Rights in the News: Yale and Minnesota Still in Headlines as FIRE Eyes 2010 Campaign

January 8, 2010

Even during the supposedly slow Christmas-to-New-Year’s stretch, FIRE’s cases continued to captivate the media, none more so than the recent brouhaha at Yale over a censored F. Scott Fitzgerald-quoting t-shirt calling Harvard men "sissies." Following Greg’s earlier writings in The Huffington Post, Robert wrote on the case for Pajamas Media. (Knowing such PC nonsense when he saw it, Glenn Reynolds tipped them both at Instapundit.) Both The Boston Globe and U.S. News & World Report have picked up the story as well. And in a wonderfully caustic post, Write Bastard blogger Ian Wood heaps scorn on Yale, where apparently "the word ‘sissies’ exists as a similarly ideal and eternal utterance, so paradoxically unbounded by time that an already-stale modern connotation can be projected back into 1920, there to shatter all context." Amen!

Meanwhile, FIRE’s headline-grabbing fight for freedom of conscience at the University of Minnesota continues to climb to new heights, capped recently by Adam’s terrific op-ed in the New York Post. (Adam also made the latest of his many radio appearances yesterday on the University Talk radio program.) Minnesota seems to have capitulated: just before Christmas, FIRE announced that the university’s top lawyer promised that Minnesota would never "mandate any particular beliefs, or screen out people with ‘wrong beliefs’ from the University." The victory at Minnesota was touted in WorldNetDaily and the Washington Examiner, as well as by David French at Phi Beta Cons. We know we’re not out of the woods yet, though, and that Minnesota may have more tricks up its sleeve, as evidenced by KC Johnson and Mark Bauerlein’s ruthless parsing of the language of attorney Mark B. Rotenberg’s letter to FIRE. Stay tuned.

And as Robert wrote yesterday, Ohio Post reporter Rebecca McKinsey hits it out of the park with a terrific article shedding needed sunlight on Ohio University’s speech codes. Let’s hope it’s a harbinger of a rough 2010 for speech codes and their defenders.

Schools:  Ohio University University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Yale University