Dartmouth College

Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
Website: http://www.dartmouth.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Dartmouth College 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 here.

  • Dartmouth College: Abolition of Speech Code

    February 28, 2005

    A set of statements published on Dartmouth’s website, in the wake of a controversy regarding a fraternity at the college, sparked confusion over Dartmouth’s commitment to free speech. The statements appeared to contradict Dartmouth’s reverence for free speech and expression. After FIRE expressed its concern over the potential speech code, the statements where removed from Dartmouth’s website and the school affirmed its commitment to free speech.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Office of Pluralism and Leadership: Report Bias

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: October 20, 2016

    If you are the target of, witness to, or even simply hear about any form of bias happening to a Dartmouth student, you should submit a Bias Impact Report immediately. These reports, which can be anonymous, assist the College in tracking, investigating, or responding to bias incidents in order to mitigate their impact on our community.
    The Bias Impact Response Team (BIRT), along with the Office of Judicial Affairs, receives each report submitted online. Given that our practice is informed by the values of restorative justice, the BIRT members review EVERY submitted report in order to determine next steps which vary based upon the circumstances of each incident.

    Bias is…

    Treating someone negatively because of their actual or perceived:
    •    Age
    •    Creed
    •    (Dis)ability
    •    Ethnic or national origin
    •    Gender, gender identity, or gender expression
    •    Marital status
    •    Political or social affiliation
    •    Race
    •    Religion
    •    Sexual orientation

    Some examples of bias incidents include:
    •    Telling jokes
    •    Name-calling
    •    Stereotyping
    •    Offensive graffiti
    •    Avoiding or excluding others

    Bias-related incidents are defined as behavior which constitutes an expression of hostility against the person or property of another because of the targeted person’s age, creed, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, political or social affiliation, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Even when offenders are not aware of bias or intend to offend, bias may be revealed which is worthy of a response and can serve as an opportunity for education.

    Bias-related incidents, while abhorrent and intolerable, do not meet the necessary elements required to prove a crime. However, bias-related incidents do require the active participation of a community committed to fundamental human dignity and equality to successfully address.

    If you believe you may have been the target of, or witness to a bias incident at Dartmouth, please report it as soon as possible or call Safety & Security at 603-646-4000.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Principles of the Community- Freedom of Expression and Dissent

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: October 20, 2016

    Freedom of expression and dissent is protected by College regulations. Dartmouth College prizes and defends the right of free speech and the freedom of the individual to make his or her own disclosures, while at the same time recognizing that such freedom exists in the context of the law and in responsibility for one’s actions. The exercise of these rights must not deny the same rights to any other individual. The College therefore both fosters and protects the rights of individuals to express dissent.

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  • Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking by Students and Student Organizations

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 20, 2016

    “Sexual Harassment” includes any of the following behaviors: 1. Hostile Environment – unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to deny or limit the victim’s ability to participate in or benefit from Dartmouth’s educational programs or benefits by creating an intimidating or hostile environment.

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  • Information Technology Policy: Freedom of Expression

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: October 20, 2016

    Freedom of expression and an open environment within which to pursue scholarly inquiry and to share information are encouraged, supported, and protected at Dartmouth. … Censorship is not compatible with the goals of Dartmouth.

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  • Student Handbook: Dartmouth Community Standards of Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 20, 2016

    Harassment is defined as abusive behavior or conduct that is targeted at an individual or group and is ordinarily repeated.

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  • Student Handbook: Use of the College Green and Campus Grounds

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: October 20, 2016

    The College Green and campus grounds are reserved primarily for informal use, including rallies and other assemblies, by students, faculty, staff, and guests of the College.

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  • Dartmouth Students ask Administration to Stop Policing Speech

    June 3, 2016

    By Andrew Cline at AMI Newswire Two senior class leaders at Dartmouth College met with college president Philip Hanlon May 23 to present a petition with more than 1,500 signatures asking the administration to cut non-academic spending, stop meddling in student life and refocus on undergraduate education… Read more here.

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  • The Phony Debate About Political Correctness

    January 14, 2016

    By Erica Hellerstein and Judd Legum at Think Progress In 1991, New York Magazine published an influential cover story, titled “Are You Politically Correct?” The headline was splashed across the glossy’s front page in bold red and white letters, followed by a list of supposed “politically correct” questions: … Read more here.

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  • A Silver Lining for Free Speech

    December 21, 2015

    By Jenna A. Robinson at National Review This year has brought some dismal news for supporters of free speech. The William F. Buckley Free Speech Survey revealed that today’s college students have little appreciation for freedom of action and conscience. Sixty-three percent of students are in favor of “trigger warnings.” By a 52-42% margin, students say their college or university should forbid people from speaking on campus who have a history of engaging in hate speech. And a shocking 72% of students surveyed said they support disciplinary action for “any student or faculty member on campus who uses language that […]

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  • Ivy League Schools Stomp On Freedom Of Speech

    November 20, 2015

    By Kathryn Watson at The Daily Caller  Five of the nation’s eight Ivy League schools impose huge restrictions on the First Amendment speech rights of their students, according to ratings from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). As allegations of racial discrimination fuel campus protests and spark free-speech challenges across the country, Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University and Princeton University all receive “red light” ratings — the worst in FIRE’s red, yellow and green light rating system — for having policies that significantly restrict free expression. Yale University and Dartmouth College both receive “yellow light” ratings for […]

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  • Coexist *This*, Mofo! Dartmouth Student Literally Runs Over Free Speech!

    March 24, 2014

    Editorial at Before it’s News The short (90 seconds) video above tells funny but appalling story that illustrates what happens when the thug’s veto gets a car. Dartmouth’s Robert Smith and a bunch of anti-abortion activists put together a display that used small American flags to denote the number of abortions performed in America since Roe v. Wade made the procedure legal. Another student who disagreed with the display then proceeded to run over the flags. The kicker? The car of the thug sported a “COEXIST” bumper sticker. Read this article by Greg Lukianoff, the head of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and author of Unlearning Liberty: […]

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  • Preaching to the Choir?

    April 29, 2013

    If an administration wants to respond to an incident of bigotry with a strong statement of inclusiveness, canceling classes and holding a series of lectures and forums in their place is one way to do it. That’s what two colleges did this spring in response to bias incidents that caused a stir on campus. But while some students commend the effort to foster dialogue and civility, others question the effectiveness and appropriateness of the decisions. First Oberlin College, after a string of hate-related campus incidents including anti-Semitic and racist graffiti and a reported assault, canceled classes in March when a student reported […]

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  • Old Dartmouth: Classes. New Dartmouth: Civility ‘teach-ins’

    April 25, 2013

    Dartmouth College students got an unexpected surprise Wednesday — a day off of classes! For that, they can thank a series of events that started with a group of fellow students calling themselves Real Talk Dartmouth. The group marched into a performance of songs and skits for admitted students last Friday and screamed “Dartmouth has a problem!” at the top of their lungs while chanting about the problems of a campus they see as rife with homophobia, sexism, and sexual assault. This impressed the high school seniors in attendance about as much as you might expect. The Dartmouth reported that […]

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  • 6 of 10 universities can’t figure out 1st Amendment

    December 20, 2012

    by Bob Unruh at WND More than six of 10 colleges and universities across the United States have yet to figure out the First Amendment, because their “speech codes” conflict with the Constitution, according to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “FIRE surveyed 409 schools for this report and found that over 62 percent maintain severely restrictive, ‘red-light’ speech codes – policies that clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech,” said the executive summary. “That this figure is so large is deeply troubling, but there is good news: for the fifth year in a row, the percentage of schools maintaining […]

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  • Student Who Wrecked Pro-Life Display With Car to Face Judge

    June 9, 2012

    A 22-year-old Dartmouth College student will appear in court early next week after he allegedly used his car to run over a pro-life display set up by a student organization. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education (FIRE), the man, Emery S. Coxe, has been charged with disorderly conduct after he allegedly drove his Toyota Camry off of the road and into a display created by Vita Clamantis, a pro-life student organization, in mid-April. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. The display was called the “Cemetery of the Innocents,” the Vita Clamantis blog explains, and […]

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  • The Seven Best Colleges For Free Speech

    May 23, 2011

    by Greg Lukianoff The Huffington Post   View this article at The Huffington Post.

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  • Alumni battle in national spotlight

    June 29, 2006

    The College’s internal disputes over the alumni governance task force’s proposed constitution exploded onto the national stage last week, when both The New York Times and the Boston Globe published articles on the rancor surrounding the issue. Meanwhile, College Trustee Peter Robinson ’79 spoke out against the constitution on the nationally-syndicated conservative talk radio show hosted by Laura Ingraham ’85. At issue is the constitution’s provision that forces petition trustee candidates to declare their candidacy before the Alumni Association announces its slate of candidates. Under the current rules, the Alumni Association nominates two alumni for each open seat on the […]

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  • Renegades Shake Up Trustee Elections

    March 10, 2006

    Private-college officials are accustomed to dealing with alumni who are fervent about protecting the reputations or traditions of their alma maters. But they are not used to dealing with the sort of alumni uprisings that took place at Dartmouth and Hamilton Colleges last year. At both institutions, former students waged feisty campaigns for the designated alumni seats on the colleges’ governing boards, which are normally allotted to alumni-association leaders or other vetted nominees. The outsider candidates drew the support of conservative bloggers and pundits around the nation, who praised them as insurgents against higher education’s status quo. … To read […]

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  • Lighting the FIRE of Liberty in Philadelphia

    January 25, 2006

    The seeds of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) sprouted at Penn over a decade ago. Late one night in 1993, in response to the loud singing and stomping of a group of African-American sorority girls, Penn student Eden Jacobowitz yelled, from the window of his dorm room, “Shut up, you water buffalo. If you want a party, there’s a zoo a mile from here.” For his “water buffalo” comment—a translation of a Yiddish term for rude people—Penn unjustly charged Jacobowitz with violating its racial harassment policy. Professor Alan Charles Kors, along with other members of the faculty, […]

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  • Students to Res-Ed: Let Our Voices Be Heard

    November 11, 2005

    After two years of Residential Education’s strict enforcement of the no door-to-door distribution policy, many students want the university to consider altering the prohibition. Despite a vote from the student body in support of changing the policy last year and the passing of a corresponding ASSU Senate advocacy bill, Residential Education (ResEd) has failed to take action. The Stanford Daily even ran an editorial last month asking ResEd to adopt a new stance on door-to-door distribution. Currently, ResEd does not allow the distribution of student publications from door-to-door without the explicit consent of the dorms’ Resident Fellows (RF). Instead, the […]

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  • Pariahs, Martyrs — and Fighters Back

    October 24, 2005

    At the start of the last school year, activists at DePaul University set up a pair of tables along a student thoroughfare and distributed literature to passers-by. They caught the eye of faculty member Thomas Klocek, who took one of their handouts and read about Israel’s “brutal and murderous occupation” of “Palestine” as well as its “apartheid violence” in the West Bank and Gaza. This was provocative stuff — but nothing out of the ordinary for the two groups behind it all, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and United Muslims Moving Ahead (UMMA). Engaging the students in a discussion […]

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  • Hamilton College Alumni Challenge Official Candidates for Board of Trustees

    July 29, 2005

    Hamilton College alumni received a ballot in the mail last week for the first contested election in 30 years for slots on the upstate New York institution’s Board of Trustees. The rules of the election have drawn criticism from a group of alumni and two national organizations involved in academic-freedom issues. The groups argue that the college is trying to stifle the campaigns of four alumni who successfully petitioned to appear on the ballot alongside three candidates who were nominated by the college’s Alumni Council. The campaigns of three of the petition candidates grew out of their involvement with Hamilton […]

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  • Dartmouth Shifts—to the Right?

    June 28, 2005

    Last month, in an election to choose their representatives to Dartmouth College’s Board of Trustees, alumni bypassed four candidates nominated formally by the institution and chose instead two men who had criticized college policies that they believed restricted free speech, damaged fraternities and sororities, and diminished athletics programs. Just days before the election results were announced, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said that the college had clarified its policies in a way that made it “a national leader in the battle for free expression on campus.” And last week, Dartmouth’s board ended a six-year-old moratorium barring the establishment […]

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  • 10 great cigars and why I smoked them

    June 13, 2005

    By Mike Adams at Townhall.com For years, communism has been preventing me from enjoying a lot of good cigars. That used to bother me, until I found a way around the problem. As many of my readers know, there are more communists teaching on the average American campus than there are teaching in all of Cuba. And, of course, these communist professors do a lot of stupid things, most of which violate the United States Constitution. I have learned that fighting American communist professors is fun, largely because they are so easy to beat when challenged. That’s why I smoke […]

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  • Dartmouth Praised for Taking Lead in ‘Free Expression’

    May 16, 2005

    Dartmouth College in New Hampshire is being lauded for leading the Ivy League “in respecting individual liberty and free expression.” Dartmouth no longer has a poor free-speech rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The school had been under scrutiny for de-recognizing a fraternity for publishing an internal newsletter that insulted two female students. Following the incident, Dartmouth posted two letters on its website — one from the college president and one from the dean — justifying the punishment. But after being contacted by FIRE, the college removed those letters from the website. FIRE president David French […]

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  • The Lone Pine Revolution

    May 14, 2005

    Two bespectacled, suit-wearing academics make for unlikely revolutionaries. However, the election of Hoover Institution fellow Peter Robinson ’79 and George Mason University law professor Todd Zywicki ’88 to Dartmouth College’s Board of Trustees, announced Thursday, is perhaps the most significant event in the institution’s recent history. Most Trustee elections at Dartmouth, like those to most corporate boards, are low-key affairs, marked by apathy. But not this one. Just to earn a place on the Trustee election ballot, Robinson and Zywicki each had to collect 500 alumni signatures on a petition. They next fought back a spirited opposition from the four […]

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  • Red Light, Green* Light

    May 13, 2005

    In what the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has called “a remarkable development for liberty on campus,” Dartmouth has cleared up the mystery surrounding the College’s speech code. General Counsel Robert Donin, in a May 2 communiqué (see inset), wrote to FIRE to “confirm that neither President James Wright’s May 10, 2001 letter nor Dean of the College James Larimore’s May 11, 2001 letter represents a binding statement of Dartmouth College policy or can be relied upon to support a complaint based on the content or viewpoint of controversial speech” [emphasis added]. The letters in question were authored […]

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  • Dartmouth trustee vote raises controversy

    May 13, 2005

    While Penn prepares to graduate a new class, alumni of Dartmouth College hope to finally see the end of a controversy over trustee elections. Unlike at Penn — where all new trustees are selected by the current board — Dartmouth alumni vote directly to elect seven of the 17 members of the Board of Trustees. With two such seats up for grabs this year, campaigning and politicking have reached unprecedented levels in Hanover, N.H. Much of the intensity stems from the fact that although Dartmouth’s Alumni Council, a group mostly made up of class- and alumni-group leaders, originally nominated four […]

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  • Free speech org. lauds College policies

    May 10, 2005

    David French, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said yesterday that the organization would improve Dartmouth’s free speech rating from a poor “red light” to the highest rating, a “green light.” FIRE, a self-declared watchdog group that rates and advocates for free speech on campus, accords its highest ranking to 25 to 30 percent of colleges and universities nationwide, according to French. Dartmouth will join the University of Pennsylvania as the second Ivy League school with a green light rating. The higher rating results from a number of efforts on the College’s part to support free speech […]

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  • Freer Speech at Dartmouth?

    May 10, 2005

    Can speech that hurts feelings get you in trouble at Dartmouth College? That’s what libertarian critics of the college have been charging for some time, saying that the college has a speech code that squelches free expression. Dartmouth has said that its policies have been distorted. But this month, the college clarified its stance and at least some of its critics now say that the college no longer has policies that inhibit free speech on the campus. The clarification comes as the college is counting the votes in a trustee election in which the college’s speech policies were a major […]

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  • Voting in action-packed trustee election ends

    May 6, 2005

    Voting for this year’s trustee election wraps up midnight on Friday after one of the most controversial and heated races in recent memory. While most trustee elections in the College’s history have passed uneventfully, this year’s has raised questions of campaign rules violations, the legitimacy of petition candidates and free speech on campus — all while drawing national attention. The Candidates In light of the Board of Trustees’ ongoing expansion from 16 to 22 members, two positions opened this year for which the College’s 62,000 living alumni can vote. Six candidates are vying for these two spots — four nominated […]

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  • Trustee Election at Dartmouth Is Seen as ‘Battle for Academic Freedom’

    May 5, 2005

    Elections of trustees to college and university boards are generally a snooze. Not so at Dartmouth College, where an alumni vote for two slots on the Board of Trustees has featured as much drama as a mudslinging congressional campaign. The results of the election will be released in the next few weeks. Dartmouth alumni choose seven members of the college’s 17-trustee board. With two seats open this year, the Alumni Council, a body composed mostly of class and alumni-group leaders, selected a slate of four candidates for the election. However, two dark-horse candidates have mounted successful petition campaigns to get […]

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  • The Dartmouth Insurgency

    April 25, 2005

    IF YOU’RE NOT A DARTMOUTH alum, there are still two reasons to care about this year’s alumni trustee election: Peter Robinson and Todd Zywicki, who are running as insurgents. Robinson is an author and Hoover Institution scholar best known for penning Ronald Reagan’s Berlin Wall speech in 1987. Zywicki is a George Mason University law professor and blogger for the popular Volokh Conspiracy site. They are Dartmouth grads–classes of 1979 and 1988, respectively. Each launched a petition drive last winter to get his name on the 2005 alumni trustee ballot, using Internet-assisted word-of-mouth to collect the required 500 signatures. Both […]

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  • Ivies confront free speech uproar

    April 7, 2005

    President James Wright signed a letter last week encouraging colleges and universities to become involved in the Ford Foundation’s new program encouraging academic freedom, entitled “Difficult Dialogues: Promoting Pluralism and Academic Freedom on Campus.” The College, however, is still rated poorly in terms of freedom of speech, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, an organization that champions free speech on university campuses. The Ford Foundation program, according to the foundation’s website, “will support the development of rigorous academic programs that engage students in constructive dialogue around difficult political, religious, racial and cultural issues.” The program […]

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  • Free Speech and Its Limits

    March 18, 2005

    Richard Roberts (“Free Speech and Inconsistency,” April 14) glosses over the facts of the Zeta Psi case to create the false impression that the College sanctioned the fraternity for the content of its ideas. In his recent speech to the Dartmouth Club of New York, President Wright stated why the fraternity was sanctioned: “The Dean derecognized the fraternity because of the repeated publication of a newsletter that cruelly demeaned specific women on campus. This incident was about behavior, not speech — the organization published articles describing the supposed sexual exploits of two undergraduate women who were identified by name.” To […]

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  • Encouraged But Not Convinced

    March 7, 2005

    As part of the electioneering surrounding the current Trustee election, my views on free speech at Dartmouth have been quoted to support certain candidates and attack others. Politics aside, since one of the two promises I made during the 2004 Trustee election was to improve the climate of free speech on campus, I am very sensitive to that issue — especially when my position is misrepresented. To be clear: I believe there has been and continues to be a serious free speech problem at Dartmouth. It is true that I have praised President Wright for his convocation speech on Sept. […]

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  • Two Outsiders Seek Seats on Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees

    February 5, 2005

    Hanover — Two Dartmouth alumni have launched petition drives to become candidates for seats on the college’s board of trustees, saying they want to bolster undergraduate education and freedom of speech at the Ivy League school. One also wants Dartmouth to end what he calls a “war against the fraternities and sororities.” And both would-be candidates&mdash-a tenured law professor and a former White House speechwriter for President Reagan—also mention on their Web sites a much-debated letter from Dartmouth Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg criticizing the “culture” around collegiate football. The letter, written in 2000, was first reported by the Valley […]

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  • Playing with FIRE

    June 2, 2003

    When a college student’s speech offends the sensibilities of his school’s administration, the means of recourse are few. The case is easily hushed up by the campus PC police and the student is left to fend for himself amidst the stifling academic orthodoxy. To whom can the beleaguered student cry out for help? The resources normally called upon for aid in times of duress—parents, professors, administrators, or campus publications—are irrelevant or useless. They are either powerless to stop the persecution or quick to jump on the student for promulgating ‘distasteful’ speech. But, since its inception four years ago, the Philadelphia-based […]

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  • Thought Reform 101

    March 1, 2000

    At Wake Forest University last fall, one of the few events designated as “mandatory” for freshman orientation was attendance at Blue Eyed, a filmed racism awareness workshop in which whites are abused, ridiculed, made to fail, and taught helpless passivity so that they can identify with “a person of color for a day.” In Swarthmore College’s dormitories, in the fall of 1998, first-year students were asked to line up by skin color, from lightest to darkest, and to step forward and talk about how they felt concerning their place in that line. Indeed, at almost all of our campuses, some […]

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  • Speech Code Countdown: ‘U.S. News’ Top 25 College Rankings, Numbers 19-11

    October 6, 2016

    FIRE’s U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” Countdown continues today. We’re giving you a school-by-school analysis of just how well America’s “Best Colleges” do when it comes to protecting free speech on campus. Unfortunately, in today’s crop of top campuses, troubling speech codes abound. As part of FIRE’s fresh look at U.S. News’ top-ranked colleges, we used information from our Spotlight speech code database as well as information on other headline-making free speech news that applicants should know about before they apply to a given school. FIRE rates schools’ speech codes using a traffic light-inspired system. A “red light” […]

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  • ‘Paternalistic Babysitters’ Begone! Dartmouth Students Call for Intellectual Independence

    May 19, 2016

    At least some Dartmouth College students have had enough. In a scathing petition on change.org, five leaders in Dartmouth’s student government, joined by more than 1,200 signatories, have called on the administration to return the college to its mission of educating, rather than policing, students. Although the growth of bureaucracy in academia is no secret, it is always sobering to confront the statistics. According to the well-cited petition, non-faculty staff at Dartmouth grew by more than 1,000 people from 1999 to 2004, and in spite of faculty layoffs, that number had increased to 3,497 by 2015. And most administrative staff […]

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  • Dartmouth Stands By Restrictive ‘Bias Incident Reporting’ Protocol, Loses FIRE’s ‘Green Light’ Rating

    November 23, 2015

    Note: This story concerns events that occurred between January 2013 and October 2015. It was scheduled to be posted several weeks ago, when we suddenly had to turn our attention to unfolding events at Yale University and the University of Missouri. Just as we were again ready to post it, controversy erupted at Dartmouth over a Black Lives Matter protest in the library that allegedly turned ugly, with some students alleging they were pushed and shoved by protesters. This entry has been updated in places to include information about the current controversy, as we would be remiss not to mention […]

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  • Law Prof: Bureaucracy Hinders Freedom of Speech

    February 6, 2015

    George Mason University (GMU) School of Law professor Todd Zywicki knows from personal experience that persuading an institution to revise its unconstitutional speech codes is not always an easy task. Zywicki shared some of what he’s learned from his advocacy over the years in a post on The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy’s blog on Wednesday. Zywicki notes that although recent trends might lead readers to believe that campus censorship is imposed by politically motivated professors, its origins often lie elsewhere—in harder-to-reach places. For example, at GMU, he writes: There is a separate office for that, called […]

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  • When Campus Intolerance Means Free Speech Gets Torn Up and Run Over, Literally

    March 21, 2014

    Being offended is what happens when you have your deepest beliefs challenged. And if you make it through four years of college without having your deepest beliefs challenged, you should demand your money back. I have been saying that line in speeches on campus for more than a decade. Even though it often gets a laugh, the idea that students have an overarching “right not to be offended” seems more entrenched on campus than ever.

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  • New FIRE Video: Dartmouth Student Runs Over Free Speech

    March 20, 2014

    FIRE’s newest video features Dartmouth College student Robert Smith, who talks about the afternoon a fellow Dartmouth student ran over his organization’s pro-life display with his car. The ironic twist? The car was sporting a “Coexist” bumper sticker on the back.

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  • What’s Dartmouth’s Real Attitude about Due Process?

    February 19, 2014

    Last week, the University of Virginia hosted a conference to talk about the handling of sexual assault on campus in light of the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. (Executive summary: Everyone’s still confused about it.) Inside Higher Ed’s Allie Grasgreen covered the conference, and her report included a mightily interesting exchange involving Amanda Childress, who is the coordinator of the Sexual Assault Awareness Program at Dartmouth College.

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  • Student at IU Attempts to Censor Fellow Students by Vandalizing Pro-Life Display

    October 1, 2013

    FIRE often exposes how colleges censor students—but last week, it was a student at Indiana University who decided to engage in some vigilante censorship by vandalizing a pro-life display. According to a student account, new student organization Students for Life at IU intended to have a peaceful demonstration on campus as part of an organized protest dubbed the “Planned Parenthood Project.” The trouble reportedly began when a student approached the demonstration, removed wooden crosses meant to represent the number of abortions performed daily by Planned Parenthood from the ground, and threw them into a trash can. (The student report includes a photo of this.) […]

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  • Censorship of Art on Campus Is Also Unlearning Liberty

    August 16, 2013

    In 2002, someone at the Department of Justice had curtains draped strategically over an aluminum statue in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice to cover up Lady Justice’s exposed breast. Whether fairly or not, John Ashcroft, then Attorney General, was widely mocked for this move. The August 13 edition of the Dartmouth Review has an article by James G. Rascoff that discusses Dartmouth College’s decision to cover another work of art from the 1930s. And yesterday, the Associated Press’s Maria Sudekum reported that the Medical Center at the University of Kansas has closed an art exhibit in its library arguably because of […]

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  • Universities Value Diversity, As Long As It Doesn’t Include Diversity of Thought

    August 16, 2013

    Yesterday, we heard the news that Dartmouth College was retracting its offer of a deanship to Malawian bishop James Tengatenga in light of comments he had made about homosexuality during his tenure as Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi.  Today, we learned that the University of Michigan rescinded a speaking invitation to Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, allegedly because of donor concerns about her anti-Israel activism.  These two incidents serve to highlight an unfortunate reality at too many universities: While they claim to place a high value on diversity and multiculturalism, they are often unprepared or […]

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  • ‘Dartmouth Review’ Asks Protesters to ‘Stop the Hijacking’

    May 7, 2013

      The Dartmouth Review Editor-in-Chief J.P. Harrington wrote last week to support Dartmouth College’s administration for investigating the protesters who interrupted the student-run Dimensions show for prospective students last month, in addition to responding to threats against the protesters. In his article, Harrington explained that disrupting other students’ speech, rather than responding in turn, detracts from free and open debate and does not properly contribute to it:  The protesters, a very vocal minority within a vocal minority that desires reform at the College, have displayed little to no desire to enter into a dialogue that is truly open and free. […] Their […]

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  • Dartmouth Students: Class Cancellation Not Particularly Effective

    April 29, 2013

    Dartmouth College students and administrators are still expressing mixed reactions to the school’s decision to cancel classes and instead have a “Day of Reflection and Understanding” last Wednesday in response to some online posts that were hostile to student protesters.  Student body president Suril A. Kantaria remarked that while “the community does need to come together now to discuss issues that are prevalent,” it might have been better to respond in a way that didn’t interfere with classes. “We’re at Dartmouth to study and that comes first,” he said. Benjamin D. Reese Jr., president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in […]

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  • The Latest Commentary on Dartmouth

    April 25, 2013

    As FIRE reported yesterday, Dartmouth College cancelled classes Wednesday in the wake of a controversial student protest that sparked online threats against the demonstrators and serious debates over the administration’s response.   Our own Robert Shibley covers the case today in a new article for The Daily Caller, explaining how the college replaced those cancelled classes with “alternative programming” designed to promote civil discourse on campus. The school’s decision, along with the protest itself, prompts serious questions, and Robert argues that the administration’s response sends a message “that incivility and nastiness, even just online, can get dramatic results.”  The college’s […]

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  • Dartmouth College Replaces Today’s Classes with Discussions About Civil Discourse

    April 24, 2013

    Baker Memorial Library at Dartmouth College – Wikimedia Commons Today’s classes at Dartmouth College have been canceled and replaced by a program meant to address the school’s “commitment to fostering debate that promotes respect for individuals, civil and engaged discourse, and the value of diverse opinions.” Dartmouth Interim President Carol Folt emailed students yesterday evening to inform them of the change and noted that the decision was “prompted by a series of threatening and abusive online posts … in the wake of the protest that disrupted the Dimensions Welcome Show [last] Friday evening.” Dimensions of Dartmouth comprises a variety of academic […]

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  • On a Collision Course with Free Speech

    June 7, 2012

    At its most basic level, free speech is not a difficult concept to grasp: I say my view, and you say your view. Recently, however, FIRE has encountered a disturbing trend: people claiming that vandalizing, heckling, or otherwise shutting people up is an exercise rather than a violation of free speech. FIRE’s Robert Shibley highlighted this trend in a recent piece for the Daily Caller, recalling a series of incidents on the campus of Northern Kentucky University (NKU) where students vandalized other students’ pro-life displays. (The first time this happened, they were actually encouraged to do so by a professor, […]

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  • FIRE Names Seven Best Schools for Free Speech on ‘Huffington Post’

    May 24, 2011

    PHILADELPHIA, May 24, 2011—Today the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) commends the nation’s seven best colleges and universities for freedom of speech in an article by FIRE President Greg Lukianoff on The Huffington Post. The colleges listed are Arizona State University, Dartmouth College, The College of William & Mary, the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and the University of Virginia. “FIRE spends most of its time bringing much-needed attention to the sorry state of free speech for students and faculty on our nation’s campuses,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “Today, we wanted to […]

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  • Dartmouth Newspaper Notes College’s ‘Green-Light’ Rating and Poor Performance of Ivy Peers

    January 6, 2011

    Writing for The Dartmouth, student Brendan Woods is pleased to note Dartmouth College’s status as one of the 12 schools in our most recent national survey of college speech codes to receive FIRE’s green-light rating (a designation, by the way, that did not come without a lot of work on FIRE’s part). Most of Dartmouth’s peer institutions, on the other hand, did not make out nearly so well, with the Ivies coming in for particular scrutiny. Brendan writes: Given that free speech is at the heart of the academic process, one would expect colleges and universities to be the most […]

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  • Alumni Democracy at Dartmouth College: Changing the Culture

    January 29, 2010

    This is the final entry in a five-part series on recent developments at Dartmouth College. Read posts from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Over the last decade, FIRE has secured 168 public victories in its ongoing effort to maintain liberty at colleges and universities across the country. (This interactive map documents each case.) While these individual victories are no doubt significant, the difficult question remains: How do we change the culture from which these abuses arise? One possible method, though there are many, is for alumni to take a more active role in their alma mater’s direction. That has been […]

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  • Alumni Democracy at Dartmouth College: Another Active Alum Seeks Trusteeship

    January 28, 2010

    This is the fourth entry in a five-part series on recent developments at Dartmouth College. Read posts from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Joseph Asch, a 1979 graduate of Dartmouth College, saw a problem with his alma mater and endeavored to fix it. After auditing several courses—attending lectures, scrutinizing syllabi, and talking to students and instructors—Asch found that the quality of undergraduate writing was a common complaint among the Dartmouth professoriate. In response, the business owner and Hanover resident launched (and funded) the Departmental Editing Program in 1998, a free service for students that provided one-on-one tutoring to improve their writing […]

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  • Alumni Democracy at Dartmouth College: A New Chapter?

    January 27, 2010

    This is the third entry in a five-part series on recent developments at Dartmouth College. See posts from Monday and Tuesday. A day after the selection of former Harvard professor and global health leader Jim Yong Kim as Dartmouth College’s 17th President in March 2009, the student writers of “Generic Good Morning Message,” a satirical news-of-the-day e-mail listserv on the Hanover campus, turned the announcement into a parody of the college’s first Asian-American president. For some, the ethnic stereotypes in the tongue-in-cheek e-mail went too far, generating controversy on campus and attracting national media coverage. The initial reaction resembled other, […]

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  • Alumni Democracy at Dartmouth College: Battle for Board Balance Enters the Courtroom

    January 26, 2010

    This is the second entry in a five-part series on recent developments at Dartmouth College. Read Monday’s post here. It was the fall of 2007, and Dartmouth’s governing board had just ended more than a century of equal balance between elected “Alumni Trustees” and appointed “Charter Trustees.” With negotiations to restore board parity at an impasse, the college’s Association of Alumni was left with a difficult choice: accept its members’ diminished role in overseeing Dartmouth, or bring the case to court. In October 2007, the alumni association chose legal action, claiming in the Grafton County Superior Court that the trustees were […]

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  • Alumni Democracy at Dartmouth College: Critical, or Compliant, Oversight?

    January 25, 2010

    Dartmouth College was little more than a cash-strapped finishing school when it asked alumni for a financial lifeline in the late 19th century. Graduates, in exchange for donations, demanded an effective voice in the college’s management. The resulting compromise: Dartmouth’s governing board would consist of an equal number of alumni-elected and administration-appointed trustees. Then and now, degree-holders have fulfilled their end, providing ample resources for the New Hampshire institution to maintain, for example, the nation’s best undergraduate program, according to U.S. News & World Report. Over the last half-decade, however, administrative actions have made this historic agreement a virtual dead-letter. […]

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  • ‘The Dartmouth’ on Zywicki’s Amicus Brief in Alumni Lawsuit

    September 15, 2009

    Last week Kyle discussed an article by FIRE Co-founder and Chairman Harvey Silverglate and Joe Malchow on the latest developments regarding the Dartmouth Board of Trustees and the college’s alumni. A group of Dartmouth alumni have petitioned the New Hampshire Superior Court to re-open a lawsuit against Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees that had been dismissed in June 2008 after Dartmouth administrators engineered a takeover of its alumni association, as outlined in this amicus curiae brief filed by Harvey on behalf of former petition trustee Todd Zywicki. Zywicki was booted from the board in April.  The amicus brief is highlighted today in greater detail by […]

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  • FIRE Chairman Issues Call for Restoration of Alumni Democracy at Dartmouth College

    September 8, 2009

    Dartmouth College is one of the few institutions of higher education that provide alumni a direct voice in college leadership. Since 1891, when an agreement was reached between the administration and alumni, Dartmouth degree-holders have had the opportunity to elect half of the Board of Trustees (not including the College President and the New Hampshire Governor, who serve as ex officio members). This representation is undoubtedly a reason that Dartmouth has consistently ranked among the highest colleges in percentage of alumni contributions. Yet, despite the long-term benefits, this unique form of alumni democracy has come under fire in recent years. […]

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  • Rights in the News: FIRE’s Thought Reform Efforts Continue to Resonate

    May 1, 2009

    It seems like every week we’re reporting that FIRE’s short film on the University of Delaware’s experiment in thought reform has doubled the amount of views received on YouTube from the week before—a trend I’m all too happy to continue. This week the folks at Reason (which—throwback!—published Alan Charles Kors’ article “Thought Reform 101” back in 2000) gave FIRE an extra hand by blogging about the video on their website, helping to push it toward 50,000 views. Thought reform at Delaware was also the subject of Robert’s article this week for Pajamas Media. Robert also discussed Virginia Tech’s efforts at […]

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  • Dartmouth’s Speech Codes: FIRE Responds to Challenge

    April 30, 2009

    Yesterday, in his blog entry discussing the difficult road facing petition candidates for governing board positions at Harvard University and Dartmouth College—and the substantial hostility they face if elected—Kyle provided an excellent overview of the independent campaign, tenure, and eventual dismissal of former Dartmouth Trustee Todd Zywicki. As Kyle usefully recounts, Zywicki, a professor of law at George Mason University School of Law, was elected to Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees in 2005 as a petition candidate after running on a free speech platform. Once elected, Zywicki and his fellow elected petition candidates followed through on their campaign promises by leading […]

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  • Harvard and Dartmouth Oppose Petition Candidates and Independent Trustees

    April 29, 2009

    College and university presidents gathered last week to discuss what they need from trustees in times of economic uncertainty. Difficult discussions often arise, and the best board members are “strong enough to say, ‘No, that is a bad idea,’” a university chancellor explained at the annual meeting of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. Principled oversight is an oft-cited value. In practice, however, colleges and universities aren’t always eager to hear—and some actively oppose—independent-minded board members. Such opposition was recently on display at Dartmouth College and Harvard University, which allow alumni to choose representatives in annual governing […]

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  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Dartmouth College

    April 20, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). Today we review policies at Dartmouth College, only the second institution in our series to receive a green-light rating. A green-light rating means that FIRE has found no policies that seriously imperil student speech on campus. However, a green-light rating does not imply perfection; there may still be room for improvement even at a university whose policies do not pose a serious threat to free speech. In fact, there is some […]

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  • 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 other is unmistakably clear—those with the power to define “civility” also define an orthodoxy of conduct. Hopkins is not the only university with a wrongheaded (and at public universities, legally questionable) civility provision. To pick just two examples, Bergen Community College and the University at […]

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  • 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 the most outrageous cases of censorship. Brandeis University is a clear winner, thanks to its farcical treatment of veteran faculty member Donald Hindley this past fall. Hindley’s troubles began when he explained the origin of — and then criticized — the term “wetback” in his […]

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  • Dartmouth Trustee in Hot Water over Critical Speech

    December 11, 2007

    Check out John Miller’s discussion over at Phi Beta Cons about the latest controversy at Dartmouth regarding their alumni trustees. It appears as though the university is attempting a “trustee-stacking” maneuver to eliminate the influence of the so-called “insurgent trustees” who were elected by popular ballot. In the midst of all of this, some critics are calling for the removal of alumni Trustee Todd Zywicki after a speech he gave at the Pope Center harshly criticizing Dartmouth’s former president and the state of the academy in general. Zywicki apologized for some of what he said during his speech, but some […]

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  • The Dark Truth About T.J. Rodgers, Revealed!

    September 4, 2007

    By now, many of you have had the chance to read Joseph Rago’s excellent Wall Street Journal article on embattled Dartmouth College alumni trustee T.J. Rodgers. What you may not know is that I have special insider knowledge as to why Dartmouth College is so afraid of this reform-minded trustee. In a closed-door meeting, Rodgers revealed to me his secret nightmarish plans for Dartmouth’s future. What is this terrible dystopian agenda of which the Dartmouth administration seems so afraid? Lean in closer and I will share Mr. Rodgers’ dread secret. He wants two things for Dartmouth College: that free speech at Dartmouth be fully […]

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  • ‘Mr. Rodgers Goes to Dartmouth’ on OpinionJournal

    September 2, 2007

    Check out the fascinating article by Joseph Rago in The Wall Street Journal‘s OpinionJournal concerning T.J. Rodgers and the Dartmouth trustee wars. The article also mentions FIRE’s decision in 2005 to change Dartmouth’s speech code rating from Red (worst) to Green (best) in light of reforms the college implemented in response to FIRE’s concerns. OpinionJournal has also printed a follow-up editorial about Dartmouth largely echoing Mr. Rodgers’ concerns. Together, the articles illuminate several serious and chronic problems with attempts to reform higher education which we are looking forward to exploring next week on The Torch. In the meantime, enjoy your Labor […]

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  • Dartmouth College: A ‘Green Light’ Institution?

    April 4, 2007

    Once again, free speech issues are at the forefront at Dartmouth College thanks to an alumni trustee election. For those outside of the Dartmouth community who may not know, elections for Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees include a process whereby Dartmouth alumni vote on candidates for the Board. This process has resulted in the election of three “alumni trustee” candidates in recent years: Dartmouth alums T.J. Rodgers, Peter Robinson, and Todd Zywicki. All three of these individuals ran for office in part on a platform of restoring freedom of speech to Dartmouth’s campus.   Another election is now underway, and Stephen […]

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  • At Princeton, a (Mostly) Satisfactory Resolution to the Satire Controversy

    January 24, 2007

    In a refreshing development, The Daily Princetonian joke op-ed controversy will resolve itself through campus discussion, not through administrative intervention. Even though the op-ed garnered a good amount of media attention—enough to be featured in The New York Times—administrators at Princeton have limited their involvement to a strongly worded letter to the editor. While Janet Smith Dickerson, Vice President for Campus Life, and Kathleen Deignan, Dean of Undergraduate Students, do make some statements with which I disagree (like the implication that offensive satire and parody are not “productive ways to engage an academic community,” a statement disproved by this incident), […]

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  • Viva La Revolucion: A Dartmouth Alum Speaks Out

    January 23, 2007

    For those who have been concerned about the state of free speech at Dartmouth College, these are heady days. For decades, the administration at the small liberal arts college in New Hampshire had been waging a sometimes explicit yet ever-present campaign to impose political correctness on its students. While I was a student there, from 1997 to 2001, I saw administrators hold meetings to consider a response to a Christian group that had the temerity to distribute copies of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity to each student’s mailbox. (The administrators decided not to act, although they should never have held meetings […]

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  • Zeta Psi to be Reinstated at Dartmouth in 2009

    January 18, 2007

    Encouraging news emerged from Hanover, New Hampshire on Wednesday when Dartmouth College announced that it plans to reinstate the Zeta Psi fraternity on its campus in 2009, thereby undoing the harsh lifetime ban against the fraternity issued in 2001. This reversal brings some level of justice to the members of Zeta Psi, but it is also lamentable that, once the suspension ends in 2009, the fraternity will have been deprived of official recognition for eight years despite the fact that its members did not break a single campus rule or regulation. The fraternity became a lightning rod for controversy when […]

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  • Emmett Hogan on 2006: The More Things Change…?

    January 5, 2007

    Emmett Hogan is a student at University of Michigan Law School and a luminary early FIRE employee. As we looked back on 2006 in campus rights and abuses I wanted to check in with him for his thoughts on the past year in FIRE history. This was his thoughtful response: One of FIRE’s most gripping cases from 2006 involved a breathtaking exercise in thought reform by Michigan State University. FIRE publicly challenged what MSU calls a “Student Accountability in Community Seminar” (SAC) which is intended to address student behavior that administrators consider unacceptable; the seminar is successful only when it […]

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  • At Dartmouth, Apology for “Cowboys & Indians” Costume Party

    November 13, 2006

    The Dartmouth reports that last weekend, the Dartmouth crew team’s themed formal party at the “FUEL Dance and ‘Club’ Space” in the Center for Student Life on campus sparked an incident between the team and another student organization, resulting in an apology from the crew team. The formal’s theme was “Cowboys and Indians,” and members of the crew team dressed accordingly. At the same time as the crew formal, the Lambda Upsilon Lambda (LUL) fraternity, a Latino organization, was also having an event in the student life center. As the night progressed, attendees of Lambda Upsilon Lambda’s event noticed rowers wearing […]

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  • UMass Amherst to Students: Free Speech Isn’t Free

    November 10, 2006

    Administrators at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst have instituted a new policy whereby students wishing to post flyers on the bulletin boards surrounding the university’s Student Union and Campus Center will now have to pay one dollar per flyer per day to gain access to the bulletin board. In announcing the policy, Campus Design and Copy (CD&C), the office now responsible for oversight of the bulletin boards, had either the audacity or the dark sense of humor to refer to the bulletin boards as “public bulletin boards” and praise the new pay-for-space system as both “less expensive” and “less […]

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  • Offended? Overreact!

    November 9, 2006

    The campaign against offense continues. IvyGate reports that on Monday, The Dartmouth student newspaper ran a cartoon drawn by freshman Drew Lerman. The cartoon depicts Friedrich Nietzsche conversing with a male college student about whether the student should take advantage of a drunken college female. As seen in the last panel of the cartoon, the joke pokes fun at “liberal academic revisionism,” and the punch line is “man, I am so beyond good and evil right now.” n response to the cartoon, IvyGate reports, “A few readers concluded that the cartoon advocates rape and proceeded to burn copies of The Dartmouth […]

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  • Dartmouth Alums Vote Down New Constitution

    November 3, 2006

    According to Inside Higher Ed, Dartmouth’s alumni have voted down changes in the alumni association constitution that would have made it harder for insurgent candidates to get elected to Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees. 51% of voters rejected the changes while 49% voted for them (a two-thirds vote was needed to pass the changes). This is noteworthy because the three insurgent candidates for trustee who have won election in the past couple of years (and whose election almost certainly prompted the proposed changes to the constitution) campaigned in part on a platform of making free speech a priority at Dartmouth. Those […]

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  • Due Process at Dartmouth

    October 24, 2006

    In an October 17 column in The Dartmouth student newspaper, Michael Herman, a Dartmouth student, writes to defend changes to Dartmouth College’s student disciplinary process proposed by a Student Assembly taskforce. In particular, Herman defends the taskforce’s recommendations that (1) Dartmouth adopt a “clear and convincing” evidentiary standard for student discipline, and (2) that Dartmouth allow accused students to directly question their accusers. Both recommendations would provide for more due process than Dartmouth currently grants its students—and Dartmouth is hardly alone in having minimal procedural protections. Check out the article for more.

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  • Dartmouth, What Are You Doing?

    March 27, 2006

    Last year, FIRE lauded Dartmouth College for repealing its speech code, and we were very pleased with the election of two more Dartmouth trustees who support free speech—Peter Robinson and Todd Zywicki. Robinson and Zywicki’s campaigns came in the wake of a similar insurgent candidacy on the part of T.J. Rodgers, who got himself elected trustee in 2004 on a free-speech platform. All three “free speech trustees” had been petition candidates—that is, they were not the endorsed candidates of the Dartmouth Alumni Council and had to garner 500 signatures in order to appear on the ballot. They won by attracting […]

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  • Testing Dartmouth

    September 27, 2005

    The controversy Ebony discusses in her post today represents the first public speech controversy since Dartmouth repealed its speech code in the last academic year. While we do not yet know all the details, it appears that Noah Riner is facing a storm of criticism for his obviously admiring remarks about Jesus to incoming freshmen. Storms of criticism can be weathered (see my previous post on the difference between criticism and censorship) and—as Ebony notes—should be expected at college. But in Dartmouth’s recent past, storms of criticism have led to something more: actual censorship and sanctions. Riner’s case will be […]

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  • Welcome to College

    September 27, 2005

    Last week Noah Riner, a senior at Dartmouth College addressed the campus community at the opening convocation. His speech focused on building and maintaining character while in pursuit of academic achievement and recognition. Riner offered Jesus as the best example of having good character: Character has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” He knew the […]

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  • Is Hamilton the Next Dartmouth?

    July 11, 2005

    In the last twelve months, New York’s Hamilton College has not exactly covered itself in glory. First, it made national news after it hired Susan Rosenberg, a convicted terrorist, to teach a course entitled “Resistance Memoirs: Writing, Identity, and Change.” Then it became the epicenter of the Ward Churchill controversy when his speech at the college was first scheduled then canceled after the college became concerned about alleged “threats.” To those on the right, Hamilton (particularly its Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society, and Culture, the campus entity responsible for hiring Rosenberg and initially inviting Churchill) has become […]

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  • ‘A Step in the Right Direction’

    June 6, 2005

    In an interview in the Dartmouth Review, George Mason law professor Todd Zywicki gives his two cents on FIRE’s successful effort to repeal Dartmouth’s speech code, which resulted in Dartmouth’s receiving a “green light with asterisk“ rating on speechcodes.org: I think that Dartmouth’s repeal of its speech code is a step in the right direction. From that perspective, I was very pleased to see FIRE’s tentative steps in that direction. I think it’s also a first step. I think a next step is for Dartmouth, in both word and deed, is to unambiguously come out in favor of free speech. I would […]

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  • ‘Red Light, Green* Light’

    May 16, 2005

    Check out Scott L. Glabe’s insightful analysis in The Dartmouth Review of FIRE’s decision to upgrade Dartmouth College’s speechcodes.org rating. I was also pleased they chose to end the article with a quote from a favorite FIRE alum: “In the end, let’s not forget: today, Dartmouth is closer to having a healthy respect for free speech than it has been for many, many years,” former Review staffer and FIRE employee Emmett Hogan ’01 wrote. “This is undoubtedly cause for celebration.”

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  • Victory for the Free Speech Trustee Candidates

    May 13, 2005

    After a day of swirling rumors, it is now official: Dartmouth’s free speech trustees have won. Peter Robinson and Todd Zywicki have been elected to the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees, where they will no doubt work to transform Dartmouth into a true marketplace of ideas—restoring a culture of free speech and (not coincidentally) leading Dartmouth into further national prominence and influence. Peter and Todd now join T.J. Rodgers as independent voices on Dartmouth’s board. When T.J. was elected a year ago, many people dismissed him as an anomaly. With the election of two more trustees—this time in the face […]

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  • Is Dartmouth Really Free?

    May 10, 2005

    FIRE friend (and Dartmouth alum) Alston Ramsay has written in response to FIRE’s decision to upgrade Dartmouth’s rating on speechcodes.org: I received your press release today regarding Dartmouth’s free speech upgrade, and I certainly agree there have been some positive shifts—particularly the most recent letter Robert Donin sent to FIRE. As a recent Dartmouth graduates, and former editor of The Dartmouth Review, I am very interested in this issue. I am curious, however, if there have been any further exchanges regarding Dartmouth’s policy restricting campus publications from delivering to dormitories. FIRE had sent a letter to Dartmouth after the dean […]

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  • Dartmouth’s Student Newspaper Covers College’s ‘Green Light’

    May 10, 2005

    Check out The Dartmouth’s coverage of our announcement yesterday of the new “green light” rating for Dartmouth College.

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  • A Huge Victory for Free Speech at Dartmouth

    May 9, 2005

    Over the last few months, FIRE has been heavily engaged in a dialogue with Dartmouth and with Dartmouth trustee T.J. Rodgers regarding the college’s onerous speech code. The speech code was an important issue in the recent trustee election and has been the subject of several entries in The Torch (see posts here, here, here, and here). Late last week, FIRE received a letter by Dartmouth General Counsel Robert Donin confirming that Dartmouth no longer has a speech code. The college has decided to end “confusion” about its free speech policies, reaffirm a commitment to free speech, and remove the […]

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  • Dartmouth Ends Confusion Over Speech Policies, Affirms Commitment to Free Speech, and Removes Troubling Documents From Website

    May 9, 2005

    HANOVER, N.H., May 9, 2005—In a remarkable development for liberty on campus, Dartmouth College has issued a clear and unambiguous statement in favor of free speech. The statement ends what Dartmouth called “confusion” about the college’s policies by removing from its website documents containing language that earned the college a poor, “red” rating on the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) speechcodes.org database. This action follows a series of communications between FIRE and Dartmouth. “FIRE no longer considers Dartmouth to have a speech code. Moreover, Dartmouth is clearly positioning itself as a national leader in the battle for free […]

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  • Dartmouth: The Spin Unravels

    April 22, 2005

    One of the cornerstones of Dartmouth’s campaign to prove that it does not have a speech code is the assertion that its 2001 punishment of the Zeta Psi fraternity was based on conduct, not speech. In a recent speech to the Dartmouth Club of New York, President Wright said: The Dean derecognized the fraternity because of the repeated publication of a newsletter that cruelly demeaned specific women on campus. This incident was about behavior, not speech—the organization published articles describing the supposed sexual exploits of two undergraduate women who were identified by name. Putting aside, for a moment, the obvious […]

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  • Dartmouth: Still Mysterious

    April 21, 2005

    On Monday, the Dartmouth printed a guest column by Robert Donin, Dartmouth’s general counsel, in which he makes two interesting arguments. First, he argues that Zeta Psi (which was derecognized after a woman found an offensive internal fraternity newsletter in the trash) was not punished for engaging in protected speech: The Zeta Psi case falls squarely within the area of permissible regulation. This was not a case of students spewing racist, sexist or misogynistic ideas in the abstract. Such statements, however repugnant or contrary to Dartmouth’s values, are protected under the College’s Policy on Freedom of Expression and Dissent (Student […]

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  • Dartmouth Mystery Deepens

    April 7, 2005

    I recently wrote about the “Dartmouth Free Speech Mystery,” in which Dartmouth has apparently removed its speech code from its website but has not indicated whether the policy is simply being moved, as its site indicates, or has been formally retracted. An article in today’s Dartmouth only deepens the mystery. Apparently, President Wright is making public statements supporting the Ford Foundation’s “Difficult Dialogues” initiatives, which is a $2.5 million academic freedom initiative designed to “help colleges and universities create a campus environment where sensitive subjects can be discussed in a spirit of open scholarly inquiry, intellectual rigor and with respect […]

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  • The Dartmouth Free Speech Mystery

    March 28, 2005

    What has happened to the Dartmouth College speech code? Over the past academic year, we have received word from several sources that President James Wright has been declaring that Dartmouth does not have speech-restrictive policies and that it is dedicated to freedom of expression. For example, during his 2004 convocation address, President Wright stated: “[There are] two values central to our academic purpose: our commitment to freedom of expression and our obligation to foster here a true inclusive community…. [The] corollary of freedom of speech is the freedom to criticize that which is said. And sometimes this freedom to disagree […]

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  • Defending Speech Codes?

    March 24, 2005

    A group calling itself Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth has mobilized against free-speech trustee candidates Peter Robinson and Todd Zywicki. In a curious entry on its site, Alumni for a Strong Dartmouth challenges FIRE’s contention that Dartmouth has a speech code. The group states: Robinson does not mention FIRE’s position on free speech in higher education, which is that when First Amendment rights conflict with respect for a sense of community at a college or university (i.e. in the case of racist or other offensive speech), First Amendment rights should prevail. This merits debate and should certainly not be taken […]

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  • Important Developments at Dartmouth

    March 7, 2005

    As I noted in an earlier post, Dartmouth alums are now using the college’s open trustee election system to run on a free speech platform. One of the issues in the race is Dartmouth’s current red rating on FIRE’s site, speechcodes.org. Dartmouth trustee (and free speech advocate) T.J. Rodgers asked us to evaluate our ratings in light of the President James Wright’s recent convocation remarks in which he told Dartmouth’s incoming freshman that the college did not have a speech code. After reviewing the available information (including President Wright’s recent remarks), we concluded that we could not upgrade Dartmouth’s rating. […]

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  • Taking Back Their School

    February 21, 2005

    In one of the more promising developments for free speech in higher education, prominent Dartmouth alums are now using the college’s open trustee election system to run for office on a free speech platform. Scott Johnson (of Powerline fame) has the story.

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