Tufts University

Location: Medford, Massachusetts
Type: Private
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Speech Code Rating

Tufts 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

Due Process Rating

Sexual Misconduct

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Non-Sexual Misconduct

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Title IX

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Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 203 colleges ranked Read more
  • Technology Services: Email Standards and Guidelines

    Speech Code Rating: Red
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of email abuse: … Sending spam, chain letters, letter bombs or any other type of widespread distribution of unsolicited email. … Sending of offensive or abusive messages. Read More
  • Office of Equal Opportunity: Non-Discrimination Reporting

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    If you or someone you know feel you have been a victim of harassment, bias or discrimination at Tufts, you are encouraged to report the incident … Read More
  • Declaration on Freedom of Expression at Tufts University

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Members of the Tufts community owe one another the basic respect and ethical obligations of human beings engaged in a common endeavor. While not enjoying the force of law, these obligations reflect three basic community values: 1) respect for the freedom of other community members to inquire and express themselve... Read More
  • Office of Equal Opportunity: Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Tufts policy defines sexual harassment as a form of sex and gender discrimination that involves unwelcome or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. It can include unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include con... Read More
  • Student Code of Conduct: X. Other Selected University Policies- R. Policies on Promotions, Solicitations, and Gatherings on Campus

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    The policy on chalking, with the exceptions noted below, allows for the chalking of messages on campus sidewalks. No chalking of any kind on Matriculation Day or Commencement. No profanity or explicit sexual material. No defaming of groups or individuals because of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age... Read More
  • Student Code of Conduct: IV. Policies Regarding Student Behavior- Gatherings, Protests, and Demonstrations

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Protests and demonstrations on campus are exempt from the event registration process that is otherwise required of all student events. Nevertheless, students are invited and encouraged to register their planned protests and demonstrations with the Office for Campus Life (OCL) so that the university can provide event... Read More
  • Tufts Title IX Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Sexual Harassment (as defined by the 2020 Title IX regulations): … unwelcome (or non-consensual) conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity; … Read More
  • Declaration on Freedom of Expression at Tufts University

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Tufts University is an educational community that has as its paramount mission the discovery and dissemination of knowledge and the pursuit of the arts through study, teaching, and research. For this community to achieve its mission, all members must have full and equal opportunity to pursue personal and intellectua... Read More

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


Sexual Misconduct

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

Non-Sexual Misconduct

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

Title IX

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

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


Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 29.27

Rankings / out of 203 colleges ranked

Overall Ranking 186
Openness 51
Tolerance (Liberals) 52
Tolerance (Conservatives) 178
Administrative Support 138
Comfort 157
Disruptive Conduct 159

Administrative Behavior

Supported Scholars 0
Sanctioned Scholars 0
Successful Disinvitations 1


Speech Climate POOR
Speech Code RED
  • Tufts University: ‘Cox’ T-shirt

    May 3, 2012

    In April 2012, members of the men’s crew team wore T-shirts at Tufts’ Spring Fling featuring a silhouette of a rowing team on a boat and the phrase “check out our cox” (referring to a boat’s coxswain). According to multiple accounts, several members were suspended from the team after a bias incident report was submitted… Read more

  • Tufts University: Speech Code Controversy

    March 21, 2008

    After Tufts University found a student publication guilty of “harassment” for publishing two satirical articles, Tufts began work on a new free speech policy. Unfortunately, the resulting policy, “Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Inquiry at Tufts University,” fails to adequately protect freedom of expression at Tufts and will, in all likelihood, invite more censorship… Read more

  • Tufts University: Conservative Student Journal Found Guilty of Harassment

    April 24, 2007

    In 2006, Tufts University’s conservative student newspaper The Primary Source (TPS) published a satirical Christmas carol titled “O Come All Ye Black Folk,” a parody of race-based college admissions. In April 2007, TPS ran a piece titled “Islam—Arabic Translation: Submission,” a satirical advertisement that ridiculed Tufts’ “Islamic Awareness Week.” After students complained about the articles, Tufts’ Committee on Student Life… Read more

  • Tufts University: Use of Sexual Harassment Allegations to Suppress Protected Speech

    November 27, 2001

    A hearing panel at Tufts University unanimously voted to dismiss charges of sexual harassment against a student newspaper that had satirized a campus student leader. The Primary Source, a student publication that describes itself as the “Journal of Conservative Thought at Tufts University,” turned to FIRE after an undergraduate student filed charges against the paper… Read more

  • Tufts University: Refusal to Allow Evangelical Christian Club to Require Leaders to Share Group’s Beliefs

    May 16, 2000

    Tufts University’s Committee on Student Life voted to remand the charges against the Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF). Without a hearing, in a capricious late-night meeting on April 13, 2000, the Student Judiciary voted officially to “derecognize” TCF, the equivalent of a banishment from the facilities of the Tufts campus. The Tufts evangelicals were punished for… Read more

  • An elephant never forgets: A history of free speech at Tufts

    August 5, 2022

    “Free speech zones,” “injurious and harmful” language, “hate speech”: To free speech advocates, these terms are often associated with restrictive speech policies put into place by college administrations, including at my own campus, Tufts University.  As a rising sophomore at Tufts, I am already familiar with policies that suppress student expression. Thinking these policies were… Read more

  • Drinks and discourse: What college campuses can learn from America’s bars

    July 11, 2022

    “I think everyone should go to college and get a degree and then spend six months as a bartender and six months as a cabdriver. Then they would really be educated.” — Al McGuire I don’t yet have my degree nor have I driven a cab, but I have tended bar. In summer 2021, before… Read more

  • Litigation against student newspapers remains uncommon, but recent suits counsel vigilance

    April 14, 2022

    Whenever I teach workshops on media law for student journalists, at least one student inevitably asks how likely they are to get sued. “Probably not very likely,” I usually respond, with some amount of confidence. You see, lawsuits against student journalists and college publications are very uncommon. They happen about once a year, on average,… Read more

  • Tufts’ ban on ‘political leafleting’ emblematic of private universities’ failings nationwide

    December 13, 2021

    Last week, FIRE released our annual Spotlight on Speech Codes report, which covers the speech code ratings of 481 colleges and universities in our Spotlight database and discusses trends from the past year.  We were glad to see the number of schools earning our worst, “red light” rating continue to decline, but public schools are… Read more

  • Announcing a weekly FIRE video series: FIREside Chats

    November 30, 2017

    We are excited to announce a new series of weekly video conversations with FIRE staff where we candidly discuss the top student and faculty rights stories of the day. In our first episode of FIREside Chats, Will Creeley moderates a discussion about the Anthony Scaramucci controversy at Tufts University with Brynne Madway and Adam Steinbaugh…. Read more

  • Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci threatens Tufts student newspaper over opinion piece

    November 27, 2017

    Anthony Scaramucci, known for his short tenure as a spokesman for the White House and given to rhetorical hyperbole, is not fond of being on the receiving end of rhetorical barbs. In response to two opinion pieces published in The Tufts Daily by Camilo Caballero, a graduate student who objects to Scaramucci’s inclusion on a… Read more

  • FIRE investigative report: Alarming free speech climate at Tufts a warning to students at all private campuses (VIDEO)

    April 25, 2017

    Students who publicly support unpopular views at Tufts University do so at their own risk. That’s the conclusion of our months-long investigation into the state of free speech at the elite Boston-area private school. While not bound by the First Amendment, Tufts’ broadly speech-protective policies promise students the right to free speech. But a variety… Read more

  • Tufts Student Senate Rejects Free Speech Resolution

    December 1, 2016

    In September, Tufts University sophomore Jake Goldberg and his group Students Advocating for Students (SAS) began drafting a resolution asking the Tufts administration to clarify its ambiguous speech-related policies, and thus protect students from subjective and capricious disciplinary actions. Tufts earns FIRE’s lowest, “red light” rating for policies that both clearly and substantially restrict freedom… Read more

  • Universities Give Students Frightening Halloween Assignment: Pick a Costume

    October 31, 2016

    Is your “exhausted undergrad” costume ready for tonight’s festivities? That might be one of the frighteningly few outfit choices remaining if you attend a university expecting you to avoid “cultural appropriation” this year. And beware: The rules are petrifyingly hard to follow. While institutions are well within their rights to suggest costume considerations to their… Read more

  • Due Process and Clarity Suffer in Feds’ Push to Address Campus Sexual Assault

    May 1, 2014

    Like many others, I grew up watching the shows produced by Boston PBS megastation WGBH. I was therefore excited to have an op-ed column published by that station today about the due process and clarity problems presented by the recommendations in Tuesday’s report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.

  • Boring Campuses: Not Just the Fault of Helicopter Parents

    April 16, 2014

    In a new article, Slate’s Rebecca Schuman laments the phenomenon of colleges and universities becoming toned-down, less playful, even boring. Schuman argues that this is in part due to parents over-planning their kids’ lives, leaving them incapable of finding creative ways to have fun when they’re older and on their own: A recent trip back… Read more

  • Three Reasons to Debate, Not Silence, Opposing Views

    November 1, 2013

    Today in The Huffington Post, Michael Meyers, executive director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, shared a letter he wrote to the Brown University community about New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s policies and about Brown students’ preventing Kelly from speaking at the school Tuesday night. While expressing strong disagreement with Kelly’s policies, Meyers contrasted students’… Read more

  • Four Key Points About Free Speech and the Feds’ ‘Blueprint’

    July 15, 2013

    It’s been more than two months since FIRE and the higher ed community were shocked by a letter issued jointly by the Departments of Education and Justice to the University of Montana. FIRE staff have blogged extensively about the Departments’ “blueprint” for campus sexual harassment in the last 10 weeks, but there are four crucial points that I… Read more

  • 16th Annual ‘Campus Muzzle’ Awards Feature Yale, Tufts, Harvard

    June 27, 2013

    The “Muzzles” live! The 16th annual “Campus Muzzle” Awards, previously featured in the now-sadly-defunct Boston Phoenix, have found a new home this year on WGBH News online, as well as in the Portland Phoenix. FIRE co-founder and Chairman Harvey Silverglate awards the Campus Muzzles each year to the worst universities in New England for First… Read more

  • Tufts Christian Fellowship Gives Up on Recognition

    March 25, 2013

      Photo: Goddard Chapel – Tufts University Wikimedia Commons FIRE has some lamentable news out of Tufts University, as the Tufts Christian Fellowship has given up its quest for recognition by declining to apply for an exception to the university’s "all-comers"-style student group policy. The existence of the Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF) on campus has… Read more

  • Can Tufts Handle Religious Pluralism?

    December 11, 2012

    The Tufts University community is facing a growing struggle over the existence of the Tufts Christian Fellowship as a recognized student group on campus. At stake is the ability of Tufts students to organize around shared religious beliefs—and, more broadly, whether the Tufts campus still accepts the American conception of religious pluralism.  There are three… Read more

  • ACLU Executive Director Delivers Blistering Critique of Campus Speech Codes

    November 20, 2012

    In an important speech about civil liberties on university campuses delivered last week to an audience at Tufts University, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero defended free speech on university campuses. As covered by Josh Weiner of The Tufts Daily, the lecture, titled "Sticks and Stones: Freedom of Expression and Political Correction," addressed a wide variety… Read more

  • Tufts President Responds to FIRE in ‘Cox’ Case

    May 10, 2012

    Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco has replied to FIRE’s letter of May 2 regarding the suspension of several members of the Tufts men’s crew team due to their "check out our cox" T-shirts. In an email to FIRE, Monaco states that the Tufts administration (at least from the decanal level or above) did not… Read more

  • Victory at Tufts after Crew Team Members Suspended for ‘Cox’ T-shirts

    May 4, 2012

    Facing a rising tide of criticism and intervention from FIRE, Tufts University President Tony Monaco reinstated the suspended members of the men’s crew team late on Thursday, just in time for this weekend’s New England Rowing Championships. After the members wore T-shirts reading "check out our cox" (referring to a team’s coxswain), the university had… Read more

  • Censorship of ‘Cox’ T-shirt Creates Waves of Outrage as FIRE Intervenes

    May 3, 2012

    My FIRE colleague (and Tufts University alumna) Alison Meyer blogged yesterday about a fast-developing controversy at Tufts, where the men’s crew team has been punished for a rather tame double entendre printed on a T-shirt for Spring Fling (below). All involved rowers have been barred from rowing in this weekend’s New England Championships, and two… Read more

  • Tufts Cuts Off ‘Cox’ T-shirt

    May 2, 2012

    The administration of Tufts University, whose infamy for disregarding the basic rights of its students and faculty members has landed the college a spot on FIRE’s Red Alert list, has added another incident to its roster of abuses. This time, allegedly under disciplinary pressure from a dean, the director of Tufts’ men’s crew team not… Read more

  • Tufts Student Government: For Freedom of Expression, ‘Now and Forever’

    April 16, 2012

    Tufts University, a longtime member of FIRE’s Red Alert list and one of the 12 Worst Colleges for free speech, has ample room for progress when it comes to respecting the fundamental rights of its students and faculty members. Highlighting Tufts’ record of suppressing speech again and again, as well as maintaining overly restrictive speech… Read more

  • Student: Tufts Must Improve Free Speech Record

    April 11, 2012

    Last week, Tufts University student newspaper The Primary Source lamented Tufts’ placement on FIRE’s list of the 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech as well as its poor recent history with respect to freedom of speech. The editor’s piece (PDF; see page 4) explores the issues that have caused Tufts to languish on FIRE’s Red Alert list,… Read more

  • ‘12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech’ List in the News

    March 30, 2012

    Tuesday, The Huffington Post released FIRE’s list of the 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2012. In addition to the social media storm the story generated, the list caught the attention of a number of media outlets:  University of Cincinnati’s appearance at the top of the list garnered the attention of Cincinnati City Beat…. Read more

  • The top 12 worst colleges for free speech

    March 28, 2012

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

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

    March 27, 2012

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

  • FIRE’s Erica Goldberg in ‘The Tufts Daily’ on Censorship at Tufts

    February 17, 2011

    FIRE’s Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow and Tufts alumna Erica Goldberg has an op-ed column in today’s Tufts Daily. Erica’s op-ed responds to two articles published earlier this week in the Daily that take FIRE to task for placing Tufts on our Huffington Post list of the 12 worst colleges for freedom of speech…. Read more

  • Tufts’ Reaction to Placement on ’12 Worst’ List Validates FIRE’s Choice

    February 14, 2011

    The administrative response to FIRE’s placement of Tufts University on our list of “The 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” in The Huffington Post further demonstrates why student expression is in jeopardy at Tufts. An article published Friday in the Tufts student newspaper The Tufts Daily discusses the list and explores the university’s troubled record of… 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

  • 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 Tufts President Bacow

    January 7, 2010

    January 7, 2010 President Lawrence S. Bacow Office of the President Tufts University Ballou Hall, Second Floor Medford, Massachusetts 02155 Re: The Primary Source case and FIRE’s Red Alert list Dear President Bacow: I am writing to draw your attention to the full-page advertisement that FIRE ran in the most recent “America’s Best Colleges” issue… Read more

  • Tufts ‘Declaration on Freedom of Expression’ Misunderstands the Concept

    December 1, 2009

    Last month, the Tufts University Board of Trustees approved its "Declaration on Freedom of Expression at Tufts University." Unfortunately, what Tufts touts as an attempt to harmonize the values of free expression and respecting others’ feelings is a transparent rejection of controversial speech.   Tufts’ declaration claims that it supports "freedom of expression and inquiry… 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

  • This Month in FIRE History: Tyranny at Tufts

    May 19, 2009

    This May marks the two-year anniversary of a case that is etched into our memories as one of the most outrageous we’ve ever had. Tufts University’s punishment of the conservative student newspaper The Primary Source for parody and satire was, and remains, indefensible. The Primary Source hadn’t made any friends at Tufts by the time… Read more

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

    February 2, 2009

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

  • FIRE Pens Open Letter to President Obama

    January 20, 2009

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

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

    December 31, 2008

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

  • Comment Period on Tufts Freedom of Expression Policy Comes to a Close

    October 20, 2008

    Last Friday, the public comment period for Tufts University’s Draft Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Inquiry ended. FIRE believes this draft is highly deficient and poses a serious threat to free expression at Tufts, and on October 7th, FIRE issued a detailed statement listing our concerns. Tufts is, of course, a private university so… Read more

  • As Tufts Faculty Discuss Free Expression, Remember Yale’s Woodward Report

    October 8, 2008

    Today, faculty members at Tufts University are discussing the draft Declaration on Freedom of Expression and Inquiry, which is open for feedback until October 17. As faculty members consider their response, we encourage them to carefully consider FIRE’s comment and objections, including a recommendation that Tufts take its cues from one of the strongest statements… Read more

  • FIRE Officially Comments on Tufts’ Draft Free Speech Declaration

    October 7, 2008

    Since last year, FIRE has been fighting a protracted battle for liberty at Tufts University after the school found a conservative student publication, The Primary Source, guilty of "harassment" for publishing two articles: the first, a satire of affirmative action, and the second, a satirical advertisement ridiculing Tufts’ "Islamic Awareness Week." While the university overturned… 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

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

    August 28, 2008

    To continue our series on how the five Red Alert schools named in our U.S. News advertisement can get themselves off the list, today we discuss the situation at Tufts University (we have blogged about how Colorado College, Brandeis University, and Valdosta State University). As you can see, Tufts University is a repeat offender against… 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

  • Speech Code of the Month: Tufts University

    June 2, 2008

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for June 2008: Tufts University. Tufts already has the dubious distinction of a spot on FIRE’s Red Alert List, which is reserved for colleges and universities that display the utmost disregard for their students’ individual rights. Tufts earned its Red Alert status after finding last spring that… Read more

  • Tufts University: So Close, But Yet So Far

    December 27, 2007

    As we wrap up 2007 FIRE is proud to have scored victory after victory at universities across the country, but if there’s one case that frustrated me more than any other this year it is the ongoing saga at Tufts University. As loyal Torch readers know, in April Tufts found a conservative student publication guilty… Read more

  • As President Bacow Continues to Stonewall, John Leo Blasts Tufts

    December 14, 2007

    Last week, FIRE wrote Tufts University President Lawrence Bacow to ask him again why a verdict declaring conservative student publication The Primary Source (TPS) guilty of “harassment” and “creating a hostile environment” still stands―despite the fact that Bacow himself has openly admitted that such a punishment could not stand under the First Amendment. We explained… Read more

  • FIRE to Tufts: Drop the Guilty Finding, Get Off Red Alert List

    December 5, 2007

    The letter FIRE sent out this morning to Tufts University President Lawrence Bacow and the Tufts Board of Trustees makes absolutely clear what the school must do to end its embarrassing tenure on FIRE’s Red Alert list: Immediately drop the remaining finding of “guilty” against conservative student publication The Primary Source (TPS), which Tufts charged… Read more

  • David Ross Responds to Tufts

    August 31, 2007

    FIRE friend and Rochester Institute of Technology Professor David Ross, and those like him, are essential to FIRE’s work. After receiving a FIRE press release, Dr. Ross always forwards it to the appropriate university president and carbon copies dozens of academics across the country. He sends a simply query: is this true? And if so,… Read more

  • Tufts Frustrates Students’ Wish for Dialogue

    August 31, 2007

    Despite Tufts President Lawrence Bacow’s happy talk on freedom of speech at Tufts (which, as Harvey and Jan mention in Emily’s entry from yesterday, is not exactly backed up by action), there still appears to be dissatisfaction among Tufts’ students about how the whole situation with The Primary Source has been handled. And I’m not… Read more

  • Tufts University Case in ‘The Phoenix’

    August 30, 2007

    FIRE cofounder Harvey A. Silverglate and Jan Wolfe published a piece in yesterday’s edition of The Phoenix commenting on recent developments at Tufts University. Torch readers are undoubtedly familiar with the latest developments at Tufts: Even though University President Lawrence Bacow issued a statement affirming First Amendment protections at the private institution, the school’s harassment… Read more

  • Progress for Freedom of Speech at Tufts

    August 29, 2007

    FIRE’s press release today announces that our efforts to revive free speech at Tufts University have finally yielded some real progress. Throughout the past year, Tufts made a mockery of free speech by finding the conservative student newspaper The Primary Source (TPS) guilty of harassment and creating a hostile environment for printing two satirical articles… Read more

  • Tufts University Makes Progress on Free Speech, but Wrongful Harassment Finding Remains

    August 29, 2007

    BOSTON, August 29, 2007—Tufts University President Lawrence Bacow took a significant, positive step this week by pledging that Tufts students will now enjoy the fullest protections guaranteed by the First Amendment. Unfortunately, the administration failed to overturn a wrongful harassment finding against the conservative student newspaper, The Primary Source, for publishing clearly protected political satire…. Read more

  • FIRE Commentary on Mayor Bloomberg and Tufts in ‘The Huffington Post’

    August 3, 2007

    Check out Greg’s latest piece on The Huffington Post on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s public praise for Tufts University’s behavior in The Primary Source (TPS) case. When Bloomberg delivered Tufts University’s commencement address back in May, he commended the university for not exercising censorship over the controversial student publication The Primary Source, stating,… Read more

  • Is Mayor Bloomberg OK with being duped by Tufts University?

    August 2, 2007

    Two months ago, as president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), I wrote an open letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg to inform him that he had been badly deceived. I’m still waiting for an answer. Back in May, Mayor Bloomberg delivered Tufts University’s commencement address. In the course of his speech, the… Read more

  • FIRE Writes to Tufts Again About Erroneous ‘Harassment’ Finding

    July 31, 2007

    Today, FIRE sent a second letter to Tufts University President Lawrence Bacow and the Tufts Board of Trustees regarding Tufts’ punishment of the conservative paper The Primary Source (TPS). As FIRE’s followers will recall, a university panel found that TPS was guilty of “harassment” and “creating a hostile environment” for printing a Christmas carol that… Read more

  • FIRE Letter to Tufts University President Lawrence Bacow and Tufts Board of Trustees, July 31, 2007

    July 31, 2007

    July 31, 2007 President Lawrence S. Bacow Ballou Hall Tufts University Medford, Massachusetts 02155 Sent by U.S. Mail and Facsimile (617-627-3300) Dear President Bacow: FIRE is disappointed to write to you once again to express our continuing concern about Tufts University’s punishment of the student journal The Primary Source (TPS). We note with dismay that,… Read more

  • When the Truth is Too Outrageous to Parody

    July 24, 2007

    The following entry was authored by FIRE summer intern Braum Katz, a rising sophomore at the College of William and Mary. In my freshman year of college, I became involved with The Pillory, William and Mary’s only satire and humor magazine. As expected, our first staff meeting consisted of an obligatory discussion on standards of… Read more

  • ‘The Washington Times’ Targets Tufts’ Ban of Unsigned Editorials

    July 6, 2007

    The Washington Times editorial yesterday highlighted an important aspect of FIRE’s recent case at Tufts University. The Primary Source, a conservative student paper at Tufts, was punished for publishing two satirical articles parodying affirmative action and “Islamic Awareness Week.” As punishment, The Primary Source is not allowed to publish anonymous articles, a long standing tradition… Read more

  • Tufts Awarded ‘Muzzle Award’

    July 5, 2007

    The Boston Phoenix has announced its 10th Annual Muzzle Awards. Inspired by FIRE co-founder and Board Chairman Harvey Silverglate, the Muzzle Awards are based on news accounts of freedom-of-expression stories in New England within the last year. One of the recipients of this dubious distinction is Tufts University, where a student-faculty disciplinary panel found the… Read more

  • John Leo’s 2007 Sheldon Awards: Tufts Leads the Pack

    June 25, 2007

    John Leo, nationally syndicated columnist and tireless critic of campus PC, has announced his Sheldon Awards for 2007 in today’s New York Sun. The Sheldon is “named for Sheldon ‘Water Buffalo’ Hackney, the former president of the University of Pennsylvania,” and is “dedicated to identifying the worst college president of each academic year.” Leading the… 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

  • ACLU Writes Letter to Tufts in Defense of ‘The Primary Source’

    June 12, 2007

    Tufts University got some added encouragement to reverse its decision against the conservative student journal The Primary Source (TPS) when the ACLU of Massachusetts weighed in by writing a letter to President Lawrence Bacow and Dean of Undergraduate Education James Glaser, who will oversee TPS’ appeal. Sarah Wunsch, who signed the ACLU’s letter, wrote: While… Read more

  • Student Press Law Center and Howard Ziff on Tufts

    June 6, 2007

    In an article on its website yesterday, the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) discussed Tufts University’s actions against The Primary Source. The SPLC focused on Tufts’ requirement that the paper include a byline with every editorial it prints from now on, putting an end to unsigned editorials. Barbara Grossman, who headed the committee that found… Read more

  • More Evidence That Tufts Let Bloomberg Down

    June 6, 2007

    As Torch readers know, last month FIRE exposed the fact that Tufts University had punished a student publication, The Primary Source, for “harassment” for running articles criticizing affirmative action policies and Islamic violence. Its punishment is that it is now forbidden to run any unsigned articles—unlike every other publication on Tufts’ campus, and unlike just… Read more

  • Well, That Was Fast

    May 29, 2007

    A quick update on the Tufts situation: we were just informed by a Torch reader that Tufts has restored the link to the text of Bloomberg’s address, barely more than an hour after our last blog entry. I guess that means they’re watching our blog pretty carefully, so I have this message for Tufts: we’re… Read more

  • Tufts Shoves Bloomberg’s Speech Down the Memory Hole

    May 29, 2007

    There is a bit of old advice known as the First Rule of Holes: “When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.” Alas, Tufts University has ignored this adage when it comes to the dispute over the school’s decision to punish a student publication, The Primary Source,… Read more

  • FIRE on Bloomberg and Tufts in ‘The Huffington Post’

    May 27, 2007

    Popular website ‘The Huffington Post’ has published an open letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg authored by FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. Mayor Bloomberg’s recent commencement address at Tufts University praised Tufts for its supposed commitment to free speech—when, in fact, Tufts has recently punished the very students Bloomberg cites for publishing a parody… Read more

  • Open Letter to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg

    May 26, 2007

    Dear Mayor Bloomberg, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education was very pleased to see your strong endorsement of the basic principles of free speech in your commencement address at Tufts University last weekend. You may be distressed to learn, however, that it appears you have been badly misled by the Tufts administration concerning the… Read more

  • Feelings and Freedom of Speech

    May 25, 2007

    In response to the national media attention the recent The Primary Source (TPS) harassment case has attracted, the The Tufts Daily recently ran a piece analyzing the possible long-term implications the decision could have. The article features not only FIRE’s Samantha Harris, but also Stanley Fish, Jon B. Gould, the Student Press Law Center (SPLC),… Read more

  • Tufts President Bacow Just Doesn’t Get It

    May 22, 2007

    A FIRE supporter wrote to Tufts President Larry Bacow to express his concerns about free speech and academic freedom at Tufts after FIRE exposed the university’s disgraceful decision to punish The Primary Source (TPS) student magazine for harassment for publishing two parodies that offended some people on campus. Below is President Bacow’s response in full:… Read more

  • Mayor Bloomberg on Free Speech at Tufts

    May 21, 2007

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered the commencement address at Tufts University this weekend. Among his many remarks, he mentioned FIRE’s case at Tufts, where the independent student paper The Primary Source (TPS) was investigated for publishing two satirical articles. Mayor Bloomberg described the incident thusly: This past December, The Primary Source—which is a… Read more

  • Silverglate Defends Parody on Campus in ‘The Phoenix’

    May 17, 2007

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

  • Tufts Case Launches Media and Blogosphere Commentaries

    May 15, 2007

    News of Tufts University’s disregard for freedom of speech and of the press has hit the media and the blogosphereIn addition to our Campus Alert in this week’s New York Post, The Washington Times’ Robert McCain covered the controversy yesterday, including thoughts from FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff: “The students were responding to what they thought was… Read more

  • Today’s ‘Campus Alert’: Don’t Joke at Tufts

    May 14, 2007

    Today’s installment of our weekly Campus Alert column in the New York Post focuses on the recent controversy at Tufts University, where conservative student journalists have been found guilty of “harassment” and “creating a hostile environment” for publishing two satirical articles that offended African-American and Muslim students.Torch readers are undoubtedly familiar with FIRE’s efforts in… Read more

  • Factual Statements=Unprotected Harassment!? A Terrifying Precedent at Tufts

    May 11, 2007

    Today, FIRE announced the decision by a disciplinary panel at Tufts to find the conservative student newspaper, The Primary Source, guilty of “harassment” for, among other things, publishing a satirical ad that listed less-than-flattering facts about Islam during Tufts’ Islamic Awareness Week. You can see the ad here, and Eugene Volokh has also published it… Read more

  • Tufts University Defies Free Press and Punishes ‘The Primary Source’

    May 11, 2007

    Tufts University has displayed a profound disregard for press freedom and its own guarantees to protect controversial and offensive expression. As today’s press release reveals, Tufts’ Committee on Student Life (CSL) released its decision yesterday to punish the conservative student publication The Primary Source (TPS). TPS was charged with harassment for publishing two controversial items:… Read more

  • Tyranny at Tufts

    May 11, 2007

    BOSTON, May 11, 2007—Showing profound disregard for free speech and freedom of the press, Tufts University has found a conservative student publication guilty of harassment and creating a hostile environment for publishing political satire. Despite explicitly promising to protect controversial and offensive expression in its policies, the Tufts Committee on Student Life decided yesterday to… Read more

  • Tufts Delays Decision on Paper’s Punishment

    May 8, 2007

    Under a barrage of media pressure, the student judiciary at Tufts University has decided to delay their decision about whether satirical political content published by The Primary Source (TPS), a conservative student newspaper, constituted “harassment” and created a “hostile environment.” FIRE was informed yesterday afternoon by the editors of TPS that the decision was not… Read more

  • Fox News Covers Censorship Case at Tufts

    May 7, 2007

    Fox News covered FIRE’s case at Tufts University, where The Primary Source (TPS), the independent campus paper, faced a hearing last Monday on charges of harassment, creating a hostile environment, and breach of community standards. TPS had printed a satirical Christmas carol, “O Come All Ye Black Folk,” and “Islam—Arabic Translation: Submission,” a satirical advertisement… Read more

  • John Leo on Censorship Tactics in ‘The New York Sun’

    May 3, 2007

    Yesterday’s issue of The New York Sun includes a very telling opinion piece by John Leo that looks at the ploys used by university administrators in their efforts to stifle student speech. “It’s not news that the modern university is censorship-prone, particularly when conservatives wish to speak, but the tactics of the censors keep changing,”… Read more

  • Ben Shapiro Skewers Tufts for Show Trial of ‘The Primary Source’

    May 2, 2007

    As FIRE reported on Monday, The Primary Source (TPS), Tufts University’s conservative paper, underwent a hearing on Monday night for charges of harassment, creating a hostile environment, and breach of community standards. These charges were filed by students because TPS had printed a satirical Christmas carol “O Come All Ye Black Folk,” a critique of… Read more

  • Students Await Tufts’ Ruling on Satirical Articles

    May 1, 2007

    As we reported yesterday, the Tufts University independent conservative student journal The Primary Source (TPS) attended a hearing last night where the university addressed charges of harassment, creating a hostile environment, and breach of community standards brought against the publication. The hearing was conducted by the Committee on Student Life (CSL)—a panel comprised of faculty… Read more

  • The Hypocrites at Tufts

    April 30, 2007

    As we reported earlier, Tufts University’s Committee on Student Life (CSL) is holding a hearing today to address charges of harassment, encouragement of hostile environment, breach of community standards, and libel brought against the conservative student paper The Primary Source. The charges stem from two satirical articles printed in the paper, one last December and… Read more

  • Tufts University Puts Newspaper on Trial for Satire

    April 30, 2007

    Today, Tufts University will hold a hearing on charges of harassment, creating a hostile environment, and breach of community standards brought against the independent student publication The Primary Source. The charges were brought by students who were offended by two articles that ran in the paper over the last few months.   As FIRE’s column… Read more

  • Tufts Reacts to Christmas Carol Controversy

    January 22, 2007

    Before Christmas, Tufts University’s conservative newspaper The Primary Source printed its annual satirical Christmas carol, called “O Come All Ye Black Folk.” The carol targeted affirmative action and garnered more criticism than previous carols, with several meetings, a rally, and much media attention following on its heels. The Primary Source has issued an apology for… Read more

  • The Censors’ Favorite Team

    February 4, 2005

    Tens of millions of people across America will watch the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX this Sunday night. In a gesture of magnanimity before the big game, those of us at FIRE’s headquarters here in Philadelphia would like to tip our hat to all the New England college administrators… Read more

  • Speech Codes: Alive and Well at Colleges

    August 1, 2003

    Five years ago, a higher-education editor for The New York Times informed one of us, Harvey Silverglate, that Neil L. Rudenstine — then president of Harvard University — had insisted that Harvard did not have, much less enforce, any “speech codes.” Silverglate suggested the editor dig deeper, because virtually any undergraduate could contest the president’s… Read more

  • Free Speech Victory at Tufts University: Charges of “Sexual Harassment” against Student Newspaper Dismissed

    November 27, 2001

    MEDFORD, MA—In a unanimous vote, a hearing panel at Tufts University voted to dismiss charges of sexual harassment against a student newspaper that had satirized a campus student leader. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) advised the paper’s editors and communicated vigorously with the administration on their behalf. Thor Halvorssen, Executive Director of… Read more

  • Victory At Tufts; Evangelical Christian Group Regains Recognition

    May 16, 2000

    MEDFORD, MA—In a unanimous vote, the Committee on Student Life, a faculty and student group that reviews campus judiciary decisions, voted last night to remand the charges against the Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF). Thor Halvorssen, Executive Director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has been active in advising the students and exposing… Read more