Torch Reader Exposes UCF’s Hypocrisy, Part II

December 8, 2006

As reported on Wednesday, Torch reader David Ross challenged University of Central Florida President John Hitt in a series of e-mails this week to defend Hitt’s pronouncement that UCF does not maintain “free speech zones.” In so doing, Ross revealed Hitt’s clear refusal to own up to his own school’s press releases, which mention UCF’s “free speech zones” by name.

We’re happy to pass along the latest round of Ross and Hitt’s correspondence, further proving that President Hitt will not—indeed, cannot—answer Ross’s request that he reconcile his statements with his school’s past and present practices. We pick up where we left off, with Ross’s response to Hitt’s initial reply. (Again, the first round of the correspondence may be found here.)

Dear President Hitt:

Thank you for the reply.

You didn’t respond to my request. My request, made to Ms. Cook,
(though I’d be glad to have you fulfill it), was:

…if you can reconcile your statements about free speech zones in your
letter to FIRE with the statements in this description of UCF’s official
policy on Free Assembly Areas, please do it.

You and Ms. Cook are saying, now, that UCF has no free speech zones.
But you’re not addressing the fact, which I have proved with several
citations of official postings from the UCF website, that UCF refers to
the "free assembly areas" as free speech zones, as areas specially
designated for exercises of free speech, and as areas for the conduct of
free speech. Your descriptions of these areas, not mine. The
question is: If UCF has no free speech zones, why does UCF refer to its
"free assembly zones" as free speech zones?

I, and the other folks to whom these notes have been forwarded, look
forward to your answer.


David S. Ross

Mr. Ross:

You received a prompt, accurate, and courteous reply to your note. I
have nothing to add to it.

John C. Hitt
President, UCF


Dear President Hitt:

Yes: prompt, accurate, courteous, and evasive.

You say you have nothing to add. This means you’re not going to reconcile the fact that official postings on the UCF website repeatedly, directly and indirectly, refer to free speech zones, while you claim that UCF does not have free speech zones. I’d like to be able to say that I expect greater integrity from a university president. But the fact is, these days, I don’t.


David S. Ross

Schools:  University of Central Florida