Yale University

Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Website: http://www.yale.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Yale University 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.

  • Protesters at Yale Threaten Free Speech, Demand Apologies and Resignations from Faculty Members Over Halloween Email from Erika Christakis

    November 6, 2015

    On October 30, 2015, Erika Christakis, associate master of Yale University’s Silliman College, responded to an email from the school’s Intercultural Affairs Council which asked students to be thoughtful about the cultural implications of their Halloween costumes. In her response, Christakis questioned that directive.

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  • Yale University: Suppression of Pro-War Speech

    November 9, 2011

    Campus administrators reversed course on their removal of a sign, which read "Kill ’em all, Let God sort ’em out," after some officials believed it to be offensive to Muslims and South Asians. One counselor noted that while he believed in free speech, the banner could be hostile to ethnic minorities. Shortly after two op-eds in the Yale Daily News spoke out against the censorship effort, Yale administrators admitted the situation could have been handled in a more proper manner, and reiterated their support for freedom of speech. According to the Yale Daily News, Dean Richard Brodhead said freedom of […]

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  • Yale University: Fraternity Suspended Five Years for ‘Intimidating’ Satirical Chant

    June 17, 2011

    In October 2010, pledges of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity at Yale University stood blindfolded on campus satirically chanting “no means yes, yes means anal.” DKE later apologized, and the international DKE fraternity temporarily suspended the Yale group’s pledge activities. Following an internal investigation by Yale, however, and under pressure from an investigation of Yale due to sexual harassment complaints made with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Yale College Dean Mary Miller announced in May 2011 that DKE was being suspended from the college for five years and that some DKE students also had been found […]

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  • Yale University: Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons at Yale University Press

    September 14, 2009

    Yale University censored images of Mohammed in author Jytte Klausen’s book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, which discusses the controversy and violence that resulted from the publication of cartoons of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in 2005. The book, published by the Yale University Press in fall 2009, was to contain images of the cartoons and other images of Mohammed. However, Yale University intervened in the editorial process of its Press, submitted the cartoons out of context to a group of anonymous consultants and, relying on their opinions, decided to remove the cartoons from the book. Despite much criticism […]

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Undergraduate Regulations: Student Complaint Procedures- Complaints of Racial or Ethnic Harassment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 31, 2015

    [R]acial or ethnic harassment is considered to occur when any individual is subjected to arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory treatment on the basis of race or ethnic origin.

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  • Information Technology Appropriate Use Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: March 31, 2015

    Harassing or threatening use. This category includes, for example, display of offensive, sexual material in the workplace and repeated unwelcome contacts with another.

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  • Undergraduate Regulations: General Conduct and Discipline 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: March 31, 2015

    The Executive Committee’s jurisdiction includes offenses described in the Undergraduate Regulations as well as other actions on the part of students that may in the judgment of the committee warrant disciplinary action because they may imperil the integrity and values of the Yale community or the well-being of its members.

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  • Sexual Harassment Brochure 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 31, 2015

    What does it look like? …

    • Unwanted letters, notes, phone calls, or social media content of a sexual nature …
    • Sexually provocative images, jokes, innuendo, or comments raised in a professional or educational setting ….

     

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  • Undergraduate Regulations: General Conduct and Discipline- Offenses 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 31, 2015

    Sexual misconduct includes nonphysical actions such as digital media stalking, cyberbullying, and nonconsensual recording of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

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Green Light Policies
  • Sexual Misconduct Response at Yale: Yale Sexual Misconduct Policies and Related Definitions 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 31, 2015

    Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus, when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing; or (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment. Sexual harassment may be found in a single episode, as well as in persistent behavior.

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  • Undergraduate Regulations: Free Expression, Peaceful Dissent, and Demonstrations 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: March 31, 2015

    The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable. To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily also deprives others of the right to listen to those views.

    Because few other institutions in our society have the same central function, few assign such high priority to freedom of expression. Few are expected to. Because no other kind of institution combines the discovery and dissemination of basic knowledge with teaching, none confronts quite the same problems as a university.
    For if a university is a place for knowledge, it is also a special kind of small society. Yet it is not primarily a fellowship, a club, a circle of friends, a replica of the civil society outside it. Without sacrificing its central purpose, it cannot make its primary and dominant value the fostering of friendship, solidarity, harmony,
    civility, or mutual respect. To be sure, these are important values; other institutions may properly assign them the highest, and not merely a subordinate priority; and a good university will seek and may in some significant measure attain these ends. But it will never let these values, important as they are, override its central purpose. We value freedom of expression precisely because it provides a forum for the new, the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox. Free speech is a barrier to the tyranny of authoritarian or even majority opinion as to the rightness or wrongness of particular doctrines or thoughts.

    Above all, every member of the university has an obligation to permit free expression in the university. No member has a right to prevent such expression. Every official of the university, moreover, has a special obligation to foster free expression and to ensure that it is not obstructed.

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  • The Tradition of Liberal Education Is Under Assault

    February 11, 2016

    By Peter Berkowitz at Real Clear Education Conservatives have been at the forefront of the battle to defend liberal education against the politicization of the college curriculum, the promulgation of campus speech codes, and the denigration of due process—supported by the Obama administration’s Department of Education April 2011 Dear Colleague letter which advised colleges and universities to circumscribe the rights of the accused—in academic disciplinary procedures. Read more here.

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  • Where Free Speech Goes to Die

    January 31, 2016

    By Katha Pollitt at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Trigger warnings, safe spaces, micro-aggressions — over the past year or so, pundits, politicians and other serious people had a lot of fun bemoaning academia as a liberal la-la land where hands are held and minds are coddled. I’m rather old-school when it comes to free expression. I didn’t go for author and Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis’ notorious essay cheering professor-student affairs, but surely it was overkill for grad students to bring charges against her under Title IX for having a “chilling effect” on student victims’ willingness to come forward. Wouldn’t writing a letter […]

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  • Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates “Free Speech Is Threatened on Campus” at Yale and Online, March 1

    January 26, 2016

    By Jimmy Kilpatrick at Education News In the past year, student protests have erupted at colleges nationwide. At the University of Missouri (Mizzou), protestors responding to a series of racist incidents on campus tried to block journalists from entering their encampment. At Princeton, students staged a sit-in to demand Woodrow Wilson’s name be removed from a building. At Yale University, a controversy about offensive Halloween costumes led to a lecturer’s resignation. To some, all these students are speaking out against injustice. But critics say their demands have created an atmosphere of intolerance for opposing or unpopular points of view. Are […]

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  • The Schools Where Free Speech Goes to Die

    January 21, 2016

    By Katha Pollitt at The Nation Trigger warnings, safe spaces, micro-aggressions—in 2015, pundits, politicians, and other serious people had a lot of fun bemoaning academia as a liberal la-la land where hands are held and minds are coddled. I’m rather old-school when it comes to free expression. I didn’t go for author and Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis’s notorious essay cheering professor-student affairs, but surely it was overkill for grad students to bring charges against her under Title IX for having a “chilling effect” on student victims’ willingness to come forward. Wouldn’t writing a letter to the editor have sufficed? As for […]

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  • Why Bashing ‘Politically Correct’ Campuses Is Hurting Conservatism

    January 18, 2016

    By Jim Sleeper at Alternet Look Who’s Complaining Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising — undirected by students, professors or deans but scripted, funded and promoted by people off-campus — that blames liberals for trying to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Speech codes. Trigger warnings. Safe spaces. We’ve all read and heard disturbing accounts of such measures’ ubiquity and oppressiveness on campus after campus, their students depicted as demanding them en masse and administrators as rushing to establish them. … Read more here.

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  • The Phony Debate About Political Correctness

    January 14, 2016

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

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  • Campus Free Speech Has Been in Trouble for a Long Time

    January 4, 2016

    By Greg Lukianoff at Cato Institute 2015 will be remembered as a year in which campus free speech issues took center stage, receiving extensive coverage in outlets like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Slate,Vox, and Salon. Even President Obama voiced concerns about the lack of debate on college campuses. … Read more here.

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  • How C. S. Lewis Predicted Today’s College Campus Craziness—in 1944

    December 31, 2015

    By Sheryl Young at Ratio Christi When events at Yale University and the University of Missouri propelled college politics to national news, many conservatives were caught off guard by the power of “political correctness.” To those familiar with the works of C.S. Lewis, however, these events were of little surprise. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man explains both the confusion and the radical ideology on campuses today, and how Americans should respond to these dire threats. What’s Happening on College Campuses? In the September issue of The Atlantic, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of the Foundation […]

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  • Republicans Introduce Bill to Eliminate Speech Codes at NH Colleges

    December 29, 2015

    By Anthony Hennen at Red Alert Politics The largest newspaper in New Hampshire has endorsed the elimination of campus speech codes. The New Hampshire Union Leader on Sunday supported no speech codes for the University System of New Hampshire if “the university system expects its students to learn anything.” Recent campus controversies and protests from Yale to Missouri to Oberlin College have pushed free speech concerns and the role of a university education to the forefront of debate. Students, concerned that university administrations have not done enough to address racism and other issues, have protested and called for limitations on […]

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  • Pictures From an Institution

    December 28, 2015

    By Roger Kimball at Quadrant Online Who says the guild system is dead? In New York, these days, you seem to need a licence for everything. The prominent Catholic journalist Ross Douthat discovered this mournful truth recently when he practised theology without a licence in his column for the New York Times. The offending column, “The Plot to Change Catholicism”, was published on October 18 and sparked an immediate rebuke from the Fraternal Order of Snot-Nosed Leftish Academic Theologians, Ltd. (I may not have the name exactly right.) Here’s what the brotherhood had to say (as an aid to the […]

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  • Students Call for ‘Terrifying’ Wave of Censorship

    December 21, 2015

    By Caitlin Burke at CBN News A video shows filmmaker and satirist Ami Horowitz on the campus of Yale University asking students to sign a petition calling for a repeal of the First Amendment. Horowitz said he was able to quickly gather more than 50 signatures in less than an hour and believes most who signed were students. The amendment to the Constitution, approved by the Founding Fathers, upholds the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peacefully assemble, and in an ironic twist, the right to petition. A Yale spokesman has dismissed the […]

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  • A Silver Lining for Free Speech

    December 21, 2015

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

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  • ‘Can We Take A Joke’ Explores Our Hatred For Free Speech

    December 17, 2015

    By Todd Seavey at The Federalist If Lenny Bruce could be put in jail simply for telling bad jokes, then Gilbert Gottfried should be hanged. At least, that’s the shocking opinion of notoriously offensive comedian Gottfried, as he explains in the funny and frightening new documentary Can We Take a Joke? Seriously, though, director Ted Balaker, a veteran of Reason.tv and (like me) John Stossel’s production team, talks in the film to free-speech-loving comedians such as Gottfried and Jim Norton about the mounting pressure on comedians—comedians, for crying out loud!—to respect the hair-trigger (-warning) sensibilities of the “social justice” crowd. Norton […]

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  • Higher Education is a House Divided

    December 17, 2015

    By George F. Will at The News Journal Online Although he is just 22, Andrew Zeller is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at Purdue University. He is one reason the school is a rare exception to the rule of unreason on American campuses, where freedom of speech is under siege. He and Purdue are evidence that freedom of speech, by which truth is winnowed from error, is most reliably defended by those in whose intellectual pursuits the truth is most rigorously tested by reality. While in high school in Bowling Green, Ohio, Zeller completed three years of college undergraduate courses. […]

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  • Speech Crimes on Campus

    December 9, 2015

    By Staff at The Wall Street Journal The student censors at Yale claimed a scalp—pardon the micro-aggression—this week when lecturer Erika Christakis resigned her teaching position on childhood education. She had been pilloried for asking in an email if students weren’t too sensitive if they are offended by politically incorrect Halloween costumes. Yale’s powers-that-be ducked and covered in response, but the news on campus isn’t all bad, according to a forthcoming report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (Fire). The foundation’s annual survey of 440 colleges—comprising 336 four-year public and 104 private institutions—finds that the share of schools maintaining […]

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  • Yale University Teacher Resigns Over Her Email Supporting Offensive Halloween

    December 8, 2015

    By Frank Ramirez at Ledger Gazette After her email, Erika Christakis has been confronted by a group of students arguing that Yale is not only an intellectual space, but it is also a home for its students who should be able to feel safe and respected, no matter their cultural or ethnic background. In October, the university’s Intercultural Affairs Committee instructed students to avoid wearing racially insensitive costumes for Halloween such as Native American headdresses, turbans or blackface. Yale says Erika and Nicholas Christakis will remain in their role as Silliman’s master and associate master and are welcome back in […]

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  • Professor Couple at Yale Stop Teaching After Free Speech Chill

    December 8, 2015

    By Ethan Wells at Herald Current Demonstrators for anti-free speech at one of the most vaunted universities in America have asserted that a husband and wife who say that teaching is a lot of trouble in the campus climate isn’t conducive enough to warrant civil dialogue. Nicholas and Erika Christakis, Yale University professors who’ve both got overwhelming positive reviews form their students have said that they have had enough after there was an email which she sent that started off a controversy all across campus. She said that she had a lot of regard for her students but worried that […]

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  • Yale Couple Flees Classroom Amid Free Speech Chill

    December 8, 2015

    By Staff at FoxNews.com Anti-free speech demonstrators at one of America’s most vaunted universities have claimed a pair of scalps – a husband-wife duo who say teaching is too much trouble in a campus climate “not conducive to civil dialogue.” Yale University professors Nicholas and Erika Christakis, who both have always gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews from students, said they have had enough, after an email she sent sparked a campus-wide controversy that soon pulled him in.  “I have great respect and affection for my students, but I worry that the current climate at Yale is not, in my view, conducive […]

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  • Yale University Teacher Resigns Over Her Email Supporting Offensive Halloween

    December 8, 2015

    By Staff at TV Newsroom “I ‘ve great esteem and affection for my pupils, but I stress that the current climate at Yale is not, in my view, conducive to the civil conversation and open inquest required to solve our pressing societal issues”. Racial tension heightened at Yale during Halloween after the lecturer, Erika Christakis, sent an email criticizing the idea that some costumes might be considered racially or culturally insensitive after another university official requested students not wear blackface or appropriate Native American symbols. The university said, in a statement, that Erika Christakis, who taught child development and psychology, […]

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  • Yale Faculty Members Sign Letter Supporting Colleagues Harassed by Protesters

    December 3, 2015

    By Ashe Schow at The Washington Examiner A group of Yale faculty members have signed a letter supporting two colleagues at the center of massive campus protests. Nicholas and Erika Christakis had been maligned on campus — even surrounded and shouted at by protesters — over an email that Erika sent prior to Halloween suggesting that students simply look away from costumes they deem offensive rather than creating a set of rules about what is and isn’t acceptable to wear. Protesters demanded that Erika resign and then demanded the same of Nicholas because he defended his wife. Now, 49 current or […]

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  • Jim Dey: Is New Emphasis on Student ‘Safe’ Spaces Putting Them at Risk?

    November 29, 2015

    By Jim Dey at The News-Gazette  Back in February, Northwestern University Professor Laura Kipnis, disturbed about the campus environment concerning sexual harassment, emotional “triggers” and issues involving consent, wrote an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Headlined “Sexual Paranoia Strikes Academe,” Kipnis’ piece challenged campus orthodoxy on these sensitive subjects. Some critics challenged her assertions, but two students did more than that. They filed a complaint alleging discrimination and retaliation with the university against Kipnis under federal law’s Title IX guidelines. The complaint was laughable on its face. But Kipnis endured months of administrative runaround trying to find out, […]

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  • To Learn or Not to Learn

    November 27, 2015

    By Dave Trecker at Naples News Some thoughtful people are asking a thoughtful question, one perhaps long overdue: What is the real purpose of higher education? Is it to learn the basics of math, writing, literature, science, history? To learn to think and reason? To prepare for employment? Or is it to try to change the world — whether you can spell or not? Is it to force changes on universities terrified of offending liberal students who may or may not be able to write a coherent paragraph or balance their checkbooks? Or is it to do both, if you […]

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  • Social Justice Warriors are Waging an Increasingly Nasty Culture War and It’s Making America Mad

    November 27, 2015

    By Nick Whigham at News.com Australia THERE’S something in the water and it’s turning America mad. Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), groups of mostly young, mostly university students, are waging a bitter war with the cultural establishment of the nation and it’s turning increasingly nasty. Those who proudly adopt the title express a mix of sensitivity to social issues coupled with an aggressive and almost militant outrage at any perceived injustice. But their incendiary tactics have sparked a huge backlash from professors, journalists and commentators around the country as a culture war that has been bubbling under the surface for some […]

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  • Be Thankful for the Vigorous, Uncomfortable, Invaluable Clash of Ideas this Thanksgiving

    November 26, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, wrote a great column in The New York Times on Sunday explaining the practical benefits of thankfulness in action. In that spirit, here are a few people I’m thankful for in the zany college world: The brave students at Princeton who not only spoke up against the rise of “intimidation and abuse” against people with certain viewpoints, but practically guaranteed they will suffer intimidation and abuse by signing their names to it. Their letter to President Christopher Eisgruber: Academic discourse consists of reasoned arguments. […]

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  • From Megaphones to Muzzles

    November 25, 2015

    By Susan Mulligan at US News It was students in California who birthed a new era on college campuses, one in which collegians would demand to be included, to be treated like adults and to have a very public say on such hotbed issues as civil rights and the Vietnam War. The Berkeley Free Speech Movement of 1964 became a defining moment in a nationwide trend, with students insisting they would not be silenced on some of the most controversial issues of the day. A half-century later, campuses are again the site of unrest and tension, but it’s not about […]

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  • How to Rescue Free Speech in American Academia

    November 25, 2015

    By Nat Hentoff at Cato.org In last week’s column, I described how the national anti-free speech movement poses an imminent threat to freedom of expression in American academia. Those advocating for the anti-free speech movement attempt to interpret the “language of free speech” to their advantage so that it applies only to them, but not to others. Their analysis often cites Title IX’s antidiscrimination provisions and accuses free speech advocates of using “weaponized words” to silence anti-racism protestors, but invariably ignores the long history of court decisions that have repeatedly applied First Amendment protections to offensive speech at public universities. […]

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  • Chicago School of Free Speech

    November 23, 2015

    By L. Gordon Crovitz at The Wall Street Journal “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” read the headline of an essay for the liberal website Vox earlier this year. The author, who was frightened enough to write under a pseudonym, admitted that he “cut out anything I could see upsetting a coddled undergrad,” including books by Mark Twain. The American Association of University Professors last year warned: “The presumption that students need to be protected rather than challenged in a classroom is at once infantilizing and anti-intellectual.” The liberals who run U.S. universities can’t be surprised by […]

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  • Sharp Divisions Emerge on Campuses as Some Criticize Activists’ Tactics as Intimidation

    November 23, 2015

    By Teresa Watanabe at Los Angeles Times Alton Luke II is an African American sophomore at Occidental College who backs the broad goal of racial equity for students. But he has chosen not to support the minority student movement aimed at ousting college President Jonathan Veitch and improving campus diversity — and bluntly announced his views on Facebook this week. For that, he has paid a price. Luke said some of his friends, both black and white, have started ignoring him. He’s been called ignorant. He said the hostility of some protesters toward those with different views is a major […]

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  • Ivy League Schools Stomp On Freedom Of Speech

    November 20, 2015

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

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  • Podcast: The First Amendment Speech Debate on College Campuses

    November 20, 2015

    By Staff at National Constitution Center Are there limits to what can be said at and displayed on college campuses? This podcast discusses recent controversies at Yale University and the University of Missouri involving the First Amendment, the 14thAmendment, free speech and hate speech. At Yale, the controversy started after an e-mail from its Intercultural Affairs Committee encouraged students to show restraint in their Halloween costume selections. Two professors objected, saying universities “have become places of censure and prohibition.” That debate is on-going. And at Missouri, the controversy stared over the school’s response to several racial incidents and led to […]

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  • College Protests Lack Right Solutions

    November 19, 2015

    By Tallahassee Democrat at News-Press.com The mess at the University of Missouri recently 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, 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 well […]

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  • Student Activism, Race & Free Speech

    November 18, 2015

    By Aaron Henkin, Maureen Harvie and Connor Graham at WYPR.org The University of Missouri, Yale University, University of South Carolina, Occidental College, University of Kansas, Claremont McKenna College. The list goes on. College students across the country are leading protests and demonstrations to call attention to the issue of racial tolerance, diversity, and in some cases, the resignation of professors and high-ranking administrators. In this hour of Midday we’ll view this topic through national and local lenses, and hear the points of view of academic reporters, students, a college administrator and a free speech advocate. Our guests: Scott Jaschik,editor and one […]

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  • Yale Rebukes Protesters Who Demanded Firing of ‘Master’ and His Wife Over Halloween Comments

    November 18, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix Residents of Yale’s Silliman College will have to put up with leaders who believe in robust freedom of expression for the indefinite future. Yale University President Peter Salovey and Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway rejected calls to fire Nicholas Christakis, master of Silliman, and his wife Erika, the associate master, in response to student outrage over theirdefense of (supposedly) offensive Halloween costumes. Indeed, their email to residents doesn’t even acknowledge content of the dispute – or the stunning public attack on Nicholas Christakis and his abject apology in front of students (and administrators) massed in […]

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  • Getting the Story Wrong on Campus Racism

    November 17, 2015

    By Jon Gould at The Hill Online Let’s take a current events quiz and see if you can identify this scenario: a university D.J. tells racist jokes on air; racist jeers and graffiti start to appear across campus; African-American students take over an administration building to protest the racial climate on campus; and, weeks later, university administrators respond with a policy to punish racist speech. Sound familiar? You’re thinking this is currently happening at the University of Missouri or Yale University, right? Wrong. That’s the University of Michigan from the late 1980s. Of course, it also could have been the […]

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  • Yale’s Alumni Donations May Suffer Amid Free Speech Debate

    November 17, 2015

    By Serena Elavia at FOX Business News In light of the recent campus protests at Yale University in New Haven, CT, many in the alumni community are upset with the current campus climate and are threatening to cease donations if the University censors free speech. This Ivy League institution has become the center of a free speech debate after two conflicting emails were sent out to students about Halloween costumes. The first email, sent to the campus by the Intercultural Affairs Committee, which seeks to promote an inclusive and diverse campus, requested that students avoid wearing “culturally unaware or insensitive” Halloween […]

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  • Public Shaming on Campus: Out of Control

    November 17, 2015

    By Natt Hentoff at WND.com Hostility to the exercise of free speech on American college campuses is nothing new. But what happened at Yale University, the University of Missouri and other colleges over the past two weeks is something new and frightening. The suppression of speech in academia has begun to spiral out of control. Nicholas Christakis is a professor at Yale who lives with his wife in a student residence hall on campus. An internationally renowned physician and sociologist, Dr. Christakis was surrounded by dozens of angry students who showered him with curses and threats. Dr. Christakis’ offense? He […]

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  • Regulation Specialists: School ‘Protected Areas’ Unsafe for Free Speech

    November 15, 2015

    By Staff at The Standard Times College “safe spaces,” where students can hide away from viewpoints that might cause them distress, go against the nation’s First Amendment and even what universities should stand for, according to Constitutional law experts. “They want complete control over their personal lives, over their sex lives, over the use of drugs, but they want mommy and daddy dean to please give them a safe place, to protect them from ideas that maybe are insensitive, maybe will make them think,” attorney Alan Dershowitz told . But instead, the last thing students who demand safe zones want […]

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  • Missouri Controversy Highlights Academia’s Free Speech struggle

    November 15, 2015

    By Aamer Madhani and Roger Yu at USA Today As college administrators across the country move to crack down on hate speech on campus, First Amendment advocates say that universities are becoming increasingly squeamish about exposing students to ideas that they may find offensive or collide with their world view In a nationwide poll published by the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale University last month, 50% of students said they often felt intimidated to offer views that differ from their classmates’ or professors’. Sixty-three percent of students said that they thought political correctness was a problem on campus, while […]

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  • The Censors Must Not Win: Campus Thought Police Have Run Amok — but All Is Not Lost

    November 15, 2015

    By Greg Lukianoff and Robert Shibley at Daily News The year 2015 has seen the third rails of race and sex powered up on campus — and the live wire of “sensitivity” is electrocuting intellectual freedom. Worse, in contrast with the past, when censorship typically came from above, today’s censorship drives are increasingly led not by administrators, but by students. Yale and the University of Missouri both made headlines last week after students who started out passionately protesting allegations of racism and cultural insensitivity wound up attacking professors’ speech rights and freedom of the press. These campuses aren’t alone. At […]

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  • Could Jesus Crack Campus Speech Codes?

    November 15, 2015

    By Jan LaRue at American Thinker Absent a miracle, neither Moses nor Christ could crack the speech codes enforced by self-anointed censors operating at the majority of American colleges and universities today. In “The Coddling of the American Mind,” Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, writing for the September 2015 issue of the Atlantic, document the demise of First Amendment rights on college campuses and why it’s “disastrous for education and mental health”: “Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • Law Experts: College ‘Safe Spaces’ Unsafe for Free Speech

    November 14, 2015

    By Sandy Fitzgerald at NewsMax College “safe spaces,” where students can hide away from viewpoints that might cause them distress, go against the nation’s First Amendment and even what universities should stand for, according to Constitutional law experts. “They want complete control over their personal lives, over their sex lives, over the use of drugs, but they want mommy and daddy dean to please give them a safe place, to protect them from ideas that maybe are insensitive, maybe will make them think,” attorney Alan Dershowitz told Fox News. But instead, the last thing students who demand safe zones want […]

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  • Inside the Bizarre Right-Wing Political Correctness Movement That Threatens Free Speech

    November 14, 2015

    By Zaid Jilani at AlterNet  Raucous protests at the University of Missouri, Ithaca College and Yale have highlighted the tension between students who desire a tolerant campus and the American value of free speech. Most of the discussion about these events in the media portrays a struggle between left-wing students and administrators trying to implement diversity and speech codes versus right-wing students and administrators trying to protect certain kinds of speech. But political correctness is far from just a left-wing phenomenon, and there are many instances of right-wingers trying to silence speech on campus. Here are some of the ways […]

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  • Yale Students Fight for Change, say Racism on Campus goes Deeper than just Ignorance

    November 14, 2015

    By Ed Stannard at New Haven Register NEW HAVEN >> The central issue that has caused such an uproar atYale University, say many students, is racism and working to erase it and other forms of discrimination from campus life. While there have been episodes in the last two weeks that have put the focus on free speech and whether it’s being suppressed, those are minor compared to the real problems of race relations at the Ivy League school, those students say. Complaints by columnists and national media outlets that students have tried to suppress free speech are a “toxic diversion,” in […]

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  • College Students Want to Make Everything Free Except Their Minds

    November 13, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason.com At least it’s not just about offensive Halloween costumes, anymore: Students across the country engaged in protests Thursday and Friday as part of the Million Student March for debt forgiveness, free college, and a $15 minimum wage. I have serious reservations about these goals—a higher minimum wage would cripple the opportunities of young people, debt forgiveness would punish taxpayers for the crimes of the privileged, and free college just isn’t very usefulfor poor people. What’s more, students can’t articulate a way to pay for them, as evidenced by this painful exchange between an organizer and […]

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  • Purdue President Reaffirms Free Speech in Wake of Mizzou, Yale Controversies

    November 13, 2015

    By Emily Larsen at Campus Reform In a statement released Wednesday, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels reaffirmed free speech and drew contrast between Purdue’s speech policies and practices of those at Yale University and the University of Missouri. “Events this week at the University of Missouri and Yale University should remind us all of the importance of the absolute fidelity to our shared values,” Daniels wrote in the statement. President Daniels, who became Purdue’s president in January 2013 after serving his second term as the Governor of Indiana, cited past victories of Purdue student movements protecting free speech. The We […]

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  • Yale Vs. Princeton: The Battle For Free Speech On Campus

    November 13, 2015

    By Karin Agness at Forbes Yale and Princeton will square off on the gridiron on Saturday. While the schools are tied in the Ivy League football standings, it is becoming clear that the Tigers are winning when it comes to free speech on campus. Yale is in the national spotlight this week as campus protests and confrontations there heat up highlighting a national trend of students stifling free speech and the free exchange of ideas on campus. At issue in New Haven is an email sent out by The Intercultural Affairs Committee on Halloween costume guidelines to discourage students from […]

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  • When Free Speech Becomes a Political Weapon

    November 13, 2015

    By Kate Manne and Jason Stanley at The Chronicle Review Students at the University of Missouri recently succeeded in pressuring the institution’s president and chancellor to step down. At other campuses across the country, we are witnessing a wave of similar protests. Frequently, however, the students protesting are being misrepresented and belittled in the news media as childish and coddled. More worryingly still, they are held to be attacking freedom of speech rather than exercising it to call for institutional reform — political action of the very kind this freedom aims at protecting. What explains this apparent paradox? In a word, […]

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  • Amid Free Speech Debate, Yale Protesters Struggle to Keep the Focus on Racism

    November 12, 2015

    By Caitlin Dickson at Yahoo! News A simple email about Halloween costumes at Yale has brought tension over campus racism to a head, sparking an ongoing debate about the First Amendment and political correctness. After a notice from the university’s Intercultural Affairs Council urged undergraduates to avoid racially or culturally insensitive costumes, lecturer Erika Christakis sent an email to students at Silliman College, the residence hall for which she became associate master this fall, explaining why they should wear whatever they want on Halloween, regardless of whom they might offend. “American universities were once a safe space not only for […]

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  • Yale Students Spit on ‘Free Speech’ Advocates, Literally

    November 12, 2015

    By Kyle Becker at Independent Journal Oh, Yale: That august university of intrepid thought, perched aloft the shining hills of academe, which guides our eye with luminescent vision, enlightening all who countenance its idyllic grandeur. Just kidding. Yale is increasingly turning into a shelter for spoiled rich kids who wither at the prospect of deliberating on an unwelcome thought. Campus Reform brings our attention to a “free speech” rally at Yale that incited a protest among students who instead prefer a “safe space” free from undesirable thought. The publication reports: Students at Yale University are reacting with outrage to the suggestion that freedom of expression […]

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  • Students: Fight Racism, Not Free Speech

    November 12, 2015

    By Robby Soave at The Daily Beast The ouster of University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe this week—perhaps the most pivotal victory for young activists in years—should finally lay to rest the false notion that offended students have no real power on campus. The only question now is whether they will use their power for good. Indeed, there are many inequities for them to tackle, even on the relative bastion of privilege that is the university campus: the cost of attaining a degree is spiraling out of reach for lower and middle-class students, too many resources are gobbled up by […]

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  • At Mizzou, Yale and beyond, Campus Protests Stir Fresh Questions About Free Speech

    November 12, 2015

    Transcript at PBS News Hour At the University of Missouri, protests and a president’s resignation have put a spotlight on heated debate taking place on campuses across the country over hateful speech and racial insensitivities. Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker join Gwen Ifill to discuss questions of free speech and its limitations. GWEN IFILL: Marches and demonstrations at Missouri and other universities define a season of unrest on many college campuses. And the response to those protests has stirred fresh questions about how much speech is too much. […]

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  • They’re Mad for a Reason: Campus Activists are Yelling Because oo Many of us Still Won’t Listen

    November 11, 2015

    By Elias Isquith at Salon Media I am not the first person to observe that the way mainstream America talks and thinks about its youth is disjointed, strange and rife with neurosis. But the conversation that kicked off last week in response to student protests at Yale University and the University of Missouri has placed the bizarre mix of envy and resentment with which so many regard college students in especially sharp relief. Thanks to that new clarity, two aspects of the “debate” over free speech and campus activism are now easier to recognize. First, that much of the conversation […]

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  • Yale University Race Row: Faculty Member Nicholas Christakis Tells Students to ‘Look Away’ from Offensive Halloween Costumes

    November 11, 2015

    By Aftab Ali at The Independent A race row has erupted at one of the world’s most prestigious universities after two separate incidents collided to form debate on campus. In the run up to Halloween, students at Yale University in Connecticut, US, were sent an email from the institution’s Intercultural Affairs Council requesting they be thoughtful on the cultural implications  of their choice of costume. However, according to the individual rights group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (Fire), Erika Christakis – who is an associate master at the university’s Silliman College – responded to the student body withan email of […]

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  • The Yale Imbroglio

    November 11, 2015

    By Jane S. Shaw at National Review Elsewhere on the NRO site, Kevin Williamson explains what’s happening at Yale. He was there when students protested the panel on free speech, of which he was a member. But there’s more. The protests are bizarre. As Williamson writes: Turns out it’s a fairly typical college story — which is to say, a fairly stupid story — the short version of which is that Yale’s sensitivity babysitter sent out a pre-Halloween e-mail reminding all the smart Ivy League kids not to dress up like Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer; Professor Erika Christakis […]

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  • NC Professor Tells Students be Civil and Speak Freely – or Take a Hike

    November 11, 2015

    By Edmund DeMarche at Fox News Students of University of North Carolina-Wilmington Professor Mike Adams can check their outrage at Halloween costumes and “micro-aggressions” at the door, but if they want to have real debate on hot-button issues such as race, he’ll make time in his criminology class. The famously outspoken professor, who took his school to court and won after accusing officials of stalling his career because of his conservative beliefs, has watched as campus controversies have erupted at Yale and University of Missouri in recent days. At Yale, an administrator’s e-mail that asked students to exercise their First Amendment […]

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  • Campus Commotions Show We’re Raising Fragile Kids

    November 11, 2015

    By Jonah Goldberg at National Review It seems like every week there’s a new horror story of political correctness run amok at some college campus. A warning not to wear culturally insensitive Halloween costumes sparked an imbroglio at Yale, which went viral over the weekend. A lecturer asked in an e-mail, “Is there no room anymore for a child to be a little bit obnoxious . . . a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” Students went ballistic. When an administrator (who is the lecturer’s spouse) defended free speech, some students wanted his head. One student wrote in a Yale Herald op-ed […]

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  • Breitbart News Daily: Populism Takes Over; Crisis in Colleges

    November 11, 2015

    By Staff at Breitbart  On the Thursday, November 12, Breitbart News Daily show on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125 from 6AM to 9AM EST, host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon will interview a number of guests, including Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder on the University of Missouri uproar that forced President Tim Wolfe to resign. Parents Television Council President Tim Winter will discuss sexualized shows on regular cable that expose children to disturbing imagery, and why the FX Network needs to be kicked off the basic cable tier. Dan Gainor, Vice President of Business and Culture at the Media […]

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  • Free Speech vs. Political Correctness on College Campuses

    November 11, 2015

    By Staff at Here & Now Its been a busy week for college protesters. On Tuesday, hundreds marched at Yale University, protesting alleged racial insensitivity on campus. This came after student anger was raised to the boiling point when a sociology professor and his wife, both of whom oversee a student residence, emailed students saying it might be reasonable not to ban Halloween costumes that some consider offensive, but instead to use them as an opportunity for dialogue. At the University of Missouri, both Chancellor R. Brown Loftin and President Tim Wolfestepped down as protests over alleged systemic racism and […]

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  • On the Front Lines of the Fight for Free Speech at Yale

    November 11, 2015

    By Greg Lukianoff at The Washington Post Coincidences can be spooky. Last week, I showed up at Yale University in the middle of a campus crisis—and got drawn into it myself. I was visiting to give a long-planned lecture on campus free speech. When I showed up, students were in an uproar over an email sent by one of the heads of the very dormitory where I was scheduled to speak. Enter Erika Christakis, lecturer and associate master of Yale’s Silliman College (for non-Yalies, a dormitory). Erika is open-minded and a consistent critic of groupthink. When Yale’s Intercultural Affairs Committee […]

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  • Yale Student Protesters Allegedly Spit on Free Speech Advocates

    November 11, 2015

    By Peter Fricke at Campus Reform Students at Yale University are reacting with outrage to the suggestion that freedom of expression trumps their sensitivities, allegedly even spitting on attendees at a free speech rally. During a conference on “The Future of Free Speech” Friday evening hosted by the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale, student activists became incensed by a comment made by one of the speakers that was posted on social media, leading them to converge on the auditorium in an effort to disrupt the event,The Yale Daily News reports. The disruption was prompted by a remark from […]

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  • Yale Students Protest Forum on Free Speech

    November 10, 2015

    By Jonathan H. Adler at The Washington Post In addition to the events last week at Yale that Eugene discussed here, on Friday some Yale students protested a forum on free speech on university campuses sponsored by the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale. From the Yale Daily News: After a comment made by speaker Greg Lukianoff during a private William F. Buckley, Jr. Program conference on free speech was posted on the Facebook group “Overheard at Yale” Friday afternoon, over 100 students gathered around Linsly-Chittenden Hall to voice their anger. “Looking at the reaction to [Silliman College Associate Master] Erika […]

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  • Can Colleges Protect Free Speech While also Curbing Voices of Hate?

    November 10, 2015

    By Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga at The Washington Post College campuses across the country have plunged into an intense debate that pits free-speech advocates against those who want to rein in insults, slurs and other offensive expressions. Student uprisings at Yale, the University of Missouri and elsewhere show a passionate desire to confront racism and bigotry in all its forms, from the disgustingly overt — a fecal swastika smeared on a bathroom wall in Columbia, Mo. — to the subtle or even unintentional offenses known as “micro-aggressions.” But the drive to combat hurtful and hateful speech is colliding in […]

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  • Will someone please save the Yalies (from themselves): Column

    November 10, 2015

    By Kevin D. Williamson at USA Today Really, Yale — you shouldn’t have! All this for little ol’ me? It wasn’t really for little ol’ me, in fact. On Friday, I was honored to be a guest of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale, where I participated in a panel on freedom of speech with the wonderful writer Harry Stein and professor Bradley A. Smith, a noted law scholar. The Yale kids did their screaming best to prevent us from having a conversation about free speech — the Yale kids are utterly immune to irony — but the event went […]

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  • The Delicate Little Flowers on Today’s College Campuses

    November 10, 2015

    By Jonah Goldberg at Los Angeles Times It seems like every week there’s a new horror story of political correctness run amok at some college campus. A warning not to wear culturally insensitive Halloween costumes sparked an imbroglio at Yale, which went viral over the weekend.A lecturer asked in an email, “Is there no room anymore for a child to be a little bit obnoxious … a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” Students went ballistic. When an administrator (who is the lecturer’s spouse) defended free speech, some students wanted his head. One student wrote in an op-ed […]

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  • A Free-Speech Conference Inflamed Racial Tension at Yale University and Drew Protesters

    November 10, 2015

    By Abby Jackson at Business Insider Yale University has been in upheaval since two racially charged incidents occurred on Halloween weekend. On Friday, tensions on the New Haven, Connecticut, campus continued to escalate when students protested a William F. Buckley Jr. conference on free speech, The Yale Daily News reports. Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, spoke at the event. He spurred the protest with a comment he made about students who spoke out against an email Silliman College Associate Master Erika Christakis sent supporting students’ right to wear offensive Halloween costumes. “Looking at the reaction […]

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  • Yale’s Idiot Children

    November 10, 2015

    By Kevin D. Williamson at National Review  Really, Yale — you shouldn’t have! All this for little ol’ me? It wasn’t really for little ol’ me, in fact. On Friday, I was honored to be a guest of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale, where I participated in a panel on freedom of speech with the wonderful writer Harry Stein and professor Bradley A. Smith, a noted law scholar. The Yale kids did their screaming best to prevent us from having a conversation about free speech — the Yale kids are utterly immune to irony — but the event went […]

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  • Race and the Free-Speech Diversion

    November 10, 2015

    By Jelani Cobb at The New Yorker Of the many concerns unearthed by the protests at two major universities this week, the velocity at which we now move from racial recrimination to self-righteous backlash is possibly the most revealing. The unrest that occurred at the University of Missouri and at Yale University, two outwardly dissimilar institutions, shared themes of racial obtuseness, arthritic institutional responses to it, and the feeling, among students of color, that they are tenants rather than stakeholders in their universities. That these issues have now been subsumed in a debate over political correctness and free speech on […]

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  • Yale Students, Faculty: We Don’t Want to be Coddled, but Create a “Safe Space” From Offense

    November 9, 2015

    By Taylor Millard at Hot Air Some staff and students at Yale University believe they have the right to not be offended. Jazz has written about this already, but the way this story is really starting to spiral more. It all started when the Intercultural Affairs Committee sent an email to students right before Halloween telling them to express themselves, but please don’t be offensive (emphasis mine). However, Halloween is also unfortunately a time when the normal thoughtfulness and sensitivity of most Yale students can sometimes be forgotten and some poor decisions can be made including wearing feathered headdresses, turbans, […]

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  • Hundreds March at Yale in Solidarity with Minority Students

    November 9, 2015

    By Isaac Stanley-Becker at The Washington Post NEW HAVEN, CONN. — A crowd of hundreds stopped traffic on city streets surrounding the Yale University campus Monday in a march to show solidarity with minority students who say they are barred from full participation at the Ivy League school. Winding their way past the university’s four cultural centers — and the Yale chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, where brothers have been accused of turning black women away from a party last weekend — students displayed signs urging the university to support women of color, faculty of color and ethnic studies. One […]

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  • Like Missouri, Yale Students Upset by Racial Incidents and Remarks on Campus

    November 9, 2015

    By Doug G. Ware at United Press International  NEW HAVEN, Conn., Nov. 9 (UPI) — As the president of the University of Missouri resigned in the face of growing racial tension Monday, some students at Yale continued leveling criticisms at the Ivy League institution over what they view as apathy by the college toward similar matters of race. Timothy M. Wolfe, the University of Missouri system’s president, stepped down Monday following several days of mounting pressure over multiple alleged incidents of racism on the Columbia campus. In New Haven, some students are complainingthe same type of thing is happening. The controversy […]

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  • A Clash Between Administrators and Students at Yale went Viral. Why that is Unfortunate for all Concerned.

    November 9, 2015

    By Daniel W. Drezner at The Washington Post  Over the past week, Yale University has been embroiled in some intense debates about race on campus. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Sarah Brown offers some succinct backstory: At the heart of the controversy are two emails and a Facebook post. On October 28, Yale’s Intercultural Affairs Council sent a message that urged students to reconsider wearing cultural costumes on Halloween that might offend some students. Erika Christakis, a Yale lecturer who serves as an associate master at one of the university’s 12 residential colleges, wrote a responsequestioning the need to exercise […]

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  • Racial Tensions Escalate

    November 9, 2015

    By Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed Racial tensions at the University of Missouri and Yale University have escalated dramatically in the last week. At the University of Missouri, a student at the flagship campus at Columbia is approaching a week on a hunger strike to demand the resignation of President Tim Wolfe, who has not done enough, minority students charge, to deal with racist incidents on campus. In a highly unusual move, the black players on the football team on Saturday announced that they would boycott games in the future unless Wolfe resigns. He has not done so, but […]

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  • Only Conservatives Can Save the American Campus–But Should We?

    November 8, 2015

    By Milo Yiannopoulos at Breitbart What does it take to generate a rabid, Maoist-style mob demanding political purges, on an Ivy League campus, in 2015? An email defending “offensive” Halloween costumes, apparently.That’s what kicked off the latest nadir in campus zealotry, this time at no less a university than Yale. Typically the fall is a time when Yale students are obsessed with defeating arch-rival Harvard at football, a war on the gridiron that occasionally turn ugly. This year the sport of choice seems to be the public castigation of professors by students, a battle on the quadrangle destined to become just as menacing. Outrage began at Yale […]

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  • What’s Really Going On at Yale

    November 8, 2015

    By Aaron Z. Lewis at Medium By now, you’ve probably seen the video of a Yale student yelling at a professor, the Facebook post about a “white girls only” party, or the email about offensive Halloween costumes. Unfortunately, the short YouTube clips and articles I’ve seen don’t even come close to painting an accurate picture of what’s happening at Yale. I’m a senior here, and I’ve experienced the controversy firsthand over the past week (and years). I want to tell a more complete story and set a few facts straight. For starters: the protests are not really about Halloween costumes or […]

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  • Petulance And Idiocy At Yale

    November 8, 2015

    By Matt Vespa at Townhall.com Outrage has embroiled Yale University over Halloween costumes. It all began when the Associate Master of Silliman College, Erika Christakis, responded to an email sent by the Intercultural Affairs Committee prior to the annual day of trick-or-treating that asked students to be sensitive to politically incorrect costumes on Halloween. Silliman is one of the residential colleges at the university. Christakis, and her husband, Nicholas, the Master of Silliman, are now being targeted for termination by the student body for daring to say that Halloween is an exercise in free speech and expression. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education had […]

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  • Administrator’s Defending Student Free Speech is Apparently Reason to Remove the Administrator, According to Some Yale Students

    November 7, 2015

    By Eugene Volokh at The Washington Post Student dorms at Yale have resident faculty members, who live in the dorm with their families. (I should note for the record Yale’s view that these are “[f]ar more than dormitories” and “have been called ‘little paradises.’”) “The master is the chief administrative officer and the presiding faculty presence in each residential college,” “responsible for the physical well being and safety of students in the residential college, as well as for fostering and shaping the social, cultural, and educational life and character of the college.” “During the year, he or she hosts lectures, […]

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  • Yale Admins’ Comments On Offensive Halloween Costumes Spark Protest

    November 7, 2015

    By Hilary Hanson at Huffington Post  Some Yale University students are protesting two faculty members who criticized a campus-wide email about potentially offensive Halloween costumes. A group of about 100 students confronted Nicholas Christakis — who holds the administrative title of “master” at Silliman College, a residential college at the New Haven, Connecticut university — on Thursday because he expressed that the school should not police costumes that might offend other students, the Yale Daily News reports. (All undergraduates enrolled in Yale College also belong to a residential college.) Erika Christakis, Nicholas’ wife and an associate master at the college, sent an email on […]

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  • The Moment Yale Students Encircled and Shouted Down Professor Who Told Them to Just ‘Look Away’ if They Were Offended by Halloween Costumes

    November 7, 2015

    By Ollie Gillman for Dailymail.com This video shows the moment dozens of students encircled a Yale University official and screamed at him for sending an email telling them to ignore people dressed in offensive Halloween costumes. Nicholas Christakis, the master of Silliman College at Yale, was surrounded after telling students to allow others to exercise free speech by wearing what they wanted on Halloween. He was shouted down on Thursday as he tried to explain why he believed students should be able to wear what they want, with one young woman yelling at him and telling him to ‘shut the […]

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  • Free Speech Losing Ground

    November 7, 2015

    By Staff at The Columbus Dispatch It’s bad news that free speech is being curtailed on campuses across the country today. The worse news, though, is that many students don’t seem to realize it or care. A poll released by Yale University’s William F. Buckley Jr. Program, conducted by polling firm McLaughlin & Associates, found that more than half (51 percent) of students “are in favor of their college or university having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty.” That means a student or teacher accused of saying something bigoted or “wrong” can be charged with a violation […]

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  • Whatever Happened to the Left’s Love of Free Speech?

    November 6, 2015

    By Roger Pilon at Lincoln Time-News There was a time in America when the Left could be counted on to defend free speech. But as countless examples today demonstrate, those days are long gone. From campus speech codes to campaign finance to prosecutorial threats against climate change critics and more, the evidence is as fresh as this morning’s newspapers. Campus assaults have been so well documented by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) that they need no elaboration here. But the latest campaign finance “reform”—”until the court reverses its decision in Citizens United”—can be found championed in an […]

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  • Watch Students Tell Yale to Fire a Staffer Who Upset Their Safe Space

    November 6, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason Online  Students are demanding that Yale University fire two administrators who failed to speak out against offensive Halloween costumes. This is just one of the grievances of activist students—many of them people of color—who claim Yale is not a safe space for them. On Thursday, the students surrounded Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway—a black man—in an outdoor space and chided him for failing to take action against a fraternity that had allegedly prevented black women from attending its party. (It’s not at all clear the allegation is true, according to The Daily Beast.) After giving […]

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  • Free Speech on Campus at Risk

    November 3, 2015

    By Staff at The Virginia Gazette  Open debate or ideological conformity? This question is among the free speech issues facing institutions of higher learning nationwide, including William & Mary. To address this topic, the Society for the College, an independent non-profit alumni organization and the SFTC Student Association has engaged speaker Catherine Sevcenko, noted authority on legal issues affecting student rights, to discuss how W&M students can defend the first amendment and academic freedom on campus. Sevcenko, associate director of litigation at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, will also present some wide legal challenges affecting free speech and academic […]

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  • College Students: Yes, You can Limit our Speech

    October 29, 2015

    By Bob Unruh at WND.com A new poll indicates half of the college students in America approve of limits on their speech and the speech of their professors. And even more say their schools should actively monitor the speech of speakers who come to campus and believe some should be banned. The stunning results, which give the impression that America is more restrictive than its Constitution allows, come from a new study from Yale University’s William F. Buckley Jr. program. The results are disturbing, says the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which was created to “defend and sustain” individual rights […]

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  • A Liberal Calls Out Intolerant Leftists Who Smother Free Speech On Campus

    May 20, 2015

    By Adam Kissel at The John William Pope Center When Columbia University’s Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board complained a few weeks ago that “many texts in the Western canon [contain] triggering and offensive material that marginalizes student identities,” I thought of China, whose education minister vowed to ban “textbooks promoting Western values” earlier this year. The rise of intolerance on campus and beyond makes a new book by columnist and television commentator Kirsten Powers a must-read. If you do not yet believe that American higher education is smothered in intolerance of diverse ideas, read The Silencing: How the Left is Killing […]

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  • Video: George Will Talks Campus Speech Threats at ‘Disinvitation Dinner’

    April 24, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix He’s been targeted for “disinvitation” from campus gigs, with some universities less cowardly than others. But Yale University’s William F. Buckley Jr. program gave political pundit George Will his due last week, precisely because he’s been deemed too offensive to be heard by so many delicate flowers in the quad. Speaking to the program’s first annual “disinvitation dinner,” Will warned that students are increasingly demanding “the right to an emotionally, intellectually comfortable living,” as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes. Will gave props to FIRE’s president, Greg Lukianoff, as “a genuine hero […]

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  • DeMint at Yale: Academic Censorship as a Political Weapon

    March 26, 2015

    By James DeMint at The Daily Signal The following are Jim DeMint’s prepared remarks delivered to the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale University. I’d like to start out by telling you the story of a young guy named Omar Mahmood. He was in the news a couple months back. He’s a junior at the University of Michigan, and writes for both the mainstream campus newspaper, The Michigan Daily, and the University’s alternative conservative publication, the Michigan Review. At least he did, until he became one of academia’s latest victims of political correctness. Omar recently wrote a short satire […]

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  • The Smearing of Patrick Witt Continues

    November 6, 2014

    By KC Johnson at Minding The Campus When Patrick Witt published his op-ed on what was done to him in a sexual assault hearing at Yale, he had to know that the critics would emerge from the woodwork. And so they have. The New York Times continues to stand behind its botched reporting on the case, which even the Times’ public editor said was “unfair” to Witt and not worthy of publication. And one of the self-styled campus “activists” revealed perhaps more than she intended regarding how she approaches the question of campus sexual assault. Alexandra Brodsky is a representative […]

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  • Three Dirty Academic Words Ending in ‘Ity’

    September 15, 2014

    By Richard Vedder at  Forbes UPDATE: Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke to Yale last night without significant interruption or disturbance according to the Yale Daily News, and received a standing ovation.  A decade ago, the favorite word out of university presidents’ mouths was “diversity.” A few years later, the cool word to use was “sustainability.” Today, the new mot du jour is “civility.” Universities have ruined all three of these once perfectly good words. For the record, I am against “diversity,” “sustainability,” and “civility” –at least as they are misused by university apparatchiks. “Diversity” came to mean evaluating people not on their intellectual merit, the strength […]

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  • Free Speech at Yale

    September 15, 2014

    By Jake New at Inside Higher Ed At Yale University’s Freshman Assembly last month, Peter Salovey, Yale’s president, urged students to avoid the kind of speaker policing that has happened at so many other campuses of late. “Invitations to provocative speakers have been withdrawn; politicians, celebrities, and even university presidents invited to deliver commencement addresses have — under pressure — declined to speak to graduates; student protesters have had their signs destroyed by other members of a campus community,” Salovey said. “Although we have not seen these kinds of episodes at Yale in recent decades, it is important on occasions like […]

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  • Yale Chaplain Makes Offensive Comments about Brave Women’s Rights Activist

    September 15, 2014

    By Eric Owens at The Daily Caller Yale University’s William F. Buckley, Jr. Program has invited Somali-born American activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak on campus Monday night, and the decision has stirred anger on the prestigious Ivy League campus. Yale’s chaplain, Sharon Kugler, is among the critics of the visit. In a statement provided to Inside Higher Ed, Kugler lashed out at Hirsi Ali, calling her a “hateful” and “disparaging” person. “We understand and affirm Yale’s commitment to free expression within an educational context,” Kugler said in the statement. “We are deeply concerned, however, by Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s long record […]

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  • Yale Students Tangle With University Over Website

    January 21, 2014

    by Ariel Kaminer The idea did not seem controversial at first: Peter Xu and Harry Yu, twin brothers who are seniors at Yale University, set out to build a better, more user-friendly version of the university’s online course catalog. But as Mark Zuckerberg found when he decided to build a better version of Harvard’s undergraduate student directory, these things can take on a life of their own. Yale shut down the brothers’ website last week, helping to turn a local campus issue into something of a civil rights cause. Now, after a few days of controversy, a similar tool is up and […]

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  • Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    December 17, 2013

    By Cathy Young at Reason One evening in February 2012, Vassar College students Xialou “Peter” Yu and Mary Claire Walker, both members of the school’s rowing team, had a few drinks at a team gathering and left together as the party wound down. After a make-out session at a campus nightspot, they went to Yu’s dorm room, where, by his account, they had sex that was not only consensual but mainly initiated by Walker, who reassured her inexperienced partner that she knew what to do. At some point, Yu’s roommate walked in on them; after he was gone, Yu says, Walker […]

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  • Introduction To Irony: Or, How To Take A Joke 101

    December 4, 2012

    I know a few Holocaust jokes. I learned them from the children of survivors. I suspect they’d disagree with the Harvard student who declared that pain was no laughing matter. “I don’t think that jokes should trigger on any type of pain,” 20-year-old Dakota Rot explained to the Boston Globe. She was responding to satirical fliers distributed on campus advertising a fake social club, noting “Jews need not apply,” and “Coloreds Okay,” and including a reference to date rape. “If you’re a person that’s part Jewish or a person of color or a woman who’s has been in any dangerous situation, you […]

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  • Unlearning liberty

    November 30, 2012

    ‘At Stanford, I took every human rights class that was offered, every First Amendment class, and in addition to that, for six additional credits, I did an independent study on the origins of the prior restraint doctrine of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. That’s how much of a nerd I am about this stuff.’ Greg Lukianoff lets out a big hearty laugh, before adding, ‘And I really enjoyed that last one’.             There is no doubting Lukianoff’s passion for the principles of liberty. In 2006, he was made president of the Foundation for Individual Rights […]

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  • Universities: “The Most Authoritarian Institution in America

    November 17, 2012

    In this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, occasional COMMENTARY contributor Sohrab Ahmari distills an interview with Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The article really is a must-read. It begins: At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—”a bizarre, parallel dimension,” as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it. A glance at FIRE’s top current cases shows just how serious the […]

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  • How Free Speech Died on Campus

    November 16, 2012

    At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—”a bizarre, parallel dimension,” as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it. Mr. Lukianoff, a 38-year-old Stanford Law grad, has spent the past decade fighting free-speech battles on college campuses. The latest was last week at Fordham University, where President Joseph McShane scolded College Republicans for the sin of inviting Ann Coulter to speak.  […]

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  • Not at Liberty to Discuss

    September 14, 2012

    Last week, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) published its second annual list of the “Seven Best Colleges for Freedom of Speech” on The Huffington Post. As FIRE’s president and a HuffPo contributor for the past five years, I knew what was coming next — and sure enough, the predictable culture war arguments were quickly trotted out by commenters. I wasn’t surprised. After all, the college campus should serve as a kind of national free speech laboratory, where all ideas are freely debated. So naming some schools better or worse at facilitating this kind of dialogue always strikes a chord with readers. Some […]

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  • On-campus free speech slowly improving

    April 5, 2012

    Although only 12 are listed on the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education‘s (FIRE) list of “Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2012,” the organization asserts that the roll could be much longer. FIRE vice president Robert Shibley says the list includes institutions that severely violate the speech rights of students, faculty members — and sometimes both. “Our number-one was the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, where they limit demonstrations, pickets and rallies to only one-tenth of one percent of their campus — and you have to reserve that ten days in advance,” he details. That is a small portion of the […]

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  • Don’t speak: Report ranks 2012’s ‘Worst Colleges for Free Speech’ in the country

    April 2, 2012

    Last week, the Foundation For Individual Rights in Education released its second-annual “Worst Colleges for Free Speech” list. The Philadelphia-based nonprofit named 12 U.S. colleges and universities that, in its view, continue to impose limits on student speech — even after intense pressure from FIRE and others.  FIRE president Greg Lukianoff released the list on his Huffington Post blog.  Topping the dozen was the University of Cincinnati, due to a pending civil rights lawsuit filed against them by Young Americans for Liberty, a Ron Paul-inspired activist group. In February, the officially sanctioned student organization was limited to a small “free […]

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  • 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 their students, and is ready to present a “dirty dozen” of colleges that have attacked freedom of speech with such zeal that we cannot help but (dis)honor them. While it was difficult to choose from such a wide talent pool, certain schools took our breath […]

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  • Government pressure got frat kicked off campus?

    May 24, 2011

    Last week colleges were abuzz with news that Yale University had decided to kick the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity off campus for sexist hazing antics which occurred in October of 2010. The decision has its supporters and its critics, yet both sides speculate that political pressure from the federal government led the Ivy to give DKE the boot. The federal government has put more focus on the problems of sexual harassment and violence on campus in recent months, specifically: Vice President Joe Biden’s anti-sexual violence on campus push, “Dear Colleague” letters from the Education Department lowering the standard of […]

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  • Yale, the Department of Education, and the looming free speech crisis

    May 24, 2011

    Yale University’s recent decision to punish a fraternity that made pledges chant offensive slogans was heralded by some as a blow against sexual harassment. But it may be the beginning of a new wave of campus censorship of politically incorrect speech. The reason lies in the relationship between the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is in charge of policing the enforcement of antidiscrimination laws on campus, and the ever-growing ranks of campus bureaucracy. On April 4, 2011, OCR issued a 19-page letter laying out detailed procedures every university in the country must follow in cases involving […]

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  • The Tyranny of Hurt Feelings

    May 17, 2011

    Call it testosterone poisoning: A group of fraternity pledges at Yale, blindfolded and led in a line, each with his hands on the shoulders of the boy in front of him (the Yalie bunny hop?), were paraded around campus. They shouted vile and puerile slogans including “No means yes, yes means anal” and “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophiliac, I f— dead women.” “It makes you want to slap those kids,” laments Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Idiotic behavior like that of Delta Kappa Epsilon makes his job — defending free speech and […]

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  • Sexual Harassment and the Loneliness of the Civil Libertarian Feminist

    April 6, 2011

    Civil libertarian feminists have always been a political minority, but these days we seem on the verge of extinction. Reviewing the charges of sexual harassment underlying the Title IX complaint by a group of Yale students and alumnae, I can’t find feminism — at least not if feminism includes independence, liberty, and power for women. Instead I find femininity — the assumption that women are incapable of fending for themselves in the marketplace of epithets or ideas, the belief that women are rendered helpless by misogynist speech and the sexist tantrums of their male peers. The Yale group’s confidential Title […]

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  • Yale University’s (and the Media’s) Free Speech Problem

    February 21, 2011

    by Michael Rubin COMMENTARY Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), recently ranked Yale as among the worst colleges for free speech. Certainly, my alma mater deserves its notoriety. In 2009, Yale College Dean Mary Miller censored the Freshman Class Council’s traditional t-shirt ahead of the Yale-Harvard game because it reproduced an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote with a dirty word—“sissies.”  Yale also made international headlines when a top administrator intervened with the nominally autonomous Yale University Press to censor a scholarly study of the Danish cartoon controversy. The interjection coincided with Yale President Richard […]

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  • Legislators watching for final decision on public law school

    December 26, 2009

    While they have no official say over whether Massachusetts could open the state’s first public law school, legislators on both sides of the issue are threatening to file legislation as pre-emptive strikes before the state Board of Higher Education makes its final decision in February. State Senator Stanley Rosenberg is preparing legislation that would bar the proposed public law school at UMass Dartmouth from using state funds because he is skeptical of Chancellor Jean MacCormack’s promise that no tax dollars would be used in creating or sustaining the law school. Well, an eye for an eye, retorted South Coast members […]

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  • College Students Can’t Say ‘Sissies’ Anymore?

    December 21, 2009

    Yale Goes for Old-Timey Censorship Against F. Scott Fitzgerald Quote by Thomas Mitchell The Huffington Post   The idea of there being an annual “big” Yale versus Harvard football game produces two thoughts in me: first, “Yale and Harvard have football teams?” and, once that is answered in the affirmative, “Right, I think I learned about that on The Simpsons.” But this year the most interesting thing to come out of this age-old, blue-blood anachronism-fest had nothing to do with Mr. Burns. It started before the Harvard and Yale teams flailed against each other on the football field last month; […]

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  • Standing Up to Threats

    December 1, 2009

    Academics’ commitment to free expression shouldn’t be put on hold because of the threat of violence, according to a joint statement issued Monday by a coalition of academic and civil liberties groups. “The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who would attack and undermine it,” says the statement. “It is time for colleges and universities in particular to exercise moral and intellectual leadership. It is incumbent on those responsible for the education of the next generation of leaders to stand up for certain basic principles: that the free exchange of ideas is essential to liberal democracy; that […]

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  • A growing threat to free speech

    September 24, 2009

    Free speech is now under widespread attack in the name of political correctness. In August, Yale University Press announced that the book The Cartoons That Shook The World, should not include the l2 Danish drawings that originally appeared in September 2005 and led to protests by Moslems around the world, including riots and the burning and vandalism of embassies. At least 200 people were killed. Yale also decided to eliminate other illustrations of the prophet Muhammad that were to be included in a children’s book. These included an Ottoman print and a sketch by the l9th century artist Gustave Dore […]

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  • Academic and free-speech groups join criticism of Yale U. Press over cartoons in book

    September 16, 2009

    Criticism continues to rain down on Yale University and Yale University Press for their decision to remove all images of the Prophet Muhammad from a forthcoming scholarly book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Jytte Klausen. Now the National Coalition Against Censorship and a group of academic and free-speech organizations have sent a letter of protest to Yale’s president, Richard C. Levin, and the Yale Corporation. “This misguided action established a dangerous precedent that threatens academic and intellectual freedom around the world,” the coalition wrote. It said that the university’s action “compromises the principle and practice of academic freedom, […]

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  • The cartoons that shook the publisher

    August 28, 2009

    By Daniel Ortner at The Brandeis Hoot The infirmity of free speech became abundantly clear when Prof. Jytte Klausen (POL) became the latest victim of the politically correct assault on academic freedom and discourse. Klausen is a leading expert on the growing Islamic population in Europe, and her latest book, “The Cartoons That Shook the World,” focuses on the Muhammad cartoon controversy-arguing that rather than represent a truly deep seeded cultural animosity, the explosion of violence that followed the cartoons’ publication was incited by radicals looking to score political victories. Thus, one would expect that the book would allow the reader to […]

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  • Unexplained mysteries in Mohammed cartoon controversy

    August 14, 2009

    By Robert Shibley at Pajamas Media Most of us remember the riots across the Islamic world that ensued in 2005 after the Danish publication Jyllands-Posten [1] printed its now-infamous collection of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed [2]. Now the  New York Times (which points out that it refused to run the cartoons) is reporting [3] that Yale University Press has brought the controversy to the fore once again by refusing to print the cartoons in an upcoming book. The name of that upcoming book? The Cartoons That Shook the World. That’s right: Yale University Press has determined that a book that is all about the […]

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  • Yale Profs in ‘NYT’ Op-Ed: ‘Why College Is Not Home’

    February 5, 2016

    In a thoughtful piece in today’s New York Times, Yale University physics professor A. Douglas Stone and Dr. Mary Schwab-Stone, a psychiatrist and former Yale psychology faculty member, revisit the Erika Christakis debacle from last fall at Yale. They argue that The college years — a time for important growth in autonomy and the consolidation of adult identity and life goals — have evolved into an extended period of adolescence during which many of today’s students are not saddled with adult responsibilities. Torch readers will remember our early reporting on the Yale Halloween costume incident last fall, punctuated by calls […]

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  • Scientist: Demotion of Free Speech at Yale Imperils Intellectual Advances

    December 23, 2015

    Scientist Steven Benner was one of the student signatories to Yale University’s 1975 Woodward Report, which articulated the university’s commitment to free expression. Amid recent controversies over free speech on the Ivy League campus, that report is being revisited. Earlier this month, Benner addressed what the Woodward Report means for today’s Yale students in a Yale Daily News op-ed. “Censorship is the exercise of power by the empowered,” he wrote. “Free speech is how the disempowered become empowered.” When I talked to Benner on a recent morning, he expounded on the ideas in his Daily News op-ed, discussed his reliance […]

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  • UPDATED: Erika Christakis to Quit Teaching After Email Controversy; Husband to Take Sabbatical

    December 8, 2015

    Erika Christakis will no longer teach at Yale University. Christakis told The Washington Post late last week that she is resigning “to return to her work with young children and families.” Christakis had faced calls to resign her post as associate master of one of Yale’s dormitories, after she questioned the reasoning behind Yale’s request that students not wear culturally insensitive Halloween costumes. The early childhood educator will continue in her role as associate master of Silliman College, but has cancelled her spring courses over the backlash. Christakis’ October 30 email to Silliman students questioned the concepts of “safe spaces” […]

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  • Yale Faculty Defend Freedom of Speech, Express Support for Christakises in Open Letter

    November 30, 2015

    Forty-nine current or emeritus faculty members at Yale University have signed an open letter of support for Erika and Nicholas Christakis’ right to “free speech and freedom of intellectual expression.” The Christakises—who serve as masters at Silliman College, one of Yale’s residential colleges—have been at the center of a free speech controversy ever since Erika Christakis sent an email to her Silliman College students questioning administrative intrusion into student autonomy and expressive rights in the context of controversial Halloween costumes. The open letter, reported on today by the Yale Daily News, is a response to student demands that the Christakises […]

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  • Yale Expresses Support for Faculty at Center of Halloween Email Controversy

    November 18, 2015

    NEW HAVEN, Conn., November 18, 2015—In an email sent to students yesterday, the president of Yale University and the dean of Yale College affirmed their support for two faculty members at the center of a free speech controversy over Halloween costumes. On October 30, Erika Christakis, associate master of Yale’s Silliman College, responded to an email from the school’s Intercultural Affairs Council that asked students to be thoughtful about the cultural implications of their Halloween costumes. In her response to the Silliman community, Christakis questioned what she and some Silliman students perceived as an intrusion into the expressive rights of […]

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  • Progress at Yale, But a Conspicuous Omission

    November 13, 2015

    After a tumultuous week at Yale University, we are starting to see some progress—and hopefully a way forward. On Tuesday, Yale’s president and the dean of Yale College issued a welcome reaffirmation of the necessity of freedom of expression at the institution. Now, the institution must make clear that Yale supports Erika and Nicholas Christakis and they will not face punishment or termination for their role in starting a national conversation about the importance of free speech on campus.   The past week has provided a powerful demonstration of how free speech enlightens and challenges us, on campus and beyond. […]

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  • FIRE’s Lukianoff on Being ‘On the Front Lines of the Fight for Free Speech at Yale’

    November 11, 2015

    The Washington Post ran an op-ed today from FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff detailing the events he witnessed during his recent visit to Yale University. By wild coincidence, Greg was at Yale last week for a conference on free speech. Little did he know he would soon find himself embroiled in the controversy himself as the campus exploded into outrage and unrest over tensions fueled by allegations of racism at a fraternity party and Yale professor Erika Christakis’ email about offensive Halloween costumes. While the events at Yale have sparked a much-needed national dialogue about free speech on campus, […]

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  • ‘The Atlantic’ on the Yale Halloween Email and Free Speech Controversy

    November 9, 2015

    Conor Friedersdorf covers “The New Intolerance of Student Activism” in his front-page article for The Atlantic’s website today, discussing the ongoing controversy at Yale over an email by Silliman College Associate Master Erika Christakis in which she questioned the wisdom of “an institutional (which is to say: bureaucratic and administrative) exercise of implied control” over students’ Halloween costumes. FIRE’s Haley Hudler covered the story in detail here on The Torch last Friday. Friedersdorf begins by explaining why readers should care about what is happening at Yale, saying, “[e]veryone invested in how the elites of tomorrow are being acculturated should understand, […]

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  • New Survey Exposes Threats to Free Speech on Campus

    October 28, 2015

    On Monday, Yale University’s William F. Buckley, Jr. Program released a national survey measuring U.S. college students’ attitudes towards free speech on campus. The results were troubling. The 2015 Buckley Free Speech Survey, which was conducted by pollster McLaughlin & Associates, sheds light on how students view topics including the First Amendment, intellectual diversity, academic freedom, campus speech codes, political correctness, and trigger warnings. At first glance, some of the findings seem to bode well for campus free speech. For example, 95 percent of the 800 college students surveyed said that campus free speech is important to them, and almost […]

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  • In Mishandling Sexual Assault Allegations Against Patrick Witt, Yale Failed Everyone

    November 7, 2014

    Former Yale University quarterback Patrick Witt took to The Boston Globe earlier this week to tell his story of how Yale’s secretive “informal complaint process” changed the course of his life after someone filed an accusation against him “that, if substantiated, would constitute a violation of university policy concerning sexual misconduct.” According to Witt, Yale never formally charged him with any conduct violations or even told Witt specifically what he was alleged to have done; he was simply instructed to avoid his accuser. At no point in the process, as Witt describes it, was a good-faith attempt made to determine […]

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  • Constitution Day 2014: What a Difference a Year Makes

    September 18, 2014

    September 17, 2013—last year’s Constitution Day—turned out to be a dark moment in the history of free speech on America’s campuses. That was the day Robert Van Tuinen was stopped from handing out Constitutions on the campus of Modesto Junior College (MJC) in California. He had neglected to sign up to use the school’s tiny “free speech area,” the only place that a student was allowed to hand out literature. On the same day, an administrator at Citrus College (also in California) told student Vinny Sinapi-Riddle that he could be removed from campus for seeking another student’s signature on a […]

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  • Yale President Welcomes Freshmen with Free Speech Advocacy

    August 25, 2014

    Yale University President Peter Salovey shared an important message with the Class of 2018 as he welcomed students to the university on Saturday. Salovey’s speech at Yale’s Freshman Assembly focused on the fundamental need for free expression, particularly at colleges and universities.

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  • Boston’s WGBH Announces Muzzle Award ‘Winners’

    July 9, 2014

    Boston’s WGBH News has just announced the “winners” of its 2014 Muzzle Awards, given to those who have particularly impeded freedom of speech over the past year. Formerly published in the Boston Phoenix, WGBH has adopted the awards and is continuing the tradition of “singl[ing] out the dramatic and the petty, the epic and the absurd.”

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  • 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 to my beloved alma mater, Vassar—combined with my interactions with students where I teach and some disappointing sleuthing—has made it apparent that much of the unstructured free play at college seems to have disappeared in favor of pre-professional anxiety, coupled with the nihilistic, homogeneous partying […]

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  • Yale Releases Semiannual Report on Sexual Misconduct, With Perplexing Details

    February 6, 2014

    Yale University’s latest Report of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct relays details about 70 complaints of sexual misconduct filed in the latter half of 2013, as well as statistical summaries of the complaints and Yale’s definitions of relevant terms. Brooklyn College Professor KC Johnson took a critical look at the report and wrote for Minding the Campus yesterday to note some particularly vague complaints that illustrate just how little it takes to remove someone from campus.

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  • Yale Unlearns Free Expression

    January 17, 2014

    The Yale Daily News reports that Yale University is blocking a popular course evaluation site called CourseTable (originally called Bluebook+) put together by undergraduate brothers Peter Xu and Harry Yu. This is the second time Yale has tried to stifle a student website rating Yale’s courses and professors. The first time it simply bought the site, Yale Bluebook. (Yale’s course catalog is commonly referred to as the Bluebook.) This time, Registrar Gabriel Olszewski demanded that the site be taken down because it was “making YC course evaluation available to many who are not authorized to view this information,” and the site used the word […]

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  • Please Explain Why Putting University Administrators in Charge of Judging Speech Is a Good Idea

    July 9, 2013

    Architect Rolls and Plans – Shutterstock My colleagues have done a thorough job of explaining why defenders of the Department of Education’s “blueprint” for preventing campus sexual harassment are on very shaky legal and logical ground. They have pointed out that some of ED’s allies have misquoted the findings letter and mocked Senator John McCain’s serious questions about the threat to free speech and about OCR’s authority to impose this blueprint. Other defenders of the blueprint have brushed away concerns by portraying its definition of sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” as simply a way of encouraging reporting. […]

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  • AAUP Issues Open Letter to Yale, Criticizes Singapore Campus

    December 6, 2012

    This week, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued an open letter to Yale University “to express the AAUP’s growing concern about the character and impact of the university’s collaboration with the Singaporean government in establishing Yale-National University of Singapore College.” FIRE has written about this issue in recent months, and we support the efforts of the AAUP to ensure that Yale University respects the academic freedom rights of its faculty and students, both on American soil and abroad.  The AAUP’s letter lays out the situation: Some Yale administrators have argued that they have no choice but to obey […]

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  • Yale Travels to Singapore, Leaves Toothbrush, U.S. Values at Home

    July 26, 2012

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) has issued a press release excoriating Yale University for its “acceptance of Singaporean government restrictions on basic rights at the new Yale–National University of Singapore (NUS) joint campus [that] shows a disturbing disregard for free speech, association, and assembly.” Foreign Policy has picked up the ongoing controversy, as has Alex Klein over at The Daily Beast.  HRW’s press release echoes some of the concerns I have laid out here on The Torch over the past few weeks: Many Singaporean laws are incompatible with the basic policies of a university such as Yale… “Yale may find that […]

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  • Yale’s Reversal On Academic Freedom Garners More Criticism

    July 26, 2012

    Yale University continues to take a beating in the media for its decision not to protect students’ and professors’ rights on its Singapore campus. In addition to FIRE’s own coverage of Yale’s statement guaranteeing academic freedom and then its immediate and unprincipled retreat from that position, other outlets are also pouncing on Yale’s betrayal of its students and faculty members. A story at The Daily Beast takes Yale to task for breaking its promise to students and faculty that “academic freedom” on the Singapore campus would be “guaranteed.”  But this week, the debate over Yale–NUS reignited when the franchise’s new […]

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  • Catch-22 on Yale’s Singapore Campus: Students “Free to Express Views,” So Long as They Don’t

    July 17, 2012

    Last week, I discussed the commitment to free expression that American universities should maintain when they open overseas campuses. I noted that Yale University was, on the one hand, promoting its new Singapore campus (Yale–NUS) as a place where students would be able to “express themselves freely.” On the other hand, I noted that the Dean’s statements were worrying: “What we think of as freedom, they think of as an affront to public order.”  Now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Yale’s avowed commitment to free expression is worthless. As the Journal reports, “[s]tudents at the new school ‘are going […]

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  • 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 have deeply violated the principles that are supposed to animate higher education,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “Sunlight is one of the best disinfectants, and the public needs to know which schools to watch out for.”  Although schools appear on the list in no particular […]

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  • At Yale, Political Expediency Trumps Basic Rights

    February 3, 2012

    Last week, The New York Times ran an article on Patrick Witt, the star quarterback at Yale University whose candidacy for a Rhodes scholarship was suspended after the Rhodes selection committee learned of an “informal” complaint of sexual assault lodged against him within Yale’s judicial system.  Several days later, Yale released its first-ever “Report of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct,” part of Yale’s effort to overhaul its handling of sexual misconduct claims. The report provides details both about Yale’s various methods for handling such claims (including the “informal complaint” process used by Patrick Witt’s accuser) and about the actual claims brought. […]

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  • Greg in ‘The Huffington Post’: Are Fraternities Disastrous for Free Speech on Campus?

    July 27, 2011

    In his newest article for The Huffington Post, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff examines how fraternities are often the most targeted and the least sympathetic victims of censorship on campus—and the repercussions this dynamic has for the free speech rights of all students. Highlighting the recent Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) case at Yale University, Greg urges fraternities like DKE to stand up for their rights: Yes, the university may still punish you for behavior that actually breaks Yale’s rules, or it may redefine its charges as hazing, rather than harassment, and perhaps retry the case, but this case has become much […]

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  • Speech Codes at Private Colleges Debated at ‘PolicyMic’

    June 28, 2011

    Over at PolicyMic, where I am a contributing writer, Jordan Wolf and Jason Orr are debating the propriety of speech codes on private college campuses. Naturally, I follow this debate with great interest. Wolf in particular makes a number of points in favor of speech codes that are worth discussing, and worth more space than the 900 characters we’re permitted for the comments section at PolicyMic; hence I discuss them here. Wolf states that “private universities can condition attendance on observing a speech code. However, that does not mean it is wise for them to do so.” He says later […]

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  • Yale, Free Speech, and the First Amendment

    June 3, 2011

    In a May 27 review of reactions to the punishment of Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity and some of its individual members, the Yale Daily News (YDN) cited a Minding the Campus piece that I co-authored with FIRE Chairman Harvey Silverglate. This is a controversy that FIRE has written about extensively, yet the paper mistakenly reported that our article “claimed that the chants were protected by the First Amendment.” This isn’t quite true, and it’s important to set the record straight. Harvey and I wrote that as a private institution, Yale “[is] not bound by the First Amendment and its free […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Yale University

    June 1, 2011

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for June 2011: Yale University. Ordinarily, FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month is a written policy that restricts student speech rights in a way that violates either students’ First Amendment rights (at a public university) or contradicts written promises of free speech that a university makes to its students (at a private university). As terrible as these written policies are, however, there is something yet worse: an unwritten policy that gives a university carte blanche to punish any speech that it finds undesirable or politically inconvenient. Such an unwritten policy is precisely what […]

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  • Harvey and Kyle on ‘Minding the Campus’ on What Yale Should Have Said to OCR

    May 24, 2011

    FIRE Co-founder and Board of Directors Chairman Harvey Silverglate and Program Associate Kyle Smeallie have written an excellent, though-provoking piece on Minding the Campus about what Yale University President Richard Levin should have said to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regarding the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. Under investigation by OCR for allegedly maintaining a sexually hostile environment, Yale announced last week that it was suspending DKE for five years for chants uttered by its pledges as part of a hazing ritual in October 2010. Rather than—from all appearances—cave in to federal pressure so quickly and […]

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  • Yale Student: OCR is Pressuring Schools to Abandon Commitment to Freedom of Speech

    May 20, 2011

    About a month ago, Yale sophomore Nathaniel Zelinsky wrote an opinion piece arguing against censorship and encouraging more speech as a remedy to bad speech. Yesterday, he touched on the subject again, tackling Yale’s recently announced disciplinary action against the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. Zelinsky argues, as do we, that pressure from the Deparment of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) caused Yale to abandon its commitment to freedom of expression in handing down its surprisingly severe punishment. Zelinsky asks good questions in his piece: Dean Miller’s precedent in banning DKE for creating a “hostile” environment raises troubling questions. Who decides what speech is hostile? […]

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  • What Passes for ‘Justice’ in Yale Fraternity Case

    May 18, 2011

    It’s all over the news — Yale University has suspended the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity for five years for speech uttered by its pledges on the evening of October 13, 2010, in front of the Yale Women’s Center. As the Yale Daily News reported at the time, At their pledge initiation on Old Campus, DKE members shouted phrases such as “No means yes, yes means anal” and “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophiliac, I f— dead women.” Some of the students were blindfolded and being led in a line with their hands on each others’ shoulders. Reaction was swift. The October 15 Yale Daily News article linked […]

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  • Yale Student Applauds His Critics, Laments Lack of Commitment to Free Speech

    April 25, 2011

    Yale sophomore Nate Zelinsky spent last week being anonymously attacked on the Internet and called a racist and classist—backlash from an opinion piece he authored on Sunday in the Yale Daily News. But Zelinsky isn’t complaining; in fact, he’s encouraging it. On Friday, he penned yet another piece, this time defending his anonymous critics. In his article, Zelinsky extols the virtues of the marketplace of ideas and free speech on college campuses, while taking Yale and its student body to task for failing to do the same. He points to the recent exclusion of a preacher based on his views […]

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  • Kaminer on the “Loneliness of the Civil Libertarian Feminist

    April 6, 2011

    In her most recent column for The Atlantic, author, lawyer, and FIRE Board of Advisors member Wendy Kaminer makes her case that “Civil libertarian feminists have always been a political minority, but these days we seem on the verge of extinction,” using the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigation of Yale University for allowing misogynistic speech—not actions—by male students as an example. Kaminer also opines that the recent “Dear Colleague” letter to colleges from OCR, about which FIRE issued a statement on Monday, “displays much more concern for the sensitivities of accusers over the rights of the accused.” […]

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  • This Week in the News: Wesleyan Housing Policy Revision Receives Necessary Criticism

    February 25, 2011

    A recently implemented revision in a housing policy at Wesleyan College forbids students from “using houses or property owned, leased or operated by private societies that are not recognized by the University.” This revision is especially troublesome for members of Beta Theta Pi, which must now choose between becoming a recognized program house or having its members face suspension from Wesleyan. Fortunately, this policy has received a lot of negative press from both inside and outside of the college. Three articles about the policy revision were printed in The Wesleyan Argus, Wesleyan’s student newspaper. Sid Isaar argued that FIRE is […]

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  • ‘Commentary’ Cites Greg on Free Speech at Yale

    February 21, 2011

    Commentary‘s Michael Rubin cited Greg’s recent Huffington Post column on the 12 worst schools for free speech in America in his article today about the climate for free speech at Yale University, a member in bad standing of Greg’s list. Rubin points out that no less than three of the members of the Yale Corporation (Yale’s main governing body) are deeply involved with the media and should be sensitive to concerns regarding Yale. Click through to read more.

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  • Study Shows that Ideology Affects Perception of Whether Speech Is Threatening

    February 8, 2011

    A study performed by Yale University’s Cultural Cognition Project found that individuals’ perceptions about whether a particular protest is illegally disruptive are strongly affected by their cultural worldviews and ideologies. In the study, subjects were divided into two groups and asked to watch a video of a protest to determine whether the protesters were “intimidating, interfering, obstructing or threatening.” One group of subjects was told that the protesters were gathered outside of an abortion clinic to demonstrate their opposition to abortion. The other group of subjects was told that the protesters were gathered outside of a college recruitment center to […]

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  • Mohammed Cartoon Controversy Cemented Yale’s Place on Our List of ’12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech’

    February 2, 2011

    As we continue to look at how the “12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” made our list on The Huffington Post, today we come to Yale University. Yale University is no stranger to entanglements with free speech, or to FIRE. Despite its reputation for academic excellence and stellar promises of freedom of expression and academic freedom, Yale has been on the wrong side of a number of free speech issues over the years. So it likely comes as little surprise to FIRE followers to see Yale earn this dubious distinction. Back in the early days of FIRE—in 2001, to be more […]

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  • 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 well as schools whose policies are so bad that they simply had to be included. For longtime Torch readers, the presence of most of these schools on our list won’t come as a surprise. But we don’t want to give it all away here. Is […]

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  • Harvard-Yale 2010 T-shirt Wars Begin; No Free Speech Casualties … Yet

    November 9, 2010

    The 2010 Harvard-Yale T-shirt wars are officially under way, in anticipation of the schools’ annual football game on November 20. The Yale Daily News reports that Yale College’s Freshman Class Council (FCC) has released its official design for The Game 2010, a riff on the recent movie The Social Network:   The blank space at the end leaves room for Yalies to insert the kindest, most highbrow compliments they can conceive of their intellectual equals at Harvard. (Or, you know, not.) Meanwhile, the Harvard flyby, a blog hosted by The Harvard Crimson, points to this design as the winner of […]

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  • New England Ivies Earn ‘Muzzle Awards’ from FIRE Chairman

    July 2, 2010

    With Independence Day on the horizon, the Boston Phoenix turns its annual spotlight upon those who have ignored our nation’s founding freedoms. The “Muzzle Awards” are the undesired accolades reserved for the self-appointed censors of New England—politicians, police officers, judges, and public transportation officials, to name a few. This year, in the 13th installment of this award-winning series, special attention is devoted to colleges and universities, courtesy of FIRE Co-founder and Chairman Harvey Silverglate. Harvey focuses the 2010 Campus Muzzle Awards on transgressions at Harvard University (his alma mater) and Yale University, both of which “have helped pave the censorial […]

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  • Is Nothing Sacred? Comedy Central Joins Many Universities in Caving to Threats of Violence for Depictions of Mohammed

    April 23, 2010

    Comedy Central’s cartoon hit South Park is famous for its shocking and offensive humor, targeted at subjects ranging from Queen Elizabeth to Scientology. The show’s renowned satire takes an unapologetic attitude towards goring sacred cows, and fans have come to regard South Park‘s principled stance on free speech as sacred in and of itself. This week, however, Comedy Central created headlines around the world by censoring a portion of a South Park episode. The episode continued last week’s plotline depicting Mohammed in a bear suit, which is considered blasphemous by some followers of Islam. Comedy Central’s usually laissez-faire approach to […]

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  • This Month in FIRE History: FIRE Releases Statement on Mohammed Cartoons

    March 1, 2010

    Four years ago last month, the global controversy over cartoons depicting Mohammed hit American college campuses. In response, FIRE issued a statement reminding colleges and universities that free speech needs protection even when it is difficult. FIRE’s statement emphasized that the First Amendment protects the printing and posting of the infamous cartoons. In the months after the cartoons were first published in a Danish newspaper, students, professors, and student publications not only reprinted the controversial cartoons but also created their own satirical cartoons depicting Mohammed. Though many colleges acknowledged the importance of free expression, others turned to censorship in an […]

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  • Learning From Flap Over ‘Sissies’ T-shirt a Priority for Yale College Dean

    February 16, 2010

    Today’s Yale Daily News features an article on Yale College Dean Mary Miller, who outlines for the newspaper the goals for her tenure in an interview. Miller, Torch readers will remember, was front-and-center in a controversy sparked last fall when she intervened in the affairs of Yale College’s Freshman Class Council (FCC) by nixing the proposed design of a T-shirt for the annual Yale-Harvard football game. The T-shirt, taking a line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise, read “I think of all Harvard men as sissies” on the front, a line which prompted complaints from some in Yale’s […]

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  • NBC on Yale ‘Sissies’ Censorship Controversy

    January 19, 2010

    A Connecticut affiliate of NBC has covered FIRE’s case at Yale University, in which President Richard C. Levin recently expressed “regret” for the role of a dean in the withdrawal of a T-shirt design that quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald in calling Harvard students “sissies.” We explained the case earlier today.The article quotes from FIRE’s letter to President Levin: [I]n December, Adam Kissel of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education—and a Harvard man—sent University president, Richard Levin, a letter saying Yale College Dean Mary Miller acted inappropriately by ruling the shirt unacceptable. “It is not a happy day when a Yale College dean with degrees […]

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  • ‘Yale Daily News’ Stays on Yale Censorship Case

    January 19, 2010

    Today’s Yale Daily News provides some fresh reporting on last November’s censorship of the Yale University Freshman Class Council’s T-shirt design, which featured an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote calling Harvard students “sissies.” As we noted last week, in response to a letter from FIRE, Yale University President Richard C. Levin investigated what happened, discussed the matter with Dean Mary Miller, and expressed “regret” over Dean Miller’s role in the withdrawal of the T-shirt design. President Levin’s response also reaffirmed Yale’s commitment to the strong protection of free speech in its classic Woodward Report, stating that “it is not the role […]

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  • Yale President Defends Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons, But Acknowledges Free Speech Commitment in T-shirt Controversy

    January 15, 2010

    In a letter to FIRE, Yale University President Richard C. Levin maintained Yale’s position defending the censorship of images of Mohammed in a book about those images, citing a “risk to life and safety.” However, President Levin also reaffirmed Yale’s commitment to the strong protection of free speech in its classic Woodward Report, stating that “it is not the role of the Dean or any other University official to suppress the speech of any student or student organization” and expressing “regret” for Dean Mary Miller’s role in the withdrawal of the Freshman Class Council’s T-shirt design calling Harvard students “sissies.” […]

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  • Letter from Yale University President Richard C. Levin to FIRE, January 14, 2010

    January 14, 2010

    Letter From Yale University President Richard C. Levin to FIRE, January 14, 2010 by FIRE

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  • A Possible Precedent for Yale University in the Case of the Censored ‘Sissies’ T-shirts

    January 13, 2010

    Yale University seems to be facing more than its share of troubles lately. In this context, it is something of a shame that resources need to be spent on dealing with a Yale College dean’s decision to censor the democratically chosen T-shirt design of its Freshman Class Council (FCC). Last November, just before the Harvard-Yale football game, Dean Mary Miller decided to pull the design, which used a quotation from F. Scott Fitzgerald calling Harvard students “sissies.” Apparently, completely unknown to the FCC leadership, the word was considered by some Yalies to be an anti-gay slur. After FIRE called Yale […]

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  • Will Aziz Ansari Be Allowed to Say ‘Sissies’ at Yale?

    January 12, 2010

    Comedian Aziz Ansari (Funny People; Parks and Recreation) has accepted an invitation from Yale University’s Yale College Council to perform at Yale on January 30, 2010. This normally wouldn’t be FIRE news, but now that Yale College Dean Mary Miller has declared editorial control over the student government (the Freshman Class Council in particular), this is a matter of concern. Will Ansari be informed that it is “not acceptable” for him to use the word “sissies” (or, presumably, similar words) in a negative way towards anyone? Dean Miller seems to say so. Perhaps this is why at Yale, even a […]

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  • Yale Dean Defends Censorship of ‘Sissies’ T-Shirt, Claims Control over Freshman Student Government

    January 11, 2010

    Today’s Yale Daily News reports that Yale College Dean Mary Miller has defended her choice to censor a T-shirt design quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald that had been democratically chosen and was going to be printed by Yale’s Freshman Class Council (FCC). According to a statement given by Dean Miller to the Yale Daily News, which reporter Jordi Gassó read to me in full, the FCC reports to Dean Miller’s office and therefore is under her office’s financial and editorial control. Thus, she had no problem censoring the T-shirt, which quoted Fitzgerald’s line, “I think of all Harvard men as sissies,” […]

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  • Rights group criticizes Yale

    January 11, 2010

    This year’s Game may be over, but the controversy over the Freshman Class Council’s proposed T-shirt design continues. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization that focuses on civil liberties in American colleges and universities, sent a letter last month to University President Richard Levin criticizing the administration for asking the FCC to reconsider its decision to sell a T-shirt deemed offensive for its use of the word “sissy” by members of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Co-operative. When members of the co-op raised their concerns in the week preceding the game, Yale College Dean Mary Miller […]

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  • Rights in the News: Yale and Minnesota Still in Headlines as FIRE Eyes 2010 Campaign

    January 8, 2010

    Even during the supposedly slow Christmas-to-New-Year’s stretch, FIRE’s cases continued to captivate the media, none more so than the recent brouhaha at Yale over a censored F. Scott Fitzgerald-quoting t-shirt calling Harvard men “sissies.” Following Greg’s earlier writings in The Huffington Post, Robert wrote on the case for Pajamas Media. (Knowing such PC nonsense when he saw it, Glenn Reynolds tipped them both at Instapundit.) Both The Boston Globe and U.S. News & World Report have picked up the story as well. And in a wonderfully caustic post, Write Bastard blogger Ian Wood heaps scorn on Yale, where apparently “the […]

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  • Yale Wimps Out Again

    December 29, 2009

    It was the source of an athletic taunt that could only have originated in the Ivy League: “I want to go to Princeton,” said Amory. “I don’t know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies, like I used to be, and all Yale men as wearing big blue sweaters and smoking pipes.” Monsignor chuckled. “I’m one, you know.” “Oh, you’re different – I think of Princeton as being lazy and good-looking and aristocratic – you know, like a spring day. Harvard seems sort of indoors – ” “And Yale is November, crisp and energetic,” finished Monsignor. “That’s […]

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  • ‘Boston Globe’ Covers FIRE’s ‘Sissies’ T-Shirt Case at Yale

    December 28, 2009

    Boston Globe journalist Tracy Jan drew attention yesterday to FIRE’s latest case at Yale University. No, not the one where images of Mohammed were censored from a book about those very images. This time, it’s the one where an administrator declared the word “sissies” unacceptable on an anti-Harvard T-shirt prior to the annual Harvard-Yale football game. Jan quotes Greg’s piece on the case in The Huffington Post: “A couple of Yale administrators decided that the word ‘sissies’ was too offensive because some people interpreted it as a slur against gay men,” Lukianoff wrote. “This was news to the Yale freshmen […]

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  • In Interview With ‘Index on Censorship,’ Jytte Klausen Discusses Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons

    December 22, 2009

    Jytte Klausen, author of the recently published book The Cartoons That Shook the World and the subject of much controversy since the Yale University Press unilaterally decided to excise inclusion of the controversial cartoons of Mohammed central to the book’s premise, discusses the incident in the current magazine published by Index on Censorship, a British organization promoting freedom of expression. In her engaging interview, Klausen discusses the academic background of her work and research into the subject, as well as the process by which the Yale University Press, after initially approving the publication of the book with the cartoons included, eventually […]

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  • Greg in Huffington Post on Yale’s Controversial Anti-Harvard T-shirt Quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald

    December 21, 2009

    Today in The Huffington Post, Greg highlights our recent letter to Yale regarding administrators’ readiness to censor a T-shirt that quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald in calling Harvard men “sissies.” FIRE’s letter, written by Adam Kissel and sent on Friday, reminded Yale both of the university’s historical commitments to free speech and its recent missteps. As Greg says in the article: I understand that Yale considering banning a F. Scott Fitzgerald quote for using the word “sissies” is not the most important event in collegiate censorship this year (I think my vote goes to the Southwestern College “Free Speech Patio”). But given Yale’s […]

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  • Beat Harvard – Just Don’t Call Them Sissies

    November 24, 2009

    When I was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, our various class councils endlessly outdid themselves in the art of emasculating the Princeton tiger, mascot of our archrival. Our depictions of the tiger, emblazoned on T-shirts, ran the gamut from gentle mockery to representations of acts that would be illegal in most if not all of the fifty states. Of course, Penn students bought them in droves, myself included. For Yale University’s Freshman Class Council (FCC), then, to print a F. Scott Fitzgerald quote—”I think of all Harvard men as sissies”—on T-shirts would not seem to invite controversy. After […]

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  • Greg in ‘The Huffington Post’ on Yale and the Muhammad Cartoons

    November 10, 2009

    Greg posted a blog entry on The Huffington Post yesterday highlighting a statement that has been included in Duke Professor Gary Hull’s new book, Muhammad: The “Banned Images”. The statement, backed by a broad coalition, criticizes Yale University’s decision to censor the Muhammad cartoons. It concludes: The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who would attack and undermine it. It is time for colleges and universities in particular to exercise moral and intellectual leadership. It is incumbent on those responsible for the education of the next generation of leaders to stand up for certain basic principles: that […]

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  • Duke beats Yale: Censored images of Muhammad finally printed in new book

    November 9, 2009

    Today my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), is proud to join a broad coalition criticizing Yale University’s decision to censor the Muhammad cartoons from a book about the cartoons. The statement is included in Duke University Professor Gary Hull’s new book Muhammad: The “Banned Images”–which prints the censored images and many more. Read the full text of the statement below. Statement of Principle Free Expression at Risk, at Yale and Elsewhere A number of recent incidents suggest that our long-standing commitment to the free exchange of ideas is in peril of falling victim to a spreading […]

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  • Duke Professor Finishes Yale’s Job, Prints Mohammed Images in New Book; FIRE Co-signs Statement of Principle

    November 9, 2009

    Duke University Professor Gary Hull has just published Muhammad: The “Banned” Images, which dares to publish images that Yale University and Yale University Press censored from Jytte Klausen’s The Cartoons that Shook the World earlier this year. Hull calls the book “a statement of defiance against censors, terror-mongers, and their Western appeasers.” FIRE joined with the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Association of University Professors, and nine other signatories on a Statement of Principle stating that “The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens those who would attack and undermine it.” Here is the Statement of Principle, which points out that Yale’s […]

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  • Yale Law Professor Misses the Point on Censorship of Political Cartoons

    October 16, 2009

    In an op-ed in the Yale Daily News, Yale University Law Professor Anthony Kronman attempts to defend Yale’s decision to censor the Mohammed cartoons. Kronman makes a number of points in an effort to show that the decision to remove the cartoons from author and Brandeis University Professor Jytte Klausen’s book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, published by Yale University Press this fall, should not bring condemnation upon Yale University. However, all of Kronman’s arguments miss the mark. For starters, Kronman argues that Yale University is a distinct institution from its Press, and that the decisions of the latter, […]

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  • Jytte Klausen, Author of ‘The Cartoons That Shook the World,’ Speaks at Yale and Confronts One of Her Censors

    October 2, 2009

    The New Haven Independent reports that Jytte Klausen, whose book The Cartoons That Shook the World was censored by the Yale University Press, spoke at Yale yesterday evening, leading to a worthwhile exchange with one of the individuals responsible for the act of censorship. Klausen, a Brandeis University professor, is having her book published by the Yale University Press this fall. The book discusses the international fury and violence that took place four years ago after a Danish newspaper published cartoon depictions of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. However, Yale University, in a move demonstrating little regard for academic freedom, decided […]

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  • FIRE’s Will Creeley in ‘Providence Journal’

    September 23, 2009

    Today’s edition of the Providence (R.I.) Journal contains an op-ed by FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley criticizing Yale University over the most recent Mohammed cartoon controversy. The Yale University Press decided to remove cartoons depicting Mohammed from author and professor Jytte Klausen’s forthcoming book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, which discusses the outcry and fallout resulting from the publication of 12 editorial cartoons depicting Mohammed in a Danish newspaper in 2005. This prompted FIRE to join a dynamic coalition of civil liberties organizations in writing an open letter to Yale University President Richard C. Levin and […]

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  • William Creeley: Yale’s cowardice erodes free speech

    September 23, 2009

    By choosing to remove all depictions of the Prophet Mohammed from Brandeis Professor Jytte Klausen’s book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, to be published by Yale University Press in early October, Yale University has betrayed academic freedom. Worse, Yale has surrendered without protest to nonexistent demands it merely imagines from those willing to kill to silence views with which they disagree. So much for the pen being mightier than the sword. Four years ago, in September of 2005, the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten ran a set of 12 editorial cartoon caricatures of Mohammed. In an accompanying note, the paper’s culture […]

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  • FIRE Joins Open Letter to Yale Protesting Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons

    September 17, 2009

    Earlier this week, FIRE joined a dynamic coalition of civil liberties groups in signing an open letter protesting the removal of cartoons depicting Mohammed from author Jytte Klausen’s forthcoming book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, to be published by Yale University Press this October. The letter, authored by Joan Bertin, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and sent to Yale President Richard C. Levin and members of the Yale Corporation, labels the removal of the cartoons “a dangerous precedent that threatens academic and intellectual freedom around the world.” In addition to FIRE and the NCAC, the […]

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  • Letter to Yale University Opposing Removal of Mohammed Images from Book

    September 14, 2009

    Richard C. Levin President, Yale University PO BOX 208229 New Haven, CT  06520-8229 The Yale Corporation c/o The Office of the Secretary P.O. Box 208230 New Haven, CT 06520-8230 Dear President Levin and Members of the Yale Corporation, We write to protest the decision to remove all images of Mohammed from the forthcoming book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, by Jytte Klausen, which will be published by Yale University Press in early October.  The University’s role in that decision compromises the principle and practice of academic freedom, undermines the independence of the Press, damages the University’s credibility, and diminishes […]

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  • Former FIRE Interns Criticize Ubiquitous Censorship at Their Universities

    September 4, 2009

    Two of this summer’s FIRE interns have started the year with a bang. Today, both published damning indictments of the state of free speech in higher education in general, and their own universities in particular. First, former FIRE intern John Cetta has an excellent article in The D.C. Writeup on free speech in higher education, titled “A Dark Time for the Academy, Indeed.” Beginning with Yale University Press’s shameful refusal to print the Danish Mohammed cartoons in a scholarly book about the cartoon controversy and going on to demonstrate how other institutions are engaged in the same degree of censorship, […]

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  • Yale University Press Responds on Mohammed Cartoon Controversy

    August 17, 2009

    Last week, The New York Times reported that Yale University Press had made the decision not to reprint the famous 2005 Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Brandeis Professor Jytte Klausen’s upcoming book The Cartoons that Shook the World. This decision caused an uproar both within and outside of academia. (I posted my own take on the situation for Pajamas Media here.) In response to the initial outcry, Yale University’s Office of Public Affairs posted a comment on the blog of the National Coalition Against Censorship responding to the controversy. (It should be noted that I was unable to […]

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  • In ‘Pajamas Media,’ FIRE’s VP Slams Yale Press Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons

    August 14, 2009

    There appears to be a new exemplar of the cowardice and censorship that characterized the academy’s response to the furor over the publication of twelve cartoons by a Danish newspaper depicting the Prophet Mohammed. As The New York Times was first to report on Tuesday, Yale University Press decided not to print the once-incendiary cartoons in Brandeis Professor Jytte Klausen’s upcoming book The Cartoons That Shook the World, a scholarly exploration of—no rewards for guessing—the controversy stemming from the publication of the cartoons. Yale’s press has been roundly slammed for its temerity, and rightly so. Foxnews.com was quick to pick […]

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  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Yale University

    June 15, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester and into the early summer, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). This blog series is drawing to a close, with only three universities left: Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. Today we review policies at Yale, which FIRE has given a yellow-light rating for maintaining policies that could too easily be used to suppress free speech at the university. Yale, a private university, explicitly states that freedom of expression is its “central purpose.” Yale’s policy on Free Expression, Peaceful […]

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  • Too Often, First Amendment Protections Denied to Second Amendment Speech

    March 10, 2009

    The First Amendment protects core political speech—and, as should be obvious, that protection extends to speech regarding the Second Amendment. This means that students at public universities and private universities that promise the right to free expression on campus must be free to engage in unfettered discussion of the merits of federal, state and local gun policy in the same way that they are free to discuss, say, agricultural subsidies, diplomatic relations with Cuba, or last night’s Daily Show. But an unfortunate consequence of the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University is that students are increasingly facing punishment […]

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  • Yale Fights For Free Speech

    August 17, 2007

    FIRE’s former president David French, on National Revie w Online ’s “Phi Beta Cons” blog, reports that Yale University Press stood up to a group “who hoped to stop publication of a book exposing the intersection between Hamas’s terrorist and (allegedly) ‘charitable’ wings.”  The group, KinderUSA, filed a libel suit against Yale University Press and Matthew Levitt, the author of Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, over two passages in the book in which Levitt links charities in the US to terrorist groups. Inside Higher Ed reports that after Yale took a strong legal stance, the […]

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  • Hard Cases Make Bad Law

    April 25, 2007

    It is often said that hard cases make bad law, because when something particularly awful or unusual happens, logic is often subjugated by a judge’s, a jury’s, or a legislature’s desire to address the particular situation at hand.   It seems now that the admittedly very hard case of the Virginia Tech massacre is beginning to make some bad law at colleges and universities. Yesterday, Inside Higher Ed reported that administrators at Yale University banned the use of any realistic-looking weapons in theatrical productions at the school. This means that students wishing to stage productions like Hamlet, or any of […]

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  • Job Security = Academic Freedom?

    April 19, 2005

    Graduate Student Employees United (GSEU) at Columbia University and the Graduate Employees and Students Organization (GESO) at Yale University started a week-long strike yesterday, demanding that the universities’ administrations recognize the groups as workers unions. The Yale Daily News reported that in New York students carried signs that said: “Job Security = Academic Freedom.” The Columbia Spectator reported, “Today strike organizers are planning a noon speak-out with graduate students, undergraduates, and faculty members on academic freedom and collective bargaining.” Linking academic freedom with job security and unionization seems to imply that graduate students have a fear of losing their teaching […]

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