Saturday, September 01, 2007

At Tufts U, Free Speech Wins Partial Victory

We read:
"Tufts University officials barred student-faculty groups yesterday from censoring campus publications, reversing a committee's punishment of a conservative student magazine for publishing editorials that sparked cries of racism.

University officials also overturned the committee's ruling that forced The Primary Source magazine to use bylines on all published articles and editorials, which magazine editors and free speech advocates said was akin to censorship.

"Universities are places where people should have the right to freely express opinions, no matter how offensive, stupid, wrong-headed, ill-considered or unpopular," Tufts president Lawrence Bacow said yesterday in a message e-mailed university-wide. "To say that people have the right to express such views does not mean that we condone them or that they should go unchallenged.""

But Kingman and Matthew Schuster, the current editor of the Primary Source, said Tufts remains guilty of silencing free speech by refusing to change the harassment decision. "Tufts overturned the censorship, which is an important step, but the dangerous precedent of labeling pieces of political speech harassment is still there," Schuster said.

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a Philadelphia free speech advocacy group, said the university did not go far enough. "They still found a newspaper guilty of harassment for publishing something that was verifiably true," he said, referring to the editorial about Muslim countries. "That's extremely worrisome."