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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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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Manhattan Institute Q&A Podcast Available

On March 28, I attended a forum at the Manhattan Institute with KC Johnson where we discussed the dismal state of free speech and due process rights on America's campuses. The Institute has just posted the audio of the Q&A session that followed our talks. You can find a link to the podcasts after the jump.
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Caleb Warner's Story Continues to Inspire


Caleb Warner may not be returning back to school this year, but he has been inspiring people to speak out against the guidelines for prosecuting sexual assault on college campuses.
 
On July 15th I published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal about Caleb, a University of North Dakota student accused of sexual assault. Caleb was kicked out of school and the local police swore out an arrest warrant; not for him, but for his accuser. Utilizing the same evidence that led to his expulsion from school, the police determined that Caleb was not guilty, and that his accuser had filed a false police report. Even though police felt there was clearly insufficient evidence to bring charges (much less convict), the school was perfectly comfortable bringing him in front of a disciplinary board and expelling him. They were so comfortable, in fact, that even after Caleb's accuser left town following the warrant for her arrest, the school still did not agree to rehear his case.

But after a summer of bad press, along with intensive lobbying by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (
FIRE), the University of North Dakota vacated all of Caleb's charges, including his expulsion. While he has said he is unlikely to return to the University of North Dakota, he now has a clean record, and can move on with his life.

Caleb's story has also inspired a number of other people who are concerned about due process on campus.

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