Johns Hopkins University: Student Punished for Party Invitation

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University earned its Red Alert designation by suspending 18 -year-old junior Justin Park for posting an “offensive” Halloween party invitation on Facebook. Because some found the invitation racially offensive, Park was charged with and found guilty of “harassment,” “intimidation,” and “failing to respect the rights of others.” Although it was later reduced in the face of public pressure, Park’s original punishment included suspension from the university for a year, completion of 300 hours of community service, an assignment to read 12 books and to write a reflection paper on each, and mandatory attendance at a workshop on diversity and race relations. Johns Hopkins President William Brody made matters worse shortly after Park’s suspension by introducing a new and chillingly broad “civility” code prohibiting “rude, disrespectful behavior” at the university, and by stating in an article in The JHU Gazette that speech that is “tasteless” or that breaches standards of “civility” will not be allowed.

Facing off over Facebook

February 21, 2007 | Read More