The Censors’ Favorite Team

By February 4, 2005

Tens of millions of people across America will watch the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX this Sunday night. In a gesture of magnanimity before the big game, those of us at FIRE’s headquarters here in Philadelphia would like to tip our hat to all the New England college administrators we’ve dealt with throughout the years.

Not far from New England’s home of Foxboro Stadium near Boston lies Harvard University, home of the Crimson, censorship of business students, and a whole host of due process concerns. Meanwhile, Patriot-supporting administrators at nearby Tufts University in Medford have kept students guessing by refusing to allow a Christian club to require Christian leadership and slapping student newspapers with bogus sexual harassment charges. UMass Amherst administrators are likely to be rooting for the Pats while they root against student speech that’s either satirical or pro-war. They may be watching the game with their colleagues from nearby Williams College, where students are “free” to associate the way they are told to associate.

The Patriots’ fan base stretches across all of New England, from Rhode Island College, where not violating the U.S. Constitution gets you in trouble, to Vermont’s Bennington College, where they fire you for “dissing” the college president. And they’ll cheer on Tom Brady’s Bunch in the hallowed halls of Old Eli, where they’ll be hoping the Pats kill the Eagles’ Super Bowl dreams—even if they won’t let students joke about killing terrorists.

On the eve of the big game, FIRE would like to remind these and other college administrators across New England that without them, FIRE wouldn’t be around today. And whether it’s football or freedom, we’re confident that if both sides follow the rules, the folks from Philadelphia will emerge victorious.

Schools: Rhode Island College Williams College Bennington College University of Massachusetts – Amherst Tufts University Harvard University