When Bloomberg delivered Tufts University’s commencement address back in May, he commended the university for not exercising censorship over the controversial student publication The Primary Source, stating, “I think the students and the faculty and all of Tufts University deserve an enormous amount of respect because you respected the rights of others to express themselves.”
If you just did a double take after reading that comment, you’re not alone. Not only did Tufts completely disrespect the rights of the students behind TPS by finding them guilty of harassment for publishing satire and parody, the school’s treatment of these writers was egregious enough to land them a place of honor as an inaugural entry on FIRE’s Red Alert list.
As Greg wrote:
So is Mayor Bloomberg OK with being duped into publicly complimenting Tufts for defending free speech when it did exactly the opposite? Given his public statements supporting free speech on campus, it’s hard to believe he would be. So what’s the hold up? A well-placed word from the Mayor could probably convince Tufts to undo this finding in no time flat.
Exactly. FIRE sent Tufts President Lawrence Bacow another letter this week, reminding him that both Tufts’ policies and Bacow’s explicit statements promise that students will enjoy full freedom of speech on campus, even when engaging in controversial and offensive expression. We continue to keep an eye on the situation at Tufts, and we hope Bloomberg is watching as well. Bloomberg should publicly ask Tufts to stand up to its promises to provide free speech on its campus, instead of turning a blind eye to the reality of the state of free expression at Tufts.