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

By on 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 providing Wesleyan with the negative press it deserves in a letter to the Wesleyan administration. Additionally, FIRE’s own letter to President Michael S. Roth criticizing the revision was highlighted in an article by Pei Xiong Liu about a student protest of this policy. Finally, Max Brivic’s column about the protest and the Wesleyan Student Association’s symbolic support for Beta Theta Pi also mentioned FIRE’s letter, as well as Peter’s blog post about the issue.

Over on The Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh praised FIRE for publicizing this silly policy revision that is more than likely to be discriminatorily enforced. Elsewhere, Patrick Manning’s article in FOXNews.com quoted Adam about the effects of the revision. Later, Adam’s quote about the implications of the policy, as well as other segments from the FOXnews.com piece, were reposted on Wesleying. Finally, Will’s critical take on the  revision was reported in The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) by Claire Michalewicz. 

Greg’s Huffington Post article, "The 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech," made the news for the fifth consecutive week, with Yale University’s free speech problems once again being the topic of choice. Michael Rubin, writing for the monthly publication Commentary, took a slightly different approach than most and directed his criticism at members of the Yale Corporation (Yale’s main governing body) for not actively encouraging Yale to make free speech a paramount concern.

This week, Adam traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to speak at Belmont University and Vanderbilt University. In anticipation of his talk at Vanderbilt, which was hosted by Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), YAL President Kenny Tan wrote a well-researched article in Before It’s News about Vanderbilt’s red-light policies. Sandy Sternberg, meanwhile, reported on Adam’s talk in The Vanderbilt Hustler, Vanderbilt’s student newspaper. Adam’s speechabout Vanderbilt’s restrictive policies as well as free speech violations at other institutionswas generally well-received by Vanderbilt students.

Two weeks ago, University of Delaware Professor Jan Blits won the Jeane Jordan Kirkpatick Academic Freedom Award for his efforts in ending the University of Delaware’s appalling political indoctrination program. Robert’s blog post commending Blits for this well-deserved honor was recently reprinted by Campus Reform.

In other news, Peter discussed the method behind choosing Greg’s 12 worst schools for free speech, why administrators enact speech codes, and how speech codes yield college graduates with limited critical thinking skills and strong censorial impulses in an interview with PolicyMic. Meanwhile, Matt Meyer wrote an excellent editorial for The Criterion, a publication of Mesa State College, urging his college to reform its arbitrary, speech-chilling policies and strive for green-light status.

In addition to Commentary, FIRE made its way into a few other monthly publications in February. The February 2011 issue of the California Review, a conservative student journal at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), features an extensive interview with Adam about some of the worst FIRE cases of the past five years, and analyzes a recent student media case at UCSD. Finally, Helen Whalen-Cohen quoted Greg in a piece about the dangers of speech codes and student censorship for this month’s edition of Townhall Magazine. (Note: The link leads only to an excerpt of the article. You will need to subscribe to Townhall Magazine in order to view it in its entirety.) 

Schools: Wesleyan University Yale University Cases: Wesleyan University: Violation of Freedom of Association