Excerpt: There is an interesting new lawsuit out of Southern Utah University where theater professor Richard Bugg has refused to use plural pronouns for a nonbinary student. It is only the latest such challenge on free speech grounds by those who reject the use of different pronouns for religious, social, or purely grammatical reasons. There are a couple of aspects of the case that are particularly interesting.
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Excerpt: Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed an open records request seeking correspondence between two journalism professors connected to the University of Missouri and the executive director of a fact-checking group.
In a move that appears to be unprecedented in Missouri, Schmitt, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, filed a request in June asking for three years of emails sent and received by the professors while they worked at the Columbia Missourian.
Excerpt: Why do we have public schools? To make young people into educated, productive adults, of course. But public schools are also for making Americans. Thus, public education requires lessons about history — the American spirit and its civics — and also contact with and context about other Americans: who we are and what has made us.
That broader purpose is currently under attack. According to PEN America, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting free expression, legislatures in 36 states have proposed 137 bills that would limit teaching about race, gender and American history.
Excerpt: Two Ohio universities recently updated their free speech policies to remain compliant with new state standards that went into effect in July. The Board of Trustees for Ohio State University (OSU) and Ohio University (OU) adopted the individual policies during board meetings on Aug. 18.
Each policy reaffirms the universities’ commitment to respecting freedom of speech on campus, and provides a submission form where students and faculty can report violations of their speech on campus.
Excerpt: Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters asked the Oklahoma State Board of Education to revoke a former Norman High School teacher’s teaching certificate on Wednesday after she resigned over allegedly violating House Bill 1775.
Summer Boismier resigned on Aug. 23 after a parent complained that she violated HB 1775 when she posted a QR code to the “Brooklyn Library Books Unbanned” in her classroom. HB 1775 restricts Oklahoma public schools from teaching students that a person, because of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive, either knowingly or unknowingly.
Excerpt: One day after the massacre of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Tex., NBC News reporter Frank Thorp V posted on Twitter [an] exchange with former U.S. senator Heidi Heitkamp. [She responded that “I no longer have to answer your questions.”] Heitkamp was right, of course. She no longer is required to answer a reporter’s question about her votes against gun control measures. But should she be required to directly answer mine?
Because both Heitkamp and I are members of the University of Chicago community, shouldn’t the principles expressed by the university’s principles provide me the opportunity to engage another member of the university community on the issue of gun violence?
Excerpt: Emerson College’s search for a new president is underway as interim President William Gilligan’s time as leader of the private Boston college winds down. Among the priorities for the new president listed in a prospectus published on the school’s presidential search website is the understanding that “free expression” of ideas is a “non-negotiable” value. As the internet saying goes: Big, if true.
This requirement hits all the right notes. And if Emerson wants to play to its tune, it can get a head start by ameliorating the college’s reprehensible treatment of the campus chapter of Turning Point USA.
Excerpt: From Fellowship of Christian Athletes v. San Jose Unified School Dist., decided yesterday by the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Kenneth Lee joined by Judge Danielle Forrest (it's on a preliminary injunction, so this is technically based on a finding of likelihood of success on the merits, but the panel majority seems pretty firm on the subject):
The School District engaged in selective enforcement of its own non-discrimination policy, penalizing FCA while looking the other way with other student groups. For example, the School District blessed student clubs whose constitutions limited membership based on gender identity or ethnicity, despite the school's policies barring such restricted membership.
Excerpt: With the start of classes at George Washington Law School, I have already had visits to my office of conservative and libertarian students asking if I thought they could speak freely in other classes without being penalized by professors. Despite teaching for decades, it is a question that I never heard from students until the last few years.
Polls have shown that sixty-five (65) percent agreed that people on campus today are prevented from speaking freely and an earlier poll at the University of North Carolina found that conservative students are 300 times more likely to self-censor themselves due to the intolerance of opposing views on our campuses.
Excerpt: The American Association of University Professors said Monday that it is investigating Indiana University Northwest in Gary over the summary dismissal of Mark McPhail, a former tenured professor of communication who was the institution’s chief academic officer.
According to the AAUP, the university “banished” McPhail from campus and “terminated his appointment based on allegations of misconduct that Prof. McPhail sharply denies, contending that the administration acted in retaliation for his outspoken criticism of the institution, including formal and informal complaints about discrimination and racial inequity on campus.”