krauss issued statements last week about Prof. Donald Hindley. Last semester, Hindley was ordered to take “anti-discrimination” training by the Provost after allegedly making “inappropriate, racial and discriminatory” statements. “I am well aware that many of you are concerned about the investigatory process and outcome following a complaint by a student last semester against a member of our faculty,” Krauss wrote to the faculty on Tuesday. “As a member of the faculty and as an administrator,” she wrote, “I share with all of you the goal and […]

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  • Civil liberties group defends Hindley

    January 25, 2008

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit civil liberties group, issued a press release Wednesday in defense of Prof. Donald Hindley (POL). Hindley had a monitor placed in his classroom and was ordered by Provost Marty Krauss to take “anti-discrimination training” after allegedly making “inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” statements. “As Justice Brandeis said, ‘sunlight is best disinfectant,” said Adam Kissel, the Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program. “What that means to FIRE is when a university has done something plainly wrong, and that wrong thing has been publicized and the public gets to see it, the university […]

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  • Professor takes heat over wetbacks stance

    January 24, 2008

    Newsmax.com Brandeis University declared a professor guilty of racial harassment and placed a monitor in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American politics course. Professor Donald Hindley, a nearly 50-year veteran of teaching, was threatened with termination without being granted a formal hearing by Brandeis. “Brandeis’ actions demonstrate a fundamental disregard for academic freedom and for fair, rational fact-finding procedures,” said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which is seeking justice on Hindley’s behalf. “Professor Hindley is a respected scholar who until now has not faced […]

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  • Brandeis professor under fire for description of racial epithet

    January 24, 2008

    A longtime Brandeis University professor says he has been the victim of “vindictive persecution” by school administrators after he was found in violation of the university’s nondiscrimination policy for describing a racist word in one of his classes. Politics professor Donald Hindley, who has taught at the Waltham school for 47 years, had a monitor placed in his classroom and was asked to undergo sensitivity training after he told students in his Latin American politics class last semester that Mexican migrants are sometimes referred to pejoratively as “wetbacks,” according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which is aiding […]

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  • Harassment vs. academic freedom, round two

    January 24, 2008

    By Andy Guess at Inside Higher Ed It started as a student accusation of harassment against a long-tenured professor. Now, with the faculty’s backing, the dispute has turned into a showdown over autonomy, academic freedom and governance procedures. Donald Hindley first learned through twin October 30 letters that he was deemed in violation of Brandeis University’s nondiscrimination policy for allegedly uttering “inappropriate and racially derogatory statements.” The provost, Marty Krauss, informed the professor of politics that a “monitor” would observe his classroom and that he would be required to attend “anti-discrimination training.” The administration’s sanctions were deemed unusual by veteran […]

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  • Brandeis professor under fire for description of racial epithet

    January 24, 2008

    A longtime Brandeis University professor says he’s the victim of “vindictive persecution” by school administrators. It comes after he was found in violation of the university’s nondiscrimination policy for describing a racist word in one of his classes. Politics professor Donald Hindley has taught at the Waltham school for 47 years. He had a monitor placed in his class after he told students in his Latin American politics class that Mexican migrants are sometimes referred to pejoratively as “wetbacks.” That’s according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which is aiding his case. A student complained to the administration, […]

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  • Justice 101

    January 14, 2001

    Early in the morning on Valentine’s Day in 1996, Brandeis University student David Schaer says he got a call from an on again, off again girlfriend. They had both been at a party earlier in the evening and now discussed his coming over to her room to “fool around”. Later that night, after engaging in what Schaer says was consensual sex, the young woman turned away and began to cry. She then asked him to leave her room. Columbia University Columbia University in New York City is the latest battleground over campus judicial systems. The University recently set up a […]

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  • CNN Transcript

    January 14, 2001

    Transcript, originally aired January 14, 2001 ANNOUNCER: Coming up, colleges and campus crime. Are universities dispensing justice by dispensing with due process? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THOR HALVORSSEN, DIRECTOR, THE FOUNDATION FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION, INC.: At private universities, they can set up their own systems. And many times, the universities will proudly say, “We are private. And the constitution does not apply here.” (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALAN ROSE, ATTORNEY: If we had a system in which universities did not act on allegations, especially serious allegations of sexual misconduct, you would have a firestorm on campus. (END […]

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  • University Days

    December 19, 2000

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  • By the Book

    October 5, 2000

    By Harvey Silverglate in The Boston Phoenix

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  • Date Rape Case Gives Brandeis SJC Challenge

    April 30, 2000

    By Sacha Pfeiffer at The Boston Globe

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  • Greg: Brandeis’ Censorship Problem Didn’t Begin with Hirsi Ali

    April 14, 2014

    Last week, Brandeis University reversed its decision to grant an honorary degree to women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali because of her criticism of Islam. It is unfortunate that Brandeis’ class of 2014 was denied the opportunity to hear Hirsi Ali speak at commencement, but the controversy is a symptom of a much deeper problem—both at Brandeis and across the country. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff puts the incident in context in an article for The Huffington Post today with a reminder of Brandeis’ worrying past on free speech issues and of what’s at stake for the future.

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  • Greg on ‘Fox & Friends’ Saturday Morning to Talk Brandeis, ‘Disinvitation Season’

    April 11, 2014

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be a guest on FOX News’ ‘Fox & Friends’ this Saturday morning to discuss the ongoing controversy surrounding Brandeis University’s reversal of its decision to grant women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree. Greg is scheduled to join the program around 7:45 a.m. tomorrow morning, so be sure to tune in!

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  • ‘Disinvitation Season’ Hits a New Low at Brandeis University

    April 9, 2014

    In an act of breathtaking cowardice even for this “disinvitation season,” Brandeis University has reversed its decision to grant an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s rights activist and female genital mutilation survivor who is also an outspoken critic of Islam.

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  • USF Student Newspaper Reports on Speech Codes; Administration Defensive

    July 12, 2013

    The University of South Florida’s student newspaper, The Oracle, published a comprehensive story on free speech at USF this week. The article leads off with an example that illustrates a problem all too common on today’s college campuses: Students seek to express themselves on an issue of political or social importance, but instead of helping to facilitate open debate, the university administration throws up roadblocks. As detailed in The Oracle article: When students organized a candlelight vigil in remembrance of Trayvon Martin last February, conflict occurred between the student organizations and university administration over whether a permit for the event […]

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  • Brandeis Students Band Together to Build ‘Free Speech Wall’

    December 12, 2012

    While Tufts University is in full-scale crisis over its mishandling of the right of religious association, as Robert so excellently chronicled yesterday, mere miles away in Waltham, Massachusetts, several Brandeis University student groups from across the political spectrum have united for the cause of free speech. The Brandeis chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), the Brandeis Democrats, and the Brandeis Libertarian Conservative Union all teamed up to erect a “free speech wall” on campus to call attention to deficiencies in Brandeis’ speech codes. As Brandeis student newspaper The Justice reports:  The motivation for the wall stems from the release […]

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  • Brandeis Columnist: ‘Restore Louis Brandeis’ free speech legacy’

    September 5, 2012

    Aaron Fried, columnist for Brandeis University’s independent student newspaper The Justice, kicks off the fall semester with a powerful column calling for revisions to his college’s speech codes. Given that his school is named after Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, a champion of free speech, Fried argues that he and his fellow students should be embarrassed by Brandeis’ inclusion on FIRE’s list of the 12 worst colleges for free speech, published in The Huffington Post in March.   Noting that several of Brandeis’ policies earn a “red light” ranking from FIRE, here’s Fried’s take on some of the problems presented […]

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  • FIRE’s 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2012

    March 27, 2012

    Here’s today’s press release:  PHILADELPHIA, March 27, 2012—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its 2012 list of the 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in The Huffington Post today. Harvard is new to the list this year, joining Yale, Syracuse, and the University of Cincinnati at the top of the list. “These colleges and universities have deeply violated the principles that are supposed to animate higher education,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “Sunlight is one of the best disinfectants, and the public needs to know which schools to watch out for.”  Although schools appear on the list in no particular […]

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  • FIRE in ‘The Huffington Post’ on America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech

    January 27, 2011

    Today, The Huffington Post published FIRE’s list of America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech. An expansion of FIRE’s Red Alert List of the “worst of the worst” schools for student and faculty rights, this “dirty dozen” slideshow includes the schools that come onto FIRE’s radar screen again and again for their repeated and egregious violations of fundamental rights, as well as schools whose policies are so bad that they simply had to be included. For longtime Torch readers, the presence of most of these schools on our list won’t come as a surprise. But we don’t want to give it all away here. Is […]

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  • Brandeis Student Column Assails Politically Correct Culture, Criticizes Hindley Punishment

    November 24, 2010

    Brandeis University student Shafaq Hasan has an excellent column in The Brandeis Justice highlighting Brandeis’ continued mistreatment of Professor Donald Hindley. The article is a much-needed reminder for Brandeis’ inert administration, as well as for younger students unfamiliar with the story of their $50,000-plus per year university’s appalling treatment of one of its own. Hasan writes: In fall 2007, Brandeis encountered one such violation with regards to an incident surrounding Prof. Donald Hindley (POL). In a course about Latin American politics, Hindley allegedly described to his class that Mexican immigrants are sometimes referred to as “wetbacks.” An offended student complained […]

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  • Red Alert at Brandeis University: Administration Must Clear Professor’s Name

    September 9, 2010

    Following last Tuesday’s full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s annual “Best Colleges” issue, FIRE has been detailing why individual rights are in serious jeopardy at each of the six schools on our Red Alert list. For those of you just tuning in to this blog series, the Red Alert list is reserved for universities which, in FIRE’s estimation, have displayed severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of their students or faculty members and are the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus. This year’s list includes Brandeis University, Bucknell University, Colorado College, […]

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  • Debating the Great Questions at Brandeis: A Look Forward

    August 24, 2010

    With orientation sessions, meet-and-greets, and motivational speeches, college and university leaders are ushering in the Class of 2014. One such welcome message, delivered this past Sunday by Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz to the school’s freshman class, caught FIRE’s attention. Here’s a portion of Reinharz’s address, as reported by the Boston Globe: “The next four years of your life are going to be, in my view, the best of your life. They are going to be a real new beginning for all of you,” Reinharz said to students and their families, according to a statement released by the university. “You’re going to […]

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  • Still Looking for a New Year’s Resolution, Red Alert Schools?

    January 14, 2010

    Here’s an easy New Year’s resolution that Brandeis University, Bucknell University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University can make: get off of FIRE’s Red Alert list of America’s worst violators of campus liberty! This week, FIRE sent the presidents of each of the six Red Alert schools a letter reminding them of their schools’ serious and ongoing violations of student and faculty rights, and just how easy it is for each of them to remedy their mistakes and reaffirm their commitment to freedom of expression. FIRE also included with each letter a copy of the […]

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  • Former FIRE Intern: Brandeis Must Reform Its Ways to Get Off Red Alert List

    September 29, 2009

    Former FIRE intern and Brandeis University student Daniel Ortner published another excellent op-ed in The Brandeis Hoot last week (his previous op-ed about free expression and other problems at Brandeis is here). In the article, Daniel specifically criticizes the Office of Student Rights and Advocacy (OSRA) for asking FIRE to remove Brandeis from FIRE’s Red Alert list. Daniel writes: One would think that with a title like Office of Student Rights and Advocacy, this newly reconstituted Student Union organization would be concerning itself with righting the many abuses of student rights and trust that I wrote about extensively a few weeks […]

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  • President Who Made Brandeis University a FIRE ‘Red Alert’ School Resigns

    September 25, 2009

    The media is abuzz today with news of the resignation of Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz. According to The Brandeis Hoot, resignation talks between Reinharz and Board of Trustees Chair Malcolm Sherman began about “three and a half weeks ago,” just at the time FIRE launched a national advertising campaign listing Brandeis on FIRE’s Red Alert list as one of the “worst of the worst” violators of individual rights among colleges and universities in the United States. The centerpiece of FIRE’s campaign is a full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s famous “America’s Best Colleges” rankings issue. Brandeis has now appeared on […]

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  • Rights in the News: Class Back in Session for Violators of Campus Speech

    September 4, 2009

    Classes are barely in session, and already FIRE and its allies have hit the ground running. As Lukenoted earlier, Will was at Cornell University this week discussing the “Trojan horses” of campus speech codes, including the ones which have resulted in Cornell’s current “red light” rating on FIRE’s Spotlight. Read the Cornell Daily Sun’s coverage for more on the start of what promises to be a very busy year for FIRE’s speakers bureau. Brandeis University undergraduate Daniel Ortner and Cornell undergraduate John Cetta, meanwhile, are busy putting their 2009 FIRE internship experiences to use, evidenced by Daniel’s most recent column for The Brandeis Hoot and John’s piece for The D.C. […]

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  • FIRE Intern, Student Leader Both Defend Faculty and Student Rights in Brandeis Student Newspaper

    August 28, 2009

    Former FIRE intern and current Brandeis student Daniel Ortner has an op-ed today in The Brandeis Hoot blasting Yale University Press for refusing to reprint cartoon depictions of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed in Brandeis professor Jytte Klausen’s book about the controversy sparked by their initial publication. Robert scourged the prestigious university publisher in a post on Pajamas Media a couple of weeks ago. Daniel relates that episode of censorship to the larger problem of censorship on campus and a few past FIRE cases. The academic press and universities at large are supposed to be the bastions of freedom. They are […]

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  • How Can Brandeis University Get Off FIRE’s Red Alert List?

    August 26, 2009

    Over the last few days, FIRE has been driving home reminders about the dire state of free speech at Brandeis University, whose misdeeds we featured in not one but two major print advertisements. In addition to being highlighted as one of the six schools on FIRE’s Red Alert list in our full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report for a second straight year, FIRE also took out a prominent ad in the Brandeis student newspaper The Justice, as Greg announced earlier today on The Huffington Post.   Prospective matriculants should think twice about applying to Brandeis upon seeing the […]

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  • Brandeis University Called Out for Free Speech Abuses in Its Student Newspaper

    August 26, 2009

    Yesterday I announced a national ad campaign by my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calling out colleges across the country that have consistently and unapologetically stood by actions that violated the free speech rights of their students or faculty. At the same time, we placed this half-page ad in the Brandeis University student newspaper The Justice: The ad refers to an appalling case that seems as though it sprung fully-formed from a Philip Roth novel. In the fall of 2007, Donald Hindley, a Brandeis professor of nearly 50 years was found guilty of racial harassment for using […]

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  • FIRE’s Biggest Ad Campaign Ever Hits ‘U.S. News’

    August 25, 2009

    For the second year in a row, FIRE has run a full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s America’s Best Colleges issue, released today, highlighting the colleges and universities that have earned FIRE’s Red Alert distinction for being the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus. Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University are listed in the print ad, while Bucknell University, a late addition to the list, will be prominently featured in Facebook ads and in the school’s own newspaper.  But that’s not all—in the coming weeks, FIRE will also run ads in U.S. News‘ bestselling guidebook, every Red Alert school’s newspaper, and the papers of the top 25 largest and most prestigious universities in the nation, […]

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  • Reeling from Crisis to Crisis: The Lack of Accountability at Brandeis University

    August 3, 2009

    This blog entry was authored by Daniel Ortner, a student at Brandeis University and FIRE summer intern. Over the past couple of years, Brandeis University’s administration has shown itself to be an enemy of liberty and consistently untrustworthy through its arrogant abrogation of student and faculty rights. The policies under President Jehuda Reinharz have led to disastrous relations between the administration and those whom it represents. As a new school year dawns, Brandeis has yet to reverse its attacks against the rights and privileges of students, faculty, and supporters. Indeed, the lack of accountability and disregard for others outside the administration seems to continue […]

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  • Rights in the News: ‘Washington Post’ Article Shines Light on Stanford Ed’s Bullying Tactics

    July 24, 2009

    As we said in our press release today, The Washington Post‘s Jay Mathews has done us a service with his article on Stanford University’s shameful treatment of former student Michele Kerr throughout her year in the School of Education’s teacher education program, during which, among other things, the university tried to revoke its offer of admission to her and sought to force her to give administrators the password to her private blog. Fortunately, Kerr has graduated and found employment, and it’s safe to alert the public to her travails. Read Mathews’ article and our press release for more. While I’m […]

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  • Rights in the News: FIRE Keeps Up The Fight While Taking Message to Vegas and D.C.

    July 10, 2009

    FIRE has been busy taking its message to the streets this week, with Luke and I spending Wednesday signing up new CFN members at this year’s Campus Progress Conference in Washington, D.C., and Greg, Brandon, Alisha, and Adam jetting off to sunny Las Vegas for the annual FreedomFest Conference. Fortunately, with FIRE a bit short on manpower for much of the week, our industrious summer interns have kept the ball rolling. Notably, Noah Baron put his internship to good use in writing for the blog of the Columbia Spectator, calling attention to Columbia University’s “truly bizarre and disturbing” speech codes. […]

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  • CFN Member Criticizes Brandeis for Charging Excessive Security

    March 31, 2009

    For FIRE friends, it’s not too surprising that Brandeis University, one of only five schools on FIRE’s Red Alert list, is flirting with another violation of students’ rights. CFN member Daniel Ortner reported in The Brandeis Hoot on Friday that Brandeis is charging high security fees for bringing Bill Ayers and Robert H. King to campus. The event was scheduled for March 30, but postponed due to the prohibitively high costs until April 30. Ortner notes that FIRE has weighed in on similar measures involving the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Colorado at Boulder. The latter […]

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  • CCSU Professor on University’s Investigation of Gun-Related Speech

    March 18, 2009

    Jay Bergman, a history professor at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), has written on a controversy engulfing CCSU, in which undergraduate student John Wahlberg was reported to university authorities by his professor and then subjected to a police interrogation following his classroom presentation in support of the right to carry concealed firearms on campus. In his column for The Hartford Courant, Bergman highlights the CCSU controversy as indicative of the feverish political correctness and culture of fear in the academy regarding gun-related speech. While noting that Wahlberg considers the matter closed and crediting the professor for not hurting the student’s […]

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  • Rights in the News: All Eyes on Brandeis

    February 14, 2009

    The atmosphere of uncertainty at Brandeis University—which faces a looming budgetary crisis, falling applications, and a plummeting endowment—has been brought to a fever pitch by President Jehuda Reinharz’s botched announcement of the closing of the university’s prestigious Rose Art Museum. Rasky Baerlein, the public relations firm recently retained by Reinharz to mitigate (among other things) the Rose fallout, has its work cut out. Amidst the turmoil over the Rose—which has been scrutinized throughout the collegiate, regional, national and, indeed, international press—FIRE has continued to goad Reinharz and the Brandeis administration to end once and for all the ongoing injustices it […]

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  • FIRE Shines a Light on Brandeis University in ‘Huffington Post’ and Full-Page Ad

    February 13, 2009

    FIRE is applying Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ maxim “sunlight is the best of disinfectants” to his namesake university in a big way today. First, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff has an article in The Huffington Post in which he chastises Brandeis University for its refusal to apologize for its treatment of tenured Professor Donald Hindley, who was found guilty by the university of “racial harassment” for using the term “wetbacks”—in the context of criticizing the term—in his Latin American politics class. Greg points out that the media have comparatively ignored this outrageous case while giving massive attention to the university’s […]

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  • Reply to Comment on Brandeis Case

    February 12, 2009

    My op-ed in the Brandeis Justice this week outlines the outrage at Brandeis over the Hindley affair (a professor punished after he critiqued the term “wetbacks” in a relevant course), the Rose Art Museum fiasco, and the implications of these controversies for the viability of the Reinharz administration going forward. The op-ed also outlines the widespread response at Brandeis among faculty members and students asserting their rights in the face of a stiff-necked administration. Brandeis sophomore Nathan Hakimi has commented on the op-ed, largely agreeing with me: I have to commend you, for making legitimately powerful points about the lack […]

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  • Will the real Brandeis please stand up?

    February 12, 2009

    I spent most of the summer of 1996 on my brother’s couch in Long Beach, California. I had just graduated from college and was discovering that it’s extremely difficult to find a job in the greater L.A. area without a car. I remember watching the evening news one night: four stories into the broadcast, almost as an afterthought, it mentioned a meteorite that seemed to strongly indicate the presence of life on Mars. I sat there bewildered that this news station actually considered two stories about the private life of O.J. Simpson more important than a discovery that we were […]

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  • J. Peter Freire: Attach strings to college donations

    February 11, 2009

    A WEALTHY art collector gives his prized original Andy Warhol painting to his alma mater’s museum. Within a few months, that painting is on the auction block. That’s what has happened at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., where the board of trustees announced the other week that it could not longer afford to keep its Rose Art Museum open. Donors now have to ask two questions. First, can the universities they support get away with hocking donated paintings? Second, is the school spending its money wisely? Welcome to the murky debate about donor intent: Donors give money to universities. Universities […]

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  • Silverglate and Creeley on Brandeis Scandal in ‘Minding the Campus’

    February 10, 2009

    Minding the Campus just posted an incisive examination of recent events at Brandeis University authored by FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate and Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley. Like the op-ed by FIRE’s Adam Kissel published earlier today in the Brandeis student newspaper, The Justice, Silverglate’s and Creeley’s post takes Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz to task for his handling of both the Rose Art Museum fiasco and the case of Professor Donald Hindley. They write: During the fall 2007 semester, Brandeis Professor Donald Hindley was accused of “racial harassment.” His offense? Critiquing the use of the derogatory term […]

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  • FIRE Op-Ed: Brandeis Administration Must Demonstrate Integrity to Avoid Calamity

    February 10, 2009

    Today’s edition of The Justice features an op-ed from FIRE’s Adam Kissel about the ongoing controversy at Brandeis University regarding the future of the Rose Art Museum and what it reveals about the viability of the Reinharz administration at Brandeis. Adam succinctly demonstrates that this is only the latest in a string of crises including the abhorrent treatment of Professor Donald Hindley. As he explains, the school is in the midst of a campus revolt which has been brewing for some time and is a direct and predictable result of the administration’s continued lack of effective leadership. Anyone who has […]

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  • OP-ED: University should solve censorship issue

    February 10, 2009

    When I wrote an e-mail to University President Jehuda Reinharz and all of Brandeis’ trustees last summer saying Brandeis was in “revolt,” little did I know the big revolt was yet to come. The Rose Art Museum controversy is just the latest issue to put the president’s judgment in question. With a declining endowment, donor outrage, withering press coverage, a sharp decrease in applications and extensive faculty and student resistance, Brandeis is only one or two steps from the brink of chaos. It cannot afford a leader whose decisions lack transparency and reasonable decision-making processes. Given these conditions, I can […]

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  • Rights in the News: Recent Victories and Ongoing Speech Code Efforts Continue to Get FIRE’s Message Across

    February 6, 2009

    For yet another week, word of FIRE’s efforts has reverberated throughout the national and online press. As Azhar noted earlier today, Greg’s latest column for The Huffington Post expresses FIRE’s relief at the dropped “spamming” charges against Michigan State University junior Kara Spencer, but also notes our concern that the online policy Spencer was initially found guilty of violating remains in effect—and thus keeps Michigan State on FIRE’s Red Alert list. As Erin wrote earlier this week, FIRE figured prominently in two pieces in The Boston Herald; the first highlighting the candidacy of FIRE Co-founder and Chairman Harvey Silverglate for […]

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  • Brandeis University in Hard Times: No Better Time to Heal Free Speech Wounds

    February 2, 2009

    Brandeis University is in quite a pickle these days trying to maintain the trust of faculty members and students as it takes action to survive the economic downturn. The Boston Globe and The New York Times, among others, are reporting some of the drastic measures Brandeis is taking. By far the most controversial has been the announced closing of Brandeis’ Rose Art Museum and the sale of its approximately $350 million of holdings. Last week, over 200 students attended a forum to encourage the Brandeis administration to involve students more actively in some of these excruciatingly hard decisions. The student […]

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  • Brandeis Backs Down on New Free Speech Issue

    February 2, 2009

    “You are all paid employees of the Brandeis University Office of Development and Alumni Relations. It is in incredibly poor taste for you to write anything that can be perceived as slanderous or offensive about the University. Several members of the Development Staff, including myself, are going through facebook, blogs, boston.com, and online petitions.” So read last Tuesday’s e-mail from Matthew Magida, Annual Giving Officer at Brandeis. According to Ariel Wittenberg for The Brandeis Hoot, the e-mail continued, “If I see you have written anything (positive or negative) about the Rose Art Museum [which is going to be closed, with […]

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  • FIRE Featured in Two Articles in the ‘Boston Herald’

    February 2, 2009

    In yesterday’s edition of the Boston Herald, FIRE was fortunate enough to be the subject of two separate articles. The first featured FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate and his quest to land a spot on Harvard University’s Board of Overseers—something we have been championing since his bid was announced back in December. As quoted in the Herald, Harvey explains why he wants to join the board: “I hope to make Harvard a better place,” said Silverglate, a Harvard Law School grad, who needs 219 signatures from Harvard degree-holders to appear on the ballot. “It saddens me that Harvard persists in having, […]

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  • When speech isn’t free

    February 1, 2009

    FIRE defines a speech code as any regulation that punishes, forbids, heavily regulates or restricts a substantial amount of protected speech. FIRE said this definition is needed because colleges rarely label restrictions as “speech codes” in handbooks. Instead, they call their codes “harassment” codes or “civility codes,” while what they do is prohibit free speech. At the University of New Hampshire, student Timothy Garneau was evicted from a dorm in 2004 after posting fliers joking that freshman women could lose the “Freshman 15″ – a reference to weight – by walking up the dorm stairs. After FIRE wrote to UNH […]

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  • FIRE Pens Open Letter to President Obama

    January 20, 2009

    This Inauguration Day, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has sent President Barack Obama an open letter requesting that, as a scholar of constitutional law and the leader of the nation’s executive branch, he and his administration join the fight against college and university speech codes that are infringing on the rights of millions of our nation’s college students. As Greg says in today’s press release: Millions of American students are being taught that colleges have the power to censor and punish speech that the Bill of Rights protects … Failing to educate an entire generation about our constitutional […]

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  • 2008 Highlights: FIRE Places Full-Page Ad in ‘U.S. News & World Report’ Calling Out ‘Red Alert’ Schools

    December 31, 2008

    While FIRE works on cases from hundreds of schools in a given year, we have a special list for those schools that have shown unique intransigence in the face of criticism from FIRE for abusing student and faculty rights. We call that special list our Red Alert list, and right now five schools have earned a spot among the “worst of the worst.”  This summer, we decided to step up our campaign for reform at Red Alert schools by running a full-page ad in the 2009 edition of U.S. News & World Report‘s all-important America’s Best Colleges issue, right next […]

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  • Brandeis Students Struggle with JuicyCampus and Anonymous Speech

    December 9, 2008

    Last Friday’s edition of The Brandeis Hoot student newspaper carried a report about today’s inaugural meeting of the group “Students Against JuicyCampus.” According to the Hoot, the group already boasts a Facebook group of 400 members. Comments by students in the meeting demonstrate that like many universities, Brandeis is doing a terrible job of educating students about the fundamental rights enjoyed by Americans. To wit: The majority of the meeting was spent discussing the negative and positive effects of anonymous free speech. Erica Lubitz ’12 stated, “the purpose of anonymity is to make [people] comfortable to speak, but then it […]

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  • Weekly Media Round-up: Victory at Temple College Highlights FIRE’s Week

    November 7, 2008

    FIRE scored another victory for free speech and academic freedom this week with its successful intervention on behalf of Kerry Laird, an instructor at Temple College (TX) who was ordered to remove a religiously themed cartoon and a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche translating to “God is dead” from his office door. Within half an hour of receiving FIRE’s letter, Temple College President Glenda O. Barron swiftly and commendably reversed the order and reaffirmed Laird’s constitutional rights at the public college. Scott Jaschik, writing for Inside Higher Ed, ably captures both the gravity of the constitutional issues at stake at Temple […]

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  • Student Op-Ed Blasts Brandeis for Continuing Hindley Affair

    November 7, 2008

    The Brandeis Hoot has an excellent op-ed today by student Daniel Ortner on the case of Donald Hindley: “The Hindley case: Not over yet.” Ortner is referring to FIRE’s case at Brandeis University regarding Professor Donald Hindley, who was punished with a class monitor and a letter finding him guilty of “inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” statements in class after he critiqued the term “wetbacks” in class discussion. Ortner calls attention to FIRE’s ad in U.S. News & World Report naming Brandeis and the other Red Alert schools as the “worst of the worst” campus censors. Media outlets continue to take […]

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  • Condemnations Continue for Brandeis Administration

    October 27, 2008

    Today, The Providence Journal became the latest publication to weigh in on the horrendous treatment that Professor Donald Hindley has received at the hands of administrators at Brandeis University. The Journal‘s sharply worded editorial follows on the heels of recent articles from Nat Hentoff in The Washington Times, Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald, and Stephanie Siek of The Boston Globe, among others. Numerous journalists and pundits both on and off the Brandeis campus have exposed the abuse of power that occurred last fall when Hindley was found guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classes […]

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  • Brandeis Students Start Three New Organizations to Protect Their Rights

    October 21, 2008

    Students at Brandeis University are growing restless with concern for their rights—as they should be. This month marks a year since Brandeis University found Professor Donald Hindley guilty of “inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” statements in alleged violation of Brandeis University’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy after Hindley critiqued the term “wetbacks” in his Latin American politics class. As punishment, Provost Marty Krauss ordered him to attend anti-discrimination training and placed a monitor in Professor Hindley’s classroom until she could determine that Hindley was “able to conduct (himself) appropriately in the classroom.” Hindley was never presented with the evidence against him or […]

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  • Don’t Say the Magic Word!

    October 8, 2008

    It seems like these days the worst speech offense just about anyone can commit is using an “epithet” to describe a person or group of people. Epithets are certainly unpleasant, and it’s not surprising that they often offend people. But increasingly, both on campus and off, we are hearing about cases in which those who utter “offensive” words are pilloried, no matter the context, in ways that seem to defy reason. I submit that this implies something truly bizarre for an American university in 2008: people believe that these words are magic. I’ve got evidence. Consider the case of Professor […]

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  • National Attention Continues for FIRE’s Work at Illinois

    October 8, 2008

    We blogged last week about the Chicago Tribune‘s coverage of FIRE’s letter in defense of political expression at the three University of Illinois (UI) campuses, where a memo circulated by UI’s ethics office banned a wide variety of political expression on campuses—down to the bumper stickers on the cars of UI faculty and staff. Instead of waiting until our usual end-of-the-week media round-up, we wanted to provide a brief update on the continued media exposure to FIRE stemming from UI as the situation has developed. Over the weekend the Associated Press, picking up on the Tribune‘s lead, covered a rally […]

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  • Weekly Media Round-up: FIRE’s Expertise Widely Cited, and Pressure Grows on Brandeis and Third Circuit Schools

    October 3, 2008

    Today’s Chicago Tribune featured an article examining the widening controversy over restrictions on political speech and activity at the University of Illinois, which go so far as to suggest that displaying a candidate’s bumper sticker on one’s car is out of bounds. FIRE is closely monitoring this case, as well as a similar situation at the University of Oklahoma, where all manner of political speech has been banned from the university network. FIRE has sent letters to both universities, asking for immediate clarification of the policies consistent with each school’s legal obligation to uphold the First Amendment on campus. Hopefully […]

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  • ‘Wetbacks’ Case Still Roiling Brandeis

    September 26, 2008

    The case of Donald Hindley at Brandeis is not going away anytime soon. Today’s Brandeis Hoot covers a discussion between attorney Daryl Lapp and Brandeis faculty members regarding anti-discrimination law as it applies to “discriminatory speech.” Lapp, who commonly defends universities in claims against them, was invited for this discussion by Provost Marty Krauss after faculty members asked for clarification about harassment and anti-discrimination law in the wake of Brandeis’ treatment of Hindley, whom the university punished under its non-discrimination and harassment policy. Hindley had critiqued the term “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course last fall, a student complained, […]

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  • Nat Hentoff on Brandeis: ‘The Most Outrageous Case of All’

    September 24, 2008

    Renowned scholar, critic, and free speech advocate Nat Hentoff, a member of FIRE’s Board of Advisors, published a syndicated editorial today sharply criticizing the administration of Brandeis University for its deplorable treatment of Professor Donald Hindley, accusing the university of betraying the legacy of its namesake, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. Brandeis University’s disregard for Hindley’s fundamental rights has been so egregious that Hentoff, who has been writing about free speech issues for decades, writes: “I have now found the most outrageous case of all.” Emphasizing how far from free-speech principles the university has strayed, Hentoff quotes Justice Brandeis’ opinion […]

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  • Brandeis Hires University Defender to Teach about ‘Racially Harassing Speech’

    September 22, 2008

    Brandeis University seems to be moving even farther away from any notion of guaranteeing free expression on its campus. In the wake of a breakdown in faculty–administration relations over the case of Brandeis professor Donald Hindley, Brandeis has hired an attorney whose principal work involves defending universities against lawsuits and claims in areas such as civil rights. The attorney, Daryl Lapp, is to make a presentation to the faculty on September 25 on “the legal definition and boundaries of racially harassing speech and the implications of case law on this subject.” Free expression advocates should be alarmed if this is […]

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  • FIRE Uses Facebook to Target Worst College Offenders

    September 17, 2008

    Last week, FIRE launched our first Facebook ad campaign targeting a school on FIRE’s Red Alert list, Brandeis University. We began placing ads on the Facebook pages of Brandeis students and alumni, alerting them to the unfortunate case of Professor Donald Hindley, who was found guilty of racial harassment after he critiqued the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. In only one week, the advertisement has been featured on over 121,000 Facebook pages. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, while many students and faculty have stepped up to the plate and defended Professor Hindley’s […]

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  • Brandeis Faculty, Administration Still at Odds

    September 11, 2008

    Last Friday, Alison Channon, News Editor for The Brandeis Hoot at Brandeis University, wrote an update on the case of Donald Hindley, the professor who was found guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classroom after he critiqued the term “wetbacks” in class. As many readers know, FIRE has been heavily involved in the case. The article notes that English Professor William Flesch was appointed the new chair of the Faculty Senate, which has been a strong defender of Professor Hindley’s rights and has gone toe-to-toe with Provost Krauss, who has attempted again and again to […]

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  • Back to School: Remember FIRE’s Red Alert List

    September 9, 2008

    Students going back to school should be aware of the institutions that demonstrate a blatant disregard for their students’ rights. FIRE’s Red Alert list, recently featured in a full-page ad in the 2009 “America’s Best Colleges” edition of U.S. News and World Report, is a list of the “worst of the worst” when it comes to respect for students’ rights. These institutions egregiously violated their students’ rights and, despite having been informed of their wrongdoing, still refuse to admit and redress the harm they have caused. Below is a list of the Red Alert schools, what they did to get […]

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  • How Can Brandeis University Get Off FIRE’s Red Alert List?

    August 26, 2008

    The current edition of U.S. News and World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” issue, released on Monday, includes a full-page advertisement by FIRE highlighting the five colleges and universities that have earned FIRE’s Red Alert distinction for being the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus: Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, and Valdosta State University. Students should think twice before choosing to attend one of the Red Alert schools. Faculty also should think twice about joining these academic communities, which got on the list because they not only have committed egregious violations of […]

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  • FIRE Exposes Unrepentant Abusers of Liberty in ‘U.S. News’ College Rankings Issue

    August 25, 2008

    PHILADELPHIA, August 25, 2008—The 2009 edition of U.S. News and World Report‘s America’s Best Colleges issue, released today, includes a full-page advertisement from FIRE highlighting the five colleges and universities that have earned FIRE’s Red Alert distinction for being the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus. Students should think twice before choosing to attend Red Alert schools, which include Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, and Valdosta State University. “Every year, millions of students and parents turn to U.S. News and World Report to see the latest college rankings,” said FIRE President […]

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  • Where is the Alumni Outrage Over the Brandeis Administration’s Shameful Behavior?

    August 20, 2008

    On July 9, FIRE sent a second letter to Brandeis University regarding its unfair treatment of Donald Hindley. A veteran professor at Brandeis, Hindley was accused of making “statements in class that were inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” and had a monitor placed in his classroom after using the word “wetbacks” in class. He was never given a written account of the charges against him, other procedures in the Faculty Handbook were violated, and Hindley’s appeal was unilaterally cut off by Brandeis’s Provost, Marty Krauss. In the letter, we reminded Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz that his administration “has dramatically violated its […]

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  • Now I’m Offended

    July 22, 2008

    (Jake Summerhays is a senior majoring in Political Science at Columbia University. He is a 2008 FIRE summer intern.) To be honest, I was caught off guard on that first day of class. I was offended, and for a moment, I considered whether it was going to be beneficial for me—academically or spiritually—to remain in the class. Being a good Mormon boy (or at least making my best efforts), I had been taught that there are some words you just don’t say. I had also never come across a teacher in all my years of schooling who routinely used profanity, […]

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  • Brandeis Alumnus Blasts University for Treatment of Professor

    July 11, 2008

    In a letter sent yesterday, Brandeis alumnus and Central Connecticut State University professor Jay Bergman called upon Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz to immediately clear the record of Professor Donald Hindley, who was found guilty of racial harassment for using the term “wetback” in his class. Bergman writes: I urge you now, as I have in the past, to drop the university’s finding of guilt in the matter of Professor Hindley, who did nothing wrong. Furthermore, as a way of acknowledging the egregious violation of Professor Hindley’s academic freedom that occurred as a result of the unconscionable conduct of your provost […]

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  • FIRE Calls on Brandeis to Resolve Faculty Revolt

    July 10, 2008

    Given the unprecedented revolt of faculty and students at Brandeis University, FIRE has called on President Jehuda Reinharz to rescind the ill-conceived finding of guilt against Professor Donald Hindley in order to restore order and Brandeis University’s good name. In a letter sent to Reinharz yesterday—with copies to about 160 others within and beyond Brandeis—FIRE noted that the revolt has involved multiple unanimous faculty resolutions against the administration, faculty reports demonstrating that Brandeis administrators violated Hindley’s academic freedom and due process rights, the withdrawal of faculty support for the school’s harassment policy, the suspension of hearing new faculty grievances, and […]

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  • Brandeis’ Inexplicable War Against Its Faculty

    July 3, 2008

    FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley has written a noteworthy article on the wider implications of the Brandeis University faculty revolt against its own administration in the case of professor Donald Hindley. Here are some choice excerpts: [Brandeis Provost Marty] Krauss’ assertion of arbitrary administrative power angered the Faculty Senate, which has refused to peacefully surrender its bargained-for rights. By February of this year, cooperation between faculty and administrators on discipline issues completely broke down in the wake of three scathing reports on the handling of Hindley’s case. And since early March, Brandeis’ Faculty Senate has been refusing even to hear […]

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  • Brandeis University “Honored” in ‘The Boston Phoenix’s’ 2008 Muzzle Awards

    June 30, 2008

    FIRE co-founder and board chairman Harvey Silverglate, writing last week in The Boston Phoenix, pronounced Brandeis University “a clear winner” of the Phoenix‘s annual Muzzle Awards, which single out the worst offenders of free speech and individual rights in the New England area. Brandeis has earned this dubious accolade “thanks to the farcical treatment of veteran faculty member Donald Hindley this past fall.” Torch readers by now are familiar with Hindley’s case, in which the tenured professor of politics, after discussing—and criticizing—the term “wetback” in his classroom, was found in violation of the school’s anti-harassment code and forced to teach […]

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  • The Muzzle Awards: Collegiate Division

    June 25, 2008

    Our annual Muzzle Awards survey scours all six New England states for free-speech violations. But it always causes the judges special pains when we find such cases at institutions of higher learning, which, in theory, are supposed to be the freest places in our society. In reality, however, college campuses are home to some of the most outrageous cases of censorship. Brandeis University is a clear winner, thanks to its farcical treatment of veteran faculty member Donald Hindley this past fall. Hindley’s troubles began when he explained the origin of — and then criticized — the term “wetback” in his […]

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  • Faculty Rights vs. Provostal Abuses at Brandeis

    May 22, 2008

    I reported on Monday that the Brandeis University faculty continues to stand up for its academic freedom and due process rights against Provost Marty Krauss in the wake of her disastrous handling of the case of Professor Donald Hindley, who was declared guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. To recap: after faculty protest of Krauss’ handling of the Hindley case, Krauss challenged the authority of the school’s Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR. In response, the faculty passed […]

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  • Brandeis Faculty Continues to Revolt in ‘Wetbacks’ Case

    May 19, 2008

    Admirably, the Brandeis University faculty continues to stand up for its academic freedom and due process rights in the wake of Provost Marty Krauss’s disastrous handling of the case of Donald Hindley, who was declared guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. Professor Donald Hindley, a nearly 50-year veteran of teaching, never was granted a formal hearing by Brandeis, nor was he provided with the substance of the accusations against him in writing. The provost challenged the authority of the […]

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  • “Muzzle Tov” to Brandeis and Valdosta State from Greg

    April 11, 2008

    In his latest Huffington Post blog, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff recaps the 2008 Jefferson Muzzle awards, bringing special attention to with “winners” at Brandeis University and Valdosta State University. He also puts in an early nomination for 2009′s Muzzles: Finally, while I know it’s only April, I already have two nominations for next year’s Jefferson Muzzles. First, I would like to nominate Colorado College, where administrators have used tragic school shootings of recent years as justification for finding two students guilty of “violence” for posting a flyer making fun of another flyer. I ask readers once again to compare these […]

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  • Demonstration at Brandeis Today—Red Alert in Action

    April 10, 2008

    Why are students demonstrating at about 6pm today at Brandeis University? Today is apparently Accepted Students Day at Brandeis. Potential students should know that Brandeis has so badly violated principles of free expression that FIRE has put Brandeis on our Red Alert list, reserved for the worst offenders among colleges and universities in the country. A bunch of current students agree. Here are excerpts from their press release, a copy of which was received by FIRE: Today April 10th, during the kick off for Open House, Brandeis University Students will assemble to demonstrate to their university that their voices have […]

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  • Associated Press, Harvey Silverglate and Blogosphere Cover the Jefferson Muzzles

    April 10, 2008

    After Tuesday’s announcement of the 2008 Jefferson Muzzles awarded by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, the media and blogosphere have lit up with coverage of the “honors” given to “the country’s most egregious and ridiculous censors”. An article by the Associated Press mentioned the FIRE cases at Brandeis University and Valdosta State University: Rounding out the list were Brandeis University administrators for declaring a professor guilty of harassment and placing a monitor in his classroom after he explained to his class that Mexican migrant workers are sometimes pejoratively called “wetbacks;” Valdosta State (Ga.) University President […]

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  • Justice Brandeis would be proud … or would he?

    April 8, 2008

    The Waltham-based university named after the late and great Supreme Court Justice, Louis D. Brandeis, champion of free speech and free thought, has just achieved the dubious distinction of winning one of the “muzzle awards” given out annually by the highly respected Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Twelve “winners” were picked this year, and Brandeis was chosen for its utterly incomprehensible efforts to punish a tenured faculty member, long-time Professor Donald Hindley, for his having used the word “wetback” in what turns out to be a perfectly appropriate and relevant manner during […]

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  • Brandeis Faculty Senate Excoriates Administration, Revolts

    March 26, 2008

    The recently published minutes of the March 13, 2008, meeting of the Brandeis University Faculty Senate show continuing animosity against Provost Marty Krauss over issues relating to the case of Professor Donald Hindley. The Brandeis faculty’s Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR) already had explained in detail, numerous times, the failures of the Brandeis administration in Hindley’s case. One result has been that the CFRR has been refusing to hear new faculty grievances. Since the Provost has challenged the CFRR’s authority, what else could it do? Several CFRR members have met with the Faculty Senate “to discuss the breakdown […]

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  • Editorial Warns of Brandeis’s Waning Reputation Over Speech Controversies

    March 26, 2008

    Yesterday’s issue of Brandeis University’s Justice student newspaper features a hard-hitting editorial that once again takes Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss to task for her handling of the case of professor Donald Hindley, who had a monitor placed in his classes by Krauss after he explained and critiqued the use of the term “wetback” in class. The editorial adds to the avalanche of bad press, both internal and external, about Brandeis’s handling of the case. It would be simple enough to do justice in the case by reversing the flawed finding that Hindley had somehow engaged in harassment or discrimination during […]

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  • EDITORIAL: We didn’t start the FIRE: Future of free speech at stake

    March 25, 2008

    The Justice   When he spoke here earlier this month, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education founder Harvey Silverglate proclaimed that free speech, parody and vigorous debate have died in American higher education. Free speech may not be completely dead on this campus, but the administration’s disregard for the voice of its faculty members means free speech is in serious jeopardy. FIRE recently put Brandeis on its “red list,” meaning that the University’s policies are dangerous to basic freedoms. That was evident after the handling of the case of Prof. Donald Hindley (POL), in which Provost Marty Krauss maintained that […]

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  • Brandeis Student Press Critiques More Violations of Free Speech

    March 7, 2008

    All too often, it takes someone getting into serious trouble before discussions about free speech arise on a college campus. Because Brandeis University has been involved in a string of free speech incidents—most recently Professor Donald Hindley being found guilty of alleged harassment for protected speech—one of the student newspapers, The Hoot, has attempted to decipher what free speech means at this private university. In a series of articles, student Pat Garofolo critiques the blurry rules regarding allegedly offensive speech in Brandeis’s Rights & Responsibilities handbook, “which aims to establish ‘community standards of behavior.’” The rules are vague and seem […]

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  • Brandeis Faculty Step Up to Defend Academic Freedom, Attack Administration

    February 7, 2008

    The minutes of the Brandeis University Faculty Senate meeting last week show many serious steps that the faculty are taking in response to the mistreatment of professor Donald Hindley by Brandeis administrators such as Provost Marty Krauss—and in the absence of any action on the part of the administration. The Senate discussion focused heavily on his case. The Senators unanimously approved several statements and pointed once again to administrators’ unrepentant violations of Brandeis policy in their prosecution of Professor Hindley. (1) The Faculty Senate no longer supports Brandeis’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy because of “the violation of the understanding that […]

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  • FIRE Alerts Brandeis Trustees to Hindley Case

    February 6, 2008

    FIRE has written Malcolm L. Sherman, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University—and the rest of Brandeis’s trustees—to alert them to Brandeis’s mistreatment of Professor Donald Hindley over his critique of the word “wetback” during one of his classes. The letter addresses the misrepresentations of the case by Provost Marty Krauss, the sharp rebukes of Brandeis administrators by the school’s own faculty, the bad publicity that the case already has generated, and the unbecoming public silence on the matter by President Jehuda Reinharz. The letter also cites the landmark 2003 letter from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office […]

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  • The Case of Donald Hindley: Eerily Familiar, Inexcusably Handled

    February 1, 2008

    Does something seem oddly familiar about the case of Donald Hindley at Brandeis? As Torch readers well know, Donald Hindley is a professor who has served Brandeis for over 46 years and was found guilty of “racial harassment,” apparently for criticizing and explaining use of the word “wetback” to deride Mexicans and other immigrants. I say “apparently” because, as Eugene Volokh so effectively has pointed out, Brandeis has not even been clear with Hindley what words got him in trouble. Still, all signs point to the use of the word “wetback,” which a single student apparently found so offensive that […]

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  • ‘The Brandeis Hoot’ Seeks Answers from Administration

    February 1, 2008

    As the negative media barrage against Brandeis University continues, The Brandeis Hoot has written an excellent editorial titled “There is such a thing as bad publicity,” calling for school administrators to admit their wrongdoing in the case against Professor Donald Hindley and start “damage control.” The editorial points out that A search of Google news for the name “Brandeis” brings up nothing but articles about Hindley and the Brandeis sports teams. It is quite sad that, judging from an online news search, Brandeis is known for athletics and violating free speech. This is not at all what we should be […]

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  • After Brandeis Response, Professor Volokh Asks Tough Questions

    January 30, 2008

    Eugene Volokh, professor of constitutional law at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law and influential blogger, has some pointed words and tough questions for Brandeis administrators in response to yesterday’s frustratingly empty statement from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marty Krauss. Like FIRE, Volokh is far from satisfied with Brandeis’s statement. Specifically, Volokh wants to know what precisely Brandeis thinks Professor Donald Hindley said that was worthy of the ensuing investigation and punishment. Volokh writes: The university refuses to publicly say what it thinks the professor said. Is it missing the use/mention distinction? […]

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  • FIRE in the Brandeis Student Press

    January 30, 2008

    The Justice, an independent student newspaper at Brandeis University, features an article discussing FIRE’s work on behalf of embattled professor Donald Hindley. As loyal Torch readers know by now, Professor Hindley was found to have violated the school’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment policy after he used the word “wetbacks” in a classroom discussion to explain that Mexican migrants in the United States are sometimes referred to by that term. As FIRE stated in its press release, Hindley’s use of the word in that context plainly did not have any racist intentions or insinuations, and it certainly did not rise to the […]

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  • Brandeis Provost Misrepresents Its Prosecution of Professor’s Classroom Speech

    January 29, 2008

    This morning, Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss sent Brandeis faculty a letter defending the indefensible investigation and punishment of longtime professor Donald Hindley for his classroom speech. To make matters worse, this letter outright misrepresents the violations of Brandeis’s own policies identified by Brandeis’s own Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR) numerous times. In addition, in this letter the Provost fails to apologize for these violations, downplays the Brandeis faculty’s justified fears of new prosecutions, and ignores the scathing CFRR reports. Why does President Reinharz permit Krauss to continue refusing to own up to her missteps? This is a question […]

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  • FIRE publishes report on Hindley

    January 29, 2008

    by Noah Bein A report from a prominent watchdog group last week sharply criticized the administration’s handling of the discrimination case against Prof. Donald Hindley (POL) and ignited a firestorm on the Internet and in national media. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit organization that examines issues of free speech in higher education, published the report on its Web site last Wednesday, admonishing Provost Marty Krauss and University President Jehuda Reinharz for their role in the investigation of student complaints about Hindley’s alleged use of the word wetbacks in a Latin American studies course last September. “Brandeis […]

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  • Professor Condemns Brandeis’s Treatment of Donald Hindley

    January 28, 2008

    FIRE friend Jay Bergman—a professor at Central Connecticut State University and an alumnus of Brandeis—shared with us an e-mail he sent to Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss regarding the university’s treatment of Professor Donald Hindley: Dear Provost Krauss, I have read what FIRE and Eugene Volokh have written about the Hindley case, and am appalled by the lack of due process Professor Hindley received, by the ridiculous lengths to which the Brandeis administration has gone to ensure that minority students not be made “uncomfortable” by what their professors and other students say in their classes, and by what appears to me […]

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  • Ethnic sensitivities threaten academic freedom

    January 28, 2008

    A professor at Brandeis University, a prominent institution of higher education located in Waltham, Mass., was found guilty of racial harassment for using language Brandeis officials deemed offensive. Brandies officials, however, never informed Professor Donald Hindley, nearly a 50-year veteran in academia, exactly what words spurred the verdict, but Professor Hindley suspects it was his use of “wetback” in his Latin American Politics course. Professor Hindley was not provided a formal hearing and is now subject to classroom monitoring. In the Fall 2007, Professor Hindley explained to his class Mexican migrants have sometimes been victims of racial discrimination and the […]

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  • Shhh! Free speech crackdown on campus

    January 27, 2008

    This is scary stuff. Yet it’s been tolerated on college campuses for years. Suppose it moved from campus to your office, your company? Suppose it threatened your job? Here’s the plot. Brandeis University, named after Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (a famous champion of free speech), just insisted on sensitivity training and threatened to fire a professor after one student-maybe two or three-complained about the professor’s speech. In a Latin American politics class, professor Donald Hindley, 74, who’s taught at Brandeis for nearly 50 years, used a word he’s used many times-”wetback”-to explain the nastiness aimed at Mexican immigrants who […]

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  • FIRE Speaks About Brandeis on WBZ Radio Tonight

    January 25, 2008

    Robert Shibley, FIRE’s Vice President, will be a guest on the Dan Rea show on Boston’s WBZ News Radio 1030-AM tonight at 8:15 pm (ET) to talk about the case of Prof. Donald Hindley at Brandeis University as well as similar situations across the nation. Rea and Shibley are also planning to take phone calls, so if you are an interested listener and have a question, please call in! You can also listen live on the Internet at WBZ.com.

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  • Brandeis professor says his right to free speech violated

    January 25, 2008

    A professor at Brandeis University says his rights to free speech and due process were violated after he was disciplined for using the word “wetback” during a political science class. The professor, Donald Hindley, has said he was simply describing the use of the word while teaching his Latin American politics course last fall. But the university has said that students in the class who lodged a complaint heard him use the word in a way that was offensive. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that advocates for free speech on college campuses, has been publicizing […]

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  • Prof fights reprimand for ‘wetback’ reference

    January 25, 2008

    Free-speech advocates are calling on Brandeis University to apologize to a longtime professor who was disciplined after he allegedly told students in his class on Latin American politics that Mexican migrants are sometimes pejoratively referred to as “wetbacks.” The university accused Donald Hindley of making statements that violated its policies on discrimination and harassment, Hindley said in a statement Wednesday. Neither the letter nor Hindley’s statement specified what he said or is accused of saying. But in a press release this week, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said Hindley turned to the group for help, insisting that he […]

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  • Slang term use lands professor in hot seat

    January 25, 2008

    A free speech organization has taken up the cause of a veteran Brandeis University professor who was disciplined by the school for describing the word “wetbacks” in his political science course. Professor Donald Hindley was teaching a Latin American politics course last fall, when he told students the word “wetbacks” is a derogatory term used to describe immigrants from Mexico, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “Professor Hindley is a respected scholar who until now has not faced a single student complaint in nearly five decades of teaching,” foundation president Greg Lukianoff said on the group’s Web […]

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  • Censorship at Brandeis, again

    January 24, 2008

    A new battle has commenced in the war over suppression of free speech and due process at Brandeis, the institution named (ironically and inappropriately, it would seem) after the late Supreme Court Justice and champion of individual liberty. As my colleague Wendy Kaminer wrote in this space on Wednesday, the school opened an investigation into Professor Donald Hindley, a 40-year veteran of the Politics Department, last October after two students complained about comments he made in class. No one can say for sure what Hindley is accused of saying, however, because to this day the university’s provost has not told […]

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  • Prof in trouble for blasting ‘wetbacks’ slur

    January 24, 2008

    A professor is being punished for criticizing the use of an ethnic slur in what the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is calling a “a mindless application of ‘sensitivity at all costs’ at the expense of freedom of expression.” The dispute arose over the work of Brandeis University Latin American Politics professor Donald Hindley, a veteran of nearly 50 years in teaching. He has been declared guilty of racial harassment and has had a monitor placed in his classes after “he criticized the use of the word ‘wetbacks’ in his Latin American Politics course,” according to a statement from […]

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  • Brandeis University Tramples Free Speech and Academic Freedom

    January 23, 2008

    WALTHAM, Mass., January 23, 2008—Brandeis University declared a professor guilty of racial harassment and placed a monitor in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. Professor Donald Hindley, a nearly 50-year veteran of teaching, has neither been granted a formal hearing by Brandeis nor provided with the substance of the accusations against him in writing. Hindley has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “Brandeis’s actions demonstrate a fundamental disregard for academic freedom and for fair, rational fact-finding procedures,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “Professor […]

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  • Thinking about a Student Bill of Rights?

    December 10, 2007

    On Friday, The Brandeis Hoot reported that the Brandeis Student Union is going to spend next semester working on a Student Bill of Rights. Every private college is different, more or less, so I would hesitate to give specific advice to students who want to craft such a document at their college. But since December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, let me provide some principles and questions for students to consider: 1. Do you actually need a “Bill of Rights”? Recall that the United States Constitution did not originally include one. A main argument against enumerating rights was that […]

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  • Silverglate Defends Parody on Campus in ‘The Phoenix’

    May 17, 2007

    Today’s edition of The Phoenix features a prominent article by FIRE co-founder Harvey Silver and Jan Wolfe detailing the recent censorship of satirical student newspapers at Tufts and Brandeis. At Tufts, as we’ve reported, The Primary Source offended campus sensibilities by publishing two satirical articles—a Christmas carol parody targeting race-based admissions and a mock ad criticizing Tufts’ “Islamic Awareness Week.” Tufts dispensed with First Amendment protections of parody—what Silverglate tags an “inherently risky art form”—and found the independent student paper guilty of “harassment” and “creating a hostile environment.” At Brandeis, the humor magazine Gravity printed a fake ad for “BlackJerry,” […]

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  • Unfunny: Capitulation, Resignations as Brandeis Humor Mag Folds under Pressure

    May 14, 2007

    A controversy arose recently at Brandeis University involving Gravity, a student-run humor magazine entering its seventeenth year on campus. Gravity, known for articles with titles like “Ewok Joins NFL, Dies in Tragic Booze Cruise Incident” and “God is Dead; Tooth Fairy Still Up In the Air,” became the subject of heated debate on campus after the magazine’s spring issue included a satirical advertisement for a “BlackJerry”—that is, an African-American man named Jerry advertised as a “product” to be purchased in lieu of a wireless device like a BlackBerry. The fake ad’s copy—a testimonial from a white CEO named “Chris Washington”—states […]

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  • The Brandeis “Chilling Effect” Continues?

    February 16, 2007

    Daniel Pipes, the always-controversial Middle East scholar, wrote in The Justice, the student newspaper at Brandeis University, on Tuesday that University President Jehuda Reinharz has covertly established “a closed student-faculty committee to monitor speakers on the Middle East.” Reinharz, in a reply to Pipes (made public on Pipes’ personal web site) confirmed the existence of such a “committee” but divulged few details about its purpose. Many members of the Brandeis community, like alum David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy, are wary of this committee, fearing that Reinharz is seeking to arm himself with a level of veto power over student-sponsored […]

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  • Brandeis Takes a Stab at Art Censorship

    May 3, 2006

    Israeli–Palestinian art is the subject of more controversy this week, this time at Brandeis University. As an article in today’s Boston Globe (membership required) explains, Brandeis pulled an exhibit by Israeli student Lior Halperin, who arranged for Palestinian teenagers to paint images that would bring the Palestinian point of view to the Brandeis campus. The exhibit, according to the Globe article, featured such scenes as a girl with pigtails lying in a pool of blood and a young amputee in a Palestinian tent city. The exhibit was scheduled to run in the Brandeis library for two weeks, but was removed […]

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