University of Alabama: Disparate Treatment of Conservative Organizations


University of Alabama

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The University of Alabama (UA) ordered a faculty group that is critical of the university's grading policies to pay a rate eight times higher than that paid by other faculty organizations for use of the university's mail system. In an edition of its newsletter, The Alabama Observer, the Alabama Scholars Association (ASA) presented evidence of what it saw as grade inflation at UA. After the ASA mailed that issue of the newsletter, the administration informed the ASA that it would no longer be allowed to send mail using the discount rate enjoyed by other faculty organizations, thus making it prohibitively expensive for the ASA to distribute its newsletter. FIRE protested UA's actions, which are only the latest in a long, sad string of assaults on free speech and expression at UA. FIRE wrote UA President Robert Witt, calling on him to reverse the university's decision and to honor his duty to ensure that UA "serves as a vibrant 'marketplace of ideas,' not as a sterile echo chamber for 'approved' viewpoints only." Witt has yet to address either organization's serious concerns.