"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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FIRE Video Interview

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), www.thefire.org ,  of which I am a co-founder and current Board of Directors chair, has produced a short (12 minutes long) video on my work in civil liberties in higher education. You may agree, or disagree, with my pessimistic assessment of the current state of the culture on our campuses, and with my optimistic assessment of our chances of restoring fairness, academic freedom, and rationality to these campuses. But in any event I think you’ll find this of interest...


You can find the video here: http://thefire.org/article/16547.html .


I hope you enjoy this piece and I encourage you to follow the important work FIRE is doing.
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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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Campus Censorship Breeds Societal Dysfunction

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (or FIRE, whose board of directors I chair), has written a remarkable and groundbreaking new book: Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. In it, he posits that pervasive censorship and disregard for due process on our nation’s campuses have disrupted the gears and self-correcting mechanisms essential for the functioning of our free society. In my latest Forbes.com column, I explain how the mindless totalitarianism that befouls the vast majority of our college campuses helps explain some of the injustices of our legal system. The degradation of important social and legal institutions begins somewhere, and I agree with Lukianoff that a lot of our problems start with what is happening in our sadly degenerated system of higher education.

You can find the piece on my Forbes.com Injustice Department blog.
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Hooliganism in Moscow, Bullying in Delaware: A Rose by Any Other Name

The American press rightfully has been having a field day berating the Putin government for its use of the infamous “hooliganism” statute in the “Pussy Riot” controversy. But back here in the States, the University of Delaware has begun using an equally vague handle – denominated a “disruptive conduct” code – to abolish what is increasingly becoming the American analogy to Russia’s “hooliganism,” namely “bullying” or “harassment.” In my most recent column for Forbes.com, co-authored with my research assistant and FIRE Program Associate Juliana DeVries, we point out that, while just about everyone has come out to condemn the Russian court system, very little attention has been paid to this outrageous free speech violation right here at home. The column after the jump...

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