Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Website: http://www.jhu.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Johns Hopkins 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.

  • Johns Hopkins University: Viewpoint-Based Rejection of Pro-Life Group

    April 8, 2013

    Johns Hopkins University’s Student Government Association Senate voted to deny recognition to pro-life student group Voice for Life (VFL) on the basis that the club’s activities might make people feel “uncomfortable.”

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  • Johns Hopkins University: Student Punished for Party Invitation

    November 28, 2006

    Johns Hopkins University earned its Red Alert designation by suspending18 -year-old junior Justin Park for posting an “offensive” Halloween party invitation on Facebook. Because some found the invitation racially offensive, Park was charged with and found guilty of “harassment,” “intimidation,” and “failing to respect the rights of others.” Although it was later reduced in the face of public pressure, Park’s original punishment included suspension from the university for a year, completion of 300 hours of community service, an assignment to read 12 books and to write a reflection paper on each, and mandatory attendance at a workshop on diversity and […]

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  • Johns Hopkins University: Viewpoint Discrimination Against Student Newspaper

    May 19, 2006

    Johns Hopkins University (JHU) dropped its investigation of a harassment complaint filed against staff members of a conservative student newspaper, The Carrollton Record. After several months of correspondence with JHU administrators, FIRE gained assurance that JHU is no longer pursuing the investigation. However, limitations on the distribution rights of campus publications remain and the university has not acted against cases of newspaper theft against The Carrollton Record. Johns Hopkins remains on FIRE’s Red Alert list.

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  • Johns Hopkins University: Disciplining of Professor for Pro-War Remarks

    October 21, 2001

    Soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Johns Hopkins University Professor Charles H. Fairbanks voiced his support, at a public forum, for an aggressive campaign against states that harbor terrorists. He said that he would “bet anyone here a Koran” that his analysis was correct. One member of the audience charged that he sought to “assist people in conducting hate crimes” with his language. Even though Fairbanks apologized for his remark about the Koran, Dean Stephen Szabo demanded a written apology and eliminated his position as director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, claiming that Fairbanks was unfit for the job. […]

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Red Light Policies

  • Information Technology Use Policies 12-13

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, Statement

    Unacceptable use of IT Resources includes, but is not
    limited to: ...
    Harassing others by sending annoying, abusive, profane, threatening, defamatory, offensive, or unnecessarily repetitive messages, or by sending e-mails that appear to come from someone other than the sender ... Intentional, non-incidental acquisition, storage, and/or display of sexually explicit images, except for acknowledged, legitimate medical, scholarly, educational, or forensic purposes. Exposure and/or display of such material may be offensive, constitute sexual harassment or create a hostile work environment.

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  • Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All 12-13

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, Statement

    Rude, disrespectful behavior is unwelcome and will not be tolerated.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Technology Services Policies 12-13

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, Statement

    Examples of inappropriate activities include (but are not limited to): ... sending unsolicited e-mail, junk mail, or propagating chain letters.

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  • Living at Hopkins Guidebook: Policy Against Sexual and Non-Sexual Harassment 12-13

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to: unwelcome sexual advances; demands/threats for sexual favors or actions;
    posting, distributing, or displaying sexual pictures or objects; suggestive gestures, sounds or stares; unwelcome physical contact;
    sending/forwarding inappropriate emails of a sexual or offensive nature; inappropriate jokes, comments or innuendos of a sexual
    nature; obscene or harassing telephone calls, emails, letters, notes or other forms of communication; and any conduct of a sexual
    nature that may create a hostile working or educational environment.

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  • Student Organization Guidebook: Civility Statement 12-13

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, Statement

    All members of the campus community are called upon to promote and value this ethic of common respect and civility. We will
    encourage discussion with a goal of instilling an appreciation for the importance of fair-mindedness, personal responsibility, and
    respect for differing opinions. At such occasions, members will always be strongly encouraged to observe common standards of
    decorum and to display a respectful tenor. We will also consider appropriate steps to be taken when members of our community do
    not respect these standards.

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  • Student Organization Guidebook: Publications 12-13

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes, Statement

    All publications must be approved by the Director of Student Activities before they are distributed in the MSE Library. If
    publications are placed on campus without prior approval, or in non-designated areas, they will be subject to immediate
    removal.

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Green Light Policies
  • Pro-life group wins approval at Johns Hopkins

    April 10, 2013

    Johns Hopkins University reversed course on its stance against a student pro-life group, granting the organization full recognition late Tuesday. The student judiciary unanimously overturned an earlier decision by the student senate to deny Voice for Life (VFL) recognition because its planned activities included sidewalk counseling outside abortion facilities.  According to minutes of the March 12 meeting, during which the club was denied official recognition, members of the senate said they feared the group would “make people uncomfortable.” They also suggested the pro-life group shouldn’t get recognition because the school’s pro-abortion group had disbanded. In a letter protesting the decision, the […]

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  • Pro-lifers win recognition at Johns Hopkins

    April 10, 2013

    A campus judiciary committee at Johns Hopkins University granted official recognition to a pro-life student group, overturning the student senate’s previous decision. The Student Government Associate Senate denied recognition to Voices For Life last month due to concerns that the group’s anti-abortion activism constituted harassment. One student government representative even made an association between VFL and a white supremacist group in an email leaked to other students. But many people — including some student leaders, and free speech experts at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education–maintained that the university would be guilty of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination if it refused to recognize the group. On Tuesday, […]

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  • Antiabortion student group now allowed at Johns Hopkins University

    April 10, 2013

    The Johns Hopkins University Student Government Association’s judiciary arm has overturned a March decision by the student-run senate to deny “official group status” to Voice for Life, an antiabortion advocacy and awareness group. Voice for Life now enjoys formal recognition from the student government, allowing members to host events and fundraise on campus, reserve meeting rooms, list events on university Web sites, apply for university funding and use the university’s name, logo and seal, among other things, according to a statement from the judiciary committee distributed Wednesday morning. At a March 12 meeting of the Student Government Association, student leaders […]

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  • Johns Hopkins Relents, Recognizes Student Pro-Life Group

    April 10, 2013

    After intense national pressure and a strongly-worded letter from a pro-life legal group, Johns Hopkins University is finally recognizing a pro-life student group that had been denied official status. Voice for Life (VFL) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has officially been granted recognized group status after members of the student government initially likened it to a white supremacist group. This unanimous decision by the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Judiciary Committee overturns the SGA Senate’s rejection of VFL. The pro-life group had been denied official status because the SGA had deemed sidewalk counseling “harassment” under JHU rules and because of a link on […]

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  • Examiner Local Editorial: Muzzling free speech on campus

    January 2, 2013

    One New Year’s resolution we’d like to see in 2013 is a renewed effort to uphold the First Amendment on college campuses. According to a new report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, 62 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities “maintain severely restrictive speech codes … that clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech.” FIRE noted that the overwhelming majority of speech is protected. But narrow exceptions (such as “fighting words,” obscenity and defamation) “are often misused and abused by universities to punish constitutionally protected speech.” Restrictions intended to protect students from harassment or bullying have been […]

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  • 5 More of the Worst Free Speech Violations on College Campuses

    September 12, 2012

    On Tuesday, I shared the first half of my list of ten of the most common free speech violations which the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE ) encounters in its work defending campus expression. As I noted yesterday, the list is far from comprehensive, and the offenses listed are in no particular order. They do, however, give a sense of the depth and variety of ways free speech is threatened at our colleges and universities. Here are five more of the most common violations against free speech on campus. Be sure to visit yesterday’s post for the first half of […]

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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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  • Looking back at a crisis, one year later

    November 2, 2007

    One year later, few substantive changes have been made within the University in response to the controversial Halloween in the ‘Hood party. “Many of my constituents are upset Justin Park is back on campus,” Black Student Union President Brenton Pennicooke said in reference to the ex-Sigma Chi brother who orchestrated the event. “Some feel he got off too easy. We understand he didn’t serve his full time, and some of us are upset.” In December, Park’s sentence was “substantially reduced” according to a press release by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which advocated for Park during his […]

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  • Campus Alert: Don’t laugh too hard

    May 21, 2007

    How would you feel if you got in trouble not for telling an off-color joke, but simply for laughing at one? Sounds inconceivable, right? Not at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where school policy prohibits not only “inconsiderate jokes” but also “inappropriately directed laughter.” Not only won’t they let you tell certain jokes, they promise to punish you for finding them funny. Drexel is not alone in its prohibition of what can only be described as typical college student interaction. Northeastern University in Boston, apparently the self-appointed arbiter of good taste, prohibits sending any e-mail message “which in the sole judgment […]

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  • Facing off over Facebook

    February 21, 2007

    Students, be warned: the college of your choice may be watching you, and will more than likely be keeping an eye on you once you enter the hallowed campus gates. America’s institutions of higher education are increasingly monitoring students’ activity online and scrutinizing profiles, not only for illegal behavior, but also for what they deem to be inappropriate speech. Contrary to popular misconceptions, the speech codes, censorship, and double standards of the culture-wars heyday of the ’80s and ’90s are alive and kicking, and they are now colliding with the latest explosion of communication technology. Sites like Facebook and MySpace are becoming the largest […]

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  • Johns Hopkins’ 1st Amendment

    January 12, 2007

    Imagine for a moment the following scenario. You organize a party and invite all your friends. Then you receive notice from your school’s administration that some people found the theme of the party offensive and ordered you to remove advertisements for it. You complied, but held the party anyway. Then a few days later you were informed that the party was in violation of university policy and you would be facing disciplinary action. This might sound a bit far-fetched, but it is exactly what happened to Johns Hopkins University student Justin Park. His original punishment for the “Halloween in the […]

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  • Johns Hopkins student appeals punishment for Facebook advertisement

    January 11, 2007

    A Johns Hopkins University student who was punished for an allegedly offensive advertisement he placed on the social networking Web site Facebook.com has had his sentence reduced after an appeal. Advocacy group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education announced this month that Justin Park, the social chair of the local Sigma Chi fraternity chapter, was “satisfied with the results” of the appeal but wanted to keep the specific details of the appeal private. In October, Park posted an advertisement on the social networking Web site Facebook.com for Sigma Chi’s “Halloween in the Hood” party. An administrator from the university’s Greek […]

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  • Hopkins cuts punishment in party case

    January 9, 2007

    Johns Hopkins University has reduced the punishment of a student who was suspended for a role in a Halloween party for which some materials featured images viewed as promoting racial stereotypes. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education announced that Justin Park’s punishment had been reduced, but declined to offer specifics, citing Park’s request for privacy. FIRE indicated that it remains concerned about the incident— in which some minority students have accused the university of not doing enough to create a welcoming environment and in which FIRE and others have said that the university was being politically correct and squelching […]

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  • Penalty reduced over ‘hood’ party

    January 9, 2007

    Johns Hopkins University officials have substantially reduced the punishment of a student suspended for posting online a “Halloween in the Hood” fraternity party invitation, according to an education foundation group that protested the university’s actions. The Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said yesterday that Justin H. Park, a junior and former Sigma Chi fraternity member, contacted it with the results of the appeal. According to Greg Lukianoff, president of FIRE, Park said that he was satisfied with the outcome but wanted it to remain private. “It’s a substantial change,” said Lukianoff. “But the fact that there’s any punishment […]

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  • Hopkins cuts punishment for student over ‘Hood’ Halloween party

    January 9, 2007

    A nonprofit free speech group says a Johns Hopkins University student who was suspended for a year for writing an invitation to a fraternity “Halloween in the Hood” party has had his punishment reduced after an appeal. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has been advocating on behalf of Justin Park, who posted the invitation on the Web site Facebook. The posting described Baltimore as an “H-I-V pit” and urged guests to wear “bling bling ice ice, grills” and “hoochie hoops.” A skeleton pirate with dreadlocks hanging from a noose was used as decoration at the Sigma Chi fraternity […]

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  • Campus thought police

    December 8, 2006

    On October 26, Johns Hopkins University student Justin Park posted a politically incorrect flyer on the popular social-networking site Facebook.com. Today Park finds himself at the center of a brewing controversy that pits parody against a university regime bent on stamping out discourteous expression — even if it means trampling on students’ rights. Park’s flyer promoted an upcoming Halloween party held at his off-campus fraternity under the theme “Halloween in the Hood.” Inspired by the so-called “Pimps and Hoes Party,” a popular event you can find on virtually any major campus, the flyer used provocative “gangsta” talk to describe the […]

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  • Johns Hopkins suspends student for Facebook Halloween party advertisement

    December 6, 2006

    Advocates are calling the suspension of Johns Hopkins University student Justin Park a serious threat to students’ rights after he was disciplined for posting a controversial Halloween party advertisement online. Last month, Park posted an advertisement on the social networking Web site Facebook.com for the Sigma Chi fraternity’s “Halloween in the Hood” party. An administrator from the university’s Greek Affairs office asked Park to remove the posting after several students said it was offensive. Park complied, but later put up another ad after receiving inquiries whether the party would still take place, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Director of […]

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  • Conduct unbecoming

    December 3, 2006

    The indomitable Foundation for Individual Rights in Education reports that a student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. has been suspended for a year for posting Halloween party invitations on facebook.com that some on campus found offensive. The university found 18-year-old junior Justin Park guilty of failing to respect the rights of others, harassment, and intimidation for posting ads for a fraternity’s “Halloween in the Hood” party that contained “offensive racial stereotyping.” He was also charged with “failing to respect the rights of others” and engaging in “conduct or a pattern of conduct that harasses a person or group.” […]

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  • Student expelled for year for invitation

    December 1, 2006

    BALTIMORE, Dec. 1 (UPI) — A student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has been suspended for a year for a racially offensive fraternity party invitation that was posted online. Justin Park, an 18-year-old freshman, is banned from the school’s campus until January 2008, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said. He must perform 300 hours of community service, and read and write reports on 12 books. About 30 students protested the punishment earlier this week, the Baltimore Sun reported. “This is a violation of the university’s moral right for free speech on campus,” Lars Trautman, a junior, told […]

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  • Race debate shifts to free speech

    November 30, 2006

    A campus debate over race relations is evolving into one on free speech as a group of Johns Hopkins University students protested yesterday what they believe is the school’s excessive punishment of a student for posting a “Halloween in the Hood” party invitation online. The students, who have launched a Web site and petition drive in support of suspended junior Justin H. Park, say the university is caving in to public pressure to protect its image, rather than protecting one of its own. “This is a violation of the school’s moral obligation for free speech on campus,” said Lars Trautman, […]

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  • The new campus brownshirts

    November 7, 2006

    A crime wave is spreading like wildfire across our nation’s campuses, and conservative students are the victims. Thefts of conservative student publications are on the rise. Even campus administrators are doing what they can to prevent the dissemination of conservative viewpoints. Whatever happened to diversity of thought and respecting the ideologies of our fellow classmates? Not too long ago, the Georgia GuardDawg reported that over 1,200 issues of its student-run conservative newspapers were stolen and their distribution bins were tagged with demeaning and disparaging remarks. Unfortunately for advocates of intellectual diversity on our nation’s college campuses, this latest incident is […]

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  • ‘Dirty, Gorgeous’ Full-Throated Unfairness

    August 10, 2006

    Johns Hopkins does paper collection by John McCormack National Review Online When the editors of the Carrollton Record, a student-run conservative newspaper at Johns Hopkins University, published a story about how tuition dollars had paid for pornography, they were hoping for a controversy that would spark an increase in readership. On May 17, the day after they distributed the issue, all of the copies in the dormitories had in fact been picked up — but not because fellow students had taken them; they had, instead, been seized by the university administration. “I never expected this,” says Jered Ede, author of […]

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  • FIRE Blasts Johns Hopkins for Letting Conservative Paper Be Censored

    June 19, 2006

    Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in Baltimore, Maryland, is being accused of condoning mob censorship. An academic freedom and individual rights watchdog group is decrying school officials’ part in an apparent attempt to silence a conservative newspaper. In May, the Carrolton Record published an issue critical of a group that brought a pornographic film director to the JHU campus. Afterward, hundreds of copies of the newspaper were stolen; however, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the university administration “turned a blind eye to the theft.” According to the Record’s editor, about half of the 600 copies that […]

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  • Student editor says university ‘doesn’t care’ about recent newspaper theft

    May 22, 2006

    by Evan Mayor Student Press Law Center MARYLAND — A student editor at Johns Hopkins University said around 900 copies of his independent, conservative publication went missing shortly after they were distributed May 13. Jered Ede, editor of The Carrollton Record, said he suspects the paper was stolen in response to the cover story in the issue titled, “Deepthroating Hopkins, How Your Tuition Hike Pays the Gay Porn Industry.” The article reports on the showing of the 1972 adult film “Deep Throat” and a campus visit by gay pornography director Chi Chi LaRue, which were paid for with student fees. […]

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  • Pro or Con War Talk’s Risky on Campus

    December 16, 2001

    By Tom Mashberg at The Boston Herald

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  • Admins at ‘Red Light’ Schools Claim to Value Free Speech, But Policies Suggest Otherwise

    February 4, 2014

    Last month, FIRE released its 2014 report on campus speech codes, which revealed that 59% of the 427 colleges and universities analyzed maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict constitutionally protected speech. When quizzed recently by student journalists about their institution’s speech codes, administrators at “red light” institutions Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) protested their ratings, arguing that their schools value and protect free expression. But these administrators should remember that written policies prohibiting protected speech still threaten free expression regardless of whether a school’s current administration pledges to uphold First Amendment principles. Though JHU […]

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  • Johns Hopkins Student Asks School to Restore Its Reputation for Free Expression

    September 18, 2013

    Johns Hopkins University (JHU) student Andrew Guernsey took to The Johns Hopkins News-Letter Sunday to discuss the state of free speech at his school. Guernsey points out that although JHU is moving up the national university rankings, its rating on free speech is abysmal. FIRE has been involved in multiple cases at JHU over the years, and we currently give the university a “red light” rating for multiple policies that clearly violate students’ freedom of speech. This past April, FIRE wrote to JHU’s student judiciary in defense of Voice for Life, a pro-life group that was denied recognition because of worries that it […]

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  • Liberty Requires Tough Choices: The Student Funding Dilemma

    July 31, 2013

    Kanisha Parthasarathy is a FIRE summer intern. Allocating money to student groups is a tricky game. For many colleges, the amount of money given to groups is not increasing at the same rate as the number of student groups vying for recognition and funding. Funding boards usually solve this problem by creating guidelines to determine how much money a student group gets. The problem arises when these rules are applied without viewpoint neutrality, a requirement for public colleges’ funding boards established by the Supreme Court in Rosenberger v. Rectors of the University of Virginia (1995) and Board of Regents of the […]

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  • Private Universities and the Conflict Between Mission and Speech

    July 15, 2013

    Madeline Gootman is a FIRE summer intern. When private universities send out their shiny pamphlets to high school seniors, they highlight their commitment to all things politically correct and otherwise acceptable in academia. However, these commitments to civility, respect, and social comfort are often at odds with the broad promises of free speech that universities make to their incoming students. Unfortunately for students, too many private universities want to have it both ways, promising students the right to free speech and then violating that right when someone’s speech proves too unpopular or controversial. Vanderbilt University’s packet for recently admitted students […]

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  • Pro-Choice Johns Hopkins Group Turns to Harassment Policies to Silence Pro-Life Speech

    May 3, 2013

    Tom Cruise works as a PreCrime agent in Minority Report. Thankfully, no universities have implemented this department on campus.   Recently, FIRE successfully defended the rights of the now-recognized Johns Hopkins University student group Voice for Life (VFL). As Torch readers may recall, VFL was wrongly denied recognition in March due in part to student government leaders’ personal disagreements with VFL’s viewpoint and activities. Members of Johns Hopkins’ Student Government Association (SGA) also claimed incorrectly that the group’s planned “sidewalk counseling” activities violated Johns Hopkins’ harassment policies—a position the university’s Office of Institutional Equity rejected. Fortunately, the SGA’s judiciary committee […]

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  • Johns Hopkins Reverses Decision, Recognizes Pro-Life Group

    April 10, 2013

    As recounted in today’s press release, the Johns Hopkins University student government’s judiciary committee has unanimously reversed the decision of the university’s student senate to deny recognition to the prospective student group Voice for Life (VFL) on the basis of the group’s expression. FIRE has previously covered this case on The Torch, and wrote to the Student Government Association (SGA) Judiciary Committee on Monday urging this outcome in advance of VFL’s Tuesday afternoon hearing. As we summarized in the letter (links below have been added), the SGA denied VFL recognition based on two improper factors related to VFL’s expression: The […]

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  • Johns Hopkins Reverses Decision, Recognizes Pro-Life Group

    April 10, 2013

    BALTIMORE, April 10, 2013—Late yesterday, Johns Hopkins University’s student judiciary committee unanimously overturned the decision of its student senate to deny official recognition to the pro-life student group Voice for Life on the basis that it might make people feel “uncomfortable.” The decision means that the group will now have the ability to reserve meeting rooms, host speakers, and sponsor campus programs and activities—abilities it was denied under the student senate’s previous decision. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) wrote to Johns Hopkins’ student judiciary on Monday urging this result. “We are gratified that the student judiciary agreed that the student senate’s […]

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  • Is ‘The Johns Hopkins News Letter’ Unlearning Liberty?

    April 4, 2013

      Last week, FIRE’s Peter Bonilla explained here on The Torch why The Johns Hopkins News-Letter editorial board was wrong to say that the refusal of Hopkins’ student government to recognize Voice for Life, a pro-life student group, was “not a matter of free speech.”  A few days later, we noticed that this statement was not just wrong, but a complete 180 degree turn from a thoughtful defense of the expressive rights of pro-life activists written by The News-Letter‘s editorial board less than two years ago. I wrote an op-ed for The News-Letter to point out why this is especially disappointing: […]

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  • Johns Hopkins Pro-Life Group Fights for Recognition, with No Help From its Student Newspaper

    March 29, 2013

    The student government at the Johns Hopkins University has refused to recognize a pro-life student group—but that refusal doesn’t raise “a question of free speech,” says the editorial board of The Johns Hopkins News-Letter. By the time you’re finished reading this post, the incorrectness of this statement should be clear.  Voice for Life (VFL) had been a student organization at Johns Hopkins from 1995 until 2010, and has been seeking re-recognition. The Johns Hopkins Student Activities Commission (SAC) rejected its application on March 12, and the SGA Senate did the same on March 26. VFL has appealed its case to […]

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  • Compelling ‘Civility’

    June 1, 2012

    Earlier this week, an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) discussed the growing popularity on college campuses of programs aimed at promoting civility. While one might reasonably ask whether there is a connection between exorbitant tuition rates, administrative bloat, and programs such as the “transformational, saturation approach” civility projects discussed in the article, there is no problem from an individual rights standpoint with colleges promoting civility. The individual rights problem, which the article barely even hints at, is that a large number of colleges and universities actually compel civility rather than simply encouraging it.  The article focuses […]

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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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  • Johns Hopkins University Continues to Defend Censorship

    January 23, 2012

    Johns Hopkins University’s utter lack of concern for its students’ free speech rights is on display again, this time in comments the university’s spokesman made to the Maryland Gazette last week.  You may remember that in 2006, Hopkins threw the book at then-18-year-old student Justin Park for posting a Halloween party invitation deemed to be offensive on Facebook. Park’s original punishment (reduced somewhat in the face of public pressure) included suspension from the university for a year, completion of 300 hours of community service, an assignment to read 12 books and to write a reflection paper on each, and mandatory […]

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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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  • Red Alert at Johns Hopkins: No ‘Rude’ or ‘Disrespectful’ Expression Allowed

    September 8, 2010

    Since announcing our full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s college rankings issue last week, in which we publicly shame the six colleges and universities that comprise FIRE’s Red Alert list, we have been going through the schools one by one on The Torch to review why they are on our Red Alert list and what they must do to get off of the list. FIRE’s Red Alert list is reserved for those institutions that are the “worst of the worst” in the nation when it comes to freedom of speech on campus. The Red Alert list consists of […]

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  • Johns Hopkins Student Government Association Asks President to Defend Free Speech

    March 6, 2010

    Promising news recently from Red Alert school Johns Hopkins University. Marc Perkins, President of the Student Government Association, wrote to Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels last month on behalf of the Undergraduate Student Government Association to ask that he uphold free speech rights at Johns Hopkins.  His letter begins by asking that President Daniels support Maryland H.B. 677/S.B. 805, the Free Speech at Nonpublic Institutions of Higher Education Bill. If enacted, the bill would function much like the Leonard Law in California, requiring private institutions to afford their students free speech rights as long as the school does not have an overriding religious purpose.  […]

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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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  • FIRE 2010 U.S. News Letter to JHU President Daniels

    January 7, 2010

    January 7, 2010 President Ronald J. Daniels Office of the President The Johns Hopkins University 3400 N. Charles Street Baltimore, Maryland 21218 Re: Johns Hopkins University and FIRE’s Red Alert list Dear President Daniels: I am writing to draw your attention to the full-page advertisement that FIRE ran in the most recent “America’s Best Colleges” issue of U.S. News & World Report. The advertisement appears on page 89, immediately adjacent to the rankings of the top 100 national universities, in the same position our advertisement appeared last year. We have enclosed a copy of the issue for your information. As […]

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  • This Month in FIRE History: Johns Hopkins Drops Harassment Investigation of Student Journalists

    September 25, 2009

    September is a notoriously busy time for FIRE. Looking back over the past 10 years, some of our most important cases have either started or concluded as students returned to campus. Since we just reminded our Red Alert Schools of their unenviable status, I decided to again look at a case from one of those schools. Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has the distinction of having tangled with FIRE three times over the past decade. It goes without saying that this is nothing to be proud of. In September of 2006, JHU finally dropped its harassment investigation against the conservative student newspaper, The Carrollton Record (TCR). The investigation was prompted by […]

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

    September 4, 2009

    Following up on FIRE’s full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” issue, released nationwide last week, we have been explaining why each of our six Red Alert schools has been named among the worst of the worst when it comes to individual rights on campus—and what each school can do to get off the list. So far, we have outlined the cases at Brandeis University, Colorado College, Michigan State University, and Tufts University. Today, we turn our attention to Johns Hopkins University, where FIRE has placed an advertisement in its student newspaper, The Johns Hopkins News-Letter. […]

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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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  • On Speech Codes and Sodomy Laws

    June 9, 2009

    Over the weekend, FIRE received an e-mail from a graduate of Johns Hopkins University criticizing our decision to give Hopkins a “red light” rating for its restrictive speech codes. Like so many similar e-mails we have received since beginning our “State of Free Speech on Campus” blog series, one of the author’s main points was that the speech codes on the books didn’t really matter because Hopkins didn’t restrict free speech in practice (in the case of Hopkins, that is categorically not true, but that doesn’t matter for the discussion at hand.) The e-mail to FIRE stated that If more […]

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  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Johns Hopkins University

    March 23, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). Today we review policies at Johns Hopkins University, which FIRE has given a red-light rating for maintaining policies that clearly and substantially restrict free expression on campus. Johns Hopkins, as those who follow FIRE’s work may know, is one of only five institutions on FIRE’s Red Alert List, a designation reserved for those universities that, in FIRE’s estimation, have acted with severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of their […]

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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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  • This Month in FIRE History: Johns Hopkins Suspends Student for One Year for ‘Offensive’ Halloween Invitation

    November 17, 2008

    Few schools have been more stubborn about censoring free expression than Johns Hopkins University (JHU). JHU is on our Red Alert list for being among the “worst of the worst” when it comes to violating individual rights on campus—and the university earned this ignominious distinction in November of 2006 in one of the most egregious cases we have ever seen. The incident began with an invitation posted by student Justin Park on Facebook.com for a fraternity costume party dubbed “Halloween in the Hood.” When complaints about the invitation surfaced, the Director of Greek Affairs asked Park to remove the invitation. […]

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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 Johns Hopkins University Get Off FIRE’s Red Alert List?

    August 29, 2008

    Following up on FIRE’s full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” issue, released nationwide this week, we have been explaining why each of our five Red Alert schools has been named the worst of the worst when it comes to individual rights on campus—and what each school can do to get off the list. So far, we have outlined the cases at Tufts University, Colorado College, Brandeis University, and Valdosta State University. What can Johns Hopkins University (Hopkins) do to get off FIRE’s Red Alert list? Hopkins earned its Red Alert designation by suspending eighteen-year-old junior […]

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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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  • Set speech free at Hopkins

    February 28, 2008

    Did you know that Hopkins has been identified as one of the “worst of the worst” when it comes to the abuse of free speech on campus? That’s right—Johns Hopkins University, the western hemisphere’s first research institution, with a defined mission of “fostering independent and original research,” has recently become the target of biting criticism from a national watchdog organization that monitors the endangerment of free speech and individual expression on campus. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a non-partisan, non-profit educational foundation dedicated to protecting constitutional liberties on campus, Hopkins under President William Brody has […]

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  • FIRE Remembers September 11

    September 11, 2007

    Today, FIRE joins individuals across America and around the world in reflecting upon the tragic events of September 11, 2001. As university students and professors from Maine to California host commemorations today to remember those who suffered and died six years ago, we take a moment to look back at how those events played out on campus in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, and how their legacy continues to affect us today. In the wake of the tragedy, FIRE was called on to defend liberty on campus as many universities reacted to the cataclysmic circumstances with sometimes shocking limitations […]

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  • Oxford Spies on Students through Facebook

    July 18, 2007

    The United Kingdom appears to be rapidly turning into a place where Big Brother is not just a character in a book, or a reality TV show, but a reality for everyone. Britain is well-known for its abundance of closed-circuit TV cameras that record everyone walking down the streets, all the time—and sometimes, the cameras even harangue you to stop doing what you’re doing. Yet the Argus-like eye of Britain is not confined to the increasingly ubiquitous security cameras—now, at least for Oxford University, Facebook.com is part of the equation. The AP reports that Oxford administrators are actively searching through […]

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  • Today’s ‘Campus Alert’: Hassles at Hopkins

    June 18, 2007

    Today’s Campus Alert coincides with our press release today announcing our new Red Alert feature—an “honor” we are awarding to institutions of higher education that have shown particularly severe and ongoing disregard for their contractual or constitutional commitments to uphold the fundamental rights of students and faculty. We devoted this week’s New York Post column in FIRE to one of our first Red Alert schools, Johns Hopkins University.   As Campus Alert stated: No school demonstrated greater contempt for the rights of its students this past school year than Johns Hopkins University. In fact, Johns Hopkins nearly destroyed the academic […]

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  • FIRE Launches ‘Red Alert’ List of Worst Offenders Against Liberty

    June 18, 2007

    Today FIRE is unveiling a new tool in our fight for liberty on America’s college and university campuses: FIRE’s Red Alert. Red Alert is our newly developed list of campuses that pose an ongoing and serious threat to the rights of current and future students and faculty. FIRE deals with some horrendous offenses against liberty on a daily basis, and even FIRE’s least serious case is an enormous problem for the person or group involved, as well as for the academic environment at the college or university where the abuse is taking place. But even so, some schools seem to […]

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  • Campus Alert: Hassled at Hopkins

    June 18, 2007

    No school demonstrated greater contempt for the rights of its students this past school year than Johns Hopkins University. In fact, Johns Hopkins nearly destroyed the academic career of one student this past fall—and all because of the student’s constitutionally protected speech on an outside Web site. In November, Johns Hopkins suspended 18-year-old Korean-American junior Justin Park for a year, requiring him to complete 300 hours of community service, attend a diversity workshop and read 12 books, writing a paper on each—all before being eligible for readmission. His crime? Posting an invitation for a “Halloween in the Hood” fraternity party […]

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  • Update from Johns Hopkins: Student Council Still Unhappy with New Speech Code

    June 7, 2007

    A member of the Johns Hopkins Student Council writes in to FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network with an update on the continuing travails of free speech at Johns Hopkins: Dear CFN,   I thought you’d like an update on the JHU free speech debacle. First, read over President Brody’s Commencement Speech. Pay attention to the final paragraphs regarding the “truth” and how one should not be afraid to speak it… .   Also, tomorrow the “Committee to Implement the Principles of Civility, etc.” is meeting, and our Student Council President is a member of the Committee and will report back on […]

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  • ‘From the President’ in ‘The FIRE Quarterly’

    May 24, 2007

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff’s new column in the latest FIRE Quarterly explores how university administrators’ try to squelch student speech acting “like the censors of the Victorian era—morally infallible, plugged into absolute truth, and engaged in saving the country’s soul from incivility or impropriety.”   As Greg points out, FIRE’s recent cases at Johns Hopkins University, San Francisco State University (SFSU), and Columbia University’s Teachers College have all brought with them galling attempts by university officials to crack down on expression by a variety of different methods that seem to want to save campus communities from impropriety. These tactics range […]

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  • Today’s ‘Campus Alert’: Don’t Laugh Too Hard

    May 21, 2007

    Our weekly Campus Alert column in the New York Post focuses today on speech codes at Drexel University, Northeastern University, and Johns Hopkins University—all of which have been named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for banning constitutionally protected expression on their respective campuses.   Drexel, which was given the dubious honor of being recognized as FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for September 2006, prohibits not only “inconsiderate jokes,” but also “inappropriately directed laughter.” So students can be punished not only for telling a joke some may find offensive, but also merely for laughing at one. Not so funny […]

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  • Hopkins Again Disappoints FIRE

    May 11, 2007

    FIRE recently received a disappointing response to our latest letter to Johns Hopkins protesting a major contraction of free speech rights on campus. Following October’s “Halloween in the Hood” incident, Hopkins introduced a new speech code, the Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All (the “Principles”), and President William Brody wrote a column condemning controversial speech. At the close of our letter, we stated: FIRE urges you to repeal these stifling policies and to give your students the freedom they deserve. To restrict freedom of expression is to stifle the free and open flow of ideas upon which […]

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  • ‘Campus Outrage Awards’ Feature Two FIRE Cases

    April 25, 2007

    The Collegiate Network has released their 2007 Campus Outrage Awards, an effort “to shed light on the most outrageous instances of intolerance and intimidation on the part of college officials.” Out of the five awards, two went to schools for their involvement in a FIRE case.   At Johns Hopkins University (JHU), The Carrollton Record (TCR), an independent student paper, ran a cover story entitled “Deepthroating Hopkins,” on the use of student fees to pay for a speech by pornographic film director Chi-Chi La Rue. The JHU administration refused to condemn the theft of 600 copies of the paper, alleging […]

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  • Why Private Schools Need to Follow Their Own Rules

    April 18, 2007

    While Robert’s latest blog discusses the difference between public schools and private schools in relation to sectarian institutions, I’d like to discuss the dichotomy in more depth, especially in regard to the schools which Jon B. Gould mentions in his piece (subscribers only) in the Chronicle—Brown, Johns Hopkins, and Pace.   FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus states: Liberal arts institutions that advertise themselves as welcoming the fullest pluralism and debate too often have little time, patience, or tolerance for students who dissent from the political assumptions of the institution. Unlike many schools that openly declare a religious or […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Johns Hopkins University President William Brody, April 2, 2007

    April 2, 2007

    April 2, 2007 President William Brody Johns Hopkins University Office of the President 242 Garland Hall 3400 N. Charles Street Baltimore, Maryland 21218 Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (410-516-6097) Dear President Brody: FIRE once again writes to express our concern about the state of free speech at Johns Hopkins University. As we first told you in our letter of November 28, 2006, we believe that the newly enacted “Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All” (hereinafter “the Principles”) pose a substantial threat to the free speech rights of all students at Johns Hopkins University, and should immediately […]

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  • At Johns Hopkins, Students Voice Frustration With New Speech Code

    March 2, 2007

    The Johns Hopkins News-Letter reports that this past Tuesday night, Johns Hopkins University Student Council members met with university officials to air frustration and concern over the school’s new speech code. Torch readers will remember that the policy, entitled “Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect,” was instituted by JHU President William Brody in response to the “Halloween in the Hood” party held by the Sigma Chi fraternity on campus. (Of course, that party also resulted in the controversial suspension of JHU junior Justin Park; the most severe punishment FIRE has ever seen for a student engaged in pure speech.) […]

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  • FIRE Quarterly: ‘From the Board of Directors’

    March 2, 2007

    Daphne Patai, a member of our Board of Directors, contributed to our recent edition of The FIRE Quarterly with a column reinforcing the importance of FIRE’s work after a year in which we saw so many attempts to limit student speech on campus.   She wrote: Where restrictions on speech must, by law, be content-neutral, universities these days have the habit of taking it upon themselves to decide which points of view are to be protected by the First Amendment and which are not. Where the law prohibits harassment only if it is “persistent and pervasive” enough to interfere with […]

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  • Lessons from the Communications Revolution

    February 26, 2007

    As Greg and Will pointed out in their Boston Phoenix cover story last week, social networking sites like Facebook.com are giving university administrators an unprecedented look into the way students actually talk to one another. This, in turn, has led to an increase in cases of students being subjected to university discipline for the content of their online speech.   This past fall, for example, Johns Hopkins University subjected 18-year-old junior Justin Park to some of the harshest treatment we have ever seen from a university because of a Halloween party invitation that Park posted on Facebook. What began as […]

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  • ‘Bullets and Bubbly’ Party Draws Controversy at UConn

    January 25, 2007

    An article in today’s Hartford Courant explains how University of Connecticut Law School students recently had an off-campus theme party reminiscent of Hopkins’ ill-fated “Halloween in the Hood” party. The UConn students posted photos from their “Bullets and Bubbly” party on Facebook.com, upsetting many students, faculty, and administrators, who found the party’s theme racially insensitive.   UConn Interim Dean Kurt Strasser has scheduled a roundtable for this afternoon at 12:15 so that members of the UConn community can discuss the party. Newly minted Dean of the Law School Jeremy Paul told the Courant that “[c]learly this is an unfortunate incident,” […]

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  • If You Can’t Say Something Nice…?

    January 18, 2007

    Recently on Phi Beta Cons, FIRE’s friend David French addressed the attempts to suppress free speech on campus in the name of civility. In part, David wrote: [S]ubjective experience is not the stuff of legal structures, and rights of free speech are too precious to place at the mercy of the offended. When it comes to the venom that so often flows on campus, the real problem is not the absence of laws that punish subjectively-perceived rudeness; the problem is a coarse and vitriolic culture that too often celebrates abuse and dismisses the most basic manners as “coddling” your ideological […]

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  • Facebook and the Campus Communication Explosion

    January 12, 2007

    Looking back on FIRE’s work last year, several trends stand out: the disturbing rise of student-led censorship, the increased public awareness of the importance of the right of private conscience, the continued pervasiveness of speech codes and the often willful misinterpretation of “harassment” to squelch speech. One trend, however, strikes me as being truly unique to 2006: the rise of censorship cases and other administrative abuses involving social networking websites like Facebook.com.   In 2006, FIRE witnessed a dramatic increase in case submissions involving social networking websites like Facebook.com and Myspace.com. In February, we exposed an incident at the University of […]

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  • Johns Hopkins Still Under Fire

    January 12, 2007

    Even though Johns Hopkins University reduced Justin Park’s punishment and he now considers the matter resolved, the university is still taking hits in the press. Today, the Indiana Daily Student published an opinion piece criticizing Hopkins for ignoring the free speech rights of its students. Columnist Edward Delp discussed the Hopkins case and other similar incidents at neighboring schools by using FIRE’s Spotlight as a resource. He concluded by stating exactly why freedom of speech on college campuses is so important: Institutions of higher education are supposed to promote the free exchange of ideas, but nowadays there seems to be […]

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  • FIRE is Committed to Free Expression, No Matter Whose Free Expression

    January 10, 2007

    Yesterday, FIRE received an e-mail challenging our commitment to free speech in the Johns Hopkins “Halloween in the Hood” case, in which student Justin Park was suspended for posting a supposedly racist Halloween flyer on Facebook.com. The e-mailer asked, “If it was reverse and a black student did this against white students, would you still be preaching free speech?”   The answer is a resounding yes. We’ve helped students of every political and ideological stripe, with no regard for whether their ideas were distasteful to the majority or minority. Our guiding concern has always been the right to freedom of […]

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  • Media Coverage of Johns Hopkins ‘Hood’ Party Continues

    January 9, 2007

    The decision by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to reduce the punishment of student Justin Park is receiving attention from national and local media. Articles from the Associated Press, The Baltimore Sun, and Inside Higher Ed discuss FIRE’s efforts in this case, as well as our remaining concerns about students’ rights on the JHU campus. As FIRE President Greg Lukianoff told The Baltimore Sun regarding Park’s decreased reprimand, “It’s a substantial change, but the fact that there’s any punishment at all, we oppose.” JHU’s actions this year in Park’s case and the attempts at censorship of The Carrollton Record, a conservative […]

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  • Johns Hopkins Resolves Facebook Case; Becomes FIRE’s First-Ever ‘Censor of the Year’

    January 8, 2007

    Today’s press release announces that Johns Hopkins University has reached a final decision in its case against Justin Park, the 18-year-old junior who posted “offensive” party invitations on Facebook.com. Acting on Park’s appeal, Hopkins has decided to amend its initial litany of sanctions, which included suspension for a year, 300 hours of community service, an assignment to read and write papers on 12 books, and diversity counseling. Park has elected to keep the details of the settlement private, but has told FIRE that he is satisfied with the final decision. While FIRE is pleased to have helped persuade Hopkins to […]

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  • Johns Hopkins University Resolves ‘Halloween in the Hood’ Case; Students’ Rights Remain in Jeopardy

    January 8, 2007

    BALTIMORE, January 8, 2007—After weeks of public pressure, Johns Hopkins University has reduced its draconian punishment of student Justin Park, who posted an “offensive” Halloween party invitation on Facebook.com. The university has concluded Park’s appeal, and he is satisfied with the outcome. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is nonetheless troubled that any punishment remains. Moreover, FIRE believes that the university’s conduct throughout this case—and throughout 2006 in general—leaves serious doubts about whether students at Hopkins have even the most minimal rights to free speech and due process. “We are obviously pleased that Justin Park is satisfied with […]

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  • 2006 and the Culture of Offense

    January 5, 2007

    On Monday, November 20th, the Native American Council at Dartmouth ran a two-page advertisement in The Dartmouth entitled “When Good People Do Nothing: Racism On Our Campus.” The advertisement, addressed to “the Dartmouth community,” begins by condemning those who “failed to respond” to a string of events the Council deemed offensive and racist. After listing the events and positing a few “Fundamental Truths,” the Council begins a tirade directed at those who had not spoken out in defense of the Native American population at Dartmouth. In the “Dare to Speak, Dare to Act” portion of the advertisement, the Council writes, […]

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  • Happy Holidays from FIRE

    December 22, 2006

    All of us at FIRE would like to wish our friends and supporters happy holidays. As universities wind down for winter break, students head home to their families, and we prepare for a restful holiday weekend, some students have plenty to celebrate. After a months-long wrongful suspension, the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Brown University is on the verge of becoming re-affiliated, awaiting only a Brown administrator’s signature to make the re-affiliation official. For others, like Johns Hopkins student Justin Park, whose “offensive” party invitation on Facebook.com gained him a one-year suspension, the holiday season is considerably less celebratory. Unless […]

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  • William Brody Non-Responds to High School Student

    December 18, 2006

    Last week, I posted an e-mail sent to William Brody, President of Johns Hopkins University, by a high school student expressing his unwillingness to attend Johns Hopkins because of the deplorable manner in which the university is treating Justin Park. Below is William Brody’s reply. I have received so many emails on this issue I am generally not able to respond, but in your case I thought I ought to. Firstly, thank you for your very thoughtful e-mail. I would underscore, however, that this is a matter of civil conduct and the university’s obligation to promote a civil society within […]

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  • The Consequences of “Civility”: A Torch Reader’s Take on Hopkins

    December 18, 2006

    Dr. Roy Poses—friend of FIRE, President of the Foundation for Integrity and Responsibility in Medicine, and Clinical Associate Professor at Brown University School of Medicine—has written an interesting commentary about the ramifications of the call for “civility” written last week by Dr. William R. Brody, President of Johns Hopkins University. President Brody penned his paean to civility in response to FIRE’s extensive criticism of Hopkins’ suspension of student Justin Park for posting Halloween party invitations online that some students found offensive. As Tara usefully explained last week, President Brody’s argument is deeply flawed, thoroughly inadequate, and displays a seeming contempt […]

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  • Mike Adams on Justin Park and Johns Hopkins

    December 15, 2006

    Mike Adams has written another scathing indictment of Johns Hopkins for its decision to kick a student off campus for a year (among other punishments) for writing a Halloween invitation. Adams writes: Johns Hopkins University President William Brody (410-516-8068; wrbrody@jhu.edu) recently wrote a column in response to the public outcry over his university’s handling of the now-infamous Hopkins Halloween controversy. His column evidences both a profound ignorance of constitutional principles and a profane indifference towards intellectual honesty. Adams also makes a crucial, yet often overlooked point: What William Brody and other college administrators fail to grasp is that speech codes […]

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  • High School Student to Brody: I Won’t Attend Johns Hopkins

    December 14, 2006

    FIRE was cc’d on the following e-mail sent to Johns Hopkins President William Brody. The sender is a student who was considering attending Johns Hopkins University until he received word that Johns Hopkins had suspended student Justin Park for posting party advertisements on Facebook.com that offended some students. The e-mail read as follows: I have to inform you that because of Justin Park’s suspension and Johns Hopkins’ obvious disregard for the students’ moral freedom of expression rights, I have sadly crossed Johns Hopkins off my list of 1st choice schools. As a student with a keen interest in law (I’m […]

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  • Brody, Mill, and the “Truth”

    December 13, 2006

    To add to Tara’s skillful dissection of Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody’s “A Civil Tongue,” it’s important to remember that neither the inclination to censor “crude and tasteless speech” nor the concern with this reason for censorship is new. As FIRE states in its Guide to Free Speech on Campus: [John Stuart] Mill addressed one of the major rationales for imposing constraints on free speech on campuses today, namely that speech should be “temperate” and “fair.” Mill observed that while people may claim they are not trying to ban others’ opinions but merely trying to banish “intemperate discussion…invective, sarcasm, […]

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  • Remember What’s Really at Stake at Johns Hopkins

    December 12, 2006

    In the midst of all of the discussion about free speech at Johns Hopkins, it is important to remember what is really at stake here: a young man’s future. Justin Park, an 18-year-old Korean-American junior majoring in economics, entered Johns Hopkins at the age of 15 after skipping several grades in school. He has no previous disciplinary record. Until recently, he was the social chair of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and in that capacity he posted invitations to Sigma Chi’s Halloween party on the popular college website Facebook.com. Like many college Halloween parties across the country, Sigma Chi’s party had […]

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  • Hopkins President Brody: Civility Trumps Free Speech

    December 12, 2006

    Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody addresses the university’s extreme treatment of Justin Park in an article called “A Civil Tongue” that appeared in the Johns Hopkins Gazette yesterday. Brody states that expression should garner protection under principles of free speech only if it is “of a substantive and serious nature.” After citing two instances in which the university was wrong to suppress substantive, serious expression—a communist speech in 1940 and a student newspaper story mocking Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s—Brody juxtaposes the current controversy involving Park’s expression. He writes: But I think we all know that it stretches our […]

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  • FIRE Discusses Johns Hopkins Case on Radio Today

    December 12, 2006

    Today at 12:10 p.m. ET, Samantha Harris, FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, will speak on Washington Post Radio to discuss our recent case with Johns Hopkins junior Justin Park. Torch readers can listen online here.

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  • Johns Hopkins’ Unique Interpretation of ‘Free Speech’

    December 11, 2006

    Last week saw the latest round of exchanges between FIRE and Johns Hopkins University regarding Hopkins’ suspension of eighteen-year-old junior Justin Park. On Wednesday, December 6, Hopkins wrote FIRE a letter defending the university’s overreaction to Park’s two Facebook.com advertisements for Sigma Chi’s “Halloween in the Hood” party. FIRE in turn wrote back to Hopkins on Friday, December 8. Hopkins Vice President and General Counsel Stephen Dunham defended Hopkins’ policies and procedures in his letter, stating that “The University’s vision includes an academic community where the exchange of ideas thrives, where activities are open and non-discriminatory, and where individuals respect […]

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  • Jason Antebi on Hopkins and Facebook

    December 8, 2006

    Jason Antebi, a graduate of Occidental College who suffered one of the worst abuses of campus rights that FIRE has encountered, has an article in FrontPage Magazine today on Johns Hopkins’ inexcusable treatment of student Justin Park. Antebi points out, disturbingly, that “Park’s case is not an anomaly,” and goes on to write a good review of several situations where college students have been punished for online expression. For a disturbing reminder, if one is needed, that college censorship is now spreading its reach even to the World Wide Web, Antebi’s article is worth a read.

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  • Mike Adams on Johns Hopkins

    December 7, 2006

    Mike Adams has addressed the suspension of Johns Hopkins University junior Justin Park in an article on Townhall.com. Driving home the excessiveness of Park’s punishment—which includes a one-year suspension and 300 hours of community service, among other things—Adams commented, “Fortunately, the committee stopped just short of making Park sit in the back of the bus when he relies on public transportation.” Precisely FIRE’s point. Not only was Park punished for protected expression (in and of itself a violation of his rights as a Hopkins student), but the penalty the university imposed on Park was extremely severe. As Chris noted recently […]

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  • FIRE on FOX News

    December 4, 2006

    Fox News reports on FIRE’s case at Johns Hopkins where a student was punished for posting invitations to a fraternity party on Facebook that some students found offensive. Scroll down to “Conduct Unbecoming.”

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  • Hopkins Ignores Due Process

    December 1, 2006

    FIRE’s mission statement makes clear that we work to “defend and sustain individual rights”—but what exactly are those individual rights? A few leap to mind readily: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of conscience. Those are easy; First Amendment rights are the all-stars of constitutional law. But while the First Amendment “freedoms” get all the attention, the right to due process is too often overlooked. That’s a shame—because in many respects, the right to due process is the guarantor of all other constitutional rights. Due process rights find their textual origin in the Fifth Amendment, which […]

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  • Expression, Not Harassment, at Hopkins

    December 1, 2006

    Inside Higher Ed features an article today about Justin Park’s suspension at Johns Hopkins University. The article concludes with a statement by Hopkins Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs Dennis O’Shea, who told IHE, “There is a difference between expression of opinion and harassment.” There is no doubt a distinction between the two—I just don’t think that Hopkins knows what that distinction is. The entirety of Park’s crime has been to create two Facebook.com invitations to a Halloween party. Justin filled the first invitation with language suiting the party’s theme, “Halloween in the Hood.” After he was told to […]

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  • Public Pressure on Hopkins Continues

    December 1, 2006

    The press coverage of Justin Park and Johns Hopkins continues. United Press International, the Baltimore Examiner, and Inside Higher Ed all ran accounts of the story. In an editorial published in the Baltimore Sun, Gregory Kane, a black writing professor at JHU, writes: I’ve said it a couple dozen times before. Others have said it. We’ll just keep saying it until the idea sinks in: There is no right, constitutional or otherwise, to not be offended. The News-Letter, JHU’s weekly student newspaper, ran two articles about the case. Both document the extent of student unrest with the fairness of the […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Johns Hopkins University

    December 1, 2006

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for December 2006: Johns Hopkins University. Hopkins’ brand new Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All prohibit “rude, disrespectful behavior” at the university. This policy virtually necessitates abuse, since it is so broad that it could never be enforced across the board, instead leaving students at the whim of the administration. No university could possibly have the resources to prosecute every instance of rudeness that takes place anywhere on its campus. This policy also stifles free expression on campus, since much legitimate speech is both rude and disrespectful. Michael Moore, […]

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  • Free speech and punishment at Hopkins

    December 1, 2006

    Johns Hopkins University students are protesting once again about Justin Park — but this time it’s on his behalf. Park was the Hopkins junior who posted Facebook invitations to Sigma Chi’s “Halloween in the Hood” party, which prompted protests from black students who accused him and the fraternity of racial insensitivity. Last week, the university’s Student Conduct Board suspended him until the spring of 2008, drawing criticism that the punishment was excessive and that Hopkins may be ignoring its student policy designed to “protect the university as a forum for the free expression of ideas.” Park is still attending classes […]

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  • Hopkins student appeals suspension for offensive Web posting

    December 1, 2006

    BALTIMORE – The Johns Hopkins University student suspended for a year after posting a racially tinged Halloween party invitation on the Web site Facebook.com is appealing the ruling today with the school’s dean of student life, Susan Boswell. The university’s student review board, made up of three students and two faculty members, found 18-year-old junior Justin Park guilty of failing to respect the rights of others, harassment and intimidation. Park then sought help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the pro-free speech organization said Thursday in a written statement. According a news release by FIRE, Park currently faces […]

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  • FIRE in ‘The Baltimore Sun’ on Censorship at Johns Hopkins University

    November 30, 2006

    FIRE’s criticism of Johns Hopkins University for its blatant disregard for free speech has gained the attention of the Baltimore media. The Baltimore Sun reported today on Hopkins’ one-year suspension of student Justin Park, and on the letter that FIRE sent the university to protest the severe, life-altering sanctions imposed upon Park simply for engaging in free speech. Park is the social chair of Hopkins’ Sigma Chi fraternity, which was sanctioned for hosting a “Halloween in the Hood” party that offended some students at Hopkins. Park posted an invitation to the party on Facebook.com, and after students complained that they […]

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  • JHU Statement on “Halloween in the Hood” Party

    November 6, 2006

    In response to an “offensive” Halloween party, John Hopkins University President William R. Brody recently released a statement denouncing the party and outlining several diversity initiatives that will take place as a result. Perhaps the most troubling part of this plan is the emphasis on Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All which mandates that “[r]ude, disrespectful behavior is unwelcome and will not be tolerated.” This new speech code runs completely counter to a very core concept of a university—the marketplace of ideas. It is impossible to present a wide array of ideas without, at one point in […]

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  • Hopkins Busts ‘Halloween in the Hood’

    October 31, 2006

    As the Baltimore Sun reports today, on Saturday night the Sigma Chi fraternity at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) threw a “Halloween in the Hood” party. The party was shut down because the invitation the frat circulated “invoked racial stereotyping” and because “[a] decoration outside the party site was a plastic skeleton dressed in pirate garb hanging from a rope noose,” according to a statement issued yesterday by JHU. The statement explained, The university is now conducting a full investigation into this matter. Based on the information received thus far, the university has suspended all activities of the Sigma Chi fraternity, […]

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  • Offensive Halloween Costumes and Censorship

    October 31, 2006

    Halloween is upon us and college students all across the country will be celebrating this day by dressing up in a wide array of costumes. While some students will probably stick to classic costumes such as ghosts and vampires, some others may be thinking about slipping into scarier, more politically incorrect costumes this Halloween. For instance, in 2005, at the University of Chicago a group of students found themselves in trouble for holding a “Straight Thuggin’ Party” where students listened to rap music and dressed in hip-hop attire. Should students be afraid of disciplinary action for wearing potentially offensive Halloween costumes? […]

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  • Johns Hopkins initiates new distribution policy

    September 25, 2006

    New policies created by Johns Hopkins University regarding where student publications can be distributed are raising concern among some students and advocates following an incident where newspapers were removed from residence halls last spring. The Carrollton Record, a conservative student newspaper at the university, published an article last May criticizing another student organization’s event featuring a porn star. Copies of the paper were later found missing from distribution spots. Administrators said they removed about 300 issues from residence halls because the paper was not properly approved by the residential life department, as required by university policy. Another 700 copies also […]

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  • Partial Victory at Johns Hopkins

    September 21, 2006

    As today’s press release shows, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) told FIRE in a letter that it has dropped the harassment investigation against members of The Carrollton Record (TCR). However, the victory is bittersweet since JHU remains unrepentant about its discriminatory behavior toward TCR, has instituted tighter restrictions on distribution for every paper on campus, and has refused to condemn the theft of the paper.   TCR first came to FIRE when it got in trouble for printing an article about a campus event featuring Chi Chi LaRue, a pornographic film director, sponsored by the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance (DSAGA). […]

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  • Johns Hopkins Drops Harassment Investigation of Student Journalists

    September 21, 2006

    BALTIMORE, September 21, 2006—The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has finally dropped its investigation of a harassment complaint filed against staff members of a conservative student newspaper, The Carrollton Record (TCR). After several months of correspondence with JHU administrators, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has gained assurance that JHU is no longer pursuing the investigation, but FIRE’s other concerns—about JHU’s viewpoint discrimination, indifference towards newspaper theft, and limitations on distribution rights—remain. “We are pleased that JHU has ceased its investigation into TCR staffers,” stated FIRE President Greg Lukianoff, “although JHU should have never investigated this complaint at all. […]

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  • What 9/11 Taught Us About Academia

    September 11, 2006

    Today, FIRE joins the rest of the nation in remembering the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Five years ago, the events of 9/11 highlighted—in a very ugly way—just how out of touch many universities are with the American public. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when much of America was still in mourning, a number of very prominent universities moved swiftly to suppress displays of public sympathy and patriotism by students and faculty. Here are some examples of university actions in September and October 2001: At Central Michigan University, an administrator told several students to remove various patriotic posters […]

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  • ‘Know Before You Go’

    September 7, 2006

    With students heading back to school, the busy season for FIRE has started once again. This year, FIRE has more resources than ever before to help students and professors combat censorship and oppression on college campuses. From an expanded Spotlight, to the Guides to Student Rights on Campus, to our individual rights defense work, FIRE is here to ensure that liberty on campus is protected.   One of the challenging things about dealing with college students is that every few years or so you get an entirely new cohort of students who might not be familiar with their rights or […]

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  • FIRE Letter to The Johns Hopkins University President William Brody, September 5, 2006

    September 5, 2006

    September 5, 2006 President William Brody The Johns Hopkins University Office of the President 242 Garland Hall 3400 N. Charles Street Baltimore, Maryland 21218 Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (410-516-6097) Dear President Brody: FIRE is distressed to write to The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) for a third time regarding the state of liberty on your campus. FIRE first wrote to JHU on May 19, 2006, to object to the violation of freedom of the press regarding The Carrollton Record (TCR). After receiving an ambiguous response from JHU Deputy General Counsel Frederick Savage, FIRE next wrote to JHU’s Board of […]

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  • Johns Hopkins University Tries to Ignore FIRE’s Objections to the State of Press Freedom on Campus

    August 23, 2006

    On August 9, FIRE wrote to the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Board of Trustees to once again express concern about the state of liberty on campus. FIRE had already written a letter in May to JHU President William Brody regarding violation of freedom of the press for The Carrollton Record (TCR). JHU counsel Frederick Savage responded to FIRE’s first letter by saying that 600 missing copies of TCR did not constitute theft, that TCR was prohibited from distributing in dorms by a “longstanding” (i.e., unwritten) policy, and that JHU would go forth with investigating the harassment complaints against TCR staffers. […]

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  • Journalism Association Condemns Press Freedom Violations

    August 16, 2006

    Yesterday, the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reported the August 4 decision by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) to censure a community college in New Jersey for violating freedom of the press. Ocean Community College (OCC) has already been censured by the College Media Advisers, Inc. (CMA), a national organization that advocates for best practices among college media outlets.   According to the SPLC, the AEJMC passed the resolution of censure following the OCC Board of Trustees’ December decision not to renew student newspaper advisor Karen Bosley’s contract.   Bosley’s “offense” was allowing the newspaper […]

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  • FIRE Continues to Fight for Press Freedom at Johns Hopkins University

    August 15, 2006

    In June, FIRE reported that Johns Hopkins University had ignored the theft of The Carrollton Record (TCR), banned the distribution of the conservative paper in campus dormitories, and entertained the possibility of investigating “harassment” complaints against the paper’s editors. All of this came after the paper ran a story about a campus visit by a pornographic film director, complete with a front page picture of the speaker with members of the sponsoring student group, the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance (DSAGA).   JHU officials told TCR that the disappearance of their newspaper did not actually constitute theft, and then used […]

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  • FIRE Letter to The Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees, August 9, 2006

    August 9, 2006

    August 9, 2006 Raymond A. Mason Chairman of the Board of Trustees The Johns Hopkins University 100 Light Street Baltimore, MD 21202 Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (410-685-2365)   Dear Chairman Mason: FIRE is disappointed to write to the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) once again to express our concern about the state of liberty on your campus. As you know, FIRE wrote to you on May 19, 2006 to protest the distressing state of free speech and freedom of the press at JHU (letter enclosed). The university’s refusal to recognize the theft of The Carrollton Record (TCR) student newspaper, the […]

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  • ‘What Difference Can My Measly $18 Million Make?’

    June 30, 2006

    Two days ago, David French had a great post over at National Review’s Phi Beta Cons about Larry Ellison’s decision to rescind his $115 million gift to Harvard University following the Larry Summers fiasco. I have consistently been amazed at how wealthy alums give to their alma maters uncritically and almost as if they had no choice in the matter. The most extreme version of this that I have been exposed to was at a speech in New York City, when an audience member stood up and said (this is far from an exact quote, but it gets the point […]

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  • Hopkins Responds

    June 15, 2006

    Upon reading FIRE’s press release on Johns Hopkins University’s shameful viewpoint discrimination against The Carrollton Record (TCR), a conservative student newspaper, Annie Turner of Maryland e-mailed JHU President William Brody asking him to reverse the college’s decision. She received the following response from JHU spokesman Dennis O’Shea, here analyzed for your reading pleasure. Dear Ms. Turner,   Thanks for your message below to President Brody. We appreciate your thoughts and I am pleased to respond on his behalf.   Please be assured that Johns Hopkins University fully supports free speech on campus, including the expression of viewpoints, popular or otherwise, […]

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  • Johns Hopkins: Harassment Investigation of Students for Newspaper Must Be Dismissed

    June 14, 2006

    Since we issued our press release yesterday about the shameful viewpoint discrimination at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), we have received many e-mails from angry citizens and Johns Hopkins alumni about what can be done. Yes, JHU should openly condemn the theft of The Carrollton Record (TCR) and should end its illiberal and selectively enforced distribution policies, but the single most important step JHU must take is to dismiss the harassment investigation against the newspaper.   On May 18, TCR editor Jered Ede was called into JHU’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Programs and informed that a harassment complaint […]

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  • Johns Hopkins University Denies Students Freedom of the Press

    June 13, 2006

    As today’s press release describes, freedom of the press is in serious jeopardy at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Last month, The Carrollton Record (TCR) published an issue that criticized a recent campus appearance by pornographic film producer Chi Chi LaRue. TCR’s cover page pictured LaRue surrounded by members of the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance (DSAGA), which sponsored the event. This cover photo apparently angered some students, and a harassment complaint against TCR staffers has been filed with JHU’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Programs.   Within 24 hours of distribution, the 600 copies of the paper that […]

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  • Student Newspaper Suffers Viewpoint Discrimination at Johns Hopkins University

    June 13, 2006

    BALTIMORE, June 13, 2006—Johns Hopkins University (JHU) ended this school year by engaging in shameful viewpoint discrimination and denying its students freedom of the press. First, JHU turned a blind eye to the theft of a conservative student newspaper, The Carrollton Record (TCR), then stifled its right to distribute in dorms while allowing other papers to continue distributing there. TCR staff members contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) soon after these administrative abuses began. “Freedom of the press and the freedom to distribute literature are vital liberties that should not be denied to JHU students,” said FIRE […]

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  • Silence Speaks Volumes at NYU

    May 24, 2006

    New York University prides itself on being a “private university in the public service,” but talk is cheap—that is, when it isn’t silenced altogether. Despite the lofty aspirations of the school’s motto, in late March NYU decided that certain types of speech on campus just aren’t entitled to the core First Amendment protections relied upon by every American with something to say.   On March 30, a panel discussion entitled “Free Speech and the Danish Cartoons,” hosted by NYU’s Objectivist Club, was censored by NYU officials, who refused to allow the event to proceed as planned (and be open to […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Johns Hopkins University President William Brody, May 19, 2006

    May 19, 2006

    May 19, 2006 President William Brody Johns Hopkins University Office of the President 242 Garland Hall 3400 N. Charles Street Baltimore, Maryland 21218 URGENT Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (410-516-6097) Dear President Brody: As you can see from our Directors and Board of Advisors, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) unites leaders in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, legal equality, freedom of religion, academic freedom, due process, and in this case, freedom of speech and of the press on […]

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  • Images offensive to Muslims are debated

    March 14, 2006

    Charles Mitchell sat before a full-color blowup of the most notorious of the newspaper cartoons that have roiled the Islamic world – the one that shows the Prophet Muhammad wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb – and said that how it makes Muslims feel was beside the point. “There is no right not to be offended,” Mitchell, a program officer with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, told an audience of about 80 last night at the Johns Hopkins University. “Having your most deeply held convictions questioned doesn’t destroy you. It doesn’t turn you into a […]

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  • Thought Reform 101

    March 1, 2000

    At Wake Forest University last fall, one of the few events designated as “mandatory” for freshman orientation was attendance at Blue Eyed, a filmed racism awareness workshop in which whites are abused, ridiculed, made to fail, and taught helpless passivity so that they can identify with “a person of color for a day.” In Swarthmore College’s dormitories, in the fall of 1998, first-year students were asked to line up by skin color, from lightest to darkest, and to step forward and talk about how they felt concerning their place in that line. Indeed, at almost all of our campuses, some […]

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