Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Type: Private
Tell Johns Hopkins University to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

Johns Hopkins University has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. 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

Non-Sexual Misconduct

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Sexual Misconduct

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Title IX

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Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 154 colleges surveyed Read more
  • Policy & Document Library: Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All

    Speech Code Rating: Red
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: September 20, 2021

    The Johns Hopkins University is an environment in which all people behave in a manner that engenders mutual respect, treating each other with courtesy and civility regardless of position or status in the academy. Rude, disrespectful behavior is unwelcome and will not be tolerated. … We hold our community and i... Read More
  • Student Conduct Code

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, Statement
    Last updated: September 20, 2021

    2. The physical or emotional abuse of any person or any action that threatens physical or emotional harm or endangers the physical or emotional well-being, health or safety of any person. 3. Any physical or verbal threats against or harassment, bullying or intimidation of any person(s). 4. Conduct or a pattern of co... Read More
  • The Johns Hopkins University Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures: Non-Title IX Hostile Environment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 20, 2021

    Non-Title IX Hostile Environment: A “non-Title IX hostile environment” results from unwelcome sexual or sex-based conduct (including sexual orientation-based and/or gender identity/expression-based conduct) that does not meet the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment but is so severe, pervasive, or persistent tha... Read More
  • Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 20, 2021

    For purposes of this Policy, “harassment” is defined as any type of behavior which is based on an individual or group’s membership in a “protected class(es)” that is: a) unwelcome and (b) creates a “hostile environment.” Harassment when directed at an individual because of their membership in a “protected class(es)”... Read More
  • Student Leadership and Involvement: Policies and Procedures- Event Promotion

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: September 20, 2021

    The rules and regulations governing advertising on the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus are designed to encourage the promotion of sanctioned events and activities on campus in a fair manner. In addition, advertising should not disrupt academic classes, programs, or activities and should not damage the prope... Read More
  • The Johns Hopkins University Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures: Title IX Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 20, 2021

    Title IX Sexual Harassment: The term “Title IX Sexual Harassment” means conduct on the basis of sex [5] that satisfies one or more of the following: … Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to... Read More
  • Academic Freedom at Johns Hopkins

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 20, 2021

    Academic freedom is the wellspring of an open and free university. Academic freedom protects the right to speak and create, to question and dissent, to participate in debate on and off campus, and to invite others to do the same, all without fear of restraint or penalty. It is designed to afford members of the commu... Read More
  • Information Technology Use Policies

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 20, 2021

    Unacceptable use of IT Resources includes, but is not limited to, the following: … a. Sending or posting threatening, harassing or defamatory messages or other communications in violation of Johns Hopkins policies and/or applicable law; b. Sending or posting messages or other communications that appear to come... Read More
  • Guidelines for Students in Support of Free Expression Through Protests and Demonstrations at the Homewood Campus

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 20, 2021

    Johns Hopkins University seeks to uphold and protect the right of free expression and presents these guidelines to aid students seeking to engage in protests, demonstrations, vigils, displays, or other acts of public expression at the Homewood Campus. … Protests, demonstrations, and other acts of public expres... 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.


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

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 37,000 students at 154 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. In 2021, FIRE released rankings of those schools, based on a number of factors, including openness, tolerance, self-expression, administrative support for free speech, and campus policies, scoring overall speech climate on a scale from 0-100. See the full report on FIRE’s 2021 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.


Rankings / out of 154 colleges surveyed

Overall Ranking 139
Ideological Diversity 115

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 53.85
Openness 10.55
Tolerance (Liberals) 10.96
Tolerance (Conservatives) 7.87
Administrative Support 5.52
Comfort 14.89
Disruptive Conduct 10.06
Speech Code RED
  • Johns Hopkins University: Viewpoint-Based Rejection of Pro-Life Group

    April 8, 2013

    Johns Hopkins University’s Student Government Association Senate voted to deny recognition to pro-life student group Voice for Life (VFL) on the basis that the club’s activities might make people feel “uncomfortable.”

  • Johns Hopkins University: Student Punished for Party Invitation

    November 28, 2006

    Johns Hopkins University earned its Red Alert designation by suspending 18 -year-old junior Justin Park for posting an “offensive” Halloween party invitation on Facebook. Because some found the invitation racially offensive, Park was charged with and found guilty of “harassment,” “intimidation,” and “failing to respect the rights of others.” Although it was later reduced in… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins University: Viewpoint Discrimination Against Student Newspaper

    May 19, 2006

    Johns Hopkins University (JHU) dropped its investigation of a harassment complaint filed against staff members of a conservative student newspaper, The Carrollton Record. After several months of correspondence with JHU administrators, FIRE gained assurance that JHU is no longer pursuing the investigation. However, limitations on the distribution rights of campus publications remain and the university… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins University: Disciplining of Professor for Pro-War Remarks

    October 21, 2001

    Soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Johns Hopkins University Professor Charles H. Fairbanks voiced his support, at a public forum, for an aggressive campaign against states that harbor terrorists. He said that he would “bet anyone here a Koran” that his analysis was correct. One member of the audience charged that he sought to… Read more

  • Pressure continues against campus critics of China

    May 24, 2021

    Exiled activist and politician Nathan Law is no stranger to efforts to silence him — if he returns to Hong Kong, he will undoubtedly face arrest under the national security law. But a recent incident with Law at the University of Chicago is a reminder that, even on campuses far outside of Hong Kong and… Read more

  • February 2021 Speech Code of the Month: Johns Hopkins University

    February 2, 2021

    We’re proud to say our long-running Speech Code of the Month series — in which we highlight a policy that is particularly restrictive of students’ free speech rights — gets results, with about 50% of schools responding by revising the speech code in question. But some universities seem to be stuck in a time loop,… Read more

  • Sexual Misconduct Policy at Johns Hopkins Creates Wide Room for Error

    June 20, 2016

    Elizabeth Gudgel is a rising junior at Johns Hopkins University and a FIRE summer intern. At my university, Johns Hopkins University, last fall, a campus group presented an installation called “The Monument Quilt,” a vast display of fabric squares created by victims of sexual violence. The quilt nearly covered the school’s largest quad, featuring 450… Read more

  • Pro-Life Group Fights for Recognition on Campus: Q&A with Andrew Guernsey

    May 18, 2015

    Meet Andrew Guernsey, a student at Johns Hopkins University and the founder of Voice for Life—a pro-life student organization at JHU. When Andrew set out to create Voice for Life in 2013, JHU’s student government had other plans. Despite meeting all qualifications for a registered student organization, Voice for Life was denied their charter on… Read more

  • Students unsure whether anatomical models are appropriate at Johns Hopkins

    April 15, 2015

    For three decades, the North Baltimore Pro-Life Study Group has set up a display of anatomical models of fetal development as part of Johns Hopkins University’s (JHU’s) annual Spring Fair. This year, however, JHU’s Arts and Crafts Committee decided to disallow the display because it “contains triggering and disturbing images and content.” Thankfully, after pushback… Read more

  • Advocacy Groups Face Discrimination at Johns Hopkins University

    August 15, 2014

    Torch readers may remember that in our most recent case at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the university’s Student Government Association (SGA) put itself on the wrong side of free speech when it wrongly denied the recognition of the student group JHU Voice for Life. Unfortunately, the SGA has been at it again in recent months, and this time its actions threaten an even wider swath of student expression at JHU.

  • Admins at ‘Red Light’ Schools Claim to Value Free Speech, But Policies Suggest Otherwise

    February 4, 2014

    Last month, FIRE released its 2014 report on campus speech codes, which revealed that 59% of the 427 colleges and universities analyzed maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict constitutionally protected speech. When quizzed recently by student journalists about their institution’s speech codes, administrators at “red light” institutions Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and Grand Valley… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins Student Asks School to Restore Its Reputation for Free Expression

    September 18, 2013

    Johns Hopkins University (JHU) student Andrew Guernsey took to The Johns Hopkins News-Letter Sunday to discuss the state of free speech at his school. Guernsey points out that although JHU is moving up the national university rankings, its rating on free speech is abysmal. FIRE has been involved in multiple cases at JHU over the years, and… Read more

  • Liberty Requires Tough Choices: The Student Funding Dilemma

    July 31, 2013

    Kanisha Parthasarathy is a FIRE summer intern. Allocating money to student groups is a tricky game. For many colleges, the amount of money given to groups is not increasing at the same rate as the number of student groups vying for recognition and funding. Funding boards usually solve this problem by creating guidelines to determine how… Read more

  • Private Universities and the Conflict Between Mission and Speech

    July 15, 2013

    Madeline Gootman is a FIRE summer intern. When private universities send out their shiny pamphlets to high school seniors, they highlight their commitment to all things politically correct and otherwise acceptable in academia. However, these commitments to civility, respect, and social comfort are often at odds with the broad promises of free speech that universities… Read more

  • Pro-Choice Johns Hopkins Group Turns to Harassment Policies to Silence Pro-Life Speech

    May 3, 2013

    Tom Cruise works as a PreCrime agent in Minority Report. Thankfully, no universities have implemented this department on campus.   Recently, FIRE successfully defended the rights of the now-recognized Johns Hopkins University student group Voice for Life (VFL). As Torch readers may recall, VFL was wrongly denied recognition in March due in part to student… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins Reverses Decision, Recognizes Pro-Life Group

    April 10, 2013

    As recounted in today’s press release, the Johns Hopkins University student government’s judiciary committee has unanimously reversed the decision of the university’s student senate to deny recognition to the prospective student group Voice for Life (VFL) on the basis of the group’s expression. FIRE has previously covered this case on The Torch, and wrote to… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins Reverses Decision, Recognizes Pro-Life Group

    April 10, 2013

    BALTIMORE, April 10, 2013—Late yesterday, Johns Hopkins University’s student judiciary committee unanimously overturned the decision of its student senate to deny official recognition to the pro-life student group Voice for Life on the basis that it might make people feel “uncomfortable.” The decision means that the group will now have the ability to reserve meeting rooms, host speakers, and… Read more

  • Is ‘The Johns Hopkins News Letter’ Unlearning Liberty?

    April 4, 2013

      Last week, FIRE’s Peter Bonilla explained here on The Torch why The Johns Hopkins News-Letter editorial board was wrong to say that the refusal of Hopkins’ student government to recognize Voice for Life, a pro-life student group, was "not a matter of free speech."  A few days later, we noticed that this statement was… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins Pro-Life Group Fights for Recognition, with No Help From its Student Newspaper

    March 29, 2013

    The student government at the Johns Hopkins University has refused to recognize a pro-life student group—but that refusal doesn’t raise "a question of free speech," says the editorial board of The Johns Hopkins News-Letter. By the time you’re finished reading this post, the incorrectness of this statement should be clear.  Voice for Life (VFL) had… Read more

  • Compelling ‘Civility’

    June 1, 2012

    Earlier this week, an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) discussed the growing popularity on college campuses of programs aimed at promoting civility. While one might reasonably ask whether there is a connection between exorbitant tuition rates, administrative bloat, and programs such as the "transformational, saturation approach" civility projects discussed in the… 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

  • Johns Hopkins University Continues to Defend Censorship

    January 23, 2012

    Johns Hopkins University’s utter lack of concern for its students’ free speech rights is on display again, this time in comments the university’s spokesman made to the Maryland Gazette last week.  You may remember that in 2006, Hopkins threw the book at then-18-year-old student Justin Park for posting a Halloween party invitation deemed to be… 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

  • Red Alert at Johns Hopkins: No ‘Rude’ or ‘Disrespectful’ Expression Allowed

    September 8, 2010

    Since announcing our full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s college rankings issue last week, in which we publicly shame the six colleges and universities that comprise FIRE’s Red Alert list, we have been going through the schools one by one on The Torch to review why they are on our Red Alert list… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins Student Government Association Asks President to Defend Free Speech

    March 6, 2010

    Promising news recently from Red Alert school Johns Hopkins University. Marc Perkins, President of the Student Government Association, wrote to Johns Hopkins President Ronald Daniels last month on behalf of the Undergraduate Student Government Association to ask that he uphold free speech rights at Johns Hopkins.  His letter begins by asking that President Daniels support Maryland H.B. 677/S.B. 805,… 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

  • FIRE 2010 U.S. News Letter to JHU President Daniels

    January 7, 2010

    January 7, 2010 President Ronald J. Daniels Office of the President The Johns Hopkins University 3400 N. Charles Street Baltimore, Maryland 21218 Re: Johns Hopkins University and FIRE’s Red Alert list Dear President Daniels: I am writing to draw your attention to the full-page advertisement that FIRE ran in the most recent “America’s Best Colleges”… Read more

  • This Month in FIRE History: Johns Hopkins Drops Harassment Investigation of Student Journalists

    September 25, 2009

    September is a notoriously busy time for FIRE. Looking back over the past 10 years, some of our most important cases have either started or concluded as students returned to campus. Since we just reminded our Red Alert Schools of their unenviable status, I decided to again look at a case from one of those schools. Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has… Read more

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

    September 4, 2009

    Following up on FIRE’s full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report‘s "America’s Best Colleges" issue, released nationwide last week, we have been explaining why each of our six Red Alert schools has been named among the worst of the worst when it comes to individual rights on campus—and what each school can do to… 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

  • On Speech Codes and Sodomy Laws

    June 9, 2009

    Over the weekend, FIRE received an e-mail from a graduate of Johns Hopkins University criticizing our decision to give Hopkins a "red light" rating for its restrictive speech codes. Like so many similar e-mails we have received since beginning our "State of Free Speech on Campus" blog series, one of the author’s main points was… Read more

  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Johns Hopkins University

    March 23, 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 Johns Hopkins University, which FIRE has given a red-light rating for maintaining policies that clearly and substantially restrict free expression on… 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

  • This Month in FIRE History: Johns Hopkins Suspends Student for One Year for ‘Offensive’ Halloween Invitation

    November 17, 2008

    Few schools have been more stubborn about censoring free expression than Johns Hopkins University (JHU). JHU is on our Red Alert list for being among the "worst of the worst" when it comes to violating individual rights on campus—and the university earned this ignominious distinction in November of 2006 in one of the most egregious… 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

  • FIRE Remembers September 11

    September 11, 2007

    Today, FIRE joins individuals across America and around the world in reflecting upon the tragic events of September 11, 2001. As university students and professors from Maine to California host commemorations today to remember those who suffered and died six years ago, we take a moment to look back at how those events played out… Read more

  • Oxford Spies on Students through Facebook

    July 18, 2007

    The United Kingdom appears to be rapidly turning into a place where Big Brother is not just a character in a book, or a reality TV show, but a reality for everyone. Britain is well-known for its abundance of closed-circuit TV cameras that record everyone walking down the streets, all the time—and sometimes, the cameras… Read more

  • Today’s ‘Campus Alert’: Hassles at Hopkins

    June 18, 2007

    Today’s Campus Alert coincides with our press release today announcing our new Red Alert feature—an “honor” we are awarding to institutions of higher education that have shown particularly severe and ongoing disregard for their contractual or constitutional commitments to uphold the fundamental rights of students and faculty. We devoted this week’s New York Post column… Read more

  • FIRE Launches ‘Red Alert’ List of Worst Offenders Against Liberty

    June 18, 2007

    Today FIRE is unveiling a new tool in our fight for liberty on America’s college and university campuses: FIRE’s Red Alert. Red Alert is our newly developed list of campuses that pose an ongoing and serious threat to the rights of current and future students and faculty. FIRE deals with some horrendous offenses against liberty… Read more

  • Update from Johns Hopkins: Student Council Still Unhappy with New Speech Code

    June 7, 2007

    A member of the Johns Hopkins Student Council writes in to FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network with an update on the continuing travails of free speech at Johns Hopkins: Dear CFN, I thought you’d like an update on the JHU free speech debacle. First, read over President Brody’s Commencement Speech. Pay attention to the final paragraphs… Read more

  • ‘From the President’ in ‘The FIRE Quarterly’, May 24, 2007

    May 24, 2007

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff’s new column in the latest FIRE Quarterly explores how university administrators’ try to squelch student speech acting “like the censors of the Victorian era—morally infallible, plugged into absolute truth, and engaged in saving the country’s soul from incivility or impropriety. As Greg points out, FIRE’s recent cases at Johns Hopkins University,… Read more

  • Today’s ‘Campus Alert’: Don’t Laugh Too Hard

    May 21, 2007

    Our weekly Campus Alert column in the New York Post focuses today on speech codes at Drexel University, Northeastern University, and Johns Hopkins University—all of which have been named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for banning constitutionally protected expression on their respective campuses.   Drexel, which was given the dubious honor of being recognized… Read more

  • Hopkins Again Disappoints FIRE

    May 11, 2007

    FIRE recently received a disappointing response to our latest letter to Johns Hopkins protesting a major contraction of free speech rights on campus. Following October’s “Halloween in the Hood” incident, Hopkins introduced a new speech code, the Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All (the “Principles”), and President William Brody wrote a column… Read more

  • ‘Campus Outrage Awards’ Feature Two FIRE Cases

    April 25, 2007

    The Collegiate Network has released their 2007 Campus Outrage Awards, an effort “to shed light on the most outrageous instances of intolerance and intimidation on the part of college officials.” Out of the five awards, two went to schools for their involvement in a FIRE case.   At Johns Hopkins University (JHU), The Carrollton Record… Read more

  • Why Private Schools Need to Follow Their Own Rules

    April 18, 2007

    While Robert’s latest blog discusses the difference between public schools and private schools in relation to sectarian institutions, I’d like to discuss the dichotomy in more depth, especially in regard to the schools which Jon B. Gould mentions in his piece (subscribers only) in the Chronicle—Brown, Johns Hopkins, and Pace.   FIRE’s Guide to Free… Read more

  • At Johns Hopkins, Students Voice Frustration With New Speech Code

    March 2, 2007

    The Johns Hopkins News-Letter reports that this past Tuesday night, Johns Hopkins University Student Council members met with university officials to air frustration and concern over the school’s new speech code. Torch readers will remember that the policy, entitled “Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect,” was instituted by JHU President William Brody in response… Read more

  • FIRE Quarterly: ‘From the Board of Directors’

    March 2, 2007

    Daphne Patai, a member of our Board of Directors, contributed to our recent edition of The FIRE Quarterly with a column reinforcing the importance of FIRE’s work after a year in which we saw so many attempts to limit student speech on campus. She wrote: Where restrictions on speech must, by law, be content-neutral, universities… Read more

  • Lessons from the Communications Revolution

    February 26, 2007

    As Greg and Will pointed out in their Boston Phoenix cover story last week, social networking sites like are giving university administrators an unprecedented look into the way students actually talk to one another. This, in turn, has led to an increase in cases of students being subjected to university discipline for the content… Read more

  • Facing off over Facebook

    February 21, 2007

    Students, be warned: the college of your choice may be watching you, and will more than likely be keeping an eye on you once you enter the hallowed campus gates. America’s institutions of higher education are increasingly monitoring students’ activity online and scrutinizing profiles, not only for illegal behavior, but also for what they deem… Read more

  • ‘Bullets and Bubbly’ Party Draws Controversy at UConn

    January 25, 2007

    An article in today’s Hartford Courant explains how University of Connecticut Law School students recently had an off-campus theme party reminiscent of Hopkins’ ill-fated “Halloween in the Hood” party. The UConn students posted photos from their “Bullets and Bubbly” party on, upsetting many students, faculty, and administrators, who found the party’s theme racially insensitive…. Read more

  • If You Can’t Say Something Nice…?

    January 18, 2007

    Recently on Phi Beta Cons, FIRE’s friend David French addressed the attempts to suppress free speech on campus in the name of civility. In part, David wrote: [S]ubjective experience is not the stuff of legal structures, and rights of free speech are too precious to place at the mercy of the offended. When it comes… Read more

  • Facebook and the Campus Communication Explosion

    January 12, 2007

    Looking back on FIRE’s work last year, several trends stand out: the disturbing rise of student-led censorship, the increased public awareness of the importance of the right of private conscience, the continued pervasiveness of speech codes and the often willful misinterpretation of “harassment” to squelch speech. One trend, however, strikes me as being truly unique to… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins Still Under Fire

    January 12, 2007

    Even though Johns Hopkins University reduced Justin Park’s punishment and he now considers the matter resolved, the university is still taking hits in the press. Today, the Indiana Daily Student published an opinion piece criticizing Hopkins for ignoring the free speech rights of its students. Columnist Edward Delp discussed the Hopkins case and other similar… Read more

  • FIRE is Committed to Free Expression, No Matter Whose Free Expression

    January 10, 2007

    Yesterday, FIRE received an e-mail challenging our commitment to free speech in the Johns Hopkins “Halloween in the Hood” case, in which student Justin Park was suspended for posting a supposedly racist Halloween flyer on The e-mailer asked, “If it was reverse and a black student did this against white students, would you still… Read more

  • Media Coverage of Johns Hopkins ‘Hood’ Party Continues

    January 9, 2007

    The decision by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to reduce the punishment of student Justin Park is receiving attention from national and local media. Articles from the Associated Press, The Baltimore Sun, and Inside Higher Ed discuss FIRE’s efforts in this case, as well as our remaining concerns about students’ rights on the JHU campus. As… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins Resolves Facebook Case; Becomes FIRE’s First-Ever ‘Censor of the Year’

    January 8, 2007

    Today’s press release announces that Johns Hopkins University has reached a final decision in its case against Justin Park, the 18-year-old junior who posted “offensive” party invitations on Acting on Park’s appeal, Hopkins has decided to amend its initial litany of sanctions, which included suspension for a year, 300 hours of community service, an… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins University Resolves ‘Halloween in the Hood’ Case; Students’ Rights Remain in Jeopardy

    January 8, 2007

    BALTIMORE, January 8, 2007—After weeks of public pressure, Johns Hopkins University has reduced its draconian punishment of student Justin Park, who posted an “offensive” Halloween party invitation on The university has concluded Park’s appeal, and he is satisfied with the outcome. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is nonetheless troubled that any… Read more

  • 2006 and the Culture of Offense

    January 5, 2007

    On Monday, November 20th, the Native American Council at Dartmouth ran a two-page advertisement in The Dartmouth entitled “When Good People Do Nothing: Racism On Our Campus.” The advertisement, addressed to “the Dartmouth community,” begins by condemning those who “failed to respond” to a string of events the Council deemed offensive and racist. After listing… Read more

  • Happy Holidays from FIRE

    December 22, 2006

    All of us at FIRE would like to wish our friends and supporters happy holidays. As universities wind down for winter break, students head home to their families, and we prepare for a restful holiday weekend, some students have plenty to celebrate. After a months-long wrongful suspension, the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Brown University… Read more

  • William Brody Non-Responds to High School Student

    December 18, 2006

    Last week, I posted an e-mail sent to William Brody, President of Johns Hopkins University, by a high school student expressing his unwillingness to attend Johns Hopkins because of the deplorable manner in which the university is treating Justin Park. Below is William Brody’s reply. I have received so many emails on this issue I… Read more

  • The Consequences of “Civility”: A Torch Reader’s Take on Hopkins

    December 18, 2006

    Dr. Roy Poses—friend of FIRE, President of the Foundation for Integrity and Responsibility in Medicine, and Clinical Associate Professor at Brown University School of Medicine—has written an interesting commentary about the ramifications of the call for “civility” written last week by Dr. William R. Brody, President of Johns Hopkins University. President Brody penned his paean… Read more

  • Mike Adams on Justin Park and Johns Hopkins

    December 15, 2006

    Mike Adams has written another scathing indictment of Johns Hopkins for its decision to kick a student off campus for a year (among other punishments) for writing a Halloween invitation. Adams writes: Johns Hopkins University President William Brody (410-516-8068; recently wrote a column in response to the public outcry over his university’s handling of… Read more

  • High School Student to Brody: I Won’t Attend Johns Hopkins

    December 14, 2006

    FIRE was cc’d on the following e-mail sent to Johns Hopkins President William Brody. The sender is a student who was considering attending Johns Hopkins University until he received word that Johns Hopkins had suspended student Justin Park for posting party advertisements on that offended some students. The e-mail read as follows: I have… Read more

  • Brody, Mill, and the “Truth”

    December 13, 2006

    To add to Tara’s skillful dissection of Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody’s “A Civil Tongue,” it’s important to remember that neither the inclination to censor “crude and tasteless speech” nor the concern with this reason for censorship is new. As FIRE states in its Guide to Free Speech on Campus: [John Stuart] Mill addressed… Read more

  • Remember What’s Really at Stake at Johns Hopkins

    December 12, 2006

    In the midst of all of the discussion about free speech at Johns Hopkins, it is important to remember what is really at stake here: a young man’s future. Justin Park, an 18-year-old Korean-American junior majoring in economics, entered Johns Hopkins at the age of 15 after skipping several grades in school. He has no… Read more

  • Hopkins President Brody: Civility Trumps Free Speech

    December 12, 2006

    Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody addresses the university’s extreme treatment of Justin Park in an article called “A Civil Tongue” that appeared in the Johns Hopkins Gazette yesterday. Brody states that expression should garner protection under principles of free speech only if it is “of a substantive and serious nature.” After citing two instances… Read more

  • FIRE Discusses Johns Hopkins Case on Radio Today

    December 12, 2006

    Today at 12:10 p.m. ET, Samantha Harris, FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, will speak on Washington Post Radio to discuss our recent case with Johns Hopkins junior Justin Park. Torch readers can listen online here.

  • Johns Hopkins’ Unique Interpretation of ‘Free Speech’

    December 11, 2006

    Last week saw the latest round of exchanges between FIRE and Johns Hopkins University regarding Hopkins’ suspension of eighteen-year-old junior Justin Park. On Wednesday, December 6, Hopkins wrote FIRE a letter defending the university’s overreaction to Park’s two advertisements for Sigma Chi’s “Halloween in the Hood” party. FIRE in turn wrote back to Hopkins… Read more

  • Jason Antebi on Hopkins and Facebook

    December 8, 2006

    Jason Antebi, a graduate of Occidental College who suffered one of the worst abuses of campus rights that FIRE has encountered, has an article in FrontPage Magazine today on Johns Hopkins’ inexcusable treatment of student Justin Park. Antebi points out, disturbingly, that “Park’s case is not an anomaly,” and goes on to write a good… Read more

  • Mike Adams on Johns Hopkins

    December 7, 2006

    Mike Adams has addressed the suspension of Johns Hopkins University junior Justin Park in an article on Driving home the excessiveness of Park’s punishment—which includes a one-year suspension and 300 hours of community service, among other things—Adams commented, “Fortunately, the committee stopped just short of making Park sit in the back of the bus… Read more

  • FIRE on FOX News

    December 4, 2006

    Fox News reports on FIRE’s case at Johns Hopkins where a student was punished for posting invitations to a fraternity party on Facebook that some students found offensive. Scroll down to “Conduct Unbecoming.”

  • Hopkins Ignores Due Process

    December 1, 2006

    FIRE’s mission statement makes clear that we work to “defend and sustain individual rights”—but what exactly are those individual rights? A few leap to mind readily: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of conscience. Those are easy; First Amendment rights are the all-stars of constitutional law. But while the First Amendment… Read more

  • Expression, Not Harassment, at Hopkins

    December 1, 2006

    Inside Higher Ed features an article today about Justin Park’s suspension at Johns Hopkins University. The article concludes with a statement by Hopkins Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs Dennis O’Shea, who told IHE, “There is a difference between expression of opinion and harassment.” There is no doubt a distinction between the two—I just… Read more

  • Public Pressure on Hopkins Continues

    December 1, 2006

    The press coverage of Justin Park and Johns Hopkins continues. United Press International, the Baltimore Examiner, and Inside Higher Ed all ran accounts of the story. In an editorial published in the Baltimore Sun, Gregory Kane, a black writing professor at JHU, writes: I’ve said it a couple dozen times before. Others have said it…. Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: Johns Hopkins University

    December 1, 2006

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for December 2006: Johns Hopkins University. Hopkins’ brand new Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All prohibit “rude, disrespectful behavior” at the university. This policy virtually necessitates abuse, since it is so broad that it could never be enforced across the board, instead leaving students… Read more

  • FIRE in ‘The Baltimore Sun’ on Censorship at Johns Hopkins University

    November 30, 2006

    FIRE’s criticism of Johns Hopkins University for its blatant disregard for free speech has gained the attention of the Baltimore media. The Baltimore Sun reported today on Hopkins’ one-year suspension of student Justin Park, and on the letter that FIRE sent the university to protest the severe, life-altering sanctions imposed upon Park simply for engaging… Read more

  • JHU Statement on “Halloween in the Hood” Party

    November 6, 2006

    In response to an “offensive” Halloween party, John Hopkins University President William R. Brody recently released a statement denouncing the party and outlining several diversity initiatives that will take place as a result. Perhaps the most troubling part of this plan is the emphasis on Principles for Ensuring Equity, Civility and Respect for All which… Read more

  • Hopkins Busts ‘Halloween in the Hood’

    October 31, 2006

    As the Baltimore Sun reports today, on Saturday night the Sigma Chi fraternity at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) threw a “Halloween in the Hood” party. The party was shut down because the invitation the frat circulated “invoked racial stereotyping” and because “[a] decoration outside the party site was a plastic skeleton dressed in pirate garb… Read more

  • Offensive Halloween Costumes and Censorship

    October 31, 2006

    Halloween is upon us and college students all across the country will be celebrating this day by dressing up in a wide array of costumes. While some students will probably stick to classic costumes such as ghosts and vampires, some others may be thinking about slipping into scarier, more politically incorrect costumes this Halloween. For instance,… Read more

  • Partial Victory at Johns Hopkins

    September 21, 2006

    As today’s press release shows, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) told FIRE in a letter that it has dropped the harassment investigation against members of The Carrollton Record (TCR). However, the victory is bittersweet since JHU remains unrepentant about its discriminatory behavior toward TCR, has instituted tighter restrictions on distribution for every paper on campus, and… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins Drops Harassment Investigation of Student Journalists

    September 21, 2006

    BALTIMORE, September 21, 2006—The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has finally dropped its investigation of a harassment complaint filed against staff members of a conservative student newspaper, The Carrollton Record (TCR). After several months of correspondence with JHU administrators, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has gained assurance that JHU is no longer pursuing… Read more

  • What 9/11 Taught Us About Academia

    September 11, 2006

    Today, FIRE joins the rest of the nation in remembering the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Five years ago, the events of 9/11 highlighted—in a very ugly way—just how out of touch many universities are with the American public. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when much of America was still in mourning, a… Read more

  • ‘Know Before You Go’

    September 7, 2006

    With students heading back to school, the busy season for FIRE has started once again. This year, FIRE has more resources than ever before to help students and professors combat censorship and oppression on college campuses. From an expanded Spotlight, to the Guides to Student Rights on Campus, to our individual rights defense work, FIRE… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins University Tries to Ignore FIRE’s Objections to the State of Press Freedom on Campus

    August 23, 2006

    On August 9, FIRE wrote to the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Board of Trustees to once again express concern about the state of liberty on campus. FIRE had already written a letter in May to JHU President William Brody regarding violation of freedom of the press for The Carrollton Record (TCR). JHU counsel Frederick Savage… Read more

  • Journalism Association Condemns Press Freedom Violations

    August 16, 2006

    Yesterday, the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reported the August 4 decision by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) to censure a community college in New Jersey for violating freedom of the press. Ocean Community College (OCC) has already been censured by the College Media Advisers, Inc. (CMA), a national organization… Read more

  • FIRE Continues to Fight for Press Freedom at Johns Hopkins University

    August 15, 2006

    In June, FIRE reported that Johns Hopkins University had ignored the theft of The Carrollton Record (TCR), banned the distribution of the conservative paper in campus dormitories, and entertained the possibility of investigating “harassment” complaints against the paper’s editors. All of this came after the paper ran a story about a campus visit by a… Read more

  • ‘What Difference Can My Measly $18 Million Make?’

    June 30, 2006

    Two days ago, David French had a great post over at National Review’s Phi Beta Cons about Larry Ellison’s decision to rescind his $115 million gift to Harvard University following the Larry Summers fiasco. I have consistently been amazed at how wealthy alums give to their alma maters uncritically and almost as if they had… Read more

  • Hopkins Responds

    June 15, 2006

    Upon reading FIRE’s press release on Johns Hopkins University’s shameful viewpoint discrimination against The Carrollton Record (TCR), a conservative student newspaper, Annie Turner of Maryland e-mailed JHU President William Brody asking him to reverse the college’s decision. She received the following response from JHU spokesman Dennis O’Shea, here analyzed for your reading pleasure. Dear Ms…. Read more

  • Johns Hopkins: Harassment Investigation of Students for Newspaper Must Be Dismissed

    June 14, 2006

    Since we issued our press release yesterday about the shameful viewpoint discrimination at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), we have received many e-mails from angry citizens and Johns Hopkins alumni about what can be done. Yes, JHU should openly condemn the theft of The Carrollton Record (TCR) and should end its illiberal and selectively enforced distribution… Read more

  • Johns Hopkins University Denies Students Freedom of the Press

    June 13, 2006

    As today’s press release describes, freedom of the press is in serious jeopardy at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). Last month, The Carrollton Record (TCR) published an issue that criticized a recent campus appearance by pornographic film producer Chi Chi LaRue. TCR’s cover page pictured LaRue surrounded by members of the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance… Read more

  • Student Newspaper Suffers Viewpoint Discrimination at Johns Hopkins University

    June 13, 2006

    BALTIMORE, June 13, 2006—Johns Hopkins University (JHU) ended this school year by engaging in shameful viewpoint discrimination and denying its students freedom of the press. First, JHU turned a blind eye to the theft of a conservative student newspaper, The Carrollton Record (TCR), then stifled its right to distribute in dorms while allowing other papers… Read more

  • Silence Speaks Volumes at NYU

    May 24, 2006

    New York University prides itself on being a “private university in the public service,” but talk is cheap—that is, when it isn’t silenced altogether. Despite the lofty aspirations of the school’s motto, in late March NYU decided that certain types of speech on campus just aren’t entitled to the core First Amendment protections relied upon… Read more