Location: Chicago, Illinois
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit
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November 20, 2002
Peter N. Kirstein, a tenured Professor at Saint Xavier University in Illinois found himself suspended after he responded to a student’s request for advice. The student, an officer candidate in the University’s ROTC program, requested counsel regarding the publicizing of an upcoming student-debate forum. Professor Kirstein, himself a pacifist, expressed his disapproval of the military and foreign policy in his response to the student’s e-mail. Although the case was never resolved, several organizations came out on behalf of Professor Kirstein, including the National Academy of Scholars and the American Association of University Professors, and FIRE drafted a letter to University […]» Read More
Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes, StatementThe following items and actions are prohibited:
The use of profane, offensive, vulgar or derogatory language and/or photographs on the outside of room doors.
Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes, StatementMaterials will not be approved if they contain:
1. Any reference to illegal substances.
2. Offensive language or images and/or graphic illustrations.
3. Language and/or graphic illustrations which dehumanize individuals based on race, age, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin and/or disability.
4. Any information which would violate local, state or federal law or University policies.
Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes, StatementNever act in such a way that another user would feel uncomfortable accessing systems--for example, by sending or presenting harassing, intimidating, abusive or patently unwanted material to others. This includes presentation in messages, on screen and in print where others might see.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementThe University recognizes its role as an educational stimulus and welcomes the opportunity to raise questions within the forum of the University community. While at times the issues raised may be controversial in nature, the University has continually stressed the validity and value of the inquiry process as well as the role it has in guaranteeing freedom of artistic expression.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementThe policies of Saint Xavier University do not restrict the rights and privileges of faculty, staff, students, and recognized campus organizations to express their opinions freely, and the University is committed to preserving and encouraging a diversity of point-of-view and political opinion.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, StatementSaint Xavier expects all members of the University community to act toward one another with sensitivity, consideration, understanding, appreciation, tolerance, civility and an active concern for the welfare of others. The University is particularly concerned that its members show respect for others regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, religion, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation or nationality, and refrain from all forms of harassing or offensive behaviors that demean the inherent dignity of others.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementSexual harassment, as defined above, may include, but is not
A. Suggesting or demanding sexual involvement of another
C. -Displaying sexually explicit objects, photographs or drawings (except when warranted for legitimate academic purposes).
D. Making graphic or suggestive comments, propositions, sexual
gestures, obscene jokes, or demeaning sexual innuendoes.
The University will not accept as a defense to a claim of sexual
harassment that the alleged harasser did not intend to harass.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementHazing, harassment, racist behavior, defamation, retaliation, obscene language or actions, coercion, threats, endangering the safety of others, physical or psychological abuse or intimidation of any member of the Saint Xavier University community or others using its facilities, either in person or through electronic means.
September 9, 2005
There is a chill on campus, but that’s nothing new. For decades, campus speech has been chilled by speech codes and other attempts to prevent expression that might offend. Some would like to imagine that the excesses of “political correctness” are ancient history, but repression in the name of tolerance hasn’t gone anywhere. Oppressive speech codes are not only still around—they have actually multiplied, even after numerous court decisions declared them unconstitutional. Within the past year, college students have been punished for such things as expressing a religious objection to homosexuality and arguing that corporal punishment may be acceptable. Students […]» Read More
July 31, 2005
Saint Xavier University history professor Peter Kirstein admits sending the e-mail wasn’t his finest moment. You may remember his Halloween 2002 missive, the one in which the professor angrily denounced the “baby-killing tactics” of the U.S. Air Force and called the academy cadet to whom he was writing a “disgrace” to his country. His comments sparked a national outcry at the time, among the first in a succession of Internet-fueled, “out-of-control liberal professor” outrages. Conservative and military Web sites posted the e-mail throughout cyberspace. Thousands of complaints nearly shut down the Mount Greenwood university’s e-mail system for a month. Kirstein, […]» Read More
December 6, 2002
Saint Xavier University has suspended a professor who called a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy a “disgrace to this country” in an e-mail message that also derided the military’s “aggressive baby-killing tactics.” Administrators at Saint Xavier had already forced the professor, Peter N. Kirstein, to apologize, and the Chicago university also issued an apology of its own. Richard A. Yanikoski, Saint Xavier’s president, declined to comment on the decision to suspend Mr. Kirstein and referred reporters to a statement he issued on November 15. At that time, he placed the professor on a sabbatical leave for the […]» Read More
December 12, 2005
It’s been a good couple of days for Justice Brandeis’ maxim that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Thanks to articles in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, news of FIRE’s efforts to disinfect the swamps of repression currently passing for American universities is reaching an ever-increasing number of people. On Sunday, The New York Times covered our recent victory at William Paterson University. (Read it at the Times website if you are a TimesSelect subscriber.) The article by Peter Applebome ran on the front page of the Metro section and thoroughly denounced […]» Read More
August 7, 2005
With more than 1,820 American soldiers killed in action and 123,000 Iraqi civilian casualties in an unjust, criminal war, I am glad, despite efforts from readers such as Jim Murphy (Public Forum, Aug. 3), that I have not been silenced. And with even greater resonance, I can protest this neo-conservative crusade to expand American geopolitical hegemony throughout the Muslim world. It violates the laws of war and the U.N. charter; it was justified with falsified and criminally negligent intelligence against a defenseless nation, and President George W. Bush is a war criminal in my estimation. In Dan Lavoie’s otherwise balanced […]» Read More