Tufts University: Conservative Student Journal Found Guilty of Harassment


Tufts University

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

In 2006, Tufts University's conservative student newspaper The Primary Source (TPS) published a satirical Christmas carol titled "O Come All Ye Black Folk," a parody of race-based college admissions. In April 2007, TPS ran a piece titled "Islam—Arabic Translation: Submission," a satirical advertisement that ridiculed Tufts' "Islamic Awareness Week." After students complained about the articles, Tufts' Committee on Student Life found TPS guilty of harassment for having "targeted" black students and Muslims for "embarrassment." The committee banned TPS from running anonymous items and recommended that the student government "consider the behavior of student groups" in future decisions about recognition and funding. FIRE and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts protested the punishment of TPS' protected speech, which garnered national media attention. Tufts finally lifted the punishment but refused to honor its promises of free expression, failing to reverse the finding of guilt.