Northwestern University: Censorship of Faculty-Produced Bioethics Journal with “Bad Girls” Theme


Northwestern University

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Case Overview


For over 14 months, administrators at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine censored Atrium—a faculty-produced bioethics journal—because it published an issue in Winter 2014 with a “Bad Girls” theme deemed too salacious for the school’s image. Though Atrium’s issues are back online, a new administrative oversight committee was reportedly formed and is tasked with reviewing the content of Atrium’s next issue. This is a significant departure from the publication’s editorial practice, giving rise to concerns that the university will take an active role in policing the publication’s content. FIRE wrote to Northwestern on May 26, 2015, calling on the university to honor its promises of academic freedom and cease its repeated intrusions on Atrium’s editorial independence. The university has yet to respond.