Brandeis University

Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
Type: Private
Tell Brandeis University to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

Brandeis University has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more

This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech.

Due Process Rating

Sexual Misconduct

Read more

Non-Sexual Misconduct

Read more

Title IX

Read more

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 203 colleges ranked Read more

Policies are rated on their inclusion of 10 due process safeguards. Each policy may receive 2 points for fully including that safeguard, 1 point for partial inclusion, and 0 points for no meaningful inclusion. Most, but not all, institutions have separate policies for sexual misconduct and all other misconduct. See FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process report for more information.


Sexual Misconduct

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

Non-Sexual Misconduct

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

Title IX

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

FIRE surveyed roughly 44,000 students at 203 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. See the full report on FIRE’s 2022 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.


Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 42.52

Rankings / out of 203 colleges ranked

Overall Ranking 125
Openness 6
Tolerance (Liberals) 45
Tolerance (Conservatives) 203
Administrative Support 74
Comfort 11
Disruptive Conduct 191

Administrative Behavior

Supported Scholars 0
Sanctioned Scholars 0.75
Successful Disinvitations 0


Speech Code YELLOW
  • Brandeis panel on Uyghur Muslims faces calls for cancellation, Zoombombing

    November 24, 2020

    Universities around the world have been met with increasing challenges while discussing issues sensitive to China’s government, like Tiananmen Square or Hong Kong, especially as events and classes have been forced online and have exposed speakers to heightened internet censorship. U.S. campuses are not immune from these challenges either, as a recent incident at Brandeis… Read more

  • Campus-specific analyses of the climate for free expression reveal stark differences between schools

    May 15, 2020

    One feature of debates over college students’ attitudes toward free expression is disagreement over whether recent examples of illiberalism on campus are a component of a larger generational shift in attitudes towards free expression. A dearth of systematically collected data on the attitudes toward free expression held by previous generations of college students hampers a… Read more

  • Following campus community input, Brandeis University adopts ‘Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression’

    November 2, 2018

    Following a two-year process of campus-wide discussion and input, Brandeis University officially affirmed the “Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression” in October. A principled endorsement of freedom of expression, this policy statement endeavors to “guide free and robust debate and deliberation among all members of the university community.” Each of the statement’s six principles… Read more

  • REPORT: Artists clash with campus censors

    July 10, 2018

    Art purged for being “one-sided,” among other excuses Censors, often not understanding the message, ban art rather than grapple with its meaning PHILADELPHIA, July 10, 2018 — Art censorship is nothing new. Spanish conquistadors smashed ceramics of ancient Peruvian cultures that portrayed gay and lesbian sex. The Roman Catholic Church of the 15th century was… Read more

  • Association of American Universities endorses free speech statement

    April 20, 2018

    The Association of American Universities reaffirmed its commitment to freedom of expression and speech in a statement released this week. The statement by the AAU, an organization composed of 62 higher education institutions, endorsed expressive freedom as central to the purpose of a university: The free and open exchange of ideas and information is fundamental… Read more

  • The ‘silencing’ of ‘Buyer Beware’ at Brandeis

    November 20, 2017

    Some campus controversies are beyond parody. Indeed, sometimes campuses almost become parodies of themselves, like earlier this year when Northwestern University launched a Title IX investigation of a professor for writing a book about being investigated for saying there are too many Title IX investigations. This month, Brandeis University may have joined these farcical ranks… Read more

  • Are universities abdicating their responsibility to educate students for fear of offending them?

    November 10, 2017

    In two separate incidents over the past several weeks, two college theater departments have canceled productions after students objected to the content of the plays. These troubling episodes of self-censorship suggest that universities’ capitulation to student demands is interfering with their ability to fulfill their core educational purpose. In late October, reports emerged that the… Read more

  • Christie Hefner Honors Lenny Bruce’s ‘Hilarious and Transgressive’ Legacy With Symposium Keynote

    November 3, 2016

    A recent two-day symposium at Brandeis University remembering the late comedian Lenny Bruce featured a keynote address by Brandeis alumna Christie Hefner—daughter of Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner—on free speech, comedy, and Bruce’s legacy of transgressive social change. She also highlights campus speech issues, specifically praising FIRE’s work (and that of FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff, who… Read more

  • Due Process Legal Update: More Students’ Lawsuits Move Forward

    April 11, 2016

    Since OCR issued its April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter, more than 90 students have brought lawsuits alleging they were denied a fair hearing in campus sexual assault proceedings. When I wrote my first update on how these lawsuits were faring, I characterized them as an “uphill battle” for plaintiffs. While the atmosphere for these… Read more

  • Victory: Student Journalists Cleared of Charges for Reporting on Sexual Assault Awareness Event

    March 29, 2016

    BOSTON, March 29, 2016—Last night, Brandeis University told three student journalists from The Justice, a student newspaper, that it would not punish them for reporting on a 2015 “Take Back The Night” (TBTN) campus march. The exonerations follow months of controversy marked by formal disciplinary charges from the university, a threat of legal action from… Read more

  • Harvard, Brandeis Lecturer: Trigger Warnings Were My ‘Last Straw’

    October 27, 2015

    In a new post on her website, Rani Neutill, a former lecturer at Harvard University and Brandeis University who simultaneously worked as a sexual assault prevention educator, says the push to offer trigger warnings to students has spiraled out of control, leading her to leave teaching altogether. In “How Trigger Warnings Broke My Back” (NOTE:… Read more

  • Free Speech on Campus: The 10 Worst Offenders of 2014

    May 5, 2015

    College is the place where students should be encouraged to, as Yale promises, “think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.” Unfortunately, schools all across the country not only fall short on promises of free expression and academic freedom but openly suppress constitutionally protected speech on campus by using tools such as speech… Read more

  • Student Accused of Sexual Assault Sues Brandeis for Alleged Due Process Violations

    April 14, 2015

    Last September, I reported on The Torch that while the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights was investigating scores of its peers for potential Title IX violations against complainants of sexual assault, OCR had begun investigating a claim that Brandeis University had punished a student found responsible for sexual assault without a fair hearing…. Read more

  • FIRE Announces 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2014

    March 2, 2015

    PHILADELPHIA, March 2, 2015—More than half of America’s top colleges maintain speech codes that blatantly violate First Amendment standards. But every year the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) takes a closer look at the previous year’s incidents of college censorship to determine the nation’s 10 worst abusers of student and faculty free speech… Read more

  • Brandeis President Acknowledges But Fails to Uphold First Amendment Principles

    January 6, 2015

    Brandeis University President Fred Lawrence has just entered the “University President First Amendment Piety Contest,” and his submission is impressive. First, the background: Last week, Sohrab Ahmari reported in The Wall Street Journal that Brandeis student Daniel Mael had faced a disciplinary hearing based on heated discussions he had with another student on the Israeli-Palestinian… Read more

  • Office for Civil Rights to Investigate Title IX Claim by Brandeis Student Accused of Sexual Misconduct

    September 5, 2014

    Torch readers won’t be surprised to hear that the list of colleges and universities under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for possible Title IX violations is still growing. The list included 55 institutions in May and now nears 80 schools. What’s newsworthy this week, though, is that OCR is… Read more

  • Boston’s WGBH Announces Muzzle Award ‘Winners’

    July 9, 2014

    Boston’s WGBH News has just announced the “winners” of its 2014 Muzzle Awards, given to those who have particularly impeded freedom of speech over the past year. Formerly published in the Boston Phoenix, WGBH has adopted the awards and is continuing the tradition of “singl[ing] out the dramatic and the petty, the epic and the absurd.”

  • Don’t Save the Date: NYT, WSJ, Fox, MSNBC, NPR Cover ‘Disinvitation Season’

    May 13, 2014

    The Class of 2014 is preparing for graduation by buying their caps and gowns—but let’s hope they weren’t counting on having a speaker for the ceremony. The years-long, snowballing trend of protests against commencement speakers, which FIRE has termed “disinvitation season,” is getting major attention this year from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR, among many other outlets.

  • ‘Disinvitation Season’ In Full Swing; IMF Head Next Victim

    May 12, 2014

    Condoleezza Rice. Duncan Lance Black. Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Charles Murray. All of them have been disinvited from speaking at colleges this spring (or put under such pressure that they withdrew from speaking), for, respectively, the political, personal, religious, and scientific controversies surrounding their lives and work. Now those keeping score can add to that list Christine Lagarde, the formerly scheduled commencement speaker at Smith College and current managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

  • Commencement Invitation Drama Continues; Free Speech Advocates Speak Out

    May 9, 2014

    This spring, FIRE has already brought you the news of women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali being disinvited from speaking at Brandeis University, Condoleezza Rice canceling her commencement speech at Rutgers University after some students objected to her invitation, and Pasadena City College disinviting and then re-inviting Academy Award-winning writer Dustin Lance Black. It’s been a pretty active “disinvitation season” so far, and free speech advocates are speaking up about why this trend is so worrying.

  • ‘Disinvitation Season’ Rolls On: Condoleezza Rice Cancels

    May 5, 2014

    As we reported here on The Torch, “disinvitation season” got off to an early start this year back in March when faculty and students at Rutgers University urged the institution to rescind its selection of Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker this year. The university reaffirmed its choice of Rice as speaker, but late last week, Rice withdrew.

  • Disinvitation Season Continues at Azusa Pacific University and Elsewhere

    April 23, 2014

    Azusa Pacific University (APU) in California has “postponed” a scheduled talk by Charles Murray, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of (among other works) The Bell Curve, citing “the lateness of the semester” as well as “the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship.” The university claims that it will host Murray on campus for a “thoughtful and meaningful dialogue” in the 2014–2015 academic year.

  • Greg: Brandeis’ Censorship Problem Didn’t Begin with Hirsi Ali

    April 14, 2014

    Last week, Brandeis University reversed its decision to grant an honorary degree to women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali because of her criticism of Islam. It is unfortunate that Brandeis’ class of 2014 was denied the opportunity to hear Hirsi Ali speak at commencement, but the controversy is a symptom of a much deeper problem—both at Brandeis and across the country. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff puts the incident in context in an article for The Huffington Post today with a reminder of Brandeis’ worrying past on free speech issues and of what’s at stake for the future.

  • Greg on ‘Fox & Friends’ Saturday Morning to Talk Brandeis, ‘Disinvitation Season’

    April 11, 2014

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be a guest on FOX News’ ‘Fox & Friends’ this Saturday morning to discuss the ongoing controversy surrounding Brandeis University’s reversal of its decision to grant women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali an honorary degree. Greg is scheduled to join the program around 7:45 a.m. tomorrow morning, so be sure to tune in!

  • ‘Disinvitation Season’ Hits a New Low at Brandeis University

    April 9, 2014

    In an act of breathtaking cowardice even for this “disinvitation season,” Brandeis University has reversed its decision to grant an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s rights activist and female genital mutilation survivor who is also an outspoken critic of Islam.

  • Former FIRE Intern on Brandeis President’s Unfortunate Legacy

    November 26, 2013

    In The Justice, a student newspaper at Brandeis University, former FIRE intern and Brandeis alum Daniel Ortner has penned an excellent editorial on the tattered free speech legacy of former Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz. As Daniel points out, Reinharz’s time as head of the institution should be remembered first and foremost for the university’s shameful treatment of professor Donald Hindley. Daniel… Read more

  • USF Student Newspaper Reports on Speech Codes; Administration Defensive

    July 12, 2013

    The University of South Florida’s student newspaper, The Oracle, published a comprehensive story on free speech at USF this week. The article leads off with an example that illustrates a problem all too common on today’s college campuses: Students seek to express themselves on an issue of political or social importance, but instead of helping… Read more

  • Brandeis Students Band Together to Build ‘Free Speech Wall’

    December 12, 2012

    While Tufts University is in full-scale crisis over its mishandling of the right of religious association, as Robert so excellently chronicled yesterday, mere miles away in Waltham, Massachusetts, several Brandeis University student groups from across the political spectrum have united for the cause of free speech. The Brandeis chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL),… Read more

  • Brandeis Columnist: ‘Restore Louis Brandeis’ free speech legacy’

    September 5, 2012

    Aaron Fried, columnist for Brandeis University’s independent student newspaper The Justice, kicks off the fall semester with a powerful column calling for revisions to his college’s speech codes. Given that his school is named after Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, a champion of free speech, Fried argues that he and his fellow students should be… Read more

  • The top 12 worst colleges for free speech

    March 28, 2012

    Who doesn’t love a good awards show? The gowns, the acceptance speeches, the brutal infringements of civil liberties … the excitement just never ends. Once again, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work), has sorted through the hundreds of colleges and universities across the nation that severely restrict the First Amendment rights of… Read more

  • FIRE’s 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2012

    March 27, 2012

    Here’s today’s press release:  PHILADELPHIA, March 27, 2012—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its 2012 list of the 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in The Huffington Post today. Harvard is new to the list this year, joining Yale, Syracuse, and the University of Cincinnati at the top of the list. "These colleges and universities… Read more

  • FIRE in ‘The Huffington Post’ on America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech

    January 27, 2011

    Today, The Huffington Post published FIRE’s list of America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech. An expansion of FIRE’s Red Alert List of the “worst of the worst” schools for student and faculty rights, this “dirty dozen” slideshow includes the schools that come onto FIRE’s radar screen again and again for their repeated and egregious violations of fundamental rights, as… Read more

  • Brandeis Student Column Assails Politically Correct Culture, Criticizes Hindley Punishment

    November 24, 2010

    Brandeis University student Shafaq Hasan has an excellent column in The Brandeis Justice highlighting Brandeis’ continued mistreatment of Professor Donald Hindley. The article is a much-needed reminder for Brandeis’ inert administration, as well as for younger students unfamiliar with the story of their $50,000-plus per year university’s appalling treatment of one of its own. Hasan… Read more

  • Red Alert at Brandeis University: Administration Must Clear Professor’s Name

    September 9, 2010

    Following last Tuesday’s full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s annual “Best Colleges” issue, FIRE has been detailing why individual rights are in serious jeopardy at each of the six schools on our Red Alert list. For those of you just tuning in to this blog series, the Red Alert list is reserved for… Read more

  • Debating the Great Questions at Brandeis: A Look Forward

    August 24, 2010

    With orientation sessions, meet-and-greets, and motivational speeches, college and university leaders are ushering in the Class of 2014. One such welcome message, delivered this past Sunday by Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz to the school’s freshman class, caught FIRE’s attention. Here’s a portion of Reinharz’s address, as reported by the Boston Globe: "The next four years of… Read more

  • Still Looking for a New Year’s Resolution, Red Alert Schools?

    January 14, 2010

    Here’s an easy New Year’s resolution that Brandeis University, Bucknell University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University can make: get off of FIRE’s Red Alert list of America’s worst violators of campus liberty! This week, FIRE sent the presidents of each of the six Red Alert schools a letter reminding… Read more

  • Former FIRE Intern: Brandeis Must Reform Its Ways to Get Off Red Alert List

    September 29, 2009

    Former FIRE intern and Brandeis University student Daniel Ortner published another excellent op-ed in The Brandeis Hoot last week (his previous op-ed about free expression and other problems at Brandeis is here). In the article, Daniel specifically criticizes the Office of Student Rights and Advocacy (OSRA) for asking FIRE to remove Brandeis from FIRE’s Red Alert… Read more

  • President Who Made Brandeis University a FIRE ‘Red Alert’ School Resigns

    September 25, 2009

    The media is abuzz today with news of the resignation of Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz. According to The Brandeis Hoot, resignation talks between Reinharz and Board of Trustees Chair Malcolm Sherman began about "three and a half weeks ago," just at the time FIRE launched a national advertising campaign listing Brandeis on FIRE’s Red Alert list as… Read more

  • Rights in the News: Class Back in Session for Violators of Campus Speech

    September 4, 2009

    Classes are barely in session, and already FIRE and its allies have hit the ground running. As Luke noted earlier, Will was at Cornell University this week discussing the “Trojan horses” of campus speech codes, including the ones which have resulted in Cornell’s current “red light” rating on FIRE’s Spotlight. Read the Cornell Daily Sun’s coverage for more on the… Read more

  • Former FIRE Interns Criticize Ubiquitous Censorship at Their Universities

    September 4, 2009

    Two of this summer’s FIRE interns have started the year with a bang. Today, both published damning indictments of the state of free speech in higher education in general, and their own universities in particular. First, former FIRE intern John Cetta has an excellent article in The D.C. Writeup on free speech in higher education,… Read more

  • FIRE Intern, Student Leader Both Defend Faculty and Student Rights in Brandeis Student Newspaper

    August 28, 2009

    Former FIRE intern and current Brandeis student Daniel Ortner has an op-ed today in The Brandeis Hoot blasting Yale University Press for refusing to reprint cartoon depictions of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed in Brandeis professor Jytte Klausen’s book about the controversy sparked by their initial publication. Robert scourged the prestigious university publisher in a post… Read more

  • How Can Brandeis University Get Off FIRE’s Red Alert List?

    August 26, 2009

    Over the last few days, FIRE has been driving home reminders about the dire state of free speech at Brandeis University, whose misdeeds we featured in not one but two major print advertisements. In addition to being highlighted as one of the six schools on FIRE’s Red Alert list in our full-page ad in U.S…. Read more

  • Brandeis University Called Out for Free Speech Abuses in Its Student Newspaper

    August 26, 2009

    Yesterday I announced a national ad campaign by my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calling out colleges across the country that have consistently and unapologetically stood by actions that violated the free speech rights of their students or faculty. At the same time, we placed this half-page ad in the Brandeis University… Read more

  • ‘U.S. News’ Readers: FIRE’s Red Alert List Exposes the Worst Violators of Campus Rights

    August 25, 2009

    Why does FIRE’s ad in U.S. News & World Report show a book padlocked shut? One of FIRE’s most shocking cases was that of Keith John Sampson, a student-employee at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who was found guilty of racial harassment for merely reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting… Read more

  • FIRE’s Biggest Ad Campaign Ever Hits ‘U.S. News’

    August 25, 2009

    For the second year in a row, FIRE has run a full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s America’s Best Colleges issue, released today, highlighting the colleges and universities that have earned FIRE’s Red Alert distinction for being the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus. Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University are listed in the print ad, while Bucknell University,… Read more

  • Reeling from Crisis to Crisis: The Lack of Accountability at Brandeis University

    August 3, 2009

    This blog entry was authored by Daniel Ortner, a student at Brandeis University and FIRE summer intern. Over the past couple of years, Brandeis University’s administration has shown itself to be an enemy of liberty and consistently untrustworthy through its arrogant abrogation of student and faculty rights. The policies under President Jehuda Reinharz have led to disastrous relations between… Read more

  • Rights in the News: ‘Washington Post’ Article Shines Light on Stanford Ed’s Bullying Tactics

    July 24, 2009

    As we said in our press release today, The Washington Post‘s Jay Mathews has done us a service with his article on Stanford University’s shameful treatment of former student Michele Kerr throughout her year in the School of Education’s teacher education program, during which, among other things, the university tried to revoke its offer of… Read more

  • Rights in the News: FIRE Keeps Up The Fight While Taking Message to Vegas and D.C.

    July 10, 2009

    FIRE has been busy taking its message to the streets this week, with Luke and I spending Wednesday signing up new CFN members at this year’s Campus Progress Conference in Washington, D.C., and Greg, Brandon, Alisha, and Adam jetting off to sunny Las Vegas for the annual FreedomFest Conference. Fortunately, with FIRE a bit short… Read more

  • CFN Member Criticizes Brandeis for Charging Excessive Security

    March 31, 2009

    For FIRE friends, it’s not too surprising that Brandeis University, one of only five schools on FIRE’s Red Alert list, is flirting with another violation of students’ rights. CFN member Daniel Ortner reported in The Brandeis Hoot on Friday that Brandeis is charging high security fees for bringing Bill Ayers and Robert H. King to… Read more

  • CCSU Professor on University’s Investigation of Gun-Related Speech

    March 18, 2009

    Jay Bergman, a history professor at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), has written on a controversy engulfing CCSU, in which undergraduate student John Wahlberg was reported to university authorities by his professor and then subjected to a police interrogation following his classroom presentation in support of the right to carry concealed firearms on campus. In… Read more

  • Rights in the News: All Eyes on Brandeis

    February 14, 2009

    The atmosphere of uncertainty at Brandeis University—which faces a looming budgetary crisis, falling applications, and a plummeting endowment—has been brought to a fever pitch by President Jehuda Reinharz’s botched announcement of the closing of the university’s prestigious Rose Art Museum. Rasky Baerlein, the public relations firm recently retained by Reinharz to mitigate (among other things)… Read more

  • FIRE Shines a Light on Brandeis University in ‘Huffington Post’ and Full-Page Ad

    February 13, 2009

    FIRE is applying Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ maxim "sunlight is the best of disinfectants" to his namesake university in a big way today. First, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff has an article in The Huffington Post in which he chastises Brandeis University for its refusal to apologize for its treatment of tenured Professor Donald Hindley,… Read more

  • Reply to Comment on Brandeis Case

    February 12, 2009

    My op-ed in the Brandeis Justice this week outlines the outrage at Brandeis over the Hindley affair (a professor punished after he critiqued the term "wetbacks" in a relevant course), the Rose Art Museum fiasco, and the implications of these controversies for the viability of the Reinharz administration going forward. The op-ed also outlines the… Read more

  • Will the real Brandeis please stand up?

    February 12, 2009

    I spent most of the summer of 1996 on my brother’s couch in Long Beach, California. I had just graduated from college and was discovering that it’s extremely difficult to find a job in the greater L.A. area without a car. I remember watching the evening news one night: four stories into the broadcast, almost… Read more

  • Silverglate and Creeley on Brandeis Scandal in ‘Minding the Campus’

    February 10, 2009

    Minding the Campus just posted an incisive examination of recent events at Brandeis University authored by FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate and Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley. Like the op-ed by FIRE’s Adam Kissel published earlier today in the Brandeis student newspaper, The Justice, Silverglate’s and Creeley’s post takes Brandeis University President Jehuda… Read more

  • FIRE Op-Ed: Brandeis Administration Must Demonstrate Integrity to Avoid Calamity

    February 10, 2009

    Today’s edition of The Justice features an op-ed from FIRE’s Adam Kissel about the ongoing controversy at Brandeis University regarding the future of the Rose Art Museum and what it reveals about the viability of the Reinharz administration at Brandeis. Adam succinctly demonstrates that this is only the latest in a string of crises including… Read more

  • Rights in the News: Recent Victories and Ongoing Speech Code Efforts Continue to Get FIRE’s Message Across

    February 6, 2009

    For yet another week, word of FIRE’s efforts has reverberated throughout the national and online press. As Azhar noted earlier today, Greg’s latest column for The Huffington Post expresses FIRE’s relief at the dropped "spamming" charges against Michigan State University junior Kara Spencer, but also notes our concern that the online policy Spencer was initially… Read more

  • Brandeis University in Hard Times: No Better Time to Heal Free Speech Wounds

    February 2, 2009

    Brandeis University is in quite a pickle these days trying to maintain the trust of faculty members and students as it takes action to survive the economic downturn. The Boston Globe and The New York Times, among others, are reporting some of the drastic measures Brandeis is taking. By far the most controversial has been… Read more

  • Brandeis Backs Down on New Free Speech Issue

    February 2, 2009

    "You are all paid employees of the Brandeis University Office of Development and Alumni Relations. It is in incredibly poor taste for you to write anything that can be perceived as slanderous or offensive about the University. Several members of the Development Staff, including myself, are going through facebook, blogs,, and online petitions." So… Read more

  • FIRE Featured in Two Articles in the ‘Boston Herald’

    February 2, 2009

    In yesterday’s edition of the Boston Herald, FIRE was fortunate enough to be the subject of two separate articles. The first featured FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate and his quest to land a spot on Harvard University’s Board of Overseers—something we have been championing since his bid was announced back in December. As quoted in the… Read more

  • FIRE Pens Open Letter to President Obama

    January 20, 2009

    This Inauguration Day, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has sent President Barack Obama an open letter requesting that, as a scholar of constitutional law and the leader of the nation’s executive branch, he and his administration join the fight against college and university speech codes that are infringing on the rights of millions… Read more

  • 2008 Highlights: FIRE Places Full-Page Ad in ‘U.S. News & World Report’ Calling Out ‘Red Alert’ Schools

    December 31, 2008

    While FIRE works on cases from hundreds of schools in a given year, we have a special list for those schools that have shown unique intransigence in the face of criticism from FIRE for abusing student and faculty rights. We call that special list our Red Alert list, and right now five schools have earned… Read more

  • Brandeis Students Struggle with JuicyCampus and Anonymous Speech

    December 9, 2008

    Last Friday’s edition of The Brandeis Hoot student newspaper carried a report about today’s inaugural meeting of the group "Students Against JuicyCampus." According to the Hoot, the group already boasts a Facebook group of 400 members. Comments by students in the meeting demonstrate that like many universities, Brandeis is doing a terrible job of educating… Read more

  • Weekly Media Round-up: Victory at Temple College Highlights FIRE’s Week

    November 7, 2008

    FIRE scored another victory for free speech and academic freedom this week with its successful intervention on behalf of Kerry Laird, an instructor at Temple College (TX) who was ordered to remove a religiously themed cartoon and a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche translating to "God is dead" from his office door. Within half an hour… Read more

  • Student Op-Ed Blasts Brandeis for Continuing Hindley Affair

    November 7, 2008

    The Brandeis Hoot has an excellent op-ed today by student Daniel Ortner on the case of Donald Hindley: "The Hindley case: Not over yet." Ortner is referring to FIRE’s case at Brandeis University regarding Professor Donald Hindley, who was punished with a class monitor and a letter finding him guilty of "inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory"… Read more

  • Condemnations Continue for Brandeis Administration

    October 27, 2008

    Today, The Providence Journal became the latest publication to weigh in on the horrendous treatment that Professor Donald Hindley has received at the hands of administrators at Brandeis University. The Journal‘s sharply worded editorial follows on the heels of recent articles from Nat Hentoff in The Washington Times, Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald, and… Read more

  • Brandeis Students Start Three New Organizations to Protect Their Rights

    October 21, 2008

    Students at Brandeis University are growing restless with concern for their rights—as they should be. This month marks a year since Brandeis University found Professor Donald Hindley guilty of “inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” statements in alleged violation of Brandeis University’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy after Hindley critiqued the term “wetbacks” in his Latin American politics… Read more

  • Don’t Say the Magic Word!

    October 8, 2008

    It seems like these days the worst speech offense just about anyone can commit is using an "epithet" to describe a person or group of people. Epithets are certainly unpleasant, and it’s not surprising that they often offend people. But increasingly, both on campus and off, we are hearing about cases in which those who… Read more

  • National Attention Continues for FIRE’s Work at Illinois

    October 8, 2008

    We blogged last week about the Chicago Tribune‘s coverage of FIRE’s letter in defense of political expression at the three University of Illinois (UI) campuses, where a memo circulated by UI’s ethics office banned a wide variety of political expression on campuses—down to the bumper stickers on the cars of UI faculty and staff. Instead… Read more

  • Weekly Media Round-up: FIRE’s Expertise Widely Cited, and Pressure Grows on Brandeis and Third Circuit Schools

    October 3, 2008

    Today’s Chicago Tribune featured an article examining the widening controversy over restrictions on political speech and activity at the University of Illinois, which go so far as to suggest that displaying a candidate’s bumper sticker on one’s car is out of bounds. FIRE is closely monitoring this case, as well as a similar situation at… Read more

  • ‘Wetbacks’ Case Still Roiling Brandeis

    September 26, 2008

    The case of Donald Hindley at Brandeis is not going away anytime soon. Today’s Brandeis Hoot covers a discussion between attorney Daryl Lapp and Brandeis faculty members regarding anti-discrimination law as it applies to "discriminatory speech." Lapp, who commonly defends universities in claims against them, was invited for this discussion by Provost Marty Krauss after… Read more

  • Nat Hentoff on Brandeis: ‘The Most Outrageous Case of All’

    September 24, 2008

    Renowned scholar, critic, and free speech advocate Nat Hentoff, a member of FIRE’s Board of Advisors, published a syndicated editorial today sharply criticizing the administration of Brandeis University for its deplorable treatment of Professor Donald Hindley, accusing the university of betraying the legacy of its namesake, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. Brandeis University’s disregard for… Read more

  • Brandeis Hires University Defender to Teach about ‘Racially Harassing Speech’

    September 22, 2008

    Brandeis University seems to be moving even farther away from any notion of guaranteeing free expression on its campus. In the wake of a breakdown in faculty–administration relations over the case of Brandeis professor Donald Hindley, Brandeis has hired an attorney whose principal work involves defending universities against lawsuits and claims in areas such as… Read more

  • FIRE Uses Facebook to Target Worst College Offenders

    September 17, 2008

    Last week, FIRE launched our first Facebook ad campaign targeting a school on FIRE’s Red Alert list, Brandeis University. We began placing ads on the Facebook pages of Brandeis students and alumni, alerting them to the unfortunate case of Professor Donald Hindley, who was found guilty of racial harassment after he critiqued the use of… Read more

  • Brandeis Faculty, Administration Still at Odds

    September 11, 2008

    Last Friday, Alison Channon, News Editor for The Brandeis Hoot at Brandeis University, wrote an update on the case of Donald Hindley, the professor who was found guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classroom after he critiqued the term "wetbacks" in class. As many readers know, FIRE has been heavily… Read more

  • Back to School: Remember FIRE’s Red Alert List

    September 9, 2008

    Students going back to school should be aware of the institutions that demonstrate a blatant disregard for their students’ rights. FIRE’s Red Alert list, recently featured in a full-page ad in the 2009 “America’s Best Colleges” edition of U.S. News and World Report, is a list of the “worst of the worst” when it comes… Read more

  • FIRE Exposes Unrepentant Abusers of Liberty in ‘U.S. News’ College Rankings Issue

    August 25, 2008

    PHILADELPHIA, August 25, 2008—The 2009 edition of U.S. News and World Report‘s America’s Best Colleges issue, released today, includes a full-page advertisement from FIRE highlighting the five colleges and universities that have earned FIRE’s Red Alert distinction for being the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus. Students should think twice… Read more

  • Where is the Alumni Outrage Over the Brandeis Administration’s Shameful Behavior?

    August 20, 2008

    On July 9, FIRE sent a second letter to Brandeis University regarding its unfair treatment of Donald Hindley. A veteran professor at Brandeis, Hindley was accused of making “statements in class that were inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” and had a monitor placed in his classroom after using the word “wetbacks” in class. He was never… Read more

  • Now I’m Offended

    July 22, 2008

    (Jake Summerhays is a senior majoring in Political Science at Columbia University. He is a 2008 FIRE summer intern.) To be honest, I was caught off guard on that first day of class. I was offended, and for a moment, I considered whether it was going to be beneficial for me—academically or spiritually—to remain in… Read more

  • FIRE Calls on Brandeis to Resolve Faculty Revolt

    July 10, 2008

    Given the unprecedented revolt of faculty and students at Brandeis University, FIRE has called on President Jehuda Reinharz to rescind the ill-conceived finding of guilt against Professor Donald Hindley in order to restore order and Brandeis University’s good name. In a letter sent to Reinharz yesterday—with copies to about 160 others within and beyond Brandeis—FIRE… Read more

  • Brandeis’ Inexplicable War Against Its Faculty [Commentary]

    July 3, 2008

    FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley has written a noteworthy article on the wider implications of the Brandeis University faculty revolt against its own administration in the case of professor Donald Hindley. Here are some choice excerpts: [Brandeis Provost Marty] Krauss’ assertion of arbitrary administrative power angered the Faculty Senate, which has refused to peacefully surrender… Read more

  • Brandeis University “Honored” in ‘The Boston Phoenix’s’ 2008 Muzzle Awards

    June 30, 2008

    FIRE co-founder and board chairman Harvey Silverglate, writing last week in The Boston Phoenix, pronounced Brandeis University “a clear winner” of the Phoenix‘s annual Muzzle Awards, which single out the worst offenders of free speech and individual rights in the New England area. Brandeis has earned this dubious accolade “thanks to the farcical treatment of… Read more

  • The Muzzle Awards: Collegiate Division

    June 25, 2008

    Our annual Muzzle Awards survey scours all six New England states for free-speech violations. But it always causes the judges special pains when we find such cases at institutions of higher learning, which, in theory, are supposed to be the freest places in our society. In reality, however, college campuses are home to some of… Read more

  • Faculty Rights vs. Provostal Abuses at Brandeis

    May 22, 2008

    I reported on Monday that the Brandeis University faculty continues to stand up for its academic freedom and due process rights against Provost Marty Krauss in the wake of her disastrous handling of the case of Professor Donald Hindley, who was declared guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classes after… Read more

  • Brandeis Faculty Continues to Revolt in ‘Wetbacks’ Case

    May 19, 2008

    Admirably, the Brandeis University faculty continues to stand up for its academic freedom and due process rights in the wake of Provost Marty Krauss’s disastrous handling of the case of Donald Hindley, who was declared guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classes after he criticized the use of the word… Read more

  • “Muzzle Tov” to Brandeis and Valdosta State from Greg

    April 11, 2008

    In his latest Huffington Post blog, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff recaps the 2008 Jefferson Muzzle awards, bringing special attention to with “winners” at Brandeis University and Valdosta State University. He also puts in an early nomination for 2009’s Muzzles: Finally, while I know it’s only April, I already have two nominations for next year’s Jefferson… Read more

  • Demonstration at Brandeis Today—Red Alert in Action

    April 10, 2008

    Why are students demonstrating at about 6pm today at Brandeis University? Today is apparently Accepted Students Day at Brandeis. Potential students should know that Brandeis has so badly violated principles of free expression that FIRE has put Brandeis on our Red Alert list, reserved for the worst offenders among colleges and universities in the country…. Read more

  • Associated Press, Harvey Silverglate and Blogosphere Cover the Jefferson Muzzles

    April 10, 2008

    After Tuesday’s announcement of the 2008 Jefferson Muzzles awarded by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, the media and blogosphere have lit up with coverage of the “honors” given to “the country’s most egregious and ridiculous censors”. An article by the Associated Press mentioned the FIRE cases at Brandeis University and… Read more

  • Brandeis Faculty Senate Excoriates Administration, Revolts

    March 26, 2008

    The recently published minutes of the March 13, 2008, meeting of the Brandeis University Faculty Senate show continuing animosity against Provost Marty Krauss over issues relating to the case of Professor Donald Hindley. The Brandeis faculty’s Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR) already had explained in detail, numerous times, the failures of the Brandeis… Read more

  • Editorial Warns of Brandeis’s Waning Reputation Over Speech Controversies

    March 26, 2008

    Yesterday’s issue of Brandeis University’s Justice student newspaper features a hard-hitting editorial that once again takes Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss to task for her handling of the case of professor Donald Hindley, who had a monitor placed in his classes by Krauss after he explained and critiqued the use of the term “wetback” in class…. Read more

  • Brandeis Student Press Critiques More Violations of Free Speech

    March 7, 2008

    All too often, it takes someone getting into serious trouble before discussions about free speech arise on a college campus. Because Brandeis University has been involved in a string of free speech incidents—most recently Professor Donald Hindley being found guilty of alleged harassment for protected speech—one of the student newspapers, The Hoot, has attempted to… Read more

  • Brandeis Faculty Step Up to Defend Academic Freedom, Attack Administration

    February 7, 2008

    The minutes of the Brandeis University Faculty Senate meeting last week show many serious steps that the faculty are taking in response to the mistreatment of professor Donald Hindley by Brandeis administrators such as Provost Marty Krauss—and in the absence of any action on the part of the administration. The Senate discussion focused heavily on… Read more

  • FIRE Alerts Brandeis Trustees to Hindley Case

    February 6, 2008

    FIRE has written Malcolm L. Sherman, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University—and the rest of Brandeis’s trustees—to alert them to Brandeis’s mistreatment of Professor Donald Hindley over his critique of the word “wetback” during one of his classes. The letter addresses the misrepresentations of the case by Provost Marty Krauss, the sharp… Read more

  • The Case of Donald Hindley: Eerily Familiar, Inexcusably Handled

    February 1, 2008

    Does something seem oddly familiar about the case of Donald Hindley at Brandeis? As Torch readers well know, Donald Hindley is a professor who has served Brandeis for over 46 years and was found guilty of “racial harassment,” apparently for criticizing and explaining use of the word “wetback” to deride Mexicans and other immigrants. I… Read more

  • ‘The Brandeis Hoot’ Seeks Answers from Administration

    February 1, 2008

    As the negative media barrage against Brandeis University continues, The Brandeis Hoot has written an excellent editorial titled “There is such a thing as bad publicity,” calling for school administrators to admit their wrongdoing in the case against Professor Donald Hindley and start “damage control.” The editorial points out that A search of Google news… Read more

  • After Brandeis Response, Professor Volokh Asks Tough Questions

    January 30, 2008

    Eugene Volokh, professor of constitutional law at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law and influential blogger, has some pointed words and tough questions for Brandeis administrators in response to yesterday’s frustratingly empty statement from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marty Krauss. Like FIRE, Volokh is far from satisfied… Read more

  • FIRE in the Brandeis Student Press

    January 30, 2008

    The Justice, an independent student newspaper at Brandeis University, features an article discussing FIRE’s work on behalf of embattled professor Donald Hindley. As loyal Torch readers know by now, Professor Hindley was found to have violated the school’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment policy after he used the word “wetbacks” in a classroom discussion to explain that… Read more

  • Brandeis Provost Misrepresents Its Prosecution of Professor’s Classroom Speech

    January 29, 2008

    This morning, Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss sent Brandeis faculty a letter defending the indefensible investigation and punishment of longtime professor Donald Hindley for his classroom speech. To make matters worse, this letter outright misrepresents the violations of Brandeis’s own policies identified by Brandeis’s own Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR) numerous times. In addition,… Read more

  • Professor Condemns Brandeis’s Treatment of Donald Hindley

    January 28, 2008

    FIRE friend Jay Bergman—a professor at Central Connecticut State University and an alumnus of Brandeis—shared with us an e-mail he sent to Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss regarding the university’s treatment of Professor Donald Hindley: Dear Provost Krauss, I have read what FIRE and Eugene Volokh have written about the Hindley case, and am appalled by… Read more

  • FIRE Speaks About Brandeis on WBZ Radio Tonight

    January 25, 2008

    Robert Shibley, FIRE’s Vice President, will be a guest on the Dan Rea show on Boston’s WBZ News Radio 1030-AM tonight at 8:15 pm (ET) to talk about the case of Prof. Donald Hindley at Brandeis University as well as similar situations across the nation. Rea and Shibley are also planning to take phone calls,… Read more

  • Censorship at Brandeis, again

    January 24, 2008

    A new battle has commenced in the war over suppression of free speech and due process at Brandeis, the institution named (ironically and inappropriately, it would seem) after the late Supreme Court Justice and champion of individual liberty. As my colleague Wendy Kaminer wrote in this space on Wednesday, the school opened an investigation into… Read more

  • Prof in trouble for blasting ‘wetbacks’ slur

    January 24, 2008

    A professor is being punished for criticizing the use of an ethnic slur in what the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is calling a “a mindless application of ‘sensitivity at all costs’ at the expense of freedom of expression.” The dispute arose over the work of Brandeis University Latin American Politics professor Donald Hindley,… Read more

  • Brandeis University Tramples Free Speech and Academic Freedom

    January 23, 2008

    WALTHAM, Mass., January 23, 2008—Brandeis University declared a professor guilty of racial harassment and placed a monitor in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. Professor Donald Hindley, a nearly 50-year veteran of teaching, has neither been granted a formal hearing by Brandeis nor provided… Read more

  • Thinking about a Student Bill of Rights?

    December 10, 2007

    On Friday, The Brandeis Hoot reported that the Brandeis Student Union is going to spend next semester working on a Student Bill of Rights. Every private college is different, more or less, so I would hesitate to give specific advice to students who want to craft such a document at their college. But since December… Read more

  • Silverglate Defends Parody on Campus in ‘The Phoenix’

    May 17, 2007

    Today’s edition of The Phoenix features a prominent article by FIRE co-founder Harvey Silver and Jan Wolfe detailing the recent censorship of satirical student newspapers at Tufts and Brandeis. At Tufts, as we’ve reported, The Primary Source offended campus sensibilities by publishing two satirical articles—a Christmas carol parody targeting race-based admissions and a mock ad… Read more

  • Unfunny: Capitulation, Resignations as Brandeis Humor Mag Folds under Pressure

    May 14, 2007

    A controversy arose recently at Brandeis University involving Gravity, a student-run humor magazine entering its seventeenth year on campus. Gravity, known for articles with titles like “Ewok Joins NFL, Dies in Tragic Booze Cruise Incident” and “God is Dead; Tooth Fairy Still Up In the Air,” became the subject of heated debate on campus after… Read more

  • The Brandeis “Chilling Effect” Continues?

    February 16, 2007

    Daniel Pipes, the always-controversial Middle East scholar, wrote in The Justice, the student newspaper at Brandeis University, on Tuesday that University President Jehuda Reinharz has covertly established “a closed student-faculty committee to monitor speakers on the Middle East.” Reinharz, in a reply to Pipes (made public on Pipes’ personal web site) confirmed the existence of… Read more

  • Brandeis Takes a Stab at Art Censorship

    May 3, 2006

    Israeli–Palestinian art is the subject of more controversy this week, this time at Brandeis University. As an article in today’s Boston Globe (membership required) explains, Brandeis pulled an exhibit by Israeli student Lior Halperin, who arranged for Palestinian teenagers to paint images that would bring the Palestinian point of view to the Brandeis campus. The… Read more