University of New Mexico: Censorship of Professor After Joking About Pentagon Attack


University of New Mexico

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Case Overview


University of New Mexico Professor Richard Berthold addressed the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 in his Western Civilization class, remarking, "Anyone who can bomb the Pentagon has my vote." Berthold apologized for the statement, and his speech was protected under the First Amendment, but University of New Mexico President William C. Gordon still nonetheless announced he would "vigorously pursue" disciplinary action. Although FIRE protested and the case drew national media attention, Berthold was found guilty of violating the standards of "professorial responsibility" and was banned from teaching freshman classes for a year, amongst other measures.