Yale University

Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Website: http://www.yale.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Yale University has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.

  • Yale University: Suppression of Pro-War Speech

    November 9, 2011

    Campus administrators reversed course on their removal of a sign, which read "Kill ‘em all, Let God sort ‘em out," after some officials believed it to be offensive to Muslims and South Asians. One counselor noted that while he believed in free speech, the banner could be hostile to ethnic minorities. Shortly after two op-eds in the Yale Daily News spoke out against the censorship effort, Yale administrators admitted the situation could have been handled in a more proper manner, and reiterated their support for freedom of speech. According to the Yale Daily News, Dean Richard Brodhead said freedom of […]

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  • Yale University: Fraternity Suspended Five Years for ‘Intimidating’ Satirical Chant

    June 17, 2011

    In October 2010, pledges of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity at Yale University stood blindfolded on campus satirically chanting “no means yes, yes means anal.” DKE later apologized, and the international DKE fraternity temporarily suspended the Yale group’s pledge activities. Following an internal investigation by Yale, however, and under pressure from an investigation of Yale due to sexual harassment complaints made with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Yale College Dean Mary Miller announced in May 2011 that DKE was being suspended from the college for five years and that some DKE students also had been found […]

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  • Yale University: Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons at Yale University Press

    September 14, 2009

    Yale University censored images of Mohammed in author Jytte Klausen’s book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, which discusses the controversy and violence that resulted from the publication of cartoons of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in 2005. The book, published by the Yale University Press in fall 2009, was to contain images of the cartoons and other images of Mohammed. However, Yale University intervened in the editorial process of its Press, submitted the cartoons out of context to a group of anonymous consultants and, relying on their opinions, decided to remove the cartoons from the book. Despite much criticism […]

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Undergraduate Regulations: Student Complaint Procedures- Complaints of Racial or Ethnic Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    [R]acial or ethnic harassment is considered to occur when any individual is subjected to arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory treatment on the basis of race or ethnic origin.

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  • Information Technology Appropriate Use Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Harassing or threatening use. This category includes, for example, display of offensive, sexual material in the workplace and repeated unwelcome contacts with another.

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  • Undergraduate Regulations: General Conduct and Discipline 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes

    The Executive Committee’s jurisdiction includes offenses described in the Undergraduate Regulations as well as other actions on the part of students that may in the judgment of the committee warrant disciplinary action because they may imperil the integrity and values of the Yale community or the well-being of its members.

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  • Sexual Harassment: Guide for Faculty, Students and Staff 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    “Hostile environment” harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or academic environment and has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the victim’s work or study. Hostile environment sexual harassment can include sexual advances, repeated taunts regarding sexual preferences, taunting jokes directed at a person or persons by reason of their sex, obscene posters with sexual connotations and sexual favoritism in work assignments.

    Depending upon pervasiveness and severity, conduct that may be considered sexual harassment includes the
    following:
    * Unwanted sexual advances
    * Unwelcome sexual comments
    * Remarks about an individual’s body or appearance

    * Unspoken sexual innuendo such as voice inflection when complimenting appearance or gazing at parts of the body other than the face.
    * Repeated requests for dates
    * Sexual jokes
    * Unwelcome sexual gifts
    * Sexual assault
    * Display of sexually oriented objects, photographs, posters, pictures or cartoons

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  • Undergraduate Regulations: General Conduct and Discipline- Offenses 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual misconduct includes nonphysical actions such as digital media stalking, cyberbullying, and nonconsensual recording of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

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Green Light Policies
  • Sexual Misconduct Response at Yale: Definitions of Sexual Misconduct, Consent and Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus, when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing; or (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment. Sexual harassment may be found in a single episode, as well as in persistent behavior.

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  • Undergraduate Regulations: Free Expression, Peaceful Dissent, and Demonstrations 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable. To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily also deprives others of the right to listen to those views.

    Because few other institutions in our society have the same central function, few assign such high priority to freedom of expression. Few are expected to. Because no other kind of institution combines the discovery and dissemination of basic knowledge with teaching, none confronts quite the same problems as a university.
    For if a university is a place for knowledge, it is also a special kind of small society. Yet it is not primarily a fellowship, a club, a circle of friends, a replica of the civil society outside it. Without sacrificing its central purpose, it cannot make its primary and dominant value the fostering of friendship, solidarity, harmony,
    civility, or mutual respect. To be sure, these are important values; other institutions may properly assign them the highest, and not merely a subordinate priority; and a good university will seek and may in some significant measure attain these ends. But it will never let these values, important as they are, override its central purpose. We value freedom of expression precisely because it provides a forum for the new, the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox. Free speech is a barrier to the tyranny of authoritarian or even majority opinion as to the rightness or wrongness of particular doctrines or thoughts.

    Above all, every member of the university has an obligation to permit free expression in the university. No member has a right to prevent such expression. Every official of the university, moreover, has a special obligation to foster free expression and to ensure that it is not obstructed.

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  • Three Dirty Academic Words Ending in ‘Ity’

    September 15, 2014

    By Richard Vedder at  Forbes UPDATE: Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke to Yale last night without significant interruption or disturbance according to the Yale Daily News, and received a standing ovation.  A decade ago, the favorite word out of university presidents’ mouths was “diversity.” A few years later, the cool word to use was “sustainability.” Today, the new mot du jour is “civility.” Universities have ruined all three of these once perfectly good words. For the record, I am against “diversity,” “sustainability,” and “civility” –at least as they are misused by university apparatchiks. “Diversity” came to mean evaluating people not on their intellectual merit, the strength […]

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  • Free Speech at Yale

    September 15, 2014

    By Jake New at Inside Higher Ed At Yale University’s Freshman Assembly last month, Peter Salovey, Yale’s president, urged students to avoid the kind of speaker policing that has happened at so many other campuses of late. “Invitations to provocative speakers have been withdrawn; politicians, celebrities, and even university presidents invited to deliver commencement addresses have — under pressure — declined to speak to graduates; student protesters have had their signs destroyed by other members of a campus community,” Salovey said. “Although we have not seen these kinds of episodes at Yale in recent decades, it is important on occasions like […]

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  • Yale Chaplain Makes Offensive Comments about Brave Women’s Rights Activist

    September 15, 2014

    By Eric Owens at The Daily Caller Yale University’s William F. Buckley, Jr. Program has invited Somali-born American activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak on campus Monday night, and the decision has stirred anger on the prestigious Ivy League campus. Yale’s chaplain, Sharon Kugler, is among the critics of the visit. In a statement provided to Inside Higher Ed, Kugler lashed out at Hirsi Ali, calling her a “hateful” and “disparaging” person. “We understand and affirm Yale’s commitment to free expression within an educational context,” Kugler said in the statement. “We are deeply concerned, however, by Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s long record […]

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  • Yale Students Tangle With University Over Website

    January 21, 2014

    by Ariel Kaminer The idea did not seem controversial at first: Peter Xu and Harry Yu, twin brothers who are seniors at Yale University, set out to build a better, more user-friendly version of the university’s online course catalog. But as Mark Zuckerberg found when he decided to build a better version of Harvard’s undergraduate student directory, these things can take on a life of their own. Yale shut down the brothers’ website last week, helping to turn a local campus issue into something of a civil rights cause. Now, after a few days of controversy, a similar tool is up and […]

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  • Introduction To Irony: Or, How To Take A Joke 101

    December 4, 2012

    I know a few Holocaust jokes. I learned them from the children of survivors. I suspect they’d disagree with the Harvard student who declared that pain was no laughing matter. “I don’t think that jokes should trigger on any type of pain,” 20-year-old Dakota Rot explained to the Boston Globe. She was responding to satirical fliers distributed on campus advertising a fake social club, noting “Jews need not apply,” and “Coloreds Okay,” and including a reference to date rape. “If you’re a person that’s part Jewish or a person of color or a woman who’s has been in any dangerous situation, you […]

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  • Unlearning liberty

    November 30, 2012

    ‘At Stanford, I took every human rights class that was offered, every First Amendment class, and in addition to that, for six additional credits, I did an independent study on the origins of the prior restraint doctrine of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. That’s how much of a nerd I am about this stuff.’ Greg Lukianoff lets out a big hearty laugh, before adding, ‘And I really enjoyed that last one’.             There is no doubting Lukianoff’s passion for the principles of liberty. In 2006, he was made president of the Foundation for Individual Rights […]

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  • Universities: “The Most Authoritarian Institution in America

    November 17, 2012

    In this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, occasional COMMENTARY contributor Sohrab Ahmari distills an interview with Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The article really is a must-read. It begins: At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—”a bizarre, parallel dimension,” as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it. A glance at FIRE’s top current cases shows just how serious the […]

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  • How Free Speech Died on Campus

    November 16, 2012

    At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—”a bizarre, parallel dimension,” as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it. Mr. Lukianoff, a 38-year-old Stanford Law grad, has spent the past decade fighting free-speech battles on college campuses. The latest was last week at Fordham University, where President Joseph McShane scolded College Republicans for the sin of inviting Ann Coulter to speak.  […]

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  • Not at Liberty to Discuss

    September 14, 2012

    Last week, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) published its second annual list of the “Seven Best Colleges for Freedom of Speech” on The Huffington Post. As FIRE’s president and a HuffPo contributor for the past five years, I knew what was coming next — and sure enough, the predictable culture war arguments were quickly trotted out by commenters. I wasn’t surprised. After all, the college campus should serve as a kind of national free speech laboratory, where all ideas are freely debated. So naming some schools better or worse at facilitating this kind of dialogue always strikes a chord with readers. Some […]

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  • On-campus free speech slowly improving

    April 5, 2012

    Although only 12 are listed on the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education‘s (FIRE) list of “Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2012,” the organization asserts that the roll could be much longer. FIRE vice president Robert Shibley says the list includes institutions that severely violate the speech rights of students, faculty members — and sometimes both. “Our number-one was the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, where they limit demonstrations, pickets and rallies to only one-tenth of one percent of their campus — and you have to reserve that ten days in advance,” he details. That is a small portion of the […]

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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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  • Government pressure got frat kicked off campus?

    May 24, 2011

    Last week colleges were abuzz with news that Yale University had decided to kick the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity off campus for sexist hazing antics which occurred in October of 2010. The decision has its supporters and its critics, yet both sides speculate that political pressure from the federal government led the Ivy to give DKE the boot. The federal government has put more focus on the problems of sexual harassment and violence on campus in recent months, specifically: Vice President Joe Biden’s anti-sexual violence on campus push, “Dear Colleague” letters from the Education Department lowering the standard of […]

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  • Yale, the Department of Education, and the looming free speech crisis

    May 24, 2011

    Yale University’s recent decision to punish a fraternity that made pledges chant offensive slogans was heralded by some as a blow against sexual harassment. But it may be the beginning of a new wave of campus censorship of politically incorrect speech. The reason lies in the relationship between the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is in charge of policing the enforcement of antidiscrimination laws on campus, and the ever-growing ranks of campus bureaucracy. On April 4, 2011, OCR issued a 19-page letter laying out detailed procedures every university in the country must follow in cases involving […]

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  • The Tyranny of Hurt Feelings

    May 17, 2011

    Call it testosterone poisoning: A group of fraternity pledges at Yale, blindfolded and led in a line, each with his hands on the shoulders of the boy in front of him (the Yalie bunny hop?), were paraded around campus. They shouted vile and puerile slogans including “No means yes, yes means anal” and “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophiliac, I f— dead women.” “It makes you want to slap those kids,” laments Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Idiotic behavior like that of Delta Kappa Epsilon makes his job — defending free speech and […]

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  • Sexual Harassment and the Loneliness of the Civil Libertarian Feminist

    April 6, 2011

    Civil libertarian feminists have always been a political minority, but these days we seem on the verge of extinction. Reviewing the charges of sexual harassment underlying the Title IX complaint by a group of Yale students and alumnae, I can’t find feminism — at least not if feminism includes independence, liberty, and power for women. Instead I find femininity — the assumption that women are incapable of fending for themselves in the marketplace of epithets or ideas, the belief that women are rendered helpless by misogynist speech and the sexist tantrums of their male peers. The Yale group’s confidential Title […]

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  • Yale University’s (and the Media’s) Free Speech Problem

    February 21, 2011

    by Michael Rubin COMMENTARY Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), recently ranked Yale as among the worst colleges for free speech. Certainly, my alma mater deserves its notoriety. In 2009, Yale College Dean Mary Miller censored the Freshman Class Council’s traditional t-shirt ahead of the Yale-Harvard game because it reproduced an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote with a dirty word—“sissies.”  Yale also made international headlines when a top administrator intervened with the nominally autonomous Yale University Press to censor a scholarly study of the Danish cartoon controversy. The interjection coincided with Yale President Richard […]

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  • Legislators watching for final decision on public law school

    December 26, 2009

    While they have no official say over whether Massachusetts could open the state’s first public law school, legislators on both sides of the issue are threatening to file legislation as pre-emptive strikes before the state Board of Higher Education makes its final decision in February. State Senator Stanley Rosenberg is preparing legislation that would bar the proposed public law school at UMass Dartmouth from using state funds because he is skeptical of Chancellor Jean MacCormack’s promise that no tax dollars would be used in creating or sustaining the law school. Well, an eye for an eye, retorted South Coast members […]

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  • College Students Can’t Say ‘Sissies’ Anymore?

    December 21, 2009

    Yale Goes for Old-Timey Censorship Against F. Scott Fitzgerald Quote by Thomas Mitchell The Huffington Post   The idea of there being an annual “big” Yale versus Harvard football game produces two thoughts in me: first, “Yale and Harvard have football teams?” and, once that is answered in the affirmative, “Right, I think I learned about that on The Simpsons.” But this year the most interesting thing to come out of this age-old, blue-blood anachronism-fest had nothing to do with Mr. Burns. It started before the Harvard and Yale teams flailed against each other on the football field last month; […]

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  • Standing Up to Threats

    December 1, 2009

    Academics’ commitment to free expression shouldn’t be put on hold because of the threat of violence, according to a joint statement issued Monday by a coalition of academic and civil liberties groups. “The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who would attack and undermine it,” says the statement. “It is time for colleges and universities in particular to exercise moral and intellectual leadership. It is incumbent on those responsible for the education of the next generation of leaders to stand up for certain basic principles: that the free exchange of ideas is essential to liberal democracy; that […]

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  • A growing threat to free speech

    September 24, 2009

    Free speech is now under widespread attack in the name of political correctness. In August, Yale University Press announced that the book The Cartoons That Shook The World, should not include the l2 Danish drawings that originally appeared in September 2005 and led to protests by Moslems around the world, including riots and the burning and vandalism of embassies. At least 200 people were killed. Yale also decided to eliminate other illustrations of the prophet Muhammad that were to be included in a children’s book. These included an Ottoman print and a sketch by the l9th century artist Gustave Dore […]

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  • Academic and free-speech groups join criticism of Yale U. Press over cartoons in book

    September 16, 2009

    Criticism continues to rain down on Yale University and Yale University Press for their decision to remove all images of the Prophet Muhammad from a forthcoming scholarly book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Jytte Klausen. Now the National Coalition Against Censorship and a group of academic and free-speech organizations have sent a letter of protest to Yale’s president, Richard C. Levin, and the Yale Corporation. “This misguided action established a dangerous precedent that threatens academic and intellectual freedom around the world,” the coalition wrote. It said that the university’s action “compromises the principle and practice of academic freedom, […]

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  • Unexplained mysteries in Mohammed cartoon controversy

    August 14, 2009

    Most of us remember the riots across the Islamic world that ensued in 2005 after the Danish publication Jyllands-Posten [1] printed its now-infamous collection of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed [2]. Now the  New York Times (which points out that it refused to run the cartoons) is reporting [3] that Yale University Press has brought the controversy to the fore once again by refusing to print the cartoons in an upcoming book. The name of that upcoming book? The Cartoons That Shook the World. That’s right: Yale University Press has determined that a book that is all about the reaction to the Danish Mohammed […]

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  • Constitution Day 2014: What a Difference a Year Makes

    September 18, 2014

    September 17, 2013—last year’s Constitution Day—turned out to be a dark moment in the history of free speech on America’s campuses. That was the day Robert Van Tuinen was stopped from handing out Constitutions on the campus of Modesto Junior College (MJC) in California. He had neglected to sign up to use the school’s tiny “free speech area,” the only place that a student was allowed to hand out literature. On the same day, an administrator at Citrus College (also in California) told student Vinny Sinapi-Riddle that he could be removed from campus for seeking another student’s signature on a […]

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  • Yale President Welcomes Freshmen with Free Speech Advocacy

    August 25, 2014

    Yale University President Peter Salovey shared an important message with the Class of 2018 as he welcomed students to the university on Saturday. Salovey’s speech at Yale’s Freshman Assembly focused on the fundamental need for free expression, particularly at colleges and universities.

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  • Boston’s WGBH Announces Muzzle Award ‘Winners’

    July 9, 2014

    Boston’s WGBH News has just announced the “winners” of its 2014 Muzzle Awards, given to those who have particularly impeded freedom of speech over the past year. Formerly published in the Boston Phoenix, WGBH has adopted the awards and is continuing the tradition of “singl[ing] out the dramatic and the petty, the epic and the absurd.”

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  • Boring Campuses: Not Just the Fault of Helicopter Parents

    April 16, 2014

    In a new article, Slate’s Rebecca Schuman laments the phenomenon of colleges and universities becoming toned-down, less playful, even boring. Schuman argues that this is in part due to parents over-planning their kids’ lives, leaving them incapable of finding creative ways to have fun when they’re older and on their own: A recent trip back to my beloved alma mater, Vassar—combined with my interactions with students where I teach and some disappointing sleuthing—has made it apparent that much of the unstructured free play at college seems to have disappeared in favor of pre-professional anxiety, coupled with the nihilistic, homogeneous partying […]

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  • Yale Releases Semiannual Report on Sexual Misconduct, With Perplexing Details

    February 6, 2014

    Yale University’s latest Report of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct relays details about 70 complaints of sexual misconduct filed in the latter half of 2013, as well as statistical summaries of the complaints and Yale’s definitions of relevant terms. Brooklyn College Professor KC Johnson took a critical look at the report and wrote for Minding the Campus yesterday to note some particularly vague complaints that illustrate just how little it takes to remove someone from campus.

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  • Yale Unlearns Free Expression

    January 17, 2014

    The Yale Daily News reports that Yale University is blocking a popular course evaluation site called CourseTable (originally called Bluebook+) put together by undergraduate brothers Peter Xu and Harry Yu. This is the second time Yale has tried to stifle a student website rating Yale’s courses and professors. The first time it simply bought the site, Yale Bluebook. (Yale’s course catalog is commonly referred to as the Bluebook.) This time, Registrar Gabriel Olszewski demanded that the site be taken down because it was “making YC course evaluation available to many who are not authorized to view this information,” and the site used the word […]

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  • Please Explain Why Putting University Administrators in Charge of Judging Speech Is a Good Idea

    July 9, 2013

    Architect Rolls and Plans – Shutterstock My colleagues have done a thorough job of explaining why defenders of the Department of Education’s “blueprint” for preventing campus sexual harassment are on very shaky legal and logical ground. They have pointed out that some of ED’s allies have misquoted the findings letter and mocked Senator John McCain’s serious questions about the threat to free speech and about OCR’s authority to impose this blueprint. Other defenders of the blueprint have brushed away concerns by portraying its definition of sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” as simply a way of encouraging reporting. […]

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  • AAUP Issues Open Letter to Yale, Criticizes Singapore Campus

    December 6, 2012

    This week, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued an open letter to Yale University “to express the AAUP’s growing concern about the character and impact of the university’s collaboration with the Singaporean government in establishing Yale-National University of Singapore College.” FIRE has written about this issue in recent months, and we support the efforts of the AAUP to ensure that Yale University respects the academic freedom rights of its faculty and students, both on American soil and abroad.  The AAUP’s letter lays out the situation: Some Yale administrators have argued that they have no choice but to obey […]

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  • Yale Travels to Singapore, Leaves Toothbrush, U.S. Values at Home

    July 26, 2012

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) has issued a press release excoriating Yale University for its “acceptance of Singaporean government restrictions on basic rights at the new Yale–National University of Singapore (NUS) joint campus [that] shows a disturbing disregard for free speech, association, and assembly.” Foreign Policy has picked up the ongoing controversy, as has Alex Klein over at The Daily Beast.  HRW’s press release echoes some of the concerns I have laid out here on The Torch over the past few weeks: Many Singaporean laws are incompatible with the basic policies of a university such as Yale… “Yale may find that […]

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  • Yale’s Reversal On Academic Freedom Garners More Criticism

    July 26, 2012

    Yale University continues to take a beating in the media for its decision not to protect students’ and professors’ rights on its Singapore campus. In addition to FIRE’s own coverage of Yale’s statement guaranteeing academic freedom and then its immediate and unprincipled retreat from that position, other outlets are also pouncing on Yale’s betrayal of its students and faculty members. A story at The Daily Beast takes Yale to task for breaking its promise to students and faculty that “academic freedom” on the Singapore campus would be “guaranteed.”  But this week, the debate over Yale–NUS reignited when the franchise’s new […]

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  • Catch-22 on Yale’s Singapore Campus: Students “Free to Express Views,” So Long as They Don’t

    July 17, 2012

    Last week, I discussed the commitment to free expression that American universities should maintain when they open overseas campuses. I noted that Yale University was, on the one hand, promoting its new Singapore campus (Yale–NUS) as a place where students would be able to “express themselves freely.” On the other hand, I noted that the Dean’s statements were worrying: “What we think of as freedom, they think of as an affront to public order.”  Now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Yale’s avowed commitment to free expression is worthless. As the Journal reports, “[s]tudents at the new school ‘are going […]

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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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  • At Yale, Political Expediency Trumps Basic Rights

    February 3, 2012

    Last week, The New York Times ran an article on Patrick Witt, the star quarterback at Yale University whose candidacy for a Rhodes scholarship was suspended after the Rhodes selection committee learned of an “informal” complaint of sexual assault lodged against him within Yale’s judicial system.  Several days later, Yale released its first-ever “Report of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct,” part of Yale’s effort to overhaul its handling of sexual misconduct claims. The report provides details both about Yale’s various methods for handling such claims (including the “informal complaint” process used by Patrick Witt’s accuser) and about the actual claims brought. […]

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  • Greg in ‘The Huffington Post': Are Fraternities Disastrous for Free Speech on Campus?

    July 27, 2011

    In his newest article for The Huffington Post, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff examines how fraternities are often the most targeted and the least sympathetic victims of censorship on campus—and the repercussions this dynamic has for the free speech rights of all students. Highlighting the recent Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) case at Yale University, Greg urges fraternities like DKE to stand up for their rights: Yes, the university may still punish you for behavior that actually breaks Yale’s rules, or it may redefine its charges as hazing, rather than harassment, and perhaps retry the case, but this case has become much […]

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  • Speech Codes at Private Colleges Debated at ‘PolicyMic’

    June 28, 2011

    Over at PolicyMic, where I am a contributing writer, Jordan Wolf and Jason Orr are debating the propriety of speech codes on private college campuses. Naturally, I follow this debate with great interest. Wolf in particular makes a number of points in favor of speech codes that are worth discussing, and worth more space than the 900 characters we’re permitted for the comments section at PolicyMic; hence I discuss them here. Wolf states that “private universities can condition attendance on observing a speech code. However, that does not mean it is wise for them to do so.” He says later […]

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  • Yale, Free Speech, and the First Amendment

    June 3, 2011

    In a May 27 review of reactions to the punishment of Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity and some of its individual members, the Yale Daily News (YDN) cited a Minding the Campus piece that I co-authored with FIRE Chairman Harvey Silverglate. This is a controversy that FIRE has written about extensively, yet the paper mistakenly reported that our article “claimed that the chants were protected by the First Amendment.” This isn’t quite true, and it’s important to set the record straight. Harvey and I wrote that as a private institution, Yale “[is] not bound by the First Amendment and its free […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Yale University

    June 1, 2011

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for June 2011: Yale University. Ordinarily, FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month is a written policy that restricts student speech rights in a way that violates either students’ First Amendment rights (at a public university) or contradicts written promises of free speech that a university makes to its students (at a private university). As terrible as these written policies are, however, there is something yet worse: an unwritten policy that gives a university carte blanche to punish any speech that it finds undesirable or politically inconvenient. Such an unwritten policy is precisely what […]

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  • Harvey and Kyle on ‘Minding the Campus’ on What Yale Should Have Said to OCR

    May 24, 2011

    FIRE Co-founder and Board of Directors Chairman Harvey Silverglate and Program Associate Kyle Smeallie have written an excellent, though-provoking piece on Minding the Campus about what Yale University President Richard Levin should have said to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regarding the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. Under investigation by OCR for allegedly maintaining a sexually hostile environment, Yale announced last week that it was suspending DKE for five years for chants uttered by its pledges as part of a hazing ritual in October 2010. Rather than—from all appearances—cave in to federal pressure so quickly and […]

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  • Yale Student: OCR is Pressuring Schools to Abandon Commitment to Freedom of Speech

    May 20, 2011

    About a month ago, Yale sophomore Nathaniel Zelinsky wrote an opinion piece arguing against censorship and encouraging more speech as a remedy to bad speech. Yesterday, he touched on the subject again, tackling Yale’s recently announced disciplinary action against the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. Zelinsky argues, as do we, that pressure from the Deparment of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) caused Yale to abandon its commitment to freedom of expression in handing down its surprisingly severe punishment. Zelinsky asks good questions in his piece: Dean Miller’s precedent in banning DKE for creating a “hostile” environment raises troubling questions. Who decides what speech is hostile? […]

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  • What Passes for ‘Justice’ in Yale Fraternity Case

    May 18, 2011

    It’s all over the news — Yale University has suspended the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity for five years for speech uttered by its pledges on the evening of October 13, 2010, in front of the Yale Women’s Center. As the Yale Daily News reported at the time, At their pledge initiation on Old Campus, DKE members shouted phrases such as “No means yes, yes means anal” and “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophiliac, I f— dead women.” Some of the students were blindfolded and being led in a line with their hands on each others’ shoulders. Reaction was swift. The October 15 Yale Daily News article linked […]

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  • Yale Student Applauds His Critics, Laments Lack of Commitment to Free Speech

    April 25, 2011

    Yale sophomore Nate Zelinsky spent last week being anonymously attacked on the Internet and called a racist and classist—backlash from an opinion piece he authored on Sunday in the Yale Daily News. But Zelinsky isn’t complaining; in fact, he’s encouraging it. On Friday, he penned yet another piece, this time defending his anonymous critics. In his article, Zelinsky extols the virtues of the marketplace of ideas and free speech on college campuses, while taking Yale and its student body to task for failing to do the same. He points to the recent exclusion of a preacher based on his views […]

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  • Kaminer on the “Loneliness of the Civil Libertarian Feminist

    April 6, 2011

    In her most recent column for The Atlantic, author, lawyer, and FIRE Board of Advisors member Wendy Kaminer makes her case that “Civil libertarian feminists have always been a political minority, but these days we seem on the verge of extinction,” using the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigation of Yale University for allowing misogynistic speech—not actions—by male students as an example. Kaminer also opines that the recent “Dear Colleague” letter to colleges from OCR, about which FIRE issued a statement on Monday, “displays much more concern for the sensitivities of accusers over the rights of the accused.” […]

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  • This Week in the News: Wesleyan Housing Policy Revision Receives Necessary Criticism

    February 25, 2011

    A recently implemented revision in a housing policy at Wesleyan College forbids students from “using houses or property owned, leased or operated by private societies that are not recognized by the University.” This revision is especially troublesome for members of Beta Theta Pi, which must now choose between becoming a recognized program house or having its members face suspension from Wesleyan. Fortunately, this policy has received a lot of negative press from both inside and outside of the college. Three articles about the policy revision were printed in The Wesleyan Argus, Wesleyan’s student newspaper. Sid Isaar argued that FIRE is […]

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  • ‘Commentary’ Cites Greg on Free Speech at Yale

    February 21, 2011

    Commentary‘s Michael Rubin cited Greg’s recent Huffington Post column on the 12 worst schools for free speech in America in his article today about the climate for free speech at Yale University, a member in bad standing of Greg’s list. Rubin points out that no less than three of the members of the Yale Corporation (Yale’s main governing body) are deeply involved with the media and should be sensitive to concerns regarding Yale. Click through to read more.

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  • Study Shows that Ideology Affects Perception of Whether Speech Is Threatening

    February 8, 2011

    A study performed by Yale University’s Cultural Cognition Project found that individuals’ perceptions about whether a particular protest is illegally disruptive are strongly affected by their cultural worldviews and ideologies. In the study, subjects were divided into two groups and asked to watch a video of a protest to determine whether the protesters were “intimidating, interfering, obstructing or threatening.” One group of subjects was told that the protesters were gathered outside of an abortion clinic to demonstrate their opposition to abortion. The other group of subjects was told that the protesters were gathered outside of a college recruitment center to […]

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  • Mohammed Cartoon Controversy Cemented Yale’s Place on Our List of ’12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech’

    February 2, 2011

    As we continue to look at how the “12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” made our list on The Huffington Post, today we come to Yale University. Yale University is no stranger to entanglements with free speech, or to FIRE. Despite its reputation for academic excellence and stellar promises of freedom of expression and academic freedom, Yale has been on the wrong side of a number of free speech issues over the years. So it likely comes as little surprise to FIRE followers to see Yale earn this dubious distinction. Back in the early days of FIRE—in 2001, to be more […]

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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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  • Harvard-Yale 2010 T-shirt Wars Begin; No Free Speech Casualties … Yet

    November 9, 2010

    The 2010 Harvard-Yale T-shirt wars are officially under way, in anticipation of the schools’ annual football game on November 20. The Yale Daily News reports that Yale College’s Freshman Class Council (FCC) has released its official design for The Game 2010, a riff on the recent movie The Social Network:   The blank space at the end leaves room for Yalies to insert the kindest, most highbrow compliments they can conceive of their intellectual equals at Harvard. (Or, you know, not.) Meanwhile, the Harvard flyby, a blog hosted by The Harvard Crimson, points to this design as the winner of […]

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  • New England Ivies Earn ‘Muzzle Awards’ from FIRE Chairman

    July 2, 2010

    With Independence Day on the horizon, the Boston Phoenix turns its annual spotlight upon those who have ignored our nation’s founding freedoms. The “Muzzle Awards” are the undesired accolades reserved for the self-appointed censors of New England—politicians, police officers, judges, and public transportation officials, to name a few. This year, in the 13th installment of this award-winning series, special attention is devoted to colleges and universities, courtesy of FIRE Co-founder and Chairman Harvey Silverglate. Harvey focuses the 2010 Campus Muzzle Awards on transgressions at Harvard University (his alma mater) and Yale University, both of which “have helped pave the censorial […]

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  • Is Nothing Sacred? Comedy Central Joins Many Universities in Caving to Threats of Violence for Depictions of Mohammed

    April 23, 2010

    Comedy Central’s cartoon hit South Park is famous for its shocking and offensive humor, targeted at subjects ranging from Queen Elizabeth to Scientology. The show’s renowned satire takes an unapologetic attitude towards goring sacred cows, and fans have come to regard South Park‘s principled stance on free speech as sacred in and of itself. This week, however, Comedy Central created headlines around the world by censoring a portion of a South Park episode. The episode continued last week’s plotline depicting Mohammed in a bear suit, which is considered blasphemous by some followers of Islam. Comedy Central’s usually laissez-faire approach to […]

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  • This Month in FIRE History: FIRE Releases Statement on Mohammed Cartoons

    March 1, 2010

    Four years ago last month, the global controversy over cartoons depicting Mohammed hit American college campuses. In response, FIRE issued a statement reminding colleges and universities that free speech needs protection even when it is difficult. FIRE’s statement emphasized that the First Amendment protects the printing and posting of the infamous cartoons. In the months after the cartoons were first published in a Danish newspaper, students, professors, and student publications not only reprinted the controversial cartoons but also created their own satirical cartoons depicting Mohammed. Though many colleges acknowledged the importance of free expression, others turned to censorship in an […]

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  • Learning From Flap Over ‘Sissies’ T-shirt a Priority for Yale College Dean

    February 16, 2010

    Today’s Yale Daily News features an article on Yale College Dean Mary Miller, who outlines for the newspaper the goals for her tenure in an interview. Miller, Torch readers will remember, was front-and-center in a controversy sparked last fall when she intervened in the affairs of Yale College’s Freshman Class Council (FCC) by nixing the proposed design of a T-shirt for the annual Yale-Harvard football game. The T-shirt, taking a line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, read “I think of all Harvard men as sissies” on the front, a line which prompted complaints from some in Yale’s […]

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  • NBC on Yale ‘Sissies’ Censorship Controversy

    January 19, 2010

    A Connecticut affiliate of NBC has covered FIRE’s case at Yale University, in which President Richard C. Levin recently expressed “regret” for the role of a dean in the withdrawal of a T-shirt design that quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald in calling Harvard students “sissies.” We explained the case earlier today.The article quotes from FIRE’s letter to President Levin: [I]n December, Adam Kissel of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education—and a Harvard man—sent University president, Richard Levin, a letter saying Yale College Dean Mary Miller acted inappropriately by ruling the shirt unacceptable. “It is not a happy day when a Yale College dean with degrees […]

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  • ‘Yale Daily News’ Stays on Yale Censorship Case

    January 19, 2010

    Today’s Yale Daily News provides some fresh reporting on last November’s censorship of the Yale University Freshman Class Council’s T-shirt design, which featured an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote calling Harvard students “sissies.” As we noted last week, in response to a letter from FIRE, Yale University President Richard C. Levin investigated what happened, discussed the matter with Dean Mary Miller, and expressed “regret” over Dean Miller’s role in the withdrawal of the T-shirt design. President Levin’s response also reaffirmed Yale’s commitment to the strong protection of free speech in its classic Woodward Report, stating that “it is not the role […]

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  • Yale President Defends Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons, But Acknowledges Free Speech Commitment in T-shirt Controversy

    January 15, 2010

    In a letter to FIRE, Yale University President Richard C. Levin maintained Yale’s position defending the censorship of images of Mohammed in a book about those images, citing a “risk to life and safety.” However, President Levin also reaffirmed Yale’s commitment to the strong protection of free speech in its classic Woodward Report, stating that “it is not the role of the Dean or any other University official to suppress the speech of any student or student organization” and expressing “regret” for Dean Mary Miller’s role in the withdrawal of the Freshman Class Council’s T-shirt design calling Harvard students “sissies.” […]

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  • Letter from Yale University President Richard C. Levin to FIRE, January 14, 2010

    January 14, 2010

    Letter From Yale University President Richard C. Levin to FIRE, January 14, 2010 by FIRE

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  • A Possible Precedent for Yale University in the Case of the Censored ‘Sissies’ T-shirts

    January 13, 2010

    Yale University seems to be facing more than its share of troubles lately. In this context, it is something of a shame that resources need to be spent on dealing with a Yale College dean’s decision to censor the democratically chosen T-shirt design of its Freshman Class Council (FCC). Last November, just before the Harvard-Yale football game, Dean Mary Miller decided to pull the design, which used a quotation from F. Scott Fitzgerald calling Harvard students “sissies.” Apparently, completely unknown to the FCC leadership, the word was considered by some Yalies to be an anti-gay slur. After FIRE called Yale […]

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  • Will Aziz Ansari Be Allowed to Say ‘Sissies’ at Yale?

    January 12, 2010

    Comedian Aziz Ansari (Funny People; Parks and Recreation) has accepted an invitation from Yale University’s Yale College Council to perform at Yale on January 30, 2010. This normally wouldn’t be FIRE news, but now that Yale College Dean Mary Miller has declared editorial control over the student government (the Freshman Class Council in particular), this is a matter of concern. Will Ansari be informed that it is “not acceptable” for him to use the word “sissies” (or, presumably, similar words) in a negative way towards anyone? Dean Miller seems to say so. Perhaps this is why at Yale, even a […]

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  • Yale Dean Defends Censorship of ‘Sissies’ T-Shirt, Claims Control over Freshman Student Government

    January 11, 2010

    Today’s Yale Daily News reports that Yale College Dean Mary Miller has defended her choice to censor a T-shirt design quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald that had been democratically chosen and was going to be printed by Yale’s Freshman Class Council (FCC). According to a statement given by Dean Miller to the Yale Daily News, which reporter Jordi Gassó read to me in full, the FCC reports to Dean Miller’s office and therefore is under her office’s financial and editorial control. Thus, she had no problem censoring the T-shirt, which quoted Fitzgerald’s line, “I think of all Harvard men as sissies,” […]

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  • Rights group criticizes Yale

    January 11, 2010

    This year’s Game may be over, but the controversy over the Freshman Class Council’s proposed T-shirt design continues. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization that focuses on civil liberties in American colleges and universities, sent a letter last month to University President Richard Levin criticizing the administration for asking the FCC to reconsider its decision to sell a T-shirt deemed offensive for its use of the word “sissy” by members of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Co-operative. When members of the co-op raised their concerns in the week preceding the game, Yale College Dean Mary Miller […]

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  • Rights in the News: Yale and Minnesota Still in Headlines as FIRE Eyes 2010 Campaign

    January 8, 2010

    Even during the supposedly slow Christmas-to-New-Year’s stretch, FIRE’s cases continued to captivate the media, none more so than the recent brouhaha at Yale over a censored F. Scott Fitzgerald-quoting t-shirt calling Harvard men “sissies.” Following Greg’s earlier writings in The Huffington Post, Robert wrote on the case for Pajamas Media. (Knowing such PC nonsense when he saw it, Glenn Reynolds tipped them both at Instapundit.) Both The Boston Globe and U.S. News & World Report have picked up the story as well. And in a wonderfully caustic post, Write Bastard blogger Ian Wood heaps scorn on Yale, where apparently “the […]

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  • Yale Wimps Out Again

    December 29, 2009

    It was the source of an athletic taunt that could only have originated in the Ivy League: “I want to go to Princeton,” said Amory. “I don’t know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies, like I used to be, and all Yale men as wearing big blue sweaters and smoking pipes.” Monsignor chuckled. “I’m one, you know.” “Oh, you’re different – I think of Princeton as being lazy and good-looking and aristocratic – you know, like a spring day. Harvard seems sort of indoors – ” “And Yale is November, crisp and energetic,” finished Monsignor. “That’s […]

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  • ‘Boston Globe’ Covers FIRE’s ‘Sissies’ T-Shirt Case at Yale

    December 28, 2009

    Boston Globe journalist Tracy Jan drew attention yesterday to FIRE’s latest case at Yale University. No, not the one where images of Mohammed were censored from a book about those very images. This time, it’s the one where an administrator declared the word “sissies” unacceptable on an anti-Harvard T-shirt prior to the annual Harvard-Yale football game. Jan quotes Greg’s piece on the case in The Huffington Post: “A couple of Yale administrators decided that the word ‘sissies’ was too offensive because some people interpreted it as a slur against gay men,” Lukianoff wrote. “This was news to the Yale freshmen […]

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  • In Interview With ‘Index on Censorship,’ Jytte Klausen Discusses Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons

    December 22, 2009

    Jytte Klausen, author of the recently published book The Cartoons That Shook the World and the subject of much controversy since the Yale University Press unilaterally decided to excise inclusion of the controversial cartoons of Mohammed central to the book’s premise, discusses the incident in the current magazine published by Index on Censorship, a British organization promoting freedom of expression. In her engaging interview, Klausen discusses the academic background of her work and research into the subject, as well as the process by which the Yale University Press, after initially approving the publication of the book with the cartoons included, eventually […]

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  • Greg in Huffington Post on Yale’s Controversial Anti-Harvard T-shirt Quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald

    December 21, 2009

    Today in The Huffington Post, Greg highlights our recent letter to Yale regarding administrators’ readiness to censor a T-shirt that quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald in calling Harvard men “sissies.” FIRE’s letter, written by Adam Kissel and sent on Friday, reminded Yale both of the university’s historical commitments to free speech and its recent missteps. As Greg says in the article: I understand that Yale considering banning a F. Scott Fitzgerald quote for using the word “sissies” is not the most important event in collegiate censorship this year (I think my vote goes to the Southwestern College “Free Speech Patio”). But given Yale’s […]

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  • Beat Harvard – Just Don’t Call Them Sissies

    November 24, 2009

    When I was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, our various class councils endlessly outdid themselves in the art of emasculating the Princeton tiger, mascot of our archrival. Our depictions of the tiger, emblazoned on T-shirts, ran the gamut from gentle mockery to representations of acts that would be illegal in most if not all of the fifty states. Of course, Penn students bought them in droves, myself included. For Yale University’s Freshman Class Council (FCC), then, to print a F. Scott Fitzgerald quote—”I think of all Harvard men as sissies”—on T-shirts would not seem to invite controversy. After […]

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  • Greg in ‘The Huffington Post’ on Yale and the Muhammad Cartoons

    November 10, 2009

    Greg posted a blog entry on The Huffington Post yesterday highlighting a statement that has been included in Duke Professor Gary Hull’s new book, Muhammad: The “Banned Images”. The statement, backed by a broad coalition, criticizes Yale University’s decision to censor the Muhammad cartoons. It concludes: The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who would attack and undermine it. It is time for colleges and universities in particular to exercise moral and intellectual leadership. It is incumbent on those responsible for the education of the next generation of leaders to stand up for certain basic principles: that […]

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  • Duke beats Yale: Censored images of Muhammad finally printed in new book

    November 9, 2009

    Today my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), is proud to join a broad coalition criticizing Yale University’s decision to censor the Muhammad cartoons from a book about the cartoons. The statement is included in Duke University Professor Gary Hull’s new book Muhammad: The “Banned Images”–which prints the censored images and many more. Read the full text of the statement below. Statement of Principle Free Expression at Risk, at Yale and Elsewhere A number of recent incidents suggest that our long-standing commitment to the free exchange of ideas is in peril of falling victim to a spreading […]

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  • Duke Professor Finishes Yale’s Job, Prints Mohammed Images in New Book; FIRE Co-signs Statement of Principle

    November 9, 2009

    Duke University Professor Gary Hull has just published Muhammad: The “Banned” Images, which dares to publish images that Yale University and Yale University Press censored from Jytte Klausen’s The Cartoons that Shook the World earlier this year. Hull calls the book “a statement of defiance against censors, terror-mongers, and their Western appeasers.” FIRE joined with the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Association of University Professors, and nine other signatories on a Statement of Principle stating that “The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who would attack and undermine it.” Here is the Statement of Principle, which points out that Yale’s […]

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  • Yale Law Professor Misses the Point on Censorship of Political Cartoons

    October 16, 2009

    In an op-ed in the Yale Daily News, Yale University Law Professor Anthony Kronman attempts to defend Yale’s decision to censor the Mohammed cartoons. Kronman makes a number of points in an effort to show that the decision to remove the cartoons from author and Brandeis University Professor Jytte Klausen’s book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, published by Yale University Press this fall, should not bring condemnation upon Yale University. However, all of Kronman’s arguments miss the mark. For starters, Kronman argues that Yale University is a distinct institution from its Press, and that the decisions of the latter, […]

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  • Jytte Klausen, Author of ‘The Cartoons That Shook the World,’ Speaks at Yale and Confronts One of Her Censors

    October 2, 2009

    The New Haven Independent reports that Jytte Klausen, whose book The Cartoons That Shook the World was censored by the Yale University Press, spoke at Yale yesterday evening, leading to a worthwhile exchange with one of the individuals responsible for the act of censorship. Klausen, a Brandeis University professor, is having her book published by the Yale University Press this fall. The book discusses the international fury and violence that took place four years ago after a Danish newspaper published cartoon depictions of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. However, Yale University, in a move demonstrating little regard for academic freedom, decided […]

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  • FIRE’s Will Creeley in ‘Providence Journal’

    September 23, 2009

    Today’s edition of the Providence (R.I.) Journal contains an op-ed by FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley criticizing Yale University over the most recent Mohammed cartoon controversy. The Yale University Press decided to remove cartoons depicting Mohammed from author and professor Jytte Klausen’s forthcoming book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, which discusses the outcry and fallout resulting from the publication of 12 editorial cartoons depicting Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in 2005. This prompted FIRE to join a dynamic coalition of civil liberties organizations in writing an open letter to Yale University President Richard C. Levin and […]

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  • William Creeley: Yale’s cowardice erodes free speech

    September 23, 2009

    By choosing to remove all depictions of the Prophet Mohammed from Brandeis Professor Jytte Klausen’s book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, to be published by Yale University Press in early October, Yale University has betrayed academic freedom. Worse, Yale has surrendered without protest to nonexistent demands it merely imagines from those willing to kill to silence views with which they disagree. So much for the pen being mightier than the sword. Four years ago, in September of 2005, the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten ran a set of 12 editorial cartoon caricatures of Mohammed. In an accompanying note, the paper’s culture […]

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  • FIRE Joins Open Letter to Yale Protesting Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons

    September 17, 2009

    Earlier this week, FIRE joined a dynamic coalition of civil liberties groups in signing an open letter protesting the removal of cartoons depicting Mohammed from author Jytte Klausen’s forthcoming book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, to be published by Yale University Press this October. The letter, authored by Joan Bertin, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and sent to Yale President Richard C. Levin and members of the Yale Corporation, labels the removal of the cartoons “a dangerous precedent that threatens academic and intellectual freedom around the world.” In addition to FIRE and the NCAC, the […]

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  • Letter to Yale University Opposing Removal of Mohammed Images from Book

    September 14, 2009

    Richard C. Levin President, Yale University PO BOX 208229 New Haven, CT  06520-8229 The Yale Corporation c/o The Office of the Secretary P.O. Box 208230 New Haven, CT 06520-8230 Dear President Levin and Members of the Yale Corporation, We write to protest the decision to remove all images of Mohammed from the forthcoming book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Jytte Klausen, which will be published by Yale University Press in early October.  The University’s role in that decision compromises the principle and practice of academic freedom, undermines the independence of the Press, damages the University’s credibility, and diminishes […]

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  • The cartoons that shook the publisher

    August 28, 2009

    The infirmity of free speech became abundantly clear when Prof. Jytte Klausen (POL) became the latest victim of the politically correct assault on academic freedom and discourse. Klausen is a leading expert on the growing Islamic population in Europe, and her latest book, “The Cartoons That Shook the World,” focuses on the Muhammad cartoon controversy-arguing that rather than represent a truly deep seeded cultural animosity, the explosion of violence that followed the cartoons’ publication was incited by radicals looking to score political victories. Thus, one would expect that the book would allow the reader to view images of the cartoons […]

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  • Yale University Press Responds on Mohammed Cartoon Controversy

    August 17, 2009

    Last week, The New York Times reported that Yale University Press had made the decision not to reprint the famous 2005 Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Brandeis Professor Jytte Klausen’s upcoming book The Cartoons that Shook the World. This decision caused an uproar both within and outside of academia. (I posted my own take on the situation for Pajamas Media here.) In response to the initial outcry, Yale University’s Office of Public Affairs posted a comment on the blog of the National Coalition Against Censorship responding to the controversy. (It should be noted that I was unable to […]

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  • In ‘Pajamas Media,’ FIRE’s VP Slams Yale Press Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons

    August 14, 2009

    There appears to be a new exemplar of the cowardice and censorship that characterized the academy’s response to the furor over the publication of twelve cartoons by a Danish newspaper depicting the Prophet Mohammed. As The New York Times was first to report on Tuesday, Yale University Press decided not to print the once-incendiary cartoons in Brandeis Professor Jytte Klausen’s upcoming book The Cartoons That Shook the World, a scholarly exploration of—no rewards for guessing—the controversy stemming from the publication of the cartoons. Yale’s press has been roundly slammed for its temerity, and rightly so. Foxnews.com was quick to pick […]

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  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Yale University

    June 15, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester and into the early summer, 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). This blog series is drawing to a close, with only three universities left: Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. Today we review policies at Yale, which FIRE has given a yellow-light rating for maintaining policies that could too easily be used to suppress free speech at the university. Yale, a private university, explicitly states that freedom of expression is its “central purpose.” Yale’s policy on Free Expression, Peaceful […]

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  • Too Often, First Amendment Protections Denied to Second Amendment Speech

    March 10, 2009

    The First Amendment protects core political speech—and, as should be obvious, that protection extends to speech regarding the Second Amendment. This means that students at public universities and private universities that promise the right to free expression on campus must be free to engage in unfettered discussion of the merits of federal, state and local gun policy in the same way that they are free to discuss, say, agricultural subsidies, diplomatic relations with Cuba, or last night’s Daily Show. But an unfortunate consequence of the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University is that students are increasingly facing punishment […]

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  • Yale Fights For Free Speech

    August 17, 2007

    FIRE’s former president David French, on National Revie w Online ’s “Phi Beta Cons” blog, reports that Yale University Press stood up to a group “who hoped to stop publication of a book exposing the intersection between Hamas’s terrorist and (allegedly) ‘charitable’ wings.”  The group, KinderUSA, filed a libel suit against Yale University Press and Matthew Levitt, the author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, over two passages in the book in which Levitt links charities in the US to terrorist groups. Inside Higher Ed reports that after Yale took a strong legal stance, the […]

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  • Hard Cases Make Bad Law

    April 25, 2007

    It is often said that hard cases make bad law, because when something particularly awful or unusual happens, logic is often subjugated by a judge’s, a jury’s, or a legislature’s desire to address the particular situation at hand.   It seems now that the admittedly very hard case of the Virginia Tech massacre is beginning to make some bad law at colleges and universities. Yesterday, Inside Higher Ed reported that administrators at Yale University banned the use of any realistic-looking weapons in theatrical productions at the school. This means that students wishing to stage productions like Hamlet, or any of […]

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  • Job Security = Academic Freedom?

    April 19, 2005

    Graduate Student Employees United (GSEU) at Columbia University and the Graduate Employees and Students Organization (GESO) at Yale University started a week-long strike yesterday, demanding that the universities’ administrations recognize the groups as workers unions. The Yale Daily News reported that in New York students carried signs that said: “Job Security = Academic Freedom.” The Columbia Spectator reported, “Today strike organizers are planning a noon speak-out with graduate students, undergraduates, and faculty members on academic freedom and collective bargaining.” Linking academic freedom with job security and unionization seems to imply that graduate students have a fear of losing their teaching […]

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