Social Work Chair Makes ‘Binghamton Review’ Enemies List

June 8, 2010

With the end of the academic year just about behind us, college newspapers are winding down their publication schedules. Among the bonuses this circumstance provides readers who are about to be relatively bereft of college news: end-of-year lists!

The Binghamton Review has one—an "enemies list" of people who got on the wrong side of the paper this year. Not surprisingly, and deservedly, the Review leaves some space for Binghamton University social work department chair Laura Bronstein. Here’s the Review‘s piece on Bronstein in full (see page 21 of the PDF): 

Two years. Two free-speech scandals in the Social Work department. Two letters to President DeFleur from a civil liberties group detailing the egregious constitutional violations in the department’s masters program. Zero response from the department’s chair, Laura Bronstein.

Bronstein has been not only complicit in trampling on her students’ free speech rights, she is practically leading the way. Last year she led the battle to expel Andre Massena for putting up posters criticizing her department. This year she expelled Michael Gutsell for using constitutionally protected speech. (Read to refresh your memory.) Both times, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has involved themselves on behalf of the students. Maybe the university works under a "three strikes" policy, but whatever the case, Bronstein needs to go. Her department has institutionalized policies that discourage free expression, the worst thing imaginable at a university that is supposed to be the marketplace of ideas. That won’t change while Bronstein’s running things.

Here’s what I wrote on Gutsell’s case earlier in the year, and Torch readers can revisit Andre Massena’s case here. I hope time proves the Review‘s closing statement incorrect, but prior experience hasn’t left us brimming with optimism.