University of Alaska Fairbanks: Complaint Over Student Newspaper’s Articles Results in Months-Long Harassment Investigation

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Alaska Fairbanks

University of Alaska Fairbanks student newspaper The Sun Star was subjected to sexual harassment investigations nearly a year after Professor Jensine Anahita filed complaints based on two articles published in April 2013. The first, a satirical article in the paper’s annual April Fool’s Day issue, described the university’s plan to construct a vagina-shaped building and included a picture from the 1998 PG-13 rated film Patch Adams. The second was an investigative report exploring hateful messages posted to the anonymous UAF Confessions Facebook page. The report included screenshots of messages on the page. After a lengthy investigation, UAF concluded that the articles were constitutionally protected speech. Anahita appealed the investigation’s conclusions, and UAF appointed an external attorney to review the investigation. Following a January 15, 2014, letter from FIRE, the reviewer confirmed that the articles enjoy full constitutional protection.