FIRE

How Diversity Came to Mean ‘Downgrade the West’

There was a time, within living memory, when the term multiculturalism was hardly known.  More than twenty years ago, Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and in late July speaker at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, wrote a book with fellow Stanford alum David Sacks called The Diversity Myth: ‘Multiculturalism’ and the Politics of Intolerance […]

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A Champion of Free Speech Takes on the Muzzled Campus

Harvey Silverglate delivered these remarks upon receiving the Manhattan Institute’s Alexander Hamilton award Monday, May 9th at a dinner in New York City. Silverglate is a Cambridge attorney, a veteran defender of civil rights and civil liberties, and co-founder, along with University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors, of the Foundation for Individual Rights in […]

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‘Uncomfortable’ Talk Censored at Williams

From FIRE’s site (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education)  Williams College has disinvited a second speaker from its student-run “Uncomfortable Learning” speaker series, a program specifically developed to bring controversial viewpoints  to campus. Unlike the first disinvitation (Conservative writer Suzanne Venker), which came at the behest of the speaker series’ student organizers, this order came directly from the […]

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Free speech

The U. of Chicago’s Flawed Support for Freedom of Expression

In January 2015 the University of Chicago Committee on Freedom of Expression issued a brief report which eloquently made a case for the importance of free speech as “an essential element of the University’s culture.”  I commented at the time in an approving manner.  Over the ensuing months, the Chicago statement has gathered more and […]

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Free Speech

Campus Censors—Here’s How to Fight Them

This article originally appeared on Minding the Campus April 21, 2013. It’s no longer a matter of much debate that America’s college campuses are not the beacons of free and open discussion in a democratic society that they were intended to be. In its 14 years of existence, our organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights […]

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FIRE Singes the Censors

How time flies. In 1987, a new breed of speech and harassment codes and student indoctrination were unleashed on college campuses across the land. Thus, what Allan Kors and Harvey Silverglate famously labeled the “shadow university”–the university dedicated to censorship and politically correct paternalism–is now at least 25 years old. The public recognized the consequences of […]

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Six Organizations Every Conservative College Student Should Know

To the student tired of politically correct speech, whose soul longs for the free pursuit of truth, take heart! There are support networks that bring together like-minded students around conferences, seminars, reading groups, scholarships, and grants. Take a look at a sampling below. The Intercollegiate Studies Institute inspires students to discover, embrace, and advance the […]

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A Peculiar Performance by the Chronicle

The mainstream media seem to be studiously ignoring Naomi Schaefer Riley’s summary banishment on May 7 as a blogger for the Chronicle of Higher Education. She had written a post severely criticizing black studies programs at universities and suggesting that they be eliminated. But some media people who cover the media online, though they are […]

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Why Universities Can’t Grant Religious Liberty

From the site of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. Not long ago, the university was seen as a world apart–an idyllic enclave where our studious youth learned the virtues of citizenship, cheered hard for the football team, and read the great classics of Western thought. The “ivory tower” was more an […]

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The New VAWA–A Threat to College Students

Cross-posted from Open Market. Provisions are being added to the 1994 Violence Against Women Act that could undermine due process on campus and in criminal cases, as civil liberties groups like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and civil libertarians like former ACLU board member Wendy Kaminer have noted. The changes are contained […]

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FERPA and a Student Who Might Make a Professor Cringe

In a case highlighted by FIRE, Oakland University in Michigan issued a three-semester suspension to a student named Joseph Corlett, allegedly in response to some of Corlett’s in-class writings that passed well beyond the bounds of good taste (in a writing journal, he ruminated on the sexual attractiveness of his female professors) and to Corbett’s […]

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The Times Vilifies Another Athlete, Presenting No Evidence

Over the past year, FIRE has led a campaign of civil liberties organizations against the Obama administration’s infamous “Dear Colleague” letter, which ordered colleges and universities to lower the burden of proof in their on-campus judicial proceedings. The letter demanded that all universities receiving federal funds employ a “preponderance of the evidence” standard (in other […]

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Let’s Not Turn Satire and Criticism into Discriminatory Harassment

FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) has attracted important support for its open letter asking the Department of Education to define harassment narrowly enough to allow genuinely free speech on campus. Many colleges and universities ban expression that might be considered “offensive” or cause “embarrassment” or “ridicule.” The January 6 letter, sent to […]

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Let’s Make Sure Those RA Brains are Properly Washed

The writer is a student and former residential assistant at DePauw University and a summer intern at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Her comments here are excerpted from a FIRE fund-raising letter – JL                                                             *** During the week-long series of RA training events, my fellow RAs and I were lectured repeatedly about white […]

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A Hard Case—Are FIRE and NAS Wrong about Jennifer Keeton?

Hard cases make bad law. Nowhere is that legal maxim clearer than the case of former Augusta State counseling student Jennifer Keeton, who was removed from the counseling program because of her rather extreme anti-gay views. A lower-court judge upheld the university’s actions. FIRE and NAS have filed a powerful amicus brief, penned by Eugene […]

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Free Speech at UVA

Congratulations to FIRE for inducing the University of Virginia to drop four policies that restricted the speech of students and faculty. One policy had prohibited Internet messages that are “inappropriate” or “vilify” others. The campus women’s center backed down from two unusually preposterous policies that listed “teasing,” “jokes of a sexual nature” and “innuendo” as […]

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Psychology: The Latest Threat to Campus Free Speech?

Steven Pinker, noted Harvard psychologist and linguist delivered an address to mark Boston’s Ford Hall Forum’s presentation of their Louis P. and Evelyn Smith First Amendment Award to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Pinker’s speech draws valuably upon two of Pinker’s hats – as psychologist and FIRE adviser in offering a sharp analysis […]

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Criminal, Not Hurtful

Our good friend Harvey Silverglate, co-founder of FIRE and co-author of The Shadow University, just sent a brief protest—more like a bellow—in reaction to the New York Times’s handling of the Rutgers story. A front-page Times report today said it was “hurtful” for the two Rutgers students to videotape a gay sex act by another […]

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How to Fight for Free Speech on Our ‘Sensitive’ Campuses

About fifty undergraduates from around the country gathered outside of Philadelphia, on the campus of Bryn Mawr College, between July 15 and 17th, to discuss the struggle for free speech on American campuses. The event was the third annual Campus Freedom Network (CFN) conference organized by FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Teaching […]

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Duke’s Mixed News

In the past few days, Duke announced resolutions of two disputes that had bedeviled the university. First, in response to a protest from FIRE, the university overruled the Women’s Center’s refusal to host an exhibition sponsored by a Duke pro-life organization. In a perfect irony, announcement of the reversal came from Women’s Center Director Ada […]

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Duke’s Mixed News

In the past few days, Duke announced resolutions of two disputes that had bedeviled the university. First, in response to a protest from FIRE, the university overruled the Women’s Center’s refusal to host an exhibition sponsored by a Duke pro-life organization. In a perfect irony, announcement of the reversal came from Women’s Center Director Ada […]

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The Times Does San Diego

Regulars at FIRE’s must-read blog, The Torch, already know the ugly details of events at California-San Diego. A fraternity held an off-campus party that was at best tasteless and at worst racist. Appearing on a student-run TV station (which is funded by the student government through student fees), a student satirical organization defended the party […]

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The AAUP Strikes Out . . . Again

The AAUP recently produced a new journal devoted to exploring the state of academic freedom on today’s college campuses. As customary with anything from the AAUP in recent years, the publication was as notable for what it didn’t contain as what it did, in that it offered no mention of the internal threat to academic […]

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Why Free Speech Advocates Are Angry

Sometimes people who don’t work in academia wonder why colleges are often the object of debates over free speech. Sure, some observers know that campuses are liberal enclaves, and they regard professors and administrators as easily intimidated by identity politics. But most people remember their college days as pretty much apolitical, and they continue to […]

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Further Thoughts on the Rotenberg Letter

KC Johnson beat me to the punch in registering doubts and concerns about the letter University of Minnesota General Counsel Mark B. Rotenberg has written to Adam Kissel at FIRE regarding the education department’s review of the curriculum. Kissel and FIRE are to be praised for having wrought out of the university a letter assuring […]

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