Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis: Student Employee Found Guilty of ‘Racial Harassment’ for Reading a Book
December 5, 2007
One of FIRE’s most shocking cases in 2008 was that of Keith John Sampson, a student-employee at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who was found guilty of racial harassment for merely reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan during his work breaks. Thanks to FIRE’s involvement and the extensive media coverage of the case, the finding against Sampson was eventually overturned and his school record was cleared, but the story behind this incident is still disturbing.» Read More
Verbal abuse of another person, including the following:
a. An express or implied threat to:
1. Interfere with an individual’s personal safety, academic efforts, employment, or participation in university-sponsored activities and that under the circumstances causes the person to have a reasonable apprehension that such harm is about to occur; or
2. Injure that person, or damage his or her property; or
b. “Fighting words” that are spoken face-to-face as a personal insult to the listener or listeners in personally abusive language inherently likely to provoke a violent reaction by the listener or listeners to the speaker.
Bullying is defined by the Office of Housing and Residence Life as actions and behaviors that are intended to intimidate, coerce, degrade, abuse, badger, harm or negatively impact another person. This definition includes but is not limited to sexual orientation, gender expression, sex, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ability, size, religion, age, and veteran status. This policy also includes situations in which roommates use bullying tactics to intimidate their roommate. Students who exhibit bullying behavior toward another student will be held accountable through the IUPUI Code of Conduct System.
Individual rights are best protected by a collective commitment to mutual respect. A student who accepts admission to Indiana University agrees to:
take responsibility for what he or she says and does, behave in a manner that is respectful of the dignity of others, treating others with civility and understanding ….
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, including requests for sexual favors and other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, when submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of a student’s education, or submission to or rejection of such conduct by a student is used as the basis for academic conditions affecting the student; or the conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning environment.
Discriminatory harassment is defined as conduct that targets an individual based upon age, color, religion, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, sex or gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or veteran’s status and that adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s education, housing, or participation in a university activity; or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for academic pursuits, housing, or participation in university activities.
Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct: Right to Freedom of Association, Expression, Advocacy, and Publication 13-14
In accordance with the state and federal Constitution and university policy, the university recognizes the rights of all students to engage in discussion, to express thoughts and opinions, and to assemble, speak, write, publish or invite speakers on any subject without university interference or fear of university disciplinary action.
November 30, 2012
‘At Stanford, I took every human rights class that was offered, every First Amendment class, and in addition to that, for six additional credits, I did an independent study on the origins of the prior restraint doctrine of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. That’s how much of a nerd I am about this stuff.’ Greg Lukianoff lets out a big hearty laugh, before adding, ‘And I really enjoyed that last one’. There is no doubting Lukianoff’s passion for the principles of liberty. In 2006, he was made president of the Foundation for Individual Rights […]» Read More
November 16, 2012
At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—”a bizarre, parallel dimension,” as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it. Mr. Lukianoff, a 38-year-old Stanford Law grad, has spent the past decade fighting free-speech battles on college campuses. The latest was last week at Fordham University, where President Joseph McShane scolded College Republicans for the sin of inviting Ann Coulter to speak. […]» Read More
October 15, 2012
If you feel that the quality of our national dialogue is at an all—time low, you’re not alone. But why, in a day and age when more of us are college educated than ever before, are we losing the ability to engage in informed, meaningful debate? Shouldn’t we be living in some kind of golden age of national dialogue? In our latest video (see below), the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work) sheds light on one potential contributing factor to this incongruity: decades of censorship on the modern college campus is teaching students all the wrong lessons […]» Read More
August 3, 2010
Ever since the Second World War, professional educators have promoted a college or university education for the wrong reason, viz., to make more money than otherwise would be the case. Around 1965 the passion for the egalitarian and pacifistic goals of the left began to corrupt higher learning even more. Today one enrolls at one’s own risk. The fundamental error of the claim that college makes you richer is that those who succeed after college are likely to succeed without it. While many students have indeed gone on to prosperous careers, many others have not, dropping out at some point […]» Read More
August 26, 2009
by Greg Lukianoff The Huffington Post Today, my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education launched an extensive national advertising campaign highlighting five colleges that have unapologetically punished students and faculty for what should be clearly protected speech. The ad below appeared today directly adjacent to U.S. News & World Report‘s annual ranking of the best national colleges: The ad focuses on the almost unbelievable tale of Keith John Sampson, a student at a college in Indiana who was punished simply for sitting at a table and quietly reading a book. Over the next few days and weeks […]» Read More
July 14, 2008
A janitor whom a university official had accused of racial harassment for reading a historical book about the Ku Klux Klan on his break has gotten an apology — months later — from the school. Charles Bantz, chancellor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, apologized to Keith John Sampson in a letter dated Friday, saying the school is committed to free expression. ”I can candidly say that we regret this situation took place,” Bantz wrote. Sampson’s troubles began last year when a co-worker complained after seeing him reading a book titled ”Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated […]» Read More
May 1, 2008
by Jacob Sullum Reason Online Remember Keith Sampson, the janitor at Indiana University–Purdue University in Indianapolis (IUPUI) who was accused of racially harassing his co-workers by reading a scholarly book about the Ku Klux Klan? When I last discussed the case, IUPUI’s Affirmative Action Office had backed off its initial charge—not because Sampson has a First Amendment right to read whatever books he wants at a state-run university but because the office could not determine exactly what he had been thinking while reading the book about the Klan. The implication was that if he ever read another book that […]» Read More
July 15, 2013
It’s been more than two months since FIRE and the higher ed community were shocked by a letter issued jointly by the Departments of Education and Justice to the University of Montana. FIRE staff have blogged extensively about the Departments’ “blueprint” for campus sexual harassment in the last 10 weeks, but there are four crucial points that I believe bear special emphasis. 1. Overbroad and vague harassment rationales have been the primary justification and legal theory behind campus speech codes since the 1980s. In one sense, the attempt to stretch the definition of harassment beyond all recognition is nothing new. […]» Read More
July 14, 2010
Do you remember the case of the young girl who put a single french fry in her mouth as she entered the Washington, DC, Metro, and found herself handcuffed and arrested? Here’s the story as told by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit: Ansche had stopped at a fast-food restaurant on the way and ordered a bag of french fries—to go. While waiting for her companion to purchase a fare-card, Ansche removed and ate a french fry from the take-out bag she was holding. After proceeding through the fare-gate, Ansche was stopped by a plainclothed Metro Transit […]» Read More
January 22, 2010
I was on Talk to Solomon on CPNlive.com last night discussing FIRE’s case at Temple University, which charged an unconstitutional security fee to a student organization for an appearance by controversial Dutch legislator Geert Wilders. The discussion also covered FIRE’s work more generally, including a discussion of FIRE’s case at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), which once found a student-employee guilty of racial harassment because of the cover of a book he was reading. (Click here for our video on the IUPUI case: Political Correctness vs. Freedom of Thought—The Keith John Sampson Story.)» Read More
January 16, 2009
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) Chancellor Samuel Goldman and his administration have been a veritable one-stop shop for newsworthy content lately, as followers of The Torch this week are no doubt aware. In one of three articles penned by Adam Testa for the Southern Illinoisan, Goldman referred to FIRE as “embarrassing” SIUC into defending itself, as though its free speech crisis did not already exist, meanwhile having actually made FIRE’s requested change to SIUC’s protest policy. This prompted FIRE’s press release on SIUC’s doublespeak, to which Testa reported that the university will not respond. Goldman now asks for patience—but […]» Read More
December 23, 2008
One of FIRE’s most shocking cases in 2008 was that of Keith John Sampson, a student-employee at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who was found guilty of racial harassment for merely reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan during his work breaks. Thanks to FIRE’s involvement and the extensive media coverage of the case, the finding against Sampson was eventually overturned and his school record was cleared, but the story behind this incident is still disturbing months later. During the media storm that followed Sampson’s case, filmmaker Andrew Marcus decided […]» Read More
September 18, 2008
In our nearly ten-year history, FIRE has seen many absurd cases in which students have been punished for exercising their First Amendment rights. One of our more interesting cases was finally resolved last September, when Indiana University–South Bend overturned its punishment of student reporter Robert Francis, whose only offense was asking questions of an actress in the cast of The Vagina Monologues. The play, which includes a great deal of graphic language and sexual content, is dedicated to the “celebration of female sexuality,” but Francis’s questions in a similar vein were deemed “lewd, indecent or obscene.” Francis got in trouble […]» Read More
July 17, 2008
In a letter sent today to Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Chancellor Charles R. Bantz and others, FIRE calls on IUPUI to clarify the university’s official stance regarding the racial harassment charge against Keith John Sampson. As we have discussed on The Torch recently, IUPUI Director of Media Relations Rich Schneider has engaged in publicly smearing Sampson to the press, stating that the racial harassment finding against Sampson was based not on his reading the book in question, but rather some undisclosed harassing behavior. Schneider has refused to reveal the nature of this alleged behavior. In light of […]» Read More
July 15, 2008
Hot on the heels of last week’s Wall Street Journal opinion piece, the Associated Press has become the latest major media outlet to cover the travails of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis student-employee Keith John Sampson, found guilty of racial harassment for reading a book during his breaks from work. In an article published by the wire service late yesterday evening, AP reporter Deanna Martin documents the basic facts of Sampson’s ordeal, with particular attention to the recent apology Sampson received from Chancellor Charles Bantz. The article also identifies the work of FIRE to secure a favorable outcome for […]» Read More
July 8, 2008
Back in May, FIRE informed Torch readers that Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) had revoked its finding that student-employee Keith John Sampson was guilty of racial harassment for publicly reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan. School administrators sent us a letter confirming that no documents regarding the incident remain in Sampson’s file and claiming that IUPUI hopes “this experience as well as feedback from the campus community will result in an improved [complaint] process.” We declared victory and applauded IUPUI publicly for admitting regret over the incident. […]» Read More
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 […]» Read More
March 18, 2008
Keith Sampson’s case at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was recently covered in the Indianapolis Star. As we have reported previously on The Torch, Sampson, a student-employee at IUPUI, faced allegations of racial harassment for the mere act of reading a book entitled Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan during his work breaks. Even though he did nothing more than read by himself in the break room, without targeting any conduct toward his co-workers, one of them filed a complaint on the basis of the subject matter of the book. […]» Read More