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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2011 Muzzle Awards: Another year of crushing free spirits at our colleges and universities

Every year, around July 4th, Dan Kennedy and I collaborate on the Boston Phoenix’s annual “Muzzle Awards,” recognizing those people and organizations that have done the most in the prior 12 months to further the cause of censorship. Kennedy selects the “winners” of the award out in the world at large, and I focus on academic institutions and people who are responsible for censorship in the world of higher education (notwithstanding, of course, that old quaint notion of “academic freedom”).

This year, Wesleyan University and Yale College have each earned a Muzzle (Yale is on the list for the second year in a row), while repression at Widener School of Law has earned the Wilmington, Delaware institution a dubious Double Muzzle. And UMass-Amherst, for proposing a Draconian change to its student code, gets a Muzzle warning. What were the other infractions on student liberty? Find out, here.

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2010 Muzzle Awards: Harvard and Yale once again lead the way...for academic censorship

As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s independence, the 
Boston Phoenix spotlights those who have honored our founding freedoms in the breach with the annual Muzzle Awards, the 13th installment in this award-winning series. My friend and sometimes colleague Dan Kennedy, Northeastern University professor and Media Nation blogger (and tireless soldier in the war for press freedoms as well as quality journalism), serves up his unbecoming accolades to New England power-brokers who, over the past year, have abused their authority in suppressing free speech and personal liberties, including Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department, former Newton Mayor David Cohen, and the MBTA, to name a few.

Accompanying Kennedy's Muzzle Awards is my collegiate sidebar, a window into repression on, of all places, college and university campuses, where censorship remains (sadly and outrageously) a reality both much practiced but also much denied. This year’s edition focuses, interestingly, on Harvard and Yale Universities, New England Ivy League schools that should know better but that have helped pave the censorial frontiers of the corporatized academy, while employing public-relations armies to perpetuate the aura of the liberal-arts sensibility.

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