Rutgers University – New Brunswick

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 3rd Circuit

Tell Rutgers University – New Brunswick to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

Rutgers University – New Brunswick 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.

  • Rutgers University: Tenured professor found guilty of violating discrimination and harassment policy for Facebook posts about gentrification

    August 21, 2018

    Rutgers University history professor James Livingston was sanctioned for a Facebook post discussing gentrification in his Harlem neighborhood.

    » Read More
  • Rutgers University: Bias Investigation of Satirical Newspaper

    April 20, 2012

    In April 2011, as part of its annual April Fools’ edition, Rutgers student satire publication The Medium published a fake editorial titled “What about the good things Hitler did?”, jokingly attributed to another student columnist known on campus for his frequent commentary on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick denounced the article and announced that the school had launched an investigation of its publication as a possible “bias incident.” Just days after FIRE sent a letter to Rutgers airing our concerns and hours after FIRE publicized the investigation, Rutgers notified FIRE that the administration would not punish The […]

    » Read More
  • Rutgers University: Refusal to Allow Christian Clubs to Require Christian Leadership

    December 27, 2002

    The InterVarsity Multi-Ethnic Christian Fellowship at Rutgers University was banned from campus because of its rule that "leaders must seek to adhere to biblical standards and belief in all areas of their lives." Rutgers ruled that allowing a religious student group to select its leadership on the basis of religion constituted discrimination. FIRE wrote to the president of Rutgers, to the members of the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, and to the university’s major donors, urging the administration to undo the damage to the Fellowship. FIRE Legal Network attorney David A. French also filed a lawsuit against Rutgers […]

    » Read More
Yellow Light Policies
  • Rutgers Policy 60.1.12: Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2018

    Harassment is conduct directed toward an individual or group based on membership in one or more protected classes. Such conduct must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter an individual’s employment conditions, or a student’s educational opportunities which, in turn, creates an unreasonably intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment for employment, education, or participation in University activities.

    Examples of conduct that may constitute or support a finding of harassment in violation of this Policy include, but are not limited to, the following types of behavior:


    • In some instances, innuendo or other suggestive, offensive, or derogatory comments or jokes about a protected group listed in Section I above
    • Extortion, overt threats, or intimidation
    • Obscene or harassing messages sent via computer or left on an answering machine or voice mail

    » Read More

  • On-Campus Event Promotion Guide: Public Forums

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2018

    Anyone planning to hold an outdoor public forum, such as a rally or candlelight vigil, is encouraged to file a Public Forum Notification Form with Rutgers University Student Centers Student Involvement Office. The process is applicable to all registered organizations at Rutgers University that wish to hold public forums at Rutgers University. Although not required, the filing of a Public Forum Notification is encouraged by all organizations. Nonuniversity entities are not given nor do they have implied priority on university property in the public forum area. No commercial entities (university affiliated or otherwise) are permitted to sell merchandise and services in the public forum area. For more information on public forums, see your student organization’s administrative adviser or visit….

    Designated Public Forum Area Locations:

    • College Avenue Campus: A designated public forum area is located on the steps between the main entrance of Brower Commons Dining Hall and Stonier Hall on College Avenue. The space also extends back to the Records Hall courtyard.
    • Cook Campus: A designated public forum area is located in the middle of the Newell Apartments.
    • Livingston Campus: A designated public forum area is located on the portico of Tillett Hall (facing Kilmer Library).
    • Douglass Campus: A designated public forum area is the patio and grass area on the Nichol Avenue side of the Douglass Campus Center.
    • Busch Campus: Designated public forum areas are located on the lawn in front of the Allison Road Classroom Building and on the lawn in front of the School of Engineering.

    » Read More

  • Rutgers Policy 10.3.12: Student Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence, Stalking and Related Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2018

    Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct, or communication of a sexual nature when:

    such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s education or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive campus, work or living environment.

    Gender-based harassment refers to acts of aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender, gender identity, or gender-stereotyping. Gender-based harassment can occur if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic of their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. To constitute harassment, the conduct must unreasonably interfere with an individual’s education or academic activities or create an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive academic or living environment.

    » Read More

  • Student Affairs: Bias Prevention

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: August 8, 2018

    The purpose of reporting and documenting bias acts is to help the University better understand the reality of the campus climate related to discrimination.  The University also encourages individuals to report bias acts so we can provide support, remedy, or resolution to those who reporting acts of bias.

    Bias Incident– A “Bias Incident” is defined an act – either verbal, written, physical, or psychological that threatens or harms a person or group on the basis of actual or perceived race, religion, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, atypical heredity or cellular blood trait, military service or veteran status.

    Bias Incident Response Team (“BIRT”) – The Bias Incident Response Team (“BIRT”) is a group of University employees charged with investigating reported bias incidents; following the protocols detailed in this document; and reporting information and making recommendations to the Bias Prevention and Education Committee.

    » Read More

  • University Student Life Policy Against Verbal Assault, Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying, and Defamation

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2018

    A community establishes standards in order to be able to fulfill its mission. The policy against verbal assault, harassment, intimidation, bullying, and defamation seeks to guarantee certain minimum standards. Free speech and the open discussion of ideas are an integral part of the university community and are fully encouraged, but acts that restrict the rights and opportunities of others through violence, intimidation, the destruction of property, or verbal assault which has the effect of inciting violence or causing undue alarm, even if communicative in nature, are not protected speech and are to be condemned.


    Any of the following acts, even if communicative in nature, are prohibited “separation offenses” (charges that could lead to suspension or expulsion from the university) under the provisions of the University Code of Student Conduct (UCSC) Part VII:

    1. Use of force against the person or property of any member of the university community or against the person or property of anyone on university premises, or the threat of such physical abuse. (Verbal assault may be prosecuted as a “threat of…physical abuse.”)

    3. Bullying, intimidation, and harassment: a person acts with the purpose to bully, intimidate, and harass another by:

    • Making, or causing to be made, a communication or communications (including the use of electronic and/or social media) anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm …

    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Rutgers Policy 70.1.1: Acceptable Use Policy for Computing and Information Technology Resources

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2018

    Violations include but are not limited to: … using electronic resources for deceiving, harassing or stalking other individuals.

    » Read More

  • Rutgers Policy 50.3.5: Disruptions: Administrative Policy and Response

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: August 8, 2018

    The primary function of an academic community is to discover and disseminate knowledge through research and teaching. Freedom of expression is vital to our shared goal of pursuit of knowledge. Such freedom comes with a responsibility to welcome and promote this freedom, even in disagreement or opposition. Community members are therefore encouraged to register dissent for issues and demonstrate that dissent through orderly means.

    The right to freedom of expression includes peaceful protests and orderly demonstrations. However, the right to protest does not include the right to engage in conduct that intentionally or recklessly interferes with the University’s operations or infringes on the rights of other members of the community. Faculty, students, and all other personnel who intentionally act to impair, interfere with, or obstruct the orderly conduct, processes, and functions of the University may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action by University authorities.

    With this in mind, the following administrative procedures have been formulated to guide the implementation of university policy:

    A. In order to ensure that individuals or groups not intentionally or recklessly interfere with the operation of the University or the rights of others, they shall not:
    1. obstruct vehicular, bicycle, pedestrian, or other traffic;
    2. obstruct entrances or exits to buildings or driveways;
    3. interfere with educational activities inside or outside any building;
    4. harass passersby;
    5. interfere with or preclude a scheduled speaker from being heard;
    6. interfere with scheduled University ceremonies or events;
    7. damage property, including lawns, shrubs, or trees; or
    8. engage in any other activities that disrupt university business or infringe upon the rights of others.

    » Read More

  • Rutgers Policy 10.2.11: Code of Student Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2018

    Bullying, intimidation, and harassment:

    1. Making, or causing to be made any communication (including electronic or through social media) to another person in any manner likely to cause alarm.

    2. Subjecting another person or threatening to subject another person to striking, kicking, shoving, or offensive touching.

    3. Threatening to reveal personal information or media about a person electronically or through other means of communication.

    4. Engaging in any other course of alarming conduct or repeatedly committing acts with the purpose of seriously alarming another person.

    A person’s behavior should be sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent as to substantially disrupt or interfere with the orderly operation of the institution or the rights of a student to participate in or benefit from the educational program.

    » Read More

  • Rutgers President Wants to Investigate Professor James Livingston’s Anti-White Comments

    September 7, 2018

    by Tim Cicciotta at Breitbart The president of Rutgers University said this week that he wants to take a second look at professor James Livingston, who wrote “I hate white people” on Facebook. “OK, officially, I now hate white people,” James Livingston wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post. “I am a white people [sic], for God’s sake, but can we keep them — us — us out of my neighborhood? I just went to Harlem Shake on 124 and Lenox for a Classic burger to go, that would [be] my dinner, and the place is overrun with little Caucasian a**holes who know their […]

    » Read More
  • Rutgers Revisits Finding on Professor

    September 4, 2018

    by Emma Whitford at Inside Higher Ed Rutgers University is walking back its finding that James Livingston, a professor who posted antiwhite comments about gentrification in his neighborhood on Facebook last spring, violated Rutgers’s discrimination and harassment policy. In a letter to Peter March, executive dean at Rutgers’s School of Arts and Sciences, Robert Barchi, university president, said that the report “was released to [March] and Professor Livingston before I had been made aware of its content” and that he planned to take action to review the findings of the report… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • After a professor’s rant about white people, Rutgers president affirms free speech

    August 30, 2018

    by Susan Svrluga at SFGate Rutgers University president Robert Barchi is ordering another review of a professor’s inflammatory social media posts, calling for a more rigorous assessment of free speech implications… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • ‘I hereby resign from my race. F— these people,’ white professor writes online, sparking furor

    August 23, 2018

    by Amy Lieu at Fox News A white professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey violated the school’s policy when he complained about other white people in a post on Facebook, according to reports. The university says it prohibits discrimination and harassment, and judged that history professor James Livingston, who is white, crossed a line with his comments… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • After a professor wrote about hating white people, Rutgers considers the limits of free speech

    August 22, 2018

    by Susan Svrluga at The Washington Post A history professor was found guilty of discrimination and harassment after writing on Facebook that he hated white people, leading an advocacy group to complain that Rutgers University had violated his right to free speech… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Professor’s Incendiary Rhetoric in the Age of Donald Trump

    November 21, 2016

    By Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed Kevin Allred, an adjunct in women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University, has been placed on leave and barred from teaching amid a controversy over his comments on Twitter – comments some say are threats of violence and others say are clearly rhetoric used to criticize President-elect Donald Trump… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Area Colleges Draw All-Stars for Commencement

    May 1, 2016

    By Susan Snyder and Jonathan Lai at College commencement season will bring a rock-star cast of speakers to the region’s colleges and universities – including the president of the United States… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • After Yiannopoulos Brawl, Rutgers President says First Amendment is ‘at the Core of What We do’

    March 2, 2016

    By Staff at The College Fix Fake blood and yelling can’t outweigh the First Amendment and academic freedom at a public university, the president of Rutgers University made clear Monday. Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Looking for a College With Political Diversity? Here’s a Few Options and Ones to Avoid

    December 5, 2015

    By Ray Nothstine at The Christian Post Universities and colleges often make rapt headlines for political radicalism, but a diverse, well-rounded higher education may be more available than you think. Backlash against liberal institutions have essentially been on the rise since conservative giant William F. Buckley, Jr. published God and Man at Yale in 1951. The National Review founder and publisher lamented the worldview of his alma mater in the famous book declaring, “The academic community has in it the biggest concentration of alarmists, cranks and extremists this side of the giggle house.” Heterodox Academy, whose mission is to “increase viewpoint […]

    » Read More
  • Today’s Students are Anything but Coddled

    December 3, 2015

    By Tom Cutterham at Times Higher Education For a couple of years now, commentators in both the US and the UK have complained that students in higher education are becoming worryingly fragile. Coddled and hypersensitive, they allegedly spend their college years hiding from scary ideas. In a recent article in The Atlantic, Greg Lukianoff, president and chief executive of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Cooley professor of ethical leadership at New York University, say that this approach is putting students’ education, and even their mental health, at risk. For their own good, the commentators […]

    » Read More
  • Trigger Warning Skepticism

    December 2, 2015

    By Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed Much of the debate thus far over trigger warnings — the flagging of specific course content that might offend or otherwise upset students — has centered on anecdotes, some of them obviously controversial. At Oberlin College, for example, proposed trigger warning guidelines said that Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart might merit a trigger warning. The idea upset many professors who said labeling it as excessively violent could undermine the experience of reading the novel. And some Columbia University students’ request that Ovid’sMetamorphoses be flagged as a poem about rape earned similar criticism. Supporters of trigger […]

    » Read More
  • How Parents can Avoid Spending Thousands on Colleges that Host Student Storm-Troopers

    December 1, 2015

    By Thomas Sowell at New York Post Storm trooper tactics by bands of college students making ideological demands across the country, and immediate pre-emptive surrender by college administrators — such as at the University of Missouri recently — bring back memories of the 1960s for those of us old enough to remember what it was like being there and seeing firsthand how painful events unfolded. At Harvard back in 1969, students seized control of the administration building and began releasing to the media information from confidential personnel files of professors. But when university president Nathan Pusey called in the police […]

    » Read More
  • Our opinion: Free speech 101: Don’t stifle it

    November 15, 2015

    By Staff at Tallahassee Democrat The mess at Mizzou is sending ripples of racial unrest through university campuses nationwide, with some significant long-term implications for American education and politics — as well as the news media. In a little more than 36 hours early last week, thousands of students protesting what they consider the University of Missouri administration’s insensitivity to some ugly racist provocations forced university President Tim Wolfe to resign. The university chancellor also announced plans to quit soon, and Wolfe was replaced on an interim basis by Michael Middleton, a black man who was the deputy chancellor, as […]

    » Read More
  • Rep. Kathleen Rice Leads Summit on Anti-Cyberbullying

    October 3, 2015

    By Matthew Chayes at Newsday Rep. Kathleen Rice on Saturday touted an anti-cyberbullying bill that backers call necessary to combat modern-day harassment but opponents fear would threaten constitutionally protected speech. Named for a gay college student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge in 2010 soon after his roommate streamed via webcam a dorm-room hookup with another man, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act would require campuses to enact anti-harassment policies covering a range of personal characteristics and electronic devices. “The laws have got to catch up with technology,” said Rice. “In order to get justice for victims and […]

    » Read More
  • University Warns Students About ‘Free Speech’

    August 25, 2015

    By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow An American university has warned its students that there’s no such thing as “free speech” on campus. Students at Rutgers University are being encouraged to report “bias incidents” to the university’s Bias Prevention and Education Committee. Robert Shibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says Rutgers is making it clear that the university is not interested in individual freedom of speech. “They’re more interested in you mouthing the platitudes they’d like you to mouth,” he tells OneNewsNow. The bias committee proclaimed on its website that “there is no such thing as ‘free speech.’ […]

    » Read More
  • Nutty Professor: Rutgers Teacher Who Said US Worse Than ISIS Has History of Bizarre Statements

    July 31, 2015

    By Maxim Lott at Fox News A Rutgers University professor who is under fire for saying that the U.S. is “more brutal” than ISIS has used racial slurs against white men, attacked a leading advocate against female genital mutilation and even led a successful protest last year to stop former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from speaking to students. Deepa Kumar, associate professor of journalism and media studies at New Jersey’s main public university, made news recently by tweeting: “Yes ISIS is brutal, but US is more so, 1.3 million killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.” But that tweet, sent in […]

    » Read More
  • Slick Move: Oil Divestment Activists Bumped From Their Own Rally By Campus Feminists

    February 17, 2015

    By Matthew Boyer at The College Fix All because of a free-speech zone with vague rules NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Climate-change activists at Rutgers University learned their place in the progressive pecking order Friday. Not even two hours into their sparsely attended Global Divestment Dayrally against Rutgers’ fossil-fuel investment, the activists got bumped from a free-speech zone at the New Brunswick campus by feminist activists. The university’s Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance asked the divestment activists to leave the space early so it wouldn’t distract from the office’s “One Billion Rising” rally against sexual and domestic violence, divestment campaign […]

    » Read More
  • Campuses Send Off Graduates with Messages of Censorship

    May 7, 2014

    By Christopher Harper at The Washington Times Despite the media’s fascination with racial issues, many news organizations have failed to understand the importance of two cases involving black women whose political views got them bounced from providing words of wisdom to graduating students at two universities. Condoleezza Rice, the great-granddaughter of an Alabama sharecropper and one of the most accomplished black women in the U.S., canceled her scheduled commencement address at Rutgers University in New Jersey because of faculty and student protests about her role in the Bush administration. “Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and […]

    » Read More
  • Commence the Firestorms

    April 6, 2014

    By Susan Snyder at The Philadelphia Inquirer Since Rutgers chemistry professor Robert Boikess successfully urged faculty last month to oppose Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker for her role in the Iraq war, he has been called “racist,” “liberal” – and worse. The selection of the former secretary of state has set off nothing short of a firestorm on campus with Boikess and his colleagues planning a “teach-in,” launching a website to build opposition, and filing a flurry of public records requests aimed at uncovering how Rice was invited. Student government held its own spirited debate, ultimately voting to welcome Rice. And […]

    » Read More
  • Time to Put an End to ‘Disinvitation Season’

    April 1, 2014

    By Robert Shibley at National Review Online By now, many have heard about the dispute at Rutgers over its selection of Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker. Rutgers, to its credit, is sticking to its guns. But what my colleagues at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have dubbed the annual “disinvitation season” rolls on nonetheless. The latest absurd row is over the invitation to Greg and Susan Gianforte to give commencement addresses this year at Montana Tech and at Rocky Mountain College. The Gianfortes are multi-millionaires who two years ago sold their Bozeman, Montana-based business, RightNow Technologies, to Oracle for a reported $1.5 billion. […]

    » Read More
  • Cyberbullying bill would tie harassment policies to aid

    March 24, 2014

    By Jake New at eCampus News Senator introduces legislation that would require universities to adopt cyberbullying policies to be eligible for financial aid programs When Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge in 2010, the events leading to his death were a painful reminder that cyberbullying is not confined to middle schools. Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, had used a webcam to film the freshman kissing another male student, and then invited his Twitter followers to join him for a second viewing. Clementi complained to Rutgers officials about the incident, but committed suicide a day later. Now, two U.S. […]

    » Read More
  • ‘Disinvitation Season’ Begins on College Campuses

    March 14, 2014

    By Adam Kissel at Minding the Campus A college commencement is a splendid time to celebrate student achievement. But it’s “disinvitation season” again, as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education observes: the time when intolerant students and faculty advocate against their school’s choice of commencement speaker, sometimes causing the speaker to be disinvited. These power-hungry protesters demonstrate how little they have learned about tolerance in a diverse society where people say and do things that others dislike. And all too often, as at Harvard and at Rutgers, they have learned this intolerance from their own professors. Is former New York mayor […]

    » Read More
  • Campus Left to Christians, Conservatives: Shut Up!

    December 24, 2005

    By Mark Tapscott at Scratch many of the administrators in charge on American campuses these days and you often find a neo-Stalinist who has no hesitation about suppressing views that deviate from leftist orthodoxy. If you doubt me, try supporting Christianity or conservatism in a public way in the ivy covered groves of American academe. Take California State University at San Bernadino, for example, where administrators refuse to charter the Christian Students Association because the group thinks its members should be professing Christians. Imagine that! The group ‘would not be required to admit members who did not support the […]

    » Read More
  • Conformity on campus

    December 18, 2004

    This fall four new studies of professors’ political attitudes showed a large tilt to the left: • Daniel Klein, an economics professor and researcher at Santa Clara University and Stockholm University, surveyed more than 1,000 professors around the United States and found Democrats outnumbering Republicans at least 7-1 in the humanities and social sciences, with departments such as anthropology and sociology coming in at about 30-1. • In a separate study of voter registration records, Mr. Klein found professors at Stanford and the University of California-Berkeley tilted Democratic 9-1. Among younger professors at those two universities the imbalance was even […]

    » Read More
  • Survey: many college students fuzzy on first amendment rights

    January 1, 2004

    PHILADELPHIA — One out of four college students in a nationwide survey was unable to name any of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment, according to a free-speech watchdog group.“These survey results are disheartening, but they unfortunately are not surprising,” says Alan Charles Kors, president of the nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).Even among campus administrators who were surveyed, from presidents to assistant deans, 11 percent couldn’t name any specific First Amendment rights, the survey indicated. And when asked which freedom the amendment addresses first, only 2 percent of the students and 6 percent of the administrators […]

    » Read More
  • Scarlet Blight

    March 25, 2003

    » Read More
  • Black List Draws Fire as US Ideologues Fight Over Patriotic Mantle

    November 24, 2001

    By Maxim Kniazkov at Agence France Presse

    » Read More
  • VICTORY: Rutgers reverses finding against professor who posted about resigning from the white race on Facebook

    November 15, 2018

    NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Nov. 15, 2018 — Rutgers University has officially reversed its decision to find a tenured history professor guilty of violating university policy because he wrote two Facebook posts critical of white gentrification in Harlem. The reversal is a vindication for the right of professors to speak as private citizens on issues of public concern. The university informed professor James Livingston of the reversal on Wednesday, after Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi ordered the reevaluation of the initial ruling. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education represented Livingston in the matter. “FIRE is pleased that Rutgers did the […]

    » Read More
  • OCR’s use of overly broad anti-Semitism definition threatens student and faculty speech

    September 14, 2018

    Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights had reopened a 2011 case at Rutgers University regarding alleged discrimination against Jewish students at a public event. In an Aug. 27 letter to the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the organization that had filed the complaint against Rutgers, OCR said it would now evaluate the complaint using a “working definition” of anti-Semitism used by the U.S. Department of State. FIRE has repeatedly expressed serious concerns about the threat to First Amendment rights presented by the use of the definition in enforcing federal […]

    » Read More
  • Rutgers president orders review of ruling against professor for Facebook posts about white gentrification in Harlem

    August 31, 2018

    In a letter sent Wednesday evening, Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi informed senior administrators that he has ordered the reevaluation of an earlier ruling finding Professor James Livingston guilty of violating university policy for two Facebook posts critical of white gentrification in Harlem. The tenured professor of history at Rutgers-New Brunswick came under investigation earlier this summer by the university’s Office of Employment Equity after several of Livingston’s Facebook posts grabbed the attention of the media. On May 31, while at a restaurant in his Harlem neighborhood, Livingston posted on his personal account, “OK, officially, I now hate white people. […]

    » Read More
  • Rutgers caves to outrage mob: Professor faces punishment for Facebook posts about white people, Harlem gentrification

    August 21, 2018

    University calls professor’s sarcastic post a ‘belligerent barb against whites’ NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Aug. 21, 2018 — It appears Rutgers University’s commitment to faculty First Amendment rights is no match for an online outrage mob. Tenured professor of history James Livingston was found guilty of violating Rutgers’ Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment late last month for two sarcastic Facebook posts he wrote about gentrification in Harlem, the New York City neighborhood where he lives. The posts sparked outrage on social media and led to threats against Livingston, who is white. After Rutgers rejected Livingston’s appeal of the finding against him, […]

    » Read More
  • FIRE’s Prediction Proves True: This Year, Colleges ‘Play It Safe’ with Commencement Speakers

    April 21, 2015

    As anyone who won their office March Madness pool will tell you, successfully predicting future events can be fun sometimes. Other times, less so—like when your favorite free speech watchdog organization correctly forecasts a disappointing development for campus discourse. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with the latter today. Over at Inside Higher Ed, reporter Jake New assesses this year’s commencement speakers at Rutgers University, Haverford College, and Smith College. After high-profile “disinvitations” marred each of these institutions’ graduation ceremonies last year, New suggests that this spring, they aren’t taking any chances with their choice of speakers: When Rutgers University invited Condoleezza Rice, […]

    » Read More
  • New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Part of State’s Bias Intimidation Law Unconstitutional

    March 19, 2015

    On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that a section of the state’s bias intimidation law was unconstitutionally vague because it allowed for a defendant to be convicted if his or her victim was intimidated and “reasonably believed” that he or she was targeted on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, or ethnicity. The law did not require that the defendant actually be motivated by the target’s membership in a protected class. The court’s decision that the state cannot punish conduct based solely on another person’s subjective response […]

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

    May 13, 2014

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

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

    May 12, 2014

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

    » Read More
  • Greg on Philadelphia’s WHYY ‘Radio Times’ This Monday!

    May 9, 2014

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be appearing live as a guest on the popular Delaware Valley radio show Radio Times with host Marty Moss-Coane at 10:15 a.m. this Monday.

    » Read More
  • Commencement Invitation Drama Continues; Free Speech Advocates Speak Out

    May 9, 2014

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

    » Read More
  • ‘Disinvitation Season’ Rolls On: Condoleezza Rice Cancels

    May 5, 2014

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

    » Read More
  • Disinvitation Season Continues at Azusa Pacific University and Elsewhere

    April 23, 2014

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

    » Read More
  • Tyler Clementi Act: Still Well-Intentioned, Still a Threat to Free Expression

    March 31, 2014

    ‘The Huffington Post’ reported last week that Senator Patty Murray of Washington will reintroduce the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act after learning of harassment suffered by one of her interns while attending college. The intern’s story is shocking, and the Act is well-intentioned. Unfortunately, it is still as flawed as it was when introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey back in 2010 following the tragic death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi.

    » Read More
  • Greg: Condoleezza Rice and the Early Start of ‘Disinvitation Season’

    March 10, 2014

    Here at FIRE, we’ve dubbed the spring “disinvitation season,” because among the many invitations extended for college and university commencement speakers, there are an increasing number of speakers subsequently disinvited because of their viewpoints, professions, or life choices. Last year, I wrote about the phenomenon in mid-May amidst a flurry of disinvitations, but this year things are getting off to an earlier start, as FIRE President Greg Lukianoff notes in The Huffington Post today.

    » Read More
  • Former FIRE Intern Asks ‘Daily Targum’ Board of Trustees to Respect Student Rights

    February 19, 2014

    The Daily Targum, a student newspaper at Rutgers University, has recently been under scrutiny because of the amount of influence the paper’s Board of Trustees exerts over the student staff. The Board acts as an advisory panel and, according to College Media Matters, has the ability to cut out articles and opinion pieces they dislike. (FIRE’s Catherine Sevcenko explained the problem with this last Thursday.)

    » Read More
  • ‘Unlearning Liberty’ Again, This Time by Self-Censorship at ‘The Daily Targum’

    February 13, 2014

    The Soviet Union was said to operate on a system of “telephone justice”: a judge would hold a trial and then call the local Communist Party boss to find out if the defendant should be found guilty or not. It appears that The Daily Targum, Rutgers University’s student paper, operates on a similar system of “telephone editorial policy.”

    » Read More
  • Victory: Rutgers Will Not Punish Satirical Newspaper

    May 1, 2012

    On Friday, I blogged about Rutgers University’s bias investigation of the student satire publication The Medium for jokingly attributing a fake article praising Adolf Hitler to another student. As we made clear in the letter we sent Rutgers, punishing the protected expression of The Medium—or even allowing the impression to take hold that such expression was punishable—would be an impermissible violation of the paper’s First Amendment rights.  Hardly had my entry gone live on our website, however, when FIRE received a response from Rutgers Assistant General Counsel Sarah Luke, responding in relevant part: The university very scrupulously addresses First Amendment […]

    » Read More
  • Rutgers’ Bias Investigation of Satirical Newspaper is No Laughing Matter

    April 27, 2012

    Last week, we pointed to a piece penned by former FIRE intern Alex Lewis in The Daily Targum, Rutgers University’s main campus newspaper, in response to a controversial “bias investigation” of The Medium, a weekly satirical Rutgers newspaper. Now, The Star Ledger (Newark, New Jersey) is covering the incident as well, in a piece that quotes Alex and draws further attention to the controversy. The Star-Ledger summarized the investigation: The flap began when the campus satirical publication, the Medium, ran a parody of the work of a columnist at the Rutgers Targum. The columnist, Aaron Marcus, writes frequently on the […]

    » Read More
  • Former FIRE Intern Pens ‘A Case for Free Speech’ at Rutgers

    April 20, 2012

    In his column for the The Daily Targum this semester, former FIRE intern and Rutgers University senior Alex Lewis has written two articles making “A case for free speech” at Rutgers. In the first article, published last month, Alex wrote about the philosophy of free speech and why it is important not to censor speech, even if some find it offensive:  The government of our country has been humble enough to presume that no ideological stripe, or theory, or school or dogma is inherently “better” or “more right” than any other. The only ethic the First Amendment embraces is that […]

    » Read More
  • Renewed Focus on New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Law, But Little Recognition of Impact on College Student Speech

    September 9, 2011

    Last week, The New York Times published a front page story on New Jersey’s new anti-bullying law, which took effect on September 1. In the article, reporter Winnie Hu documents complaints about the law’s requirements, which some school district officials throughout the state have found to be expensive, confusing, and burdensome. Hu reports:  The law, known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, is considered the toughest legislation against bullying in the nation. Propelled by public outcry over the suicide of a Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, nearly a year ago, it demands that all public schools adopt comprehensive antibullying policies […]

    » Read More
  • Rutgers Ditches Unconstitutional ‘Bias Prevention’ Committee, Red-Light Rating

    August 8, 2011

    In 2006, FIRE wrote about Rutgers University–New Brunswick and its Orwellian “Bias Prevention Steering Committee.” The mission of the various deans, administrators, and staff members who comprised the committee was to monitor reported acts of bias which, startlingly, included “cultural conflicts” defined by the University as “disagreements, arguments, or controversies that developed due to the cultural differences, backgrounds and lifestyles of the disputants in the conflict.” By 2010, the Steering Committee had evolved into the Bias Prevention Education Committee (BPEC), but retained its unconstitutional program of policing protected expression by targeting hazily defined instances of “cultural conflicts” and “inappropriate language.” […]

    » Read More
  • Rutgers University: An Institution of Higher (Re-) Education

    September 14, 2006

    Rutgers University in New Brunswick has a Bias Prevention Steering Committee designed to identify instances of bias at Rutgers and to “address[] persons who perpetrate bias acts.” According to Rutgers, “bias prevention” is defined as An organized system of monitoring, intervening in, and restoring in the aftermath of bias incidents in an environment, e.g., University or workplace. Monitoring includes the reporting of incidents when they occur. Intervention includes counseling persons victimized by bias acts as well as persons witnessing the same. Intervention also includes addressing persons who perpetrate bias acts either through systems of adjudication or reprimand. Restoration often involves […]

    » Read More