FIRE Video Interview

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), ,  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: .


I hope you enjoy this piece and I encourage you to follow the important work FIRE is doing.
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"Harvard Email Snooping: Overreaching Administrators at Work"

As those of you who read my various writing know, our nation’s campuses are far from hubs of free inquiry. Today’s campus culture more accurately resembles a corporation, or, viewed a bit more cynically, a mini-police state. In my most recent piece for Minding the Campus, co-authored with my research assistants, Juliana DeVries and Zachary Bloom, we explain how the Harvard email search scandal is only the latest demonstration of administrators and lawyers’ power over faculty and staff. This latest invasion of academic prerogatives by the overlords should be a wake-up call to spur a rebellion against the unholy trends destroying liberal arts institutions all over the country.


You can read the piece at the following link:
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Harvard Botches a "Cheating" Scandal

Many of you have heard of the ongoing cheating scandal at Harvard, in which 125 students in a class called “Introduction to Congress” were accused of cheating on a take-home final exam.  Harvard’s administrators have initiated a vast inquiry into the allegations, pledging to adjudicate each student’s case separately before the notorious Administrative Board. However, doubts have been expressed here and there over whether Harvard’s cheating rules, and the professor’s and teaching assistants’ instructions to the students, were sufficiently clear to function as a fair basis for these allegations in all cases.

In our recent piece for Minding the Campus, my research assistant Zachary Bloom and I offer the case of John McCoy, a former Harvard Extension School student falsely accused of cheating on an exam, as an object lesson in why one should be skeptical of these kinds of charges emanating from Harvard, and of the reliability of the Administrative Board to actually come to a fair and rational decision on allegations of cheating. McCoy’s battles with implacable administrators show that Harvard’s disciplinary system is a far cry from the truth-finding apparatus that it claims to be.

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Harvard, Where Civility Trumps Free Speech

Last year, Harvard’s Freshman Dean Thomas Dingman drew the wrath of former Dean of Harvard College Harry Lewis, as well as the mockery of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for pressuring incoming students to sign a pledge that "the exercise of kindness holds a place on par with intellectual attainment." This year, Dean Dingman abandoned the criticized pledge tactic (in what turns out to be nothing more than a tactical retreat) but not his overriding commitment to imposing on students’ freedom of conscience. Without any public pre-announcement (which doomed last year's thought-reform efforts), Dean Dingman managed to slip a stealth re-education program into Harvard's freshman orientation week. As part of this “sensitivity training” students were made to perform skits where they acted out civility, as the Harvard administration defined it. In my most recent column for Minding the Campus, co-authored with my research assistant Juliana DeVries, I explain how this turn of events fits the Harvard administration into a long history of authoritarian intrusions into freedom of thought, yet nary a word of protest has been heard from Harvard students, alumni, faculty, and governing boards.

The column 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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