Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Location: Brooklyn, New York
Website: http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Brooklyn College, City University of New York 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.

  • Brooklyn College: Public Pressure Against Student Instructor

    January 28, 2011

    Kristofer Petersen-Overton, a doctoral student at the City University of New York Graduate Center, was hired by Brooklyn College’s Department of Political Science to teach a spring 2011 course on Middle Eastern politics. Shortly following receipt of a letter from New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind challenging the hire and the academic merit of the course, Brooklyn College abruptly terminated the hire, claiming merely that Petersen-Overton was too early in his program of study to be allowed to teach the course. FIRE wrote a letter to Brooklyn College President Karen L. Gould in January 2011 asking the school to clarify […]

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  • Brooklyn College: Possible Investigation of Professor’s Expression

    September 7, 2005

    In a direct attack on academic freedom and free speech, the Brooklyn College School of Education tried to silence one of its most prominent critics, history professor KC Johnson. After publicly criticizing perceived indoctrination and viewpoint discrimination by members of the Brooklyn College faculty, Johnson faced a possible investigation by a Brooklyn College “Integrity Committee” for his constitutionally protected speech. In a swift and crucial victory for freedom of speech and academic freedom, Brooklyn College affirmed that Johnson would not be subjected to an unconstitutional inquisition into his views. The college surrendered mere days after FIRE came to Johnson’s public defense.

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  • Brooklyn College: Administrative Attempt to Stop Academic Freedom Resolution

    November 15, 2004

    The City University of New York’s Brooklyn College reversed a decision that disbanded the student government in order to prevent it from voting for a resolution that included an academic bill of rights. After protests from students, faculty members, and FIRE, the college restored the student government to its previous status.

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Red Light Policies

  • CUNY Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive work or academic environment is another form of sexual harassment. Examples include, but are not confined to, the following:

    • Sexual comments, teasing, jokes, slurs or derogatory statements, or other verbal abuse of a sexual nature
    • Graphic or sexually suggestive comments about bodies or clothing
    • Graphic or sexually suggestive gestures
    • Pressure to accept social invitations, meet privately, date or have sexual relations
    • Sexual touching, brushing up against another in a sexual manner, cornering, grabbing, kissing or fondling
    • Coerced sexual intercourse or sexual assault
    • Inquiries or discussions about sexual activities

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  • E-Mail Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    In general, e-mail shall not be used for the initiation or retransmission of: … * Messages containing obscene images or material or offensive language.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • The City University of New York Computer Use Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Users of University computer resources may not employ a false identity, mask the identity of an account or computer, or use computer resources to engage in abuse of others, such as sending harassing, obscene, threatening, abusive, deceptive, or anonymous messages within or outside the University.

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  • Student Handbook: Brooklyn College Pledge 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience

    At the Presidential Welcome/Convocation, entering students recite the Brooklyn College Pledge. It is a pledge focused on expectations for all students. … By endorsing these principles, I accept the obligation to behave in ways that contribute to a civil campus society free from bias and intolerance, and I resolve to support this civility in others. This I pledge to Brooklyn College and its community of scholars.

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  • Student Handbook: Rules and Regulations for the Maintenance of Public Order 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes

    Each member of the academic community or an invited guest has the right to advocate his [or her] position without having to fear abuse, physical, verbal, or otherwise, from others supporting conflicting points of view. Members of the academic community and other persons on the college grounds shall not use language or take actions reasonably likely to provoke or encourage physical violence by demonstrators, those demonstrated against, or spectators.

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Green Light Policies
  • The City University of New York Policies and Procedures on Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Against Sexual Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Harassment is unwelcome conduct based on a protected characteristic that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or abusive work or academic environment. Such conduct can be verbal, written, visual, or physical.

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  • The City University of New York Policies and Procedures on Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Against Sexual Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Other types of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature can also constitute sexual harassment, if sufficiently severe or pervasive that the target finds, and a reasonable person would find, that an intimidating, hostile or abusive work or academic environment has been created. Examples of this kind of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:
    * sexual comments, teasing, or jokes;
    * sexual slurs, demeaning epithets, derogatory statements, or other verbal abuse of a sexual nature;
    * graphic or sexually suggestive comments about an individual’s attire or body;
    * graphic or sexually suggestive gestures;
    * inquiries or discussions about sexual activities;
    * pressure to accept social invitations, to meet privately, to date, or to have sexual relations;
    * sexual touching, brushing up against another in a sexual manner, cornering, pinching, grabbing, kissing, or fondling;
    * coerced sexual intercourse or sexual assault.

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  • Backlash over firing of pro-Palestinian professor

    January 28, 2011

    A watchdog group that defends academic freedom has now weighed in on the case of a Brooklyn College professor who was fired after complaints from a local politician about his pro-Palestinian views. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) sent off a letter today to the president of Brooklyn College about the case of Kristofer Petersen-Overton, who was fired after he was appointed to teach a course on Middle East politics but before the class had actually started. I detailed the firing, which Brooklyn College maintains was a matter of credentials, here.  FIRE, whose mission is to “defend and […]

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  • Campus Alert: Think like us–or else

    June 4, 2007

    Columbia University’s Teachers College is one of America’s most prestigious education schools. For many students, it’s probably the best—but not if you don’t buy the school’s definition of “social justice.” Teachers College evaluates students in part on the basis of so-called “dispositions,” defined as “observable behaviors” that “involve the use of certain skills.” One “disposition” is the student’s “Respect for Diversity and Commitment to Social Justice.” This warps the discussion of whether a student might make a good teacher into whether that student has the “correct” personal, religious or political beliefs. Evaluating students’ aptitude for teaching based on their commitment […]

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  • Speech on Campus After 9/11: Less Free than It Used to Be?

    May 25, 2006

    Universities have traditionally been places where debate and the free exchange of ideas have been welcomed. But after 9/11, that may be changing — as some recent, troubling incidents suggest. In this column, I’ll survey some recent incidents suggesting free speech on campus is in peril, and discuss the extent to which the First Amendment protects student and faculty speech Cracking Down on Student Demonstrators and Controversial Student Speech Recently, students at the University of Miami (a private school, but one with a stated policy of fostering free speech) demonstrated alongside striking maintenance workers to show solidarity. Now, they face […]

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  • ‘We Don’t Need That Kind of Attitude’

    December 16, 2005

    Partway through her teacher-training program, Karen K. Siegfried started pulling her red compact car to the far end of the campus parking lot. She didn’t want her professors at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks to see her bumper stickers: One proclaims her opposition to abortion, and the other is emblazoned with the name of one of Alaska’s Republican senators.”It worried me what they could do based on my politics,” says Ms. Siegfried, who had already clashed with education professors over her views on affirmative action and gun control. When Ms. Siegfried disagreed with one professor’s contention that video games […]

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  • Class(room) Warriors

    October 24, 2005

    The cultural left has a new tool for enforcing political conformity in schools of education. It is called dispositions theory, and it was set forth five years ago by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education: Future teachers should be judged by their “knowledge, skills, and dispositions.” What are “dispositions”? NCATE’s prose made clear that they are the beliefs and attitudes that guide a teacher toward a moral stance. That sounds harmless enough, but it opened a door to reject teaching candidates on the basis of thoughts and beliefs. In 2002, NCATE said that an education school may require […]

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  • FIRE Protests Threatened ‘Inquisition’ of Brooklyn College’s Dissenting Prof.

    September 20, 2005

    By Jim Brown at Agape Press A New York college recently accused of threatening to censor a dissenting professor claims it has remained firm in its commitment to academic freedom. Brooklyn College claims it has not begun an investigation of outspoken Professor KC Johnson; however, the statement comes after the instructor was warned he may face such an official investigation. Johnson received the warning that he may face a Brooklyn College “Integrity Committee” investigation for criticizing the school’s new ideological “litmus test” for education students. Each student in the department is now evaluated on his or her commitment to the […]

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  • College backs off on dissenting professor

    September 15, 2005

    Faced with the threat of legal action, a New York City college pledged not to investigate a professor who objected to the school’s policy of requiring education students be committed to a particular definition of “social justice.” Brooklyn College’s decision to stop pressuring history professor Robert “KC” Johnson is a “crucial victory for freedom of speech and academic freedom,” declared the public-interest group that came to his defense, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE. FIRE said the college “surrendered” just a few days after the group began defending Johnson, ensuring the professor would “not be subjected to […]

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  • Prof’s protest of ‘political litmus test’ raises hackles

    September 10, 2005

    By Linda Seebach Oh, that KC Johnson. He’s always getting into hot water. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that the administration at Brooklyn College of The City University of New York keeps trying to bring the water to a full rolling boil, hoping he’ll jump out. Well, perhaps he should. He deserves better, and his institution doesn’t deserve to keep him. But his students, who on the evidence are unlikely to encounter many other faculty members who exemplify the academic virtues of free inquiry and principled disagreement, need him.Robert KC Johnson is a tenured […]

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  • 10 great cigars and why I smoked them

    June 13, 2005

    By Mike Adams at Townhall.com For years, communism has been preventing me from enjoying a lot of good cigars. That used to bother me, until I found a way around the problem. As many of my readers know, there are more communists teaching on the average American campus than there are teaching in all of Cuba. And, of course, these communist professors do a lot of stupid things, most of which violate the United States Constitution. I have learned that fighting American communist professors is fun, largely because they are so easy to beat when challenged. That’s why I smoke […]

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  • ‘Disposition’ Emerges as Issue at Brooklyn College

    May 31, 2005

    By Jacob Gershman at The New York Sun Brooklyn College’s School of Education has begun to base evaluations of aspiring teachers in part on their commitment to social justice, raising fears that the college is screening students for their political views. The School of Education at the CUNY campus initiated last fall a new method of judging teacher candidates based on their “dispositions,” a vogue in teacher training across the country that focuses on evaluating teachers’ values, apart from their classroom performance. Critics of the assessment policy warned that aspiring teachers are being judged on how closely their political views […]

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  • Disposition for Bias

    May 23, 2005

    By Elizabeth Johnson at Inside Higher Ed Little doubt exists that the nation’s college faculty has become less intellectually diverse over the past generation. According to one recent study, self-described liberals or leftists increased from 39 percent in 1984 to 72 percent now, with even higher percentages among the ranks of humanities and social science professors. Speaking for the educational establishment, Jonathan Knight of the American Association of University Professors doubted “that these liberal views cut very deeply into the education of students.” Knight might have looked at teacher-training programs before issuing his comment. There, the faculty’s ideological imbalance has […]

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  • Academic Freedom on the Front Lines

    January 11, 2005

    By any measure, Brooklyn College ’s current leadership sports a dreary record regarding the protection of academic freedom on campus. In 2002, the college unsuccessfully attempted to deny me promotion and the resulting tenure for “uncollegial” behavior—which the administration defined, in writing, as disagreeing with the political, curricular, and personnel opinions of some senior colleagues. Last fall, the administration proposed making “collegiality” a basis of evaluation for the scholarship, teaching, service, and overall performance of all untenured faculty. (No doubt many faculty leftists would deem “uncollegial” the scholarship of Richard Pipes or the teaching of John Lewis Gaddis.) A few […]

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  • School Officials Disband Student Government

    November 19, 2004

    By Jacob Gershman at The New York Sun Brooklyn College’s administration has disbanded the school’s student government for violating election procedures. An organization critical of the unusual move described it as a way to target students who had complained that some faculty members were abusing academic freedom. The administration at the school, a senior college of the City University of New York, dissolved the student assembly this month, accusing its leaders of inappropriately electing officers at a meeting in September. The dean for student life, Milga Morales, notified student leaders that the assembly would not be allowed to continue operating […]

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  • GOP Senators Condemn Campus ‘Thought Control’

    October 30, 2003

    By Robert B. Bluey at CNSNews.com

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  • Shibley in ‘Forbes’ on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Campus Free Speech

    March 18, 2014

    A handful of recent incidents at American colleges and universities illustrate a troubling pattern of students being censored or punished for participating in the debate over Israeli-Palestinian relations. Today in ‘Forbes,’ FIRE’s Robert Shibley writes about how the longstanding conflict is part of a threat to free expression here in the United States.

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  • FIRE’s Robert Shibley Weighs in on BDS Controversy at Brooklyn College

    March 20, 2013

    Writing for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley weighs in on the recent “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” (BDS) controversy at Brooklyn College. Torch readers will recall that last month New York City lawmakers threatened the public college’s funding over a planned “BDS Movement Against Israel” campus event, which was sponsored by several student groups as well as the college’s political science department. You can read about the matter and FIRE’s response, including our open letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other public officials, here. As one of several commentators writing for […]

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  • An Open Letter to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz Regarding the Ongoing Controversy at Brooklyn College

    February 6, 2013

    Dear Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Markowitz: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, thefire.org) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and academic freedom at our nation’s colleges and universities. We write today to express our concern about recent statements made by elected officials that threaten the academic freedom of the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College. At issue is an event at Brooklyn College scheduled for February 7 and titled “BDS Movement Against Israel.” (BDS is an acronym for “boycott, divestment, and sanctions.”) The […]

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  • NYC Lawmakers Threaten Brooklyn College Over Controversial Forum

    February 4, 2013

    The last few days have seen controversy brewing over a planned event at Brooklyn College. The planned February 7 event, titled “BDS Movement Against Israel” and co-sponsored by several student groups as well as Brooklyn College’s political science department, is slated to feature Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti, two proponents of the push to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (hence the “BDS” shorthand). Particularly controversial has been the political science department’s co-sponsorship of the event—which some have criticized as constituting an official endorsement of the event and the views of its speakers by Brooklyn College. Political Science Chair Paisley […]

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  • Brooklyn College Reinstates Professor after Controversy

    February 1, 2011

    Brooklyn College (BC) has reinstated an adjunct instructor it fired just days ago. Kristofer Petersen-Overton, who is also a graduate student, had been fired shortly after his academic writings and his course, “Politics of the Middle East,” were condemned by a member of the New York State Assembly, Dov Hikind. FIRE wrote BC President Karen L. Gould last Friday, raising questions about academic freedom and due process in its treatment of Petersen-Overton, and reminding BC of its duty to uphold constitutional rights on campus. Fortunately, BC has reviewed its actions and reversed course. While this incident should never have taken place, BC deserves praise […]

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  • David Thompson Speaks Out about KC Johnson and Social Justice Indoctrination

    October 20, 2010

    FIRE recently released a video about KC Johnson’s dispute with the Brooklyn College School of Education (BCSOE) over an article he published on “Dispositions Theory,” or the theory that prospective public school teachers must be disposed to certain sets of highly politicized beliefs.  David Thompson’s recent blog post, “Dissident Academic Feels the Warmth of ‘Social Justice’” (cited by Amy Alkon in her subsequent article, “How to Screen Out Teachers with ‘Undesirable’ Social Beliefs”) employs Johnson’s case as an example to illustrate the dangers of promoting monolithic theories of social justice in education schools. Thompson reviewed various teacher-training outlines at education schools […]

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  • New FIRE Video on KC Johnson’s Fight for Academic Freedom

    October 14, 2010

    FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network has released a new video today about Brooklyn College history professor KC Johnson’s fight to protect his academic freedom. Johnson wrote a column publicly criticizing “dispositions theory,” which education schools sometimes use as a political litmus test to ensure that students have the “correct” views on “social justice.” In response, the Brooklyn College education department (31 professors) unanimously signed a letter demanding that he stop writing about dispositions theory and that he be investigated by an “Integrity Committee.” With FIRE’s help, Johnson fought back and vindicated his academic freedom, proving once again that universities cannot defend […]

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  • This Month in FIRE History: ‘Education Programs May Have a ‘Disposition’ for Censorship’

    September 12, 2006

    One year ago this month, FIRE launched in earnest its campaign against vague and politically loaded ‘dispositions’ standards in education programs. As our press release reported: A new trend in campus censorship is emerging: this summer, Washington State University used “dispositions” theory to punish an education student for his political and religious expression. The university relented only after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) became involved. “Dispositions” theory, increasingly in vogue in education programs, requires professors to evaluate their students’ commitment to concepts such as “social justice” and “diversity” in conjunction with their actual scholastic achievement. Just last […]

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  • Brooklyn Parks Department Censors Student Art Exhibit

    May 9, 2006

    The Brooklyn parks commission has censored an art exhibition by a group of Brooklyn College Master of Fine Arts students. The exhibit, “Plan B,” which features depictions of male genitalia and an explicit video, was supposed to show at the Brooklyn War Memorial (which is apparently an art venue) until May 25, but last Thursday the Brooklyn parks commissioner shut it down by ordering that the building be closed and the locks be changed. Parks officials have stated that the material was not appropriate for families, but students say that their deal with the city made no stipulations about the […]

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  • FIRE Cases in the ‘Washington Post’

    February 6, 2006

    Sunday’s Washington Post featured an outstanding article by Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute on the disturbing trend toward “dispositions” evaluations in colleges of education. After discussing FIRE cases involving ideological orthodoxy at Washington State University, Le Moyne College, and Brooklyn College, Hess aptly points out, “The cultivation of right-thinking cadres has no place in America’s colleges and universities.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. His piece is well worth a read.

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  • FIRE’s Work Lauded in Newspapers Nationwide

    December 12, 2005

    It’s been a good couple of days for Justice Brandeis’ maxim that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Thanks to articles in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, news of FIRE’s efforts to disinfect the swamps of repression currently passing for American universities is reaching an ever-increasing number of people.   On Sunday, The New York Times covered our recent victory at William Paterson University. (Read it at the Times website if you are a TimesSelect subscriber.) The article by Peter Applebome ran on the front page of the Metro section and thoroughly denounced […]

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  • The Trouble with ‘Dispositions’

    September 21, 2005

    This morning, FIRE launched its second press release in two weeks detailing controversies surrounding the so-called dispositions evaluation of teaching candidates. Two weeks ago, we addressed the Brooklyn College School of Education’s attempt to censor Professor K. C. Johnson after he criticized overtly ideological elements in the school’s own dispositions program. Today, FIRE has set its sights on Washington State University. Already embroiled in controversy after financing and planning a disruptive and threatening protest of a controversial play, the university (this time acting through its school of education) has used “dispositions” theory to punish a self-described conservative Christian student for […]

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  • Education Programs May Have a ‘Disposition’ for Censorship

    September 21, 2005

    PULLMAN, Wash., September 21, 2005—A new trend in campus censorship is emerging: this summer, Washington State University used “dispositions” theory to punish an education student for his political and religious expression. The university relented only after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) became involved. “Dispositions” theory, increasingly in vogue in education programs, requires professors to evaluate their students’ commitment to concepts such as “social justice” and “diversity” in conjunction with their actual scholastic achievement. Just last month, FIRE had to intervene when Brooklyn College professor K. C. Johnson was threatened with a secret investigation for questioning the use […]

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  • Professor’s First Amendment Rights Upheld at Brooklyn College

    September 14, 2005

    As FIRE announced in a press release this morning, Brooklyn College has conceded that Professor K. C. Johnson’s public criticisms of dispositions theory are constitutionally protected and has affirmed that Professor Johnson will not be subject to any investigation as a result of his expression. This is a victory for academic freedom and freedom of speech, although it is disheartening that FIRE even needed to remind a public university that its students and faculty have the right to voice their opinions on matters of public concern. The college could not defend in public what Professor Johnson’s would-be censors were doing […]

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  • First Amendment and Academic Freedom Triumph at Brooklyn College

    September 14, 2005

    BROOKLYN, N.Y., September 14, 2005—In a swift and crucial victory for freedom of speech and academic freedom, Brooklyn College has affirmed that prominent professor K. C. Johnson will not be subjected to an unconstitutional inquisition into his views.  The college surrendered mere days after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) came to Johnson’s public defense. Since May of this year, Johnson has been speaking out against the use of “dispositions” theory by Brooklyn College’s School of Education (SOE).  Since this theory requires that education students’ commitment to “social justice” be evaluated along with academic performance, Johnson fears its […]

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  • Criticism or Censorship?

    September 8, 2005

    In June of this year, the City University of New York at Brooklyn (Brooklyn College) was rocked by a story in the New York Sun reporting on a new method of evaluating education students. That method, called “dispositions,” was designed in part to determine whether students had an appropriate commitment to “social justice.” Students who were not sufficiently committed to the university’s politicized vision of social justice could find that their education degrees—and future teaching careers—were in jeopardy. The “dispositions” theory plainly violates the Supreme Court’s famous admonition that the government cannot “prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, […]

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  • Brooklyn College Threatens Inquisition to Silence Dissenting Professor

    September 8, 2005

    BROOKLYN, N.Y., September 8, 2005—In a direct attack on academic freedom and free speech, the Brooklyn College School of Education (SOE) is seeking to silence one of its most prominent critics, history professor K. C. Johnson.  After publicly criticizing perceived indoctrination and viewpoint discrimination by members of the Brooklyn College faculty, Johnson is facing a possible investigation by a Brooklyn College “Integrity Committee” for his constitutionally protected speech. Johnson has criticized the SOE’s use of “dispositions” theory, which holds that professors should evaluate students’ commitment to “social justice” along with academic achievement.  On June 7, officials from the college’s faculty […]

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  • Real World vs. Ideal World

    June 10, 2005

    My recent posts regarding the differences between the free speech of department chairs and the free speech of professors have generated considerable lively discussion—both inside FIRE’s offices and outside (for a thoughtful response to my latest post on Shortell, see this entry from Sherman Dorn). The details of Shortell’s case bring up an interesting question: should a “free speech” organization ever publicly state that otherwise constitutionally protected speech can be restricted according to a person’s position in public life? Shouldn’t we be free speech “purists?” The answer to that question depends on the answer to another, different, question: “How effective […]

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  • Shortell Declines Chairmanship After All

    June 8, 2005

    Just a quick update that Professor Timothy Shortell has decided not to take up the position as chair of the sociology department at Brooklyn College. This decision comes after controversy arose over his writings about religion and religious people on a non-school-related website. (Read David’s posts for more details about the legal implications for Shortell’s chairmanship and about freedom of speech for department chairs in general.)

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  • Department Chairs and Free Speech

    June 7, 2005

    A good friend of FIRE wrote in response to my post regarding Timothy “Moral Retards” Shortell. In that post, I noted that department chairs, as administrators, do not have the same level of freedom to offer public comments as do professors. I also noted that because Shortell’s comments involved an entire class of people covered by employment discrimination statutes, he now is an enormous liability risk to his university. Qualified individuals of religious faith who are denied employment at CUNY Brooklyn’s sociology department now have powerful evidence of religious animus. Our FIRE friend writes: I am hard pressed to follow […]

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  • ‘Moral Retards’ and Academic Freedom

    June 3, 2005

    Inside Higher Ed has an interesting article regarding CUNY Brooklyn professor and administrator (he is chairman of the sociology department) Timothy Shortell. Shortell, as many may know, has started the clock running on his 15 minutes of fame in our academic freedom wars with a controversial essay regarding people of religious faith. Inside Higher Ed sets the stage: The essay, “Religion & Morality: A Contradiction Explained,” critiqued the role of religion. “Modern religion is a fundamental belief in magic,” he wrote. The essay also argued that religion had numerous negative consequences. Of religions, he wrote: “They persist today because they […]

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  • ‘Dispositions’ at Brooklyn College

    May 31, 2005

    In today’s New York Sun, reporter Jacob Gershman—one of the few reporters who fully understands the critical cultural importance of civil liberties in higher education—writes about the use of the “dispositions” theory (discussed in Robert’s post below) at CUNY Brooklyn. Gershman describes how “dispositions” is defined by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, which accredits roughly half the nation’s education schools, and applied by Brooklyn College’s School of Education: In 2000 the council introduced new standards for accrediting education schools. Those standards incorporated the concept of dispositions, which the agency maintains ought to be measured, to sort out […]

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  • ‘Who’s Undermining Free Speech on Campus Now?’

    April 20, 2005

    Check out David Beito, KC Johnson and Ralph E. Luker’s important article “Who’s Undermining Free Speech on Campus Now?” at Inside Higher Ed. KC and David are well known to FIRE for their tireless defense of freedom of speech and basic rights at their respective institutions, Brooklyn College and the University of Alabama (and anyone looking at the sheer number of cases we have had at UA can see that David has had his hands full). They write: The internal threat to free speech in academia is posed by speech codes. They take many forms and vary from one college to the next university. After […]

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  • Victory for Academic Freedom at Brooklyn College

    November 23, 2004

    BROOKLYN, N.Y., November 23, 2004—The City University of New York’s Brooklyn College has reversed a decision that effectively disbanded the student government to prevent it from voting for a resolution including an academic bill of rights. After protests from students, faculty members, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the college restored the student government to its earlier status, allowing it to continue with its work. “While we are pleased that Brooklyn College has reinstated its duly elected student leaders, it is appalling that the administration was so fearful of true academic freedom that it took such extreme […]

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