Bergen Community College

Location: Paramus, New Jersey
Type: Public

Speech Code Rating

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  • At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • 2015 ‘Jefferson Muzzle’ Awards Feature FIRE Cases

    April 21, 2015

    Last night, the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression announced the recipients of the 2015 “Jefferson Muzzle” awards, bestowed upon the worst government censors and punishers of protected speech in the past year. The TJ Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in Charlottesville, Virginia, dedicated to protecting free speech. I worked for… Read more

  • Victory: College Backtracks After Punishing Professor for ‘Game of Thrones’ Picture

    October 28, 2014

    NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2014—In a victory for free speech, New Jersey’s Bergen Community College (BCC) has rescinded its punishment of an art professor it placed on leave and forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation for posting a picture of his daughter wearing a Game of Thrones T-shirt. After learning of BCC’s outrageous actions, the… Read more

  • Glenn Reynolds in ‘USA Today’ on Heavy-Handed Admins Suppressing Speech on Campus

    April 23, 2014

    Those new to The Torch or to FIRE’s work might be shocked to see that some colleges and universities punish even crystal-clear instances of protected expression. Take, for example, the Game of Thrones T-shirt worn by Bergen Community College (BCC) Professor Francis Schmidt’s daughter, which BCC claimed was a “threat” that warranted punishment. But as ridiculous as cases like this seem, it is critically important to remember that they are not outliers—similarly egregious First Amendment violations happen at campuses across the country. University of Tennessee law professor and Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds argues in a column for USA Today published yesterday that Schmidt’s case and similar incidents are a symptom of college administrators growing in number and in power.

  • Facing Mounting Criticism, Bergen Community College Mans The Wall

    April 17, 2014

    Yesterday, my colleague Sarah McLaughlin reported on Bergen Community College’s asinine decision to place Professor Francis Schmidt on unpaid leave pending psychiatric evaluation for posting a picture on Google+ of his young daughter wearing a shirt containing a quote from the popular Game of Thrones series.

    This morning, facing mounting criticism and bewilderment, BCC doubled down on its claim that administrators were dutifully investigating a possible threat to campus.

  • Bergen Administrators Fear ‘Game of Thrones’ Quote, Censor Professor

    April 16, 2014

    Brace yourselves; censorship is coming!

    Displaying a lack of both pop culture and First Amendment awareness, administrators at Bergen Community College in New Jersey placed Professor Francis Schmidt on leave this past January, requiring him to meet with a psychiatrist before returning to campus—just for posting a picture of his daughter in a T-shirt quoting the popular HBO television show Game of Thrones.

  • Defying the Constitution: The Rise, Persistence, And Prevalence Of Campus Speech Codes

    November 18, 2009

    The Rise, Persistence, And Prevalence Of Campus Speech Codes

  • Outside Input Unwanted: A Brief History of Petition Candidacies in University Governance

    March 24, 2009

    In cases of campus speech restrictions, the path to censorship is paved with seemingly benign intent: see, for instance, bans on "rude, disrespectful behavior," as in the case of Johns Hopkins University (covered extensively yesterday by Samantha). Yet the inherent conflict between free speech and open inquiry on one hand and enforcing "civility" on the… Read more

  • Illusions over Solutions on College Campuses

    January 15, 2008

    One of the defining characteristics of modern American society seems to be the affinity those in positions of power seem to have for “addressing” various problems by instituting measures that only on the most superficial level appear appropriate for a given situation. The most apparent manifestation of this problem is, of course, in airport security…. Read more

  • More Commentary on Thought Reform at Bergen Community College

    January 15, 2008

    The media continues to show interest in the unconstitutional, mandatory loyalty oath that was proposed at Bergen Community College. Today, Wendy Kaminer came out with a hard-hitting piece in The Phoenix criticizing the proposal. Hopefully, continued pressure from the media will help ensure that this oath never becomes a reality.

  • Idiocy at Bergen Community College

    January 14, 2008

    The proposed loyalty oath at Bergen Community College (BCC) continues to make news, with Inside Higher Ed running an article today. For those who are reading about this for the first time, the proposed oath is as follows: In the full knowledge of the commitment that I am freely willing to undertake as a student,… Read more

  • Civility Code Reconsidered at Bergen Community College

    January 11, 2008

    Today at, Samantha is quoted in an article about faculty opposition to a proposed “code of ethics pledge” at Bergen Community College (BCC). The lead in another article today in The Record, which also quotes Samantha, just about says it all: Bergen Community College wants to require students and staff to pledge to “embrace… Read more