Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Location: Brooklyn, New York
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

Brooklyn College, City University of New York 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
  • The City University of New York Policy on Acceptable Use of Computer Resources

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2020

    [U]se of CUNY Computer Resources for partisan political activity is also prohibited. … Users may not employ a false identity, mask the identity of an account or computer, or use CUNY Computer Resources to engage in abuse of others, such as sending harassing, obscene, threatening, abusive, deceptive, or anonymo... Read More
  • Rules and Regulations for the Maintenance of Public Order

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: June 30, 2020

    Each member of the academic community or an invited guest has the right to advocate his [or her] position without having to fear abuse, physical, verbal, or otherwise, from others supporting conflicting points of view. Members of the academic community and other persons on the college grounds shall not use language ... Read More
  • The City University of New York Policy on Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Against Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2020

    Harassment is a form of discrimination that consists of unwelcome conduct based on a protected characteristic that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or abusive work or academic environment. Such conduct can be ... Read More
  • CUNY Policy on Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2020

    Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic and electronic communications or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … ii. such conduct is sufficiently serious that it alter... Read More
  • The City University of New York: Understanding and Preventing Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2020

    Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus. Read More
  • Student Handbook: Freedom of Speech and Campus Demonstrations

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2020

    Brooklyn College supports the right of students, faculty, and staff to peaceably demonstrate, provided they do not disrupt the normal educational operation of the campus. For example, clip boarding and leafleting may take place on campus, so long as it does not disrupt the educational environment. The college may re... Read More
  • E-Mail Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2020

    In general, e-mail shall not be used for the initiation or retransmission of: … chain mail that misuses or disrupts resources: e-mail sent repeatedly from user to user, with requests to send to others; … messages containing obscene images or materials; and messages that violate the university’s no... Read More
  • Secret Syllabus Investigation at Brooklyn College Exemplifies ‘Frightening’ Expansion of Title IX

    October 13, 2016

    Like many professors, Brooklyn College (BC) geology professor David Seidemann has a grading rubric in his syllabus that accounts for students’ effort: Class deportment, effort etc……. 10% (applied only to select students when appropriate). But very much unlike any other case we’ve seen at FIRE, this seemingly innocuous grading criteria landed Seidemann at the center… Read more

  • Shibley in ‘Forbes’ on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Campus Free Speech

    March 18, 2014

    A handful of recent incidents at American colleges and universities illustrate a troubling pattern of students being censored or punished for participating in the debate over Israeli-Palestinian relations. Today in ‘Forbes,’ FIRE’s Robert Shibley writes about how the longstanding conflict is part of a threat to free expression here in the United States.

  • FIRE’s Robert Shibley Weighs in on BDS Controversy at Brooklyn College

    March 20, 2013

    Writing for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley weighs in on the recent "boycott, divestment, and sanctions" (BDS) controversy at Brooklyn College. Torch readers will recall that last month New York City lawmakers threatened the public college’s funding over a planned "BDS Movement Against Israel" campus… Read more

  • An Open Letter to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz Regarding the Ongoing Controversy at Brooklyn College

    February 6, 2013

    Dear Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Markowitz: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and academic freedom at our nation’s colleges and universities. We write today to express our concern about recent statements made… Read more

  • NYC Lawmakers Threaten Brooklyn College Over Controversial Forum

    February 4, 2013

    The last few days have seen controversy brewing over a planned event at Brooklyn College. The planned February 7 event, titled “BDS Movement Against Israel” and co-sponsored by several student groups as well as Brooklyn College’s political science department, is slated to feature Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti, two proponents of the push to boycott,… Read more

  • Brooklyn College Reinstates Professor after Controversy

    February 1, 2011

    Brooklyn College (BC) has reinstated an adjunct instructor it fired just days ago. Kristofer Petersen-Overton, who is also a graduate student, had been fired shortly after his academic writings and his course, "Politics of the Middle East," were condemned by a member of the New York State Assembly, Dov Hikind. FIRE wrote BC President Karen L. Gould last Friday,… Read more

  • David Thompson Speaks Out about KC Johnson and Social Justice Indoctrination

    October 20, 2010

    FIRE recently released a video about KC Johnson’s dispute with the Brooklyn College School of Education (BCSOE) over an article he published on “Dispositions Theory,” or the theory that prospective public school teachers must be disposed to certain sets of highly politicized beliefs. David Thompson’s recent blog post, “Dissident Academic Feels the Warmth of ‘Social… Read more

  • New FIRE Video on KC Johnson’s Fight for Academic Freedom

    October 14, 2010

     FIRE’s a new video today about Brooklyn College history professor KC Johnson’s fight to protect his academic freedom. Johnson wrote a column publicly criticizing “dispositions theory,” which education schools sometimes use as a political litmus test to ensure that students have the “correct” views on “social justice.” In response, the Brooklyn College education department… Read more

  • This Month in FIRE History: ‘Education Programs May Have a ‘Disposition’ for Censorship’

    September 12, 2006

    One year ago this month, FIRE launched in earnest its campaign against vague and politically loaded ‘dispositions’ standards in education programs. As our press release reported: A new trend in campus censorship is emerging: this summer, Washington State University used “dispositions” theory to punish an education student for his political and religious expression. The university… Read more

  • Brooklyn Parks Department Censors Student Art Exhibit

    May 9, 2006

    The Brooklyn parks commission has censored an art exhibition by a group of Brooklyn College Master of Fine Arts students. The exhibit, “Plan B,” which features depictions of male genitalia and an explicit video, was supposed to show at the Brooklyn War Memorial (which is apparently an art venue) until May 25, but last Thursday… Read more

  • FIRE Cases in the ‘Washington Post’

    February 6, 2006

    Sunday’s Washington Post featured an outstanding article by Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute on the disturbing trend toward “dispositions” evaluations in colleges of education. After discussing FIRE cases involving ideological orthodoxy at Washington State University, Le Moyne College, and Brooklyn College, Hess aptly points out, “The cultivation of right-thinking cadres has no place… Read more

  • FIRE’s Work Lauded in Newspapers Nationwide

    December 12, 2005

    It’s been a good couple of days for Justice Brandeis’ maxim that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Thanks to articles in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, news of FIRE’s efforts to disinfect the swamps of repression currently passing for American universities is reaching an ever-increasing number of… Read more

  • The Trouble with ‘Dispositions’

    September 21, 2005

    This morning, FIRE launched its second press release in two weeks detailing controversies surrounding the so-called dispositions evaluation of teaching candidates. Two weeks ago, we addressed the Brooklyn College School of Education’s attempt to censor Professor K. C. Johnson after he criticized overtly ideological elements in the school’s own dispositions program. Today, FIRE has set… Read more

  • Education Programs May Have a ‘Disposition’ for Censorship

    September 21, 2005

    PULLMAN, Wash., September 21, 2005—A new trend in campus censorship is emerging: this summer, Washington State University used “dispositions” theory to punish an education student for his political and religious expression. The university relented only after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) became involved. “Dispositions” theory, increasingly in vogue in education programs, requires… Read more

  • Professor’s First Amendment Rights Upheld at Brooklyn College

    September 14, 2005

    As FIRE announced in a press release this morning, Brooklyn College has conceded that Professor K. C. Johnson’s public criticisms of dispositions theory are constitutionally protected and has affirmed that Professor Johnson will not be subject to any investigation as a result of his expression. This is a victory for academic freedom and freedom of… Read more

  • First Amendment and Academic Freedom Triumph at Brooklyn College

    September 14, 2005

    BROOKLYN, N.Y., September 14, 2005—In a swift and crucial victory for freedom of speech and academic freedom, Brooklyn College has affirmed that prominent professor K. C. Johnson will not be subjected to an unconstitutional inquisition into his views.  The college surrendered mere days after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) came to Johnson’s… Read more

  • Criticism or Censorship?

    September 8, 2005

    In June of this year, the City University of New York at Brooklyn (Brooklyn College) was rocked by a story in the New York Sun reporting on a new method of evaluating education students. That method, called “dispositions,” was designed in part to determine whether students had an appropriate commitment to “social justice.” Students who… Read more

  • Brooklyn College Threatens Inquisition to Silence Dissenting Professor

    September 8, 2005

    BROOKLYN, N.Y., September 8, 2005—In a direct attack on academic freedom and free speech, the Brooklyn College School of Education (SOE) is seeking to silence one of its most prominent critics, history professor K. C. Johnson.  After publicly criticizing perceived indoctrination and viewpoint discrimination by members of the Brooklyn College faculty, Johnson is facing a… Read more

  • Real World vs. Ideal World

    June 10, 2005

    My recent posts regarding the differences between the free speech of department chairs and the free speech of professors have generated considerable lively discussion—both inside FIRE’s offices and outside (for a thoughtful response to my latest post on Shortell, see this entry from Sherman Dorn). The details of Shortell’s case bring up an interesting question:… Read more

  • Shortell Declines Chairmanship After All

    June 8, 2005

    Just a quick update that Professor Timothy Shortell has decided not to take up the position as chair of the sociology department at Brooklyn College. This decision comes after controversy arose over his writings about religion and religious people on a non-school-related website. (Read David’s posts for more details about the legal implications for Shortell’s… Read more

  • Department Chairs and Free Speech

    June 7, 2005

    A good friend of FIRE wrote in response to my post regarding Timothy “Moral Retards” Shortell. In that post, I noted that department chairs, as administrators, do not have the same level of freedom to offer public comments as do professors. I also noted that because Shortell’s comments involved an entire class of people covered… Read more

  • ‘Moral Retards’ and Academic Freedom

    June 3, 2005

    Inside Higher Ed has an interesting article regarding CUNY Brooklyn professor and administrator (he is chairman of the sociology department) Timothy Shortell. Shortell, as many may know, has started the clock running on his 15 minutes of fame in our academic freedom wars with a controversial essay regarding people of religious faith. Inside Higher Ed… Read more

  • ‘Dispositions’ at Brooklyn College

    May 31, 2005

    In today’s New York Sun, reporter Jacob Gershman—one of the few reporters who fully understands the critical cultural importance of civil liberties in higher education—writes about the use of the “dispositions” theory (discussed in Robert’s post below) at CUNY Brooklyn. Gershman describes how “dispositions” is defined by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education,… Read more

  • ‘Who’s Undermining Free Speech on Campus Now?’

    April 20, 2005

    Check out David Beito, KC Johnson and Ralph E. Luker’s important article “Who’s Undermining Free Speech on Campus Now?” at Inside Higher Ed. KC and David are well known to FIRE for their tireless defense of freedom of speech and basic rights at their respective institutions, Brooklyn College and the University of Alabama (and anyone looking at the… Read more

  • Victory for Academic Freedom at Brooklyn College

    November 23, 2004

    BROOKLYN, N.Y., November 23, 2004—The City University of New York’s Brooklyn College has reversed a decision that effectively disbanded the student government to prevent it from voting for a resolution including an academic bill of rights. After protests from students, faculty members, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the college restored the… Read more