Harvard University: Threat to Discipline Student Newspaper Staff for Publishing Satirical Cartoon

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Harvard University

The Harbus, a student newspaper at Harvard Business School (HBS), ran an editorial cartoon that criticized the school’s Career Services for severe and chronic technical problems during a crucial week for student job searches. The cartoon showed a computer screen with pop-up announcements about the incompetence and inefficiency of the program. One announcement had two words expressing the exasperation of HBS students: “incompetent morons.” The administration issued a verbal warning, causing the editor-in-chief to resign. Following public criticism by FIRE, HBS issued a statement detailing its regret that the incident chilled free expression on campus and affirmed its commitment to the free and open exchange of ideas.

  • Speech Codes: Alive and Well at Colleges…

    August 1, 2003

    By Greg Lukianoff and Harvey Silverglate at The Chronicle of Higher Education Five years ago, a higher-education editor for The New York Times informed one of us, Harvey Silverglate, that Neil L. Rudenstine — then president of Harvard University — had insisted that Harvard did not have, much less enforce, any “speech codes.” Silverglate suggested the editor dig deeper, because virtually any undergraduate could contest the president’s claim. A mere three years earlier, the faculty of the Harvard Law School had adopted “Sexual Harassment Guidelines” targeted at “seriously offensive” speech. The guidelines were passed in response to a heated campus […]

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  • Letter from Harvard Business School Dean Kim B. Clark to FIRE, January 2, 2003

    January 2, 2003

    2 January, 2003 Alan Charles Kors Harvey A. Silverglate Foundation for Individual Rights in Education 210 West Washington Square, Suite 303 Philadelphia, PA 19106 Dear Messrs. Kors and Silverglate, Your recent letter touches on fundamental principles that comprise the very essence of a vibrant academic environment such as Harvard Business School. Let me assure you that I believe strongly in freedom of speech and in the independence of the Harbus, which has played a central role on our campus since it was established 65 years ago. Since mid-November, I have sought a wide range of opportunities — including lunches and […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Harvard Business School Dean Kim B. Clark, November 19, 2002

    November 19, 2002

    November 19, 2002 Kim B. Clark, Dean Harvard Business School Morgan Hall 125 Soldiers Field Boston, MA 02163 Dear Dean Clark, As you can see from our Directors and Board of Advisors, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education 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, freedom of religion, academic freedom, due process, legal equality, and, in this case, freedom of speech and expression on America’s college campuses. We are profoundly alarmed by what we have learned from students, news sources, […]

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