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  • July 30, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate
    For critics of higher education, few campus controversies have been as illuminating as the ongoing saga of Professor Ward Churchill. His case has uniquely intertwined all of the higher education issues du jour – Academic freedom, plagiarism, affirmative action, liberal bias, degraded campus culture – into one messy cloud of controversy that just will not go away.

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  • June 27, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Civil libertarians have good reason to mourn the Supreme Court’s latest rulings eviscerating student speech rights and empowering the president to divert public funds to sectarian religious groups. In the wake of the Court’s earlier decision this term upholding bans on second trimester abortions, these cases confirm that the Court is now pretty firmly under the control of authoritarian (not libertarian) conservatives.

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  • June 20, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Last month, a British union of college and university professors called for a boycott of Israeli academics, revitalizing a vituperative debate. The presidents of NYU, Columbia, and Yeshiva University have strongly protested the proposed boycott, which is officially opposed by the American Association of University Professors.

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  • June 06, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Last month, Ronald Liebowitz, President of Middlebury College, delivered a Baccalaureate Address that should perhaps be required reading at Tufts, Brandeis, and all the other "liberal" schools that promote the censorship of politically incorrect speech, often in the name of diversity. (Read all about them at thefire.

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  • May 18, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    In 2005, when the Bush Administration pressured the Public Broadcasting System into dropping an episode of a children’s show with a sympathetic view of a gay family, liberals rightly yelled censorship, decrying the Administration’s bullying and PBS’s failure to resist it. This month, when the Congressional Hispanic Caucus pressured Ken Burns into “amending” his upcoming PBS documentary on World War 11 to include interviews with Latino veterans, many liberals barely seemed to notice.

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  • May 15, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    The next time “progressive” students at Tufts, Brandeis and other schools try to censor speech they consider harassing, abusive, or otherwise harmful psychologically, they might want to consider this lawsuit recently filed in Cook County, Illinois:

    “A girl and her grandparents have sued the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that a substitute teacher showed the R-rated film "Brokeback Mountain" in class,” the Associated Press reports.

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  • April 24, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Free speech advocates who railed against Imus’s dismissal, warning that it would embolden the censorious forces of political correctness, will soon be saying “I told you so.” This week, two New York City shock jocks were suspended indefinitely by CBS after an inflammatory prank call to a Chinese restaurant, following protests by the Organization of Chinese Americans.

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  • April 12, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    It’s easy to sympathize with Hillary’s Clinton’s impulse to join in vilifying Imus, who has so crudely and gratuitously belittled her. But must she enlist the Rutger’s women's basketball team in her presidential campaign? They’re now pictured on her web site, with an exhortation from Clinton to “Join me in sending the young women of Rutgers a message of respect and support.

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  • April 11, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    Imus hasn’t yet checked into rehab, but the uproar over his racist swipe at the Rutger’s women’s basketball team has otherwise followed the usual script. Apology, followed by abject apology, followed by a stream of commentary (we have all seized the moment,) a futile effort to appease the gleefully opportunistic Al Sharpton, expressions of opprobrium from Imus's bosses, instability among advertisers, a two week suspension, and a segment on The Daily Show.

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  • April 10, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    The would-be censors of “hate speech” are at it again. This time the target is irrepressible radio talkmeister Don Imus, who mouthed off (nothing new in that) on his nationally syndicated radio talk show, carried in Boston by WTKK 96.9 FM. Imus had the bad judgment to refer to the members of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “rough girls” and “nappy-headed hos.

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  • April 04, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    I seem always to be at a disadvantage in arguing for toleration of ugly speech even if it creeps right up to the edge of being a direct threat, as some of the sexist rants noted by Wendy Kaminer and in Joan Walsh’s Salon post to which Wendy linked. My disadvantage comes from the fact that I do not appear to be a member of what today has come to be called a “historically disadvantaged group.

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  • April 03, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    When we named this civil liberties blog “free for all,” Harvey Silverglate and I signaled not just our intellectual commitment to free speech but our visceral enjoyment of vigorous debate, unbound by popular caveats about offensive speech, which both of us have frequently protested. I imagine that, like me, Harvey has received his share of hate mail over the years.

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  • March 20, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    Having spent decades fighting in the trenches on the front lines of the battle over campus censorship, and having co-founded a nonprofit that seeks to remedy these widespread violations of academic freedom, I can vouch for the fact that the spirit of censorship is more alive in higher education, among administrators and faculty members, than anywhere else in our society.

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  • March 19, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer

    What’s perhaps most striking about some campus censors today is the boldness with which they refuse to hear opposing views, much less provide forums for them. You don’t have to be an axe murderer or current or former dictator to be blackballed by some campus "progressives." You could simply be former Harvard president Larry Summers, whose March 14th talk at Tufts University about undergraduate education was boycotted by some Tufts professors.

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  • March 17, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Harvey chides me for “glossing over” the “rights” of parents who sued the Lexington school district for exposing their elementary kids to sympathetic books about gay families. They lost their case in federal court, when Judge Wolf dismissed their federal constitutional claims and their claims under state law. As Harvey notes, the parents are free nonetheless to press their state law claims in state courts: these claims were dismissed without prejudice –- not because this is a hard case, as Harvey suggests -- but because state courts are the appropriate arbiters of novel state statutory claims.

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