"Trigger warnings: A dangerous idea on campus" by Renee Loth

Renee Loth has written an insightful piece for The Boston Globe on the phenomenon of 'trigger warnings' currently spreading through higher education nationwide. Students and administrators alike have started demanding these disclaimers - which originated in the blogging world - be included on course syllabi and materials that could prove ‘offensive.’ As Loth puts it, “reasonable concern for students who may have suffered terrible traumas has morphed into a serious threat to intellectual freedom.” Tantamount to censorship, these trigger warnings are antithetical to a liberal arts education and have no place in the academy.

See the full article here: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/05/21/trigger-warnings-dangerous-idea-campus/ercxPOCUtzvMJTUl4Es32I/story.html

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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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BC and the Belfast Project: A Scholar's Privilege to Disobey

The ongoing imbroglio over Boston College’s Belfast Oral History Project has been disappointing at almost every turn. The case involves a subpoena by the Northern Irish police force of confidential materials collected by Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, two scholars who worked with BC to create an oral history of the Irish “Troubles” as told by former IRA and Loyalist members closest to the fighting. In my latest piece for my Forbes.com blog, “Injustice Department,” I discuss the grave implications for First Amendment rights resulting from the blithe willingness of Boston’s federal courts to jeopardize scholarly research in the name of dubious law enforcement claims. Furthermore, the article raises the important question of what could have been done differently to allow the scholars, like reporters whose confidential notes are being subpoenaed, to resist the disclosure of their sources through civil disobedience.

You can find the article after the jump.
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The 15th Annual Boston Phoenix Muzzle Awards, student edition

Sticks and stones might break your bones, but on college campuses in the Northeast, words can get you expelled. The Boston Phoenix gives its annual “Muzzle Awards” to the year’s worst free speech violators, with a sidebar highlighting the most egregious violators among academic institutions. The academic Muzzle Award winners this year—Boston College, Bridgewater State, and Harvard University—faced stiff competition. But, in the end, they stood out for their significant contributions to the culture of censorship now running rampant on our nation’s campuses. Click here to access Dan Kennedy’s “15th Annual Muzzle Awards” and here to access my “Muzzles on campus” sidebar. An excerpt after the jump...

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Announcing a New FIRE Book: Unlearning Liberty, Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate

FIRE President Greg Lukianoff's book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com. The book will be formally released on October 23, but from now until then, we are spreading the word about the book and the important stories it tells regarding censorship on campus. Getting the message out about how bad things have become on college campuses for once-cherished principles like free speech and due process helps FIRE fight back against campus abuses, and all proceeds from the book go to FIRE to help support our work. Unlearning Liberty is the first book since The Shadow University, written by Alan Kors and me, Harvey Silverglate, to attempt a far-reaching and large-scale exposition of the insane cases of censorship and abuse of basic rights that occur at our nation's colleges and universities. 

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