FIRE President Greg Lukianoff for the WSJ: Feds to Students: You Can't Say That

FIRE president and Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate author Greg Lukianoff writes for the Friday, May 17 opinion page of the Wall Street Journal about the May 9 letter declaring sexual harassment "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature." What the Departments of Justice and Education have done, as explained by Lukianoff, constitutes a major assault on both free speech and Due Process on virtually every American college campus, public and private. I think it is unlikely that many, if any, colleges and universities will fight back rather than roll-over, hire more administrators, and do the federal government’s bidding. This means more work for those of us out here in civil society to protect what is left of academic freedom and fair disciplinary procedures on our beleaguered campuses.

You can access the piece at the following link:

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The Feds Mandate Abolition of Free Speech on Campus

Want to openly discuss gender discrepancies in the workplace? Want to listen to uncensored rap music? How about put on a comedy show? Not on our campuses! And what if you or a friend or family member has to pursue a defense to an unmeritorious charge of sexual harassment? Forget it!

On May 9th, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education jointly issued a letter to the University of Montana, which the government called “a blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country,” and which mandates changes to campus sexual harassment policies that will effectively make each of the above actions punishable offenses and will turn hearings into even worse kangaroo courts than exist today. This is a very serious development that everyone who thinks our universities play an important function in society will want to know about.

In my latest column for Minding the Campus, co-authored with my research assistant Juliana DeVries, we argue that the federal government’s unconstitutional mandate will obliterate free speech and fair process on campuses and make every student guilty of “harassment” several times a day. You can read the column on the Minding the Campus website.  

An excerpt after the jump...

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Civilization and Its Discontents: Burying the Boston Marathon Bomber

Americans conceive of our struggle against terrorism as an us-versus-them battle between our civilization and those who would seek to destroy it. But the recent controversy over the burial of Tamerlan Tsarnaev shows that our civilization can also fall victim to our own sometimes brutish impulses.

My latest column for, co-authored with my research assistant Zachary Bloom, addresses the ethical obligations that we as a civilized society must remember to obey in the wake of terrorist attacks. You can find it on my “Injustice Department” blog.

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Beware the FBI when it is not recording

Civil libertarians are used to sounding the alarm about pervasive government surveillance in the era of cellphones, drones and the Internet. But, as alleged Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s classmate Robel Phillipos is now discovering, an equal threat to liberty is the FBI policy forbidding recording of interviews.

My latest column, which ran in this Saturday’s (May 11th) Boston Globe, explains the danger faced by witnesses and defendants who talk to the FBI. You can find it on the Globe’s website.

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O’Brien indictment: the sausage factory and the democratic process

Former Probation Department Commissioner John O’Brien was recently federally indicted for bribery and racketeering, after a series of Boston Globe stories and an official investigation showed that the probation department under O’Brien was giving preferential treatment to job candidates recommended by legislators and some judges in exchange for favorable treatment by the legislature in budgetary decisions. In my most recent column for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, coauthored with my friend and former law partner, Judge Nancy Gertner, we argue that, though the Probation Department’s hiring practices were not crimes under the present federal criminal code. It would be hard to find a government official who would not be subject to prosecution under such a large and nebulous definition of “corruption” and “fraudulent pretenses” as the U.S. Attorney describes in the O’Brien indictment.

The column after the jump...

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