Opposition to Mount St. Mary’s President Results in Faculty Firings, Dire Threats to Free Student Press
BALTIMORE, February 9, 2016—Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland has gone “nuclear.” Yesterday, the liberal arts university took the extraordinary step of firing a tenured faculty member and the faculty advisor to the student newspaper following their criticism of first-year university president Simon P. Newman’s plan to oust low-performing freshmen. The plan became national news last month after the student newspaper reported that Newman told a critical faculty member, “This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.” […]
University of Oregon: Student’s Four-Word Joke Results in Five Unconstitutional Disciplinary Charges
In June, a student yelled “I hit it first” out of a dorm window. She’s now being charged with five conduct violations.
EUGENE, Oregon, August 26, 2014—The University of Oregon (UO) has filed multiple, blatantly unconstitutional conduct charges against a female student who jokingly yelled “I hit it first” from a dormitory window. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. FIRE is calling on UO to immediately dismiss all charges against the student and reform its unconstitutional speech policies. “The University of Oregon’s absurd overreaction is the real joke here, and it’s not very funny,” said FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley. “Using an unconstitutional speech code to punish a student […]
Mount St. Mary’s University: Opposition to University President Results in Faculty Firings, Threats to Free Student Press
On February 8, 2016, Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland fired a tenured faculty member, as well as the faculty advisor to student newspaper The Mountain Echo, following their criticism of first-year university President Simon P. Newman’s controversial freshman retention plan.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: Heckler’s Veto Results in Termination of Emeritus Professor’s Network Access
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) succumbed to the “heckler’s veto” by revoking Emeritus Professor Elliot Cramer’s network access because of outside complaints about a website link to an organization that advocates for animal welfare. Despite telling the complainant that the dispute was “not a University matter” and that the university did not monitor website content, UNC nevertheless demanded that Cramer remove the link from his website and later canceled his network access. FIRE wrote UNC in protest, and General Counsel Leslie Chambers Strohm replied stating that UNC would not restore Cramer’s network access, redefining Cramer’s reasonable, […]
University of Alaska Fairbanks: Complaint Over Student Newspaper’s Articles Results in Months-Long Harassment Investigation
University of Alaska Fairbanks student newspaper The Sun Star was subjected to sexual harassment investigations nearly a year after Professor Jensine Anahita filed complaints.
The University of Kansas placed Professor David Guth on administrative leave after he posted a controversial tweet about the NRA.
The University of Delaware has released the results of three of the questions on a survey about this year’s Residence Life program. Regular Torch readers will remember that last year’s program, before it was suspended, involved major violations of students’ rights to privacy, freedom of conscience, and freedom of speech. The survey asked students about “10 key issues, including the voluntary nature of the program, as well as privacy and rights being respected,” according to Matthew Robinson, chairperson of the Senate Student Life Committee, as reported by UDaily, the University of Delaware’s official news source. According to UDaily: About 51 […]
Doug Lederman at Inside Higher Ed reports today on FIRE’s case at Bowdoin College, where a professor and his research have been investigated after he distributed copies of a research paper that embarrassed the college in front of prospective students. Economics professor Jonathan Goldstein, who has been at Bowdoin for 29 years, was interested in the amount that a college’s academics appear to suffer as a result of emphasis on athletics. His research showed that among 36 colleges, Bowdoin came in last, with the greatest amount of lost academic potential. Goldstein was interested in what prospective students and their families […]
The American Constitution Society’s Harvard Law & Policy Review recently ran an engaging interview with Columbia University President Lee Bollinger in which Bollinger discusses free speech issues on both a national and global level. I recommend reading it in full. At one point in the interview, HLPR asks Bollinger about the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s recent holding in Ward v. Polite, arising from a claim by former counseling graduate student Julea Ward against Eastern Michigan University. (For more on that case, read Will Creeley’s two-part breakdown here and here.) Regarding the Sixth Circuit’s opinion, […]