The Road to Implementing a Free Speech Bill in South Dakota

Peter Wood

H.B. 1807 passed the South Dakota legislature earlier this year, and now the Board of Regents must implement the free speech bill. Peter Wood offers his recommendations in this letter to the Board. 

GOP Senators Are Blowing It on Free Speech

Rachelle Peterson

Congress is increasingly interested in free speech but only express platitudes on the issue. 

Free to Speak: Reforming the Higher Education Act

NAS

More than 100 scholars and writers call on Congress to strip public universities of eligibility for federal student loans when they violate the First Amendment. 

Florida Defends Intellectual Freedom on Campus

NAS

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has asked all Florida university presidents to sign a resolution protecting free speech.

A Trustee for Free Speech

NAS

Jamie Kirchick collects Yale alumni signatures in his campaign to join the Yale Board of Trustees.

Letter to Syracuse University Chancellor on Ambassador Dayan Event

Peter Wood

Syracuse University must publicly disavow the disruption of Israeli Ambassador Dayan's talk and take disciplinary action against the student disruptors.

A New Script for Shoutdowns

Peter Wood

An NAS member's observations on a heckle-down at UCLA.

Honoring Academic Courage: An Evening with Amy Wax

NAS

Join NAS on Thursday, April 12, 2018 when we honor Professor Amy Wax for her academic courage. 

Why a Penn Professor Was Vilified for Telling the Truth About Race

Peter Wood

These days, saying uncomfortable truths aloud can get you banned from teaching First Year law students.

From Suffrage to Suppression: Women Now Lead in Anti-Speech Sentiment

Keli Carender

Free speech advocates must figure out why women support restrictions on free speech at a higher rate than men.

Peter Wood Discusses Threats to Academic Freedom on Fox and Friends

NAS

NAS President Peter Wood appeared on Fox and Friends to discuss our report, Charting Academic Freedom, as well as the biggest threats to academic freedom.

Amy Wax on Dissent and Disagreement at Penn Law

Amy L. Wax

Professor Amy Wax comments on the suppression of free thought at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 

Protecting Academic Freedom Through All the Campus Smoke

Peter Wood

Protecting freedom of speech means shielding it from the left and the right. 

The Article that Made 16,000 Ideologues Go Wild

Peter Wood

The response to Professor Gilley's "The Case for Colonialism" underscores the need for a renewed focus on academic freedom. 

Censorship: Another Cheap Chinese Import We Don’t Need

Rachelle Peterson

Efforts to censor Cambridge University Press show how far the Chinese government will go to stifle intellectual freedom. 

Penn Dean to Law Prof: We Favor Free Speech, but Not Yours

Peter Wood

Amy Wax comes under fire for defending the traditional bourgeois values of family, civic-mindedness, hard work, and respect for authority. 

Freedom House Has a Beam in its Eye

Carol Iannone

Freedom House thinks America is getting less free--for all the wrong reasons.

Will the Other Claremont Colleges Defend Free Speech?

Rachelle Peterson

Other Claremont schools are still investigating the student protests at Claremont McKenna college that obstructed speaker Heather Mac Donald.

House of Representatives Holds Hearing on Threats to Free Speech on College Campuses

Benjamin Giles

A recent congressional hearing on the campus speech environment revealed the responsibilities of students, faculty, and administrators for protecting free speech.

The Declining Commitment to Academic Freedom and the Free Exchange of Ideas

J. Martin Rochester

The fourth of a five-part essay, Mizzou Madness: A Case Study of Non-Diversity, Non-Freedom, and Non-Academics in Higher Education, by political scientist J. Martin Rochester.

Courageous Conversations?

J. Martin Rochester

The third of a five-part essay, Mizzou Madness: A Case Study of Non-Diversity, Non-Freedom, and Non-Academics in Higher Education, by political scientist J. Martin Rochester.

Reflections on the Misery in Missouri

J. Martin Rochester

The second of a five-part essay, Mizzou Madness: A Case Study of Non-Diversity, Non-Freedom, and Non-Academics in Higher Education, by political scientist J. Martin Rochester.

The 2015 Campus Crisis

J. Martin Rochester

The first of a five-part essay, Mizzou Madness: A Case Study of Non-Diversity, Non-Freedom, and Non-Academics in Higher Education, by political scientist J. Martin Rochester.

Why Did They Riot? Berkeley’s Bellicose Culture

Glynn Custred

The entirety of a six-part essay, Why Did They Riot? Berkeley’s Bellicose Culture, by anthropologist Glynn Custred, on the anti-free-speech movement at UC Berkeley

American Higher Education

Glynn Custred

The sixth of a six-part essay, Why Did They Riot? Berkeley’s Bellicose Culture, by anthropologist Glynn Custred, on the anti-free-speech movement at UC Berkeley.

An Institution out of Control

Glynn Custred

The fifth of a six-part essay, Why Did They Riot? Berkeley’s Bellicose Culture, by anthropologist Glynn Custred, on the anti-free-speech movement at UC Berkeley.

Martin Luther King Jr. Park

Glynn Custred

The fourth of a six-part essay, Why Did They Riot? Berkeley’s Bellicose Culture, by anthropologist Glynn Custred, on the anti-free-speech movement at UC Berkeley.

OAS Releases Statement on Proposed "Cultural Competency" Training

Glenn Ricketts

NAS's Oregon affiliate cites threats to academic freedom.

The Suppression of Free Speech

Glynn Custred

The third of a six-part essay, Why Did They Riot? Berkeley’s Bellicose Culture, by anthropologist Glynn Custred, on the anti-free-speech movement at UC Berkeley.

The Language of the Left

Glynn Custred

The second of a six-part essay, Why Did They Riot? Berkeley’s Bellicose Culture, by anthropologist Glynn Custred, on the anti-free-speech movement at UC Berkeley.

Why Did They Riot?

Glynn Custred

The first of a six-part essay, Why Did They Riot? Berkeley’s Bellicose Culture, by anthropologist Glynn Custred, on the anti-free-speech movement at UC Berkeley.

How Not to Defend Free Speech

NAS

NAS Executive Director Ashley Thorne comments on Robert Spencer's lecture at Gettysburg College and the college's handling of free speech.

Disinvited, Re-invited, Still Slighted

Rachelle Peterson

Virginia Tech staged a public putdown of Jason Riley's BB&T Distinguished Lecture.

The Middlebury Paradox

NAS

NAS President Peter Wood explores why campus riots like Middlebury's cannot be stopped by the Left.

Harry Boyte Condemns Middlebury Violence

David Randall

Harry Boyte, founder of Public Achievement, condemns the recent student violence at Middlebury.

Middlebury Admissions Tells Alumni How to Talk About the Protest Over Charles Murray

Rachelle Peterson

A new document tries to guide conversations about Charles Murray's visit to campus. 

New Legislative Protections for Campus Free Expression

NAS

In both North Carolina and Virginia, lawmakers are working to pass bills that affirm freedom of expression on college campuses. 

Seven Types of Suppression

NAS

NAS president Peter Wood writes on free speech and censorship in The New Criterion. 

And Shrive You of a Thousand Idle Books

Tom Horrell

Lionel Shriver spoke out in favor of free speech for writers—and got censored.

Academic Freedom Absolutism at the University of Chicago

Spencer Kashmanian

The University of Chicago's "no safe spaces" letter lacks the philosophical grounding for the academic freedom it champions. 

Free Speech v. Free Speech

Rachelle Peterson

Many of the opponents of free speech believe they are its champions.

An Open Letter to Virginia Tech's Dean Sumichrast

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood calls on Virginia Tech to acknowledge and uphold its invitation to Jason Riley. 

Jason Riley's Invitation and Disinvitation Emails

NAS

NAS publishes the original notes Jason Riley received inviting him, and then disinviting him, from speaking at Virginia Tech. 

Safe Spaces or Free Speech? Intellectual Freedom and the Modern Campus

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood discusses the tension between safe spaces and free speech, clarifying the importance of intellectual freedom. 

College Students Want to Ban “Uncomfortable” Ideas

Chance Layton

In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, a study shows students prefer closed minds over intellectual virtues.

A Guide to Disinvitation: My Conversation with Williams College President Adam Falk

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood discusses his correspondance with Williams College's President Falk in light of the disinvitation of John Derbyshire. 

The 10 Worst Schools When It Comes to Free Speech

George Leef

George Leef comments on the growing intolerance of students and administrators reflected in FIRE's recent list of the worst colleges and universities.

Thoughts on "The Architecture of Intellectual Freedom"

Francis B. Randall

Professor Francis B. Randall comments upon NAS President Peter Wood's "The Architecture of Intellectual Freedom."

Dialogue on "Architecture": John K. Wilson and David Randall

NAS

John K. Wilson and David Randall discuss NAS President Peter Wood's "The Architecture of Academic Freedom"

The Architecture of Intellectual Freedom

Peter Wood

A statement on the place and importance of intellectual freedom.

The Censorship Epidemic

Chance Layton

BDS Movement Suffers a Setback

Chance Layton

The American Historical Association voted against a resolution to condemn Israel. 

American Association of University Professors Abandons Educators Under Siege

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood writes about how defenders of academic freedom leave campus lynch mob victims to fend for themselves.

The Self-Defeating Claim that Women and Minorities are Weak and Fragile

George W. Dent

The desire for "safe spaces" is an affirmation of weakness that is false and pernicious.

The Guilted Age

Thomas Dineen

Thomas Dineen tells how Debby Irving educated him on his whiteness.

The University of Chicago's Flawed Support for Freedom of Expression

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood criticizes Chicago's misframed statement supporting freedom of expression.

Divesting from Free Speech

Rachelle Peterson

Rachelle Peterson explains that divestment activists have silenced debate, but done little to aid the environment.

Watch for NAS Articles in Claremont Review of Books

NAS

NAS president Peter Wood and board member Thomas D. Klingenstein are published in the forthcoming summer issue of the Claremont Review of Books.

Outrageous Valdosta State Case Has a Pretty Good Ending

George Leef

A Valdosta State University student's right to speech was recognized in a settlement. 

Bias-Free Language Obscures the Real Issue: Character

A University of New Hamphsire guide to "bias-free language" is more concerned with words than with what really matters.

Whose Side Are You On?

Rachelle Peterson

The fossil fuel divestment campaign declares war on free speech.

Free Speech (Or Lack Thereof) in Britain

Madison Iszler

The UK-based publication spiked has ranked higher education institutions according to their support for freedom of speech.

Letter to Miami University President: Praise for Inviting George Will

Peter Wood

NAS president Peter Wood wrote a letter to Dr. David C. Hodge, president of Miami University, commending him for his decision to invite George Will to speak on campus. 

Bowdoin Told Us to Go: The Narrow Doors of Campus Access

Robert B. Gregory

Robert Gregory and his wife are volunteer advisors for Bowdoin Christian Fellowship, but the college will no longer let them proclaim their beliefs.

University Should Never Be a "Safe Space"

Christopher Beckett

University of Liverpool student Christopher Beckett observes how an obsession with safety has undermined academic freedom in UK universities.

UK Mag's "Down with Campus Censorship" Campaign

Ashley Thorne

A magazine based in Britain has launched a campaign challenging a national student union policy banning certain views from being aired in campus speeches. 

An Open Letter to Swarthmore's Board of Managers

Peter Berkowitz

NAS board member Peter Berkowitz reflects on Swarthmore President Rebecca Chopp's departure from Swarthmore.

Bowdoin's Crackdown on Religious Liberty

Michael Toscano

Bowdoin denies its hostility to Evangelical Christianity. 

New York Times Covers the Exclusion of Christians at Bowdoin

Michael Toscano

Advocates of traditional marriage face serious obstacles to free expression at Bowdoin College.

Pomp and Divorce

Joshua Bridges

During commencement season, the radical left burns its bridges with mainstream liberals.

Brandeis Ought to Be Ashamed

George Leef

In its failure to engage a pluralism of views, Brandeis has reinforced a bad trend in American education.

Stanford’s Safe Space

Joshua Bridges

Free speech clashes with the safe space movement at Stanford University. 

Brown University's Complicity in the Disruption of Ray Kelly’s Speech

Joshua Bridges

As it begins the second phase of its investigation into the incident and prepares to make rulings, Brown has a chance to change the way college officials handle disorderly protesters.

Boxed In: The Destructive Evolution of Campus Free Speech Zones

Joshua Bridges

Many college campuses have implemented "free speech zones," but these zones do anything but protect free speech.

Permission to Speak: College Presidents, the Israeli Boycott, and Climate Change

Rachelle Peterson

Examples of the ASA and ACUPCC show that college presidents, in addressing controversies, are at times compelled to reiterate politically correct views on issues such as the Israeli boycott and climate change.

A College President Defends Free Speech

Peter Wood

Amherst College president Biddy Martin turned down a request to dissociate the College from the writings of campus speaker Hadley Arkes. 

Kudos: Amherst President Defends Free Speech

Glenn Ricketts

Amherst College president Carolyn Martin stands tall in defense of free expression.

Can Civility and Academic Freedom Coexist?

Ashley Thorne

Civility calls for restraint, and academic freedom, apparently, for lack of restraint. Colleges and universities strive for academic freedom and civil discourse; can they have both at the same time?

Sexuality and Freedom of Speech: Criticism of OCR Continues

Glenn Ricketts

OCR continues to get its lumps from all quarters.

FIRE President Details Chilling New Federal Campus Speech Codes

Glenn Ricketts

Greg Lukianoff describes the numbing censorship imposed by the new federal guidelines.

FIRE Press Release Scores Federal Speech Code Standards

Glenn Ricketts

The Department of Justice embraces OCR's censorious harassment code.

Let's Talk About Free Speech on Campus

Glenn Ricketts

FIRE's Greg Lukianoff and Bob Shibley urge us to defend freedom of speech on college campuses, where it' s very much endangered.

Colleges Squelching Free Speech and Thought

George Leef

Thanks to unconstitutional university speech codes, students are losing their intellectual edge.

Greg Lukianoff's Terrific New Book

George Leef

George Leef reviews Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate.

Gay Marriage and the Long Arm of Academic "Tolerance"

Glenn Ricketts

"Tolerance" follows you everywhere, even to church.

Undergraduate Editors, Writers, Probe Limits of Free Speech, Race Relations

Glenn Ricketts

Collegiate press regulars examine the limits of their trade: freedom of speech and press.

FIRE President Scores Suppression of Free Speech at Auburn

Glenn Ricketts

Auburn suppresses free speech but there's no outrage.  Greg Lukianoff is dismayed.

Free Speech Vindicated at University of Cincinnati

George W. Dent

Another university's restriction of free speech is judged unconstitutional.

FIRE Lists Rogues' Gallery of Free Speech Offenders

Glenn Ricketts

FIRE presents its list of the 12 most repressive campuses for freedom of speech.

Prof. Landsburg on the Limbaugh/Fluke Controversy

George Leef

Criticizing a bad argument is not "demeaning" a student.

Orwellian Brooklyn College Seminar Calls Conservatives Reactionary

Mitchell Langbert

Brooklyn College continues to suppress conservatives in word and deed.

FIRE Notes NJ Anti-Bullying Law Endangers Free Speech On Campus

Glenn Ricketts

No one should tolerate genuine bullying, but the sensitive enforcers of ambiguous anti-harassment laws often overstep their bounds.

John Stossel Interviews Illinois Affiliate Head Jonathan Bean

Glenn Ricketts

The leader of the Illinois Association of Scholars is eloquent on the subject of business & race.

FIRE Sends Open Letter to OCR on Sexual Harassment, NAS Co-Signs

Glenn Ricketts

We collaborate with FIRE against OCR guidelines that trivialize sexual harassment with severe results to the careers of those frivolously charged.

NAS Signs Open Letter Asking OCR to Better Define Sexual Harassment

Ashley Thorne

NAS joins ten other organizations in requesting the Office for Civil Rights to use the Supreme Court's standard in defining student sexual harassment in higher education.

That Man May Revel in His Freedom of Speech

Glenn Ricketts

Is the use of inclusive use of the masculine singular pronoun grounds for accusations of sexual harassment? It was at CSU-Chico till FIRE ridiculed them with "Speech Code of the Year."

A Law Professor Takes On the Victimhood Industry

Hans Bader

Hans Bader describes the Byzantine case of law professor Lawrence Connell, who's in big trouble for actually defending himself against preposterous harassment charges.

Free Speech Zoned Out at Drake University

Glenn Ricketts

Free speech seems to be ever more unpopular on college campuses these days, where it’s increasingly regarded as an unwelcome nuisance. The administration at Drake University have decided that the public expression of individual students’ private political opinions is something that can’t be permitted on campus. So they’ve created a “free speech zone” nearby where – for the time being, at least – you can stump for your favorite candidate. I wonder if there’s a sign posted that reads “Restricted Area: Free Speech Allowed.”

FIRE Wins Major Free Speech Victory at UW/Stout

Glenn Ricketts

The news about free speech and free expression on college campuses these days is often depressing, but today, there's some good news, thanks to our friends at FIRE who've persuaded the UW/Stout administration to abandon the heavy-handed censorship imposed recently on a theater arts professor. 

The First Amendment and UW/Stout

Glenn Ricketts

First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech are really not the thing these days at UW/Stout.

OCR's New Sexual Harassment Guidelines Threaten Academic Freedom, Due Process

Glenn Ricketts

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has mandated new guidelines for processing sexual harassment cases on college campuses. Watch out: it's going to be much easier to find you guilty.

FIRE VP to Freshman Parents: College Ain't What It Used to Be

Glenn Ricketts

If you're the proud parent of an entering freshman this Fall semester, FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley has some advice that you may not have heard from your school's orientation team leader. 

“O(h no) Canada!” MTV Signature Song Banned

Jonathan Bean

When I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, the stereotypical bowdlerizers of speech--the people excising "offensive" lyrics and literature--were the uptight blue-nosed sort who feared that "someone, somewhere, was having fun." (H.L. Mencken).

NAS Defends Freedom of Speech in Barnes v. Zaccari

Ashley Thorne

NAS joins a coalition of fifteen organizations to defend freedom of speech at Valdosta State University.

Conflict at Brooklyn College: Horowitz Talk on Video

Mitchell Langbert

Video of David Horowitz's presentation at Brooklyn College is here. Horowitz writes an extensive article about his talk at Brooklyn College on Frontpagemag, which appeared Friday. I attempted to serve as a moderator but was only moderately successful. The Brooklyn College Palestinian club's protests were aggressive. 

Editor Accused of Libel Wins in Paris Court: Victory for Academic Freedom

Ashley Thorne

The progress of ideas was vindicated in a decision in favor of an academic journal editor who published a book review that the book's author found unflattering.

Donald Downs on the Battle in Madison

George Leef

University of Wisconsin professor Donald Downs (author of the excellent book Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus) has an essay on Minding the Campus in which he discusses the battle taking place in Madison. Do college professors ever use their courses to propagandize on political issues? That's just a right-wing myth, say many defenders of the higher education establishment. Read the essay and you'll learn that quite a few of Downs' UW colleagues could not resist the temptation.

But Will Navy Now Drop its Diversity Mania?

George Leef

The Chronicle reports on the settlement the Naval Academy has been forced to make with the English professor it retaliated against after he criticized its "affirmative action" program. To call this an "embarrassment" is putting it mildly. The decision to go for a "diverse" student body rather than the best qualified is bad enough; to retaliate against a professor for speaking out is worse yet. After all of this, though, will the Naval Academy change anything?

The New Huck Finn vs. Yale's Big Book of Rap Lyrics

Peter Wood

Peter Wood contrasts the new sanitized version of Mark Twain’s masterpiece with the Yale University Press publication of a scholarly edition of rap lyrics.

FIRE Serves Notice on Speech Codes

Glenn Ricketts

FIRE sends a letter to over 300 university presidents and their legal advisers, who have long stonewalled criticism of unconstitutional speech codes.

Racism at Wesleyan?

Peter Wood

Peter Wood reviews the affirmative action bake sale controversy at Wesleyan University and calls for a more circumspect use of the label "racist."

Yes, Virginia...You are All Right

Jonathan Bean

It is always nice to report good news. In the long struggle for sanity on college campuses, occasionally schools "do the right thing." In this case, the University of Virginia has eliminated all speech codes and earned a "Green Light" from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). For more on the story, click here. To see where your school stands in FIRE ratings, search here. Sadly, most schools are Red or Yellow. Take action by keeping an eye on your alma mater or local university. Report to your local NAS affiliate and/or contact FIRE.

Next Week in D.C.: Lukianoff Speaks to NAS Chapter

Ashley Thorne

Friends in D.C., we hope to see you on Monday, Nov. 1, when FIRE president Greg Lukianoff will address the D.C. chapter of the National Association of Scholars. He will speak on "CLS v. Martinez and the Campus Freedom of Association Crisis." To RSVP and for more details, see this flier.  

Keep Academic Freedom in Academia - Or Forfeit Freedom of Speech

Ashley Thorne

One of the dangers of bringing academic freedom under judicial authority is that doing so threatens First Amendment rights on campus, writes Steve Balch in a thoughtful new article. The recent efforts by Augusta State U and Eastern Michigan State U to censor Christian counseling students illustrate this. To learn more about these cases, see Alliance Defense Fund's "ADF to appeal ruling that allows Eastern Michigan U. to expel Christian students for holding to beliefs" and "Augusta State Univ. to counseling student: change your beliefs or get out."

Constitutionalizing

Steve Balch

One of the dangers of bringing academic freedom under judicial authority is that doing so threatens First Amendment rights on campus.

FIRE Educates for Free Speech on Campus

Glenn Ricketts

FIRE will offer a Free Speech Seminar in NYC on September 14.

Back on Track: U Illinois Reinstates Catholic Prof

Ashley Thorne

The University of Illinois has restored Professor Kenneth Howell to his position after dismissing him for an email he sent discussing Catholic teaching on homosexuality and natural law.

How to Preserve Free Speech on Campus

Glenn Ricketts

Check out this article by Daphne Patai over at Minding the Campus, in which she discusses the perilous state of free speech on American college campuses. There's been no end of dismal news on that account this week, so it's good to pass along these thoughts of someone who's been fighting the good fight on behalf of free expression for quite a while, and really knows the ropes. If it's getting hard to discuss controversial issues openly at your school because of the administration's reflexive "sensitivity" to selected ideological constituencies, Patai demonstrates that you don't have to sit back and let it happen. If you're familiar with her two important books, Professing Feminism and Heterophobia you'll know that she's walked the walk, as she does again here.

Human Heredity Hoopla at SJCCD

Candace de Russy

California taxpayers are now on the hook for  $100,000, which the San José/Evergreen Community College District (SJCCD) has agreed to pay an adjunct professor in lost earnings in exchange for dismissal of her First Amendment lawsuit. The background of the lawsuit? Sheldon had led a short discussion about the nature/nurture debate regarding sexual orientation in her Human Heredity course. She was then fired due to a student complaint and went to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for assistance. "This welcome settlement demonstrates that colleges cannot get away with punishing a professor for teaching relevant class material, even if a student finds it offensive," said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. An aspect of this case worthy of the attention of NAS afficionados is the SJCCD's contention that Sheldon was teaching non-scientific material as science. In any event, congratulations to Sheldon and FIRE for persevering in this good fight. And condolences to CA taxpayers.

FIRE Scores Again for Academic Freedom

Glenn Ricketts

Our friends at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education continue their stellar work defending the academic freedom and First Amendment rights of college faculty members - especially untenured adjuncts - who collide with stifiling campus political orthodoxies. This time, they've scored against the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District, which will have to pay 100K in lost wages to an adjunct instructor who was terminated in 2007 after a student complained that her brief classroom discussion of the origins of homosexuality was "offensive." The district will have to pick up the tab for legal expenses as well. Too bad for them - and the taxpayers who will carry theses costs - that they didn't simply respect the instructor's academic freedom in the first place. But while I'm glad that FIRE was able to intervene successfully in this case, I also wish that they and other organizations such as the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) didn't have so much work to do. This is getting to be a depressingly familiar scenario: 1) Instructor in a psychology or ethics course examines homosexuality or sex differences, says something that a student finds "offensive." 2) A complaint is forwarded at the speed of light to the administration, cc to the campus women's center, the dean of multicultural affairs or the LGBT office, who don't necessarily need to interview the instructor, but nevertheless agree that yes, yes, the classroom discussion was indeed "offensive." 3) The administration informs instructor that she's outta here. 4) Board of directors upholds administration, unimpressed by quaint ideas about academic freedom or First Amendment protections. Honestly, I wonder what the worst aspect of cases such as this one is. It's appalling, of course, that such an Orwellian intellectual climate exists on so many campuses, and the examples of outrages such as this one seem to pop up weekly. See Ashley Thorne's recent post detailing the latest incident involving a socal work student whose religious convictions ran afoul of a counseling program at Augusta State University in Georgia. But what about boards of trustees, such as the one in the San Jose/Evergreen case? What could they, as the governing bodies at a public institution have been thinking? Apart from the deserved embarassment their school has incurred and the hefty settlement costs they've handed to taxpayers, what does academic freedom or First Amendment protections mean to them? Not much, I have to conclude, since they upheld the administration's outrage, without apparently seeing it as such. Kudos to FIRE once again, which seems to have a much firmer grasp of the academic enterprise and its mission than do many of the people to whom it's been directly entrusted.

Ayers Has the Right to Speak

Ashley Thorne

NAS Chairman Steve Balch defends the right of Bill Ayers - former leader of the radical communist group the Weather Underground to speak at the University of Wyoming. "We need more debate rather than less at our universities and, of course, the First Amendment applies to all," he wrote.

Judge Downes Decides Rightly

Steve Balch

We commend Judge Downes' decision to uphold freedom of speech by ordering the University of Wyoming to allow William Ayers to speak on campus.

Anger, Sedition, and Freedom of Speech

Ashley Thorne

Should we restrict expressions of anger to protect the public order? Should universities cultivate students' character?

Fear Factory: Sexual Harassment and the Rights of the Accused

Jonathan Bean

Our Illinois affiliate president weighs in on the wacky world of sexual harassment codes on college campuses.

Perhaps Yale Administrators are the Sissies

Ashley Thorne

FIRE president Greg Lukianoff has an article in the Huffington Post about Yale' s qualms over a t-shirt with an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote: "I think of all Harvard men as sissies." Lukianoff wrote:

Unfortunately--and is it any surprise these days?--a couple of Yale administrators decided that the word "sissies" was too offensive because some people interpreted it as a slur against gay men. This was news to the Yale freshmen who, like me, see "sissies" as being funny primarily because it is such a ridiculous, silly, old-fashioned put down, somewhere between "cad" and "toots" as far as insults go. Besides, in context, Fitzgerald actually wrote, "I think of all Harvard men as sissies, like I used to be." Does anyone really think Fitzgerald was coming out as a success story of the ex-gay movement, or was he simply calling Harvard men, well, a bunch of sissies (modern translation: wusses, wimps, etc.)? The administrators were gearing up to ban the T-shirt, but the students backed down and changed the design.

Winter's Not So Happy Without Holidays

Ashley Thorne

From the student newspaper of the University of Massachusetts is an article by Thomas Moore (the student, not the Utopian) about the new policy for U Mass RAs: Don't call it the "holiday season"; call it the "winter season." I had a hard enough time as it is finding a card to send to extended family that actually read "Merry Christmas" on the front. Most said "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" or "Ho, Ho, Ho!" I thought things were bad enough. Now U Mass will try to erase even the concept of a holiday season in the name of political correctness. Moore encourages the RAs to disregard the policy in the name of liberty and free expression of their beliefs. Let's hope that if they do disregard it, the university does not try to discipline them.

Signing on to FEAR

Peter Wood

NAS endorses the AAUP statement "Free Expression at Risk, at Yale and Elsewhere."

Tolerance and Terrorism at Queens College

Mitchell Langbert

Jeff Wiesenfeld, trustee of the City University of New York, has written a letter to the New York Post concerning an alleged terrorist's appearing as a speaker at Queens College (h/t Sharad Karkhanis).  The Post reports that the Muslim Students' Association (MSA) invited "an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing"  to speak.   James Girdusky, vice president of Queens's College Republicans, has called for an end to funding of the MSA.  Queens College argues that this is a free speech issue.  Trustee Wiesenfeld writes that while free speech must be protected, the CUNY community ought to speak out. I wrote an email to President James Muyskens:

I am writing a blog for the National Association of Scholars concerning Trustee Wiesenfeld's recent letter to the New York Post concerning the spat between the QC Republican Club and the MSA. The article writes that Queens has taken the position that this is a free speech issue. First, if this is a free speech issue, do you apply free speech standards to "words that wound" other groups as well as Jews? Second, if a student applies for funding of a campus Ku Klux Klan or Neo-Nazi club, would you fund that as you fund the MSA, which has stimulated anti-Semitic feeling similar to what might be feared from a KKK-type group? Third, do you see a distinction between allowing the members of the MSA to speak and providing them with funding and campus support such as student center meeting rooms?

FIRE Publishes Speech Policies Guide

Ashley Thorne

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has published a guide to help administrators craft school policies in such a way as to protect First Amendment rights on campus. "Correcting Common Mistakes in Campus Speech Policies" (download PDF) details the problems - bias reporting sites, free speech zones, undefined terminology in harassment policies, mandatory university values - that FIRE frequently encounters among institutional policies. NAS of course has also dealt with these problems. Our statement Sexual Harassment and Academic Freedom showed how the rights of individuals can be violated by misguided efforts to combat sexual harassment. In Tolerance, Diversity, Respect, OR ELSE, Williams Chokes Up, and Snitch Studies at Cal Poly, we highlighted freedom-threatening bias reporting systems at William & Mary, Williams College, and Cal Poly, respectively. And this spring, in a series of articles (beginning with Free to Agree), NAS exposed Virginia Tech's faculty promotion and tenure policy that included a commitment-to-diversity litmus test. We are welcome FIRE's new guide for protecting individual rights on campus, and we hope to see more and more college administrators heeding the counsel therein.

UNC Radicals Intolerant of Free Speech by Others

George Leef

One day last April, most of the copies of the UNC conservative publication Carolina Journal were stolen. Who dunnit? No evidence was at hand and the matter was forgotten -- until the school's SDS chapter posted some photos on its Facebook page showing beyond doubt where the copies of Carolina Journal had gone. They were on the floor of the house of the SDS chapter's president, evidently service as a dropcloth during painting. Here is the post about the incident, with the pictures (since taken down from the SDS page, I understand). Maybe the SDS punks don't mind this at all. It might help them land jobs in the Obama regime's dissent-suppression (oops--"fairness") initiative.

Academic Freedom and Advocacy

Ashley Thorne

Over at NAS.org, we've got a nice debate going between NAS and University of Alaska Professor Richard Steiner. After I wrote about him in "Sustainability Skepticism Has Arrived," I contacted Professor Steiner to let him know about the article. He subsequently wrote to the University's president Mark Hamilton to challenge him to a debate over academic freedom:

President Hamilton – Given recent circumstances, I would like to invite you to debate with me, openly and publicly, re: the issue of academic freedom, and the influence of corporate donations to the university. You have said many things in support of academic freedom over the years, but when push came to shove in my case, you made a decision in opposition to free speech. In 2002, you received an award for your support of academic freedom from a group calling itself the “National Association of Scholars”, who it turns out, actually opposes sustainability movements on today’s college campuses. They say that sustainability is “deceptive, coercive, closed-minded, a pseudo-religion, distorts higher education, shrinks freedom, programs people, is anti-rational, by-passes faculty, and is wasteful.” This group apparently supports free speech only when they agree with what is spoken, and opposes it when they disagree with what is spoken. Apparently this is your position as well. That you chose to accept an award fro this group calls into serious question the progressive character of the University of Alaska. All of this is an extremely serious transgression of the very role a university is supposed to fulfill in civil society. I look forward to your reply, and to debating this issue publicly and honestly. Sincerely, Rick Steiner, Professor

His challenge to President Hamilton, as well as his response to NAS which we posted unedited on our website, called into question our dedication to academic freedom. NAS president Peter Wood responded here. He wrote:

And, yes, we support the right of Professor Steiner to speak his mind about sustainability, but his academic freedom gives him no follow-on right to accept public funding under false pretenses.  Sometimes we have to make choices.  Taking money for scientific investigation and then using it to fund political advocacy isn’t an exercise in academic freedom.  It is, at best, an act of deviousness.  It sounds to me like a form of academic dishonesty, not an act of academic freedom.  But let me hold that criticism in abeyance.  If Professor Steiner can defend his actions without twisting the terms of academic freedom into self-serving knots, let him do so. 

We hope this exchange will open up the doors of debate over the role of advocacy in higher education and the true meaning of academic freedom.

Epic Fail, Yale

Ashley Thorne

A comment on Yale University Press's refusal to print controversial cartoons.

Errant Liberty

Peter Wood

Why Liberty University was unwise to de-recognize its Young Democrats Association.

Princeton News

Peter Wood

Students protest Professor Robert George and National Organization of Marriage

Snitch Studies at Cal Poly: We Snare Because We Care

Peter Wood

The university launches a new bias incident reporting system to enforce "respect."

Delaware Res Life Video Soars in YouTube Popularity

Ashley Thorne

Virginia Tech, Academic Freedom, and Employment Law: Part 1

Tom Wood

Faculty members at public universities are state employees, but public universities are not like other public institutions. So what are the governing principles for faculty employment?

Harvey for Harvard

Ashley Thorne

Harvey Silverglate is running for Harvard

Cracking the Speech Code

Greg Lukianoff

At the national NAS conference in January, Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, spoke on the state of free speech and civil liberties on campus. Here is the text of his speech, rich in links and civil liberties cases, where he correlates the rise of the speech code to the rise of college administrators.

Canada Gets It Right

Ashley Thorne

Queen's College terminated its Intergroup Dialogue program when it was found to invite conversation-policing.

"Ask God What Your Grade Is"

Ashley Thorne

A professor at LA City College shouts down and attempts to expel a student for supporting Proposition 8.

Unbuttoned in Illinois

Peter Wood

The University of Illinois has issued a strange notice concerning its employees' buttons and bumper stickers.

Campus Speech Codes: Absurd, Tenacious, and Everywhere

Greg Lukianoff

Greg Lukianoff, the President for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, drafted the following article for and presented it at a conference on