The College Freedom Report
Produced by John K. Wilson of www.collegefreedom.org.
UNC Greensboro has dropped charges against two students who protested a free speech zone on campus: http://thefire.org/index.php/article/6698.html. FIRE and the Pope Center produced a Jan. 10 report on speech codes in North Carolina: http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/6682.html
The hearings in Pennsylvania about campus bias have brought a lot of media coverage: http://insidehighered.com/news/2006/01/11/retract
See www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org for more articles, and the testimony of David Horowitz and Anne Neal.
Michael Berube creatively comments on the hearings: http://www.michaelberube.com/index.php/weblog/indoctrinate_u/
Two Florida International University professors have been arrested for spying for Cuba. You don’t have to like Fidel to worry about the precedent this poses. Although the professors certainly seem to have been spying (they also had encryption devices to communicate with Cuban officials), why should spying be illegal? Unless the information communicated was illegally obtained or knowingly used as part of a criminal conspiracy (e.g. to imprison the relatives of critics of Castro), why shouldn’t you be free to communicate with foreign officials?
A University of Wisconsin committee recommends allowing campuses to ban RAs from holding Bible Study sessions in their rooms: http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/6694.html
DeVry University professor Meg Spohn says she was fired because of her blog, www.megspohn.com.
January is the traditional month for the inappropriate invocation of Martin Luther King Jr., and this year’s most appalling abuse on campus of his memory must go to Bennie McMorris, an administrator at Hampton University. Hampton, a historically black college in Virginia, last month hauled eight of its students before a campus tribunal, found them guilty, and sentenced them to community service. The crime? Handing out anti-war fliers on campus without getting them “approved” by the administration. In this letter to the local newspaper,
McMorris defends this repression by citing King’s March on Washington, because it received permits. But there’s a fundamental difference between getting permission for exclusive use of a large public space, and demanding that students must receive permission to hand out pieces of paper on campus. For more on the Hampton case, see www.collegefreedom.org/hampton.html
In March, Jacques Pluss was fired from his job as an adjunct professor of history at Fairleigh Dickinson University for being a Nazi. Now, Pluss says he was just pretending to do that in order to get fired and write a book about Nazis. In fact, Pluss reveals that he had been informed that no adjuncts would be reappointed for the fall, and decided to join the Nazis and write an anonymous letter to the campus newspaper about it.
Bowling Green State University in Ohio has established a Task Force on Academic Freedom:
Christian schools are suing the University of California for refusing high-school courses that teach creationism rather than evolution: http://www.crosswalk.com/news/1373651.html
That story about FBI agents investigating a student for checking out Mao’s Little Red Book? It was a lie, fortunately: http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=510754
Do textbook rental programs limit the academic freedom of professors to select the books used in their classes? Or are they necessary to contain massive cost increases? They’re a growing alternative on many campuses: http://horus.vcsa.uci.edu/article.php?id=4323
The University of Utah has finally finalized its “Accommodations Policy” to settle the lawsuit brought by Christina Axson-Flynn, a former theater student who sued (and won) because she demanded the right to re-write plays in her classes so that she wouldn’t have to use swear words. The lawsuit was a disaster for academic freedom, but the new policy gives faculty the power to decide if an accommodation is granted. http://www.dailyutahchronicle.com/media/paper244/news/2006/01/11/News/Policy.Approval.Ends.SixYear.Legal.Battle-1323056.shtml?norewrite&sourcedomain=www.dailyutahchronicle.com
And for my personal self-promotion:
I’m quoted in this article about free speech (and political bias) at DePaul University:
Read more about DePaul here: thefire.org/depaul
And read my article on “Academic Freedom After 9-11” (and many other excellent essays) in the Fall 2005 issue of Thought and Action: http://www2.nea.org/he/tanda.html
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any tips or suggestions.
John K. Wilson, collegefreedom.org