Is ‘The Johns Hopkins News Letter’ Unlearning Liberty?

April 4, 2013

The Johns Hopkins News-Letter 

Last week, FIRE’s Peter Bonilla explained here on The Torch why The Johns Hopkins News-Letter editorial board was wrong to say that the refusal of Hopkins’ student government to recognize Voice for Life, a pro-life student group, was "not a matter of free speech." 

A few days later, we noticed that this statement was not just wrong, but a complete 180 degree turn from a thoughtful defense of the expressive rights of pro-life activists written by The News-Letter‘s editorial board less than two years ago. I wrote an op-ed for The News-Letter to point out why this is especially disappointing:

Unfortunately, today’s News-Letter has demonstrated exactly the phenomenon that FIRE President Greg Lukianoff warned about in his recent book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship & the End of American Debate. University students, who largely used to welcome discomfort as an inevitable side-effect of challenging ideas, now welcome the decision of a small group of leaders to shield students’ eyes. 

Check out the rest of my op-ed here.  

While we are disappointed that The News-Letter took the stance it did with regard to Voice for Life’s right to free speech, its editors are to be commended for publishing my criticisms. It is my hope that the op-ed will prompt The News-Letter and Hopkins students to reconsider the issue in light of the foundational principles on which the liberal arts university—and America itself—is based.

Schools:  Johns Hopkins University

Cases:  Johns Hopkins University: Viewpoint-Based Rejection of Pro-Life Group