Brandeis professor says his right to free speech violated

By January 25, 2008

A professor at Brandeis University says his rights to free speech and due process were violated after he was disciplined for using the word "wetback" during a political science class.

The professor, Donald Hindley, has said he was simply describing the use of the word while teaching his Latin American politics course last fall.

But the university has said that students in the class who lodged a complaint heard him use the word in a way that was offensive.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that advocates for free speech on college campuses, has been publicizing Hindley's case.

In a news release issued this week, it maintained that Hindley was subjected to an investigation by school officials before he was even told about the nature of the complaint.

On Oct. 30, a letter from Brandeis's director of employment, Jesse Simone, informed Hindley that he had made statements "that were inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory."

A monitor was then assigned to watch Hindley's classes, and he was ordered to attend antidiscrimination training, which he refused.

"One thing we're confident of is that he did not use this word, 'wetback,' in his own voice, as if he was using the word," said Hindley's attorney, Andrew Good. "He was talking about the fact that people did and still do" use the word in a pejorative sense...

Schools: Brandeis University