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8214 FIRE Spring 2012 Quarterly PRINT PROOF rev.4.1.13

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8214 FIRE Spring 2012 Quarterly PRINT PROOF rev.4.1.13 Powered By Docstoc
					                                                              SPRING 201 3




                                         VICTORY!
                                       FOR STUDENT RIGHTS
                                        ZACCARI FOUND LIABLE




EASTERN KENTUCKY          DEPAUL STUDENT            UC DAVIS PROF.’S
 UNIVERSITY EARNS      PUNISHED FOR                ACADEMIC FREEDOM
GREEN LIGHT P.5        EXPOSING VANDALS P. 9        VIOLATED P.10
          F IR E A NNOU N CES 2013 SUMMER CO N FEREN CE P.8
     LETTER FROM Associate Director,
     Campus Freedom Network

     S   chool may be ending soon, but summer will
         be no vacation for us here at FIRE! The
     summer months give us a chance to focus on
                                                            projects. They also explore
                                                            FIRE-related issues by ex-
                                                            amining the philosophy of
     education, especially our efforts to change the        On Liberty and the due
     culture on college campuses. Throughout the            process violations illustrated JACLYN HALL
     year, in case after case, we see students “un-         in Harry Potter. Our interns return to campus
     learning liberty” in college. Students are taught      as vocal advocates for free speech, and many
     that they have fewer rights than they actually         have successfully reformed speech codes at
     do and—even worse—that censorship is a just            schools like the College of William & Mary,
     response to opinions they disagree with or speech      Indiana University, and the University of North
     they find offensive. FIRE’s summer programs            Carolina. You will definitely be hearing about
     prepare students to counter these arguments            the 2013 interns’ accomplishments in The FIRE
     and stand up for free speech and open debate           Quarterly over the next year!
     at their schools.
                                                            In July, the FIRE staff and interns will head to Bryn
     In June, we will welcome a new class of undergrad-     Mawr College for FIRE’s sixth annual summer
     uate and legal interns from around the country         conference, the only national conference where
     to our Philadelphia office. The summer internship      students from across the political and ideologi-
     is one of FIRE’s longest-running programs, and,        cal spectrum come together to learn about how
     as a former FIRE intern myself, I can honestly         to protect individual rights on their campuses.
     say it is a life-changing experience. Our interns      More than 50 student leaders from around the
     help support our work with research and writing        country will hear from First Amendment experts,
                                                            FIRE staff members, and each other about
                                                            how to confront campus censorship. This year,
                                                            our distinguished speakers will include author
                                                            Juan Williams, journalist Megan McArdle, and
                                                            First Amendment attorney Bob Corn-Revere.

                                                            For many students, FIRE’s internship or confer-
                                                            ence is the first time they hear about how bad
                                                            the epidemic of campus censorship has become
                                                            (it certainly was for me). For others, these pro-
                                                            grams provide much-needed confirmation that
                                                            they are not alone in opposing the censorship
                                                            they have seen and experienced. Thanks to your
                                                            generous support, we will spend Summer 2013
                                                            encouraging students to find their voices and
                                                            defend their rights when they return to campus
     FIRE’S 2012 SUMMER INTERNS                             next fall. Jaclyn Hall


01                                                  SPRING 2013
       cover story

VICTORY FOR STUDENT RIGHTS: JURY FINDS
FORMER COLLEGE PRESIDENT LIABLE FOR $50,000

O     n February 1, a federal jury found former
      Valdosta State University (VSU) President
Ronald M. Zaccari personally liable for $50,000
for violating the due process rights of former
student Hayden Barnes in the case of Barnes v.
Zaccari. In May 2007, Zaccari expelled Barnes
for peacefully protesting the president’s plan
to construct two parking garages on campus,
calling a collage posted by Barnes on his personal
Facebook page a “threatening document” and
labeling Barnes a “clear and present danger”
to VSU. Barnes first came to FIRE for help in
October 2007.

Barnes’ ordeal began in the spring of 2007, when
he protested Zaccari’s plan to construct two
new parking garages on campus at a cost of
$30 million. By posting flyers and sending emails     HAYDEN BARNES

to Zaccari, student and faculty governing bodies,
and the Board of Regents of the University            a parking deck, and the caption “S.A.V.E.—
System of Georgia, Barnes expressed his con-          Zaccari Memorial Parking Garage.” Given no
cerns and proposed what he saw as environmen-         notice or opportunity to defend himself, Barnes
tally friendly alternatives. Barnes also penned a     came to FIRE for help in October 2007.
letter to the editor of the VSU student newspaper
about the proposed parking garage plans and           February’s verdict followed five years of litigation,
wrote to Zaccari to ask for an exemption from         both at the trial and appellate levels. In January
the mandatory student fee designated for funding      2008, Barnes filed suit in cooperation with emi-
the construction.                                     nent First Amendment attorney and FIRE Legal
                                                      Network member Robert Corn-Revere of Davis
In response to Barnes’ activism, Zaccari              Wright Tremaine in Washington, D.C., and Cary
personally ordered that he be “administratively       Wiggins of Wiggins Law Group in Atlanta. Davis
withdrawn” from VSU in May of 2007, ignoring          Wright Tremaine associates Lisa Zycherman and
the concerns raised by members of his admin-          Erin Reid also worked on the case.
istration about this course of action. Zaccari
absurdly claimed that Barnes presented a “clear       In September of 2010, the U.S. District Court
and present danger” to both Zaccari and the           for the Northern District of Georgia found that
VSU campus on the basis of a cut-and-paste            because Zaccari expelled Barnes without notice
collage Barnes had posted on his Facebook             or a hearing, Zaccari violated Barnes’ constitu-
page. The collage included pictures of Zaccari,       tional right to due process. In its opinion, the


                                              SPRING 2013                                                     02
     “This is a victory for me but it’s also a victory
      for students everywhere. I hope that other college
      administrators take heed and see that violating
      students’ rights can be costly and that they will be
      held accountable.” -Hayden Barnes


      District Court ruled that since Zaccari ignored        “We are very pleased to have secured a just
      “clearly established” law in punishing Barnes,         outcome for Hayden,” said Corn-Revere.
      Zaccari could not avail himself of the defense
      of “qualified immunity” and could be found             “After five years, I finally feel vindicated,” said
      personally liable for damages.                         Barnes. “This is a victory for me but it’s also
                                                             a victory for students everywhere. I hope that
      Zaccari and the Board of Regents appealed              other college administrators take heed and see
      the District Court’s ruling to the United States       that violating students’ rights can be costly and
      Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in           that they will be held accountable. I thank my
      October 2010, and oral arguments in the case           legal team and FIRE for making this victory
      were heard in Montgomery, Alabama, in No-              possible and my friends and family for standing
      vember 2011. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the           by me through this difficult fight.”
      District Court’s denial of qualified immunity
      to Zaccari, finding that Barnes “had a clearly         FIRE has aided Barnes since learning of his
      established constitutional right to notice and a       case in October 2007. FIRE wrote repeatedly
      hearing before being removed from VSU.” Joined         to Board of Regents officials, urging them to
      by 14 other organizations from across the ideo-        undo VSU’s unlawful actions and uphold the
      logical spectrum concerned about student rights        Constitution within the university system. Under
      on public campuses, FIRE authored and filed an         pressure from FIRE and the federal lawsuit
      amici curiae brief with the Eleventh Circuit in        against Zaccari and other VSU administrators,
      April 2011 urging the court to reach that result       the Board of Regents finally reversed Barnes’
      with the assistance of Atlanta-based attorney          expulsion early in 2008, and Zaccari retired
      Cory G. Begner of Begner & Begner, PC.                 months earlier than planned. Under further
                                                             pressure from FIRE, then-VSU President Patrick
      Following the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling, the case      J. Schloss dismantled VSU’s unconstitutional free
      returned to federal district court. The trial began    speech zone in September 2008.
      on Monday, January 28, 2013, before the United
      States District Court for the Middle District          “College administrators have been blatantly
      of Georgia, Valdosta Division, and ended on            and willfully violating student rights for decades,
      February 1 with the verdict in Barnes’ favor.          but they have far too often dodged personal
      In addition to the $50,000 judgment, attorneys’        responsibility. Not so today,” said FIRE President
      fees still remain to be assessed against the losing    Greg Lukianoff. “We hope this serves as a much-
      party. Barnes’ separate breach of contract claim       needed wake up call to college administrators
      against the Board of Regents remains pending           that it’s time to start paying close attention to
      in state court.                                        the basic rights of their students.”


03                                                   SPRING 2013
       in action

FIRE CLEARS WAY FOR ‘EMPTY HOLSTER’
PROTEST AT SANTA FE COLLEGE

A     fter FIRE’s intervention in February, Santa
      Fe College allowed an “empty holster” pro-
test to proceed on campus, despite attempts by
campus police to prohibit the event.

On January 9, Young Americans for Liberty
(YAL) representative Adam Edwards announced
the group’s intention to hold an empty holster
protest on campus at a meeting of Santa Fe’s
Student Government Senate. Empty holster
protests, in which students wear empty gun
holsters to symbolically protest laws prohibiting      EMPTY HOLSTERS USED IN SANTA FE YAL PROTEST.
                                                       Photo By Jared East
students from carrying concealed handguns on
campus, have been held peacefully and without          block the protest violated the First Amendment.
incident on dozens of campuses in recent years         TCC ultimately paid $240,000 in attorneys’ fees
and constitute protected political expression.         for ignoring the Constitution.

Upon learning of YAL’s planned protest, Santa          Fortunately, President Sasser quickly responded
Fe College Director of Student Life Dan Rodkin         to FIRE’s letter and acknowleded YAL’s First
requested that Edwards meet with him and               Amendment rights. In his response, Sasser made
college Chief of Police Ed Book to discuss the         clear that YAL would encounter no administra-
event. Edwards and YAL President Josh Norris           tive or police opposition to its empty holster
reported that, during the meeting, Book signaled       protest, stating that “[t]he First Amendment
strong opposition to the protest, stating that he      is of paramount importance to our mission to
would draw his firearm on protest participants         educate students and prepare them to be leaders
seen wearing empty holsters. (Book later denied        in our society.” Sasser further stated that Santa
making this statement.) Book also reportedly           Fe and its police department “recognize[]the
stated that he would consult with legal authori-       importance of spirited and intellectual debate.”
ties in an attempt to block the event.                 YAL successfully held its empty holster protest
                                                       in early February without incident.
FIRE wrote to Santa Fe College President Jack-
son N. Sasser on January 30, making clear that         “We’re always pleased to see a college president
YAL’s empty holster protest was fully protected        clearly acknowledge the First Amendment rights
by the First Amendment. FIRE reminded Santa            of his students,” said Peter Bonilla, associate
Fe of Tarrant County College (TCC) in Texas,           director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense
which for two years refused to allow empty holster     Program. “Other colleges should keep President
protests. The censored students sued TCC, and          Sasser’s recognition of ‘the importance of spirited
a federal district court ruled that TCC’s reliance     and intellectual debate’ in mind when they
on a policy prohibiting “disruptive activities” to     encounter expression on divisive issues.”


                                               SPRING 2013                                                   04
            in action

     EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
     EARNS “GREEN LIGHT” RATING

     E    astern Kentucky University (EKU) eliminat-
          ed all of its speech codes in early February,
     earning FIRE’s highest, “green light,” rating for
     free speech. While the overwhelming majority of
     the nation’s colleges and universities maintain
     policies that clearly and substantially restrict
     freedom of speech, EKU is now a proud exception
     as one of just 16 schools nationwide to earn
     a green light and as Kentucky’s first green             Harris, FIRE’s director of Speech Code Research,
     light school. EKU administrators worked with            and Michael Reagle, EKU’s associate vice presi-
     FIRE attorneys to ensure compliance with the            dent for student affairs, led the effort.
     First Amendment.
                                                             While there are only 16 green light schools
     “It pleases me very much that Eastern Kentucky          nationwide, EKU is the seventh university in just
     University has joined the ranks of FIRE’s green         the last three years to earn the designation. This
     light institutions,” said EKU President Dr. Doug        positive trend reflects growing awareness of free
     Whitlock. “Our universities need to be places           speech issues on campus, as well as increased
     where thoughts and ideas are expressed openly           cooperation between students, administrators,
     and freely consistent with the letter and spirit of     and FIRE.
     the First Amendment. That is our commitment
     at EKU. We are most appreciative of the help            “The entire Eastern Kentucky University com-
     the FIRE staff has been in helping us reach             munity should feel extremely proud,” said FIRE
     this distinction.”                                      President Greg Lukianoff. “The university’s
                                                             commitment to First Amendment rights has
     FIRE began working on speech code reform with           made the university a shining example of how to
     EKU administrators in August 2012. Samantha             respect and protect free expression on campus.”




       SPEECH CODE OF THE QUARTER
       FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Quarter: Wesleyan University. While
       Wesleyan is private, it promises its students freedom of speech. Yet Wesleyan’s
       Student Handbook prohibits any “actions that may be harmful to the health or
       emotional stability of the individual or that degrade the individual or infringe upon his/her
       personal dignity”—a policy that stifles free expression and leaves students’ rights at the mercy of
       the most sensitive members of the university community.




05                                                   SPRING 2013
        on campus

FIRE ANNOUNCES
2012 ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS

F   IRE’s annual essay contest reaches out to
    high school students as part of our “Know
Before You Go” initiative, alerting them to the
                                                       physical torture occurred. While most people
                                                       had no idea that a better life was possible outside
                                                       of the Soviet Union, my parents knew better, and
threat of censorship before they get to                           they decided to move to the United
campus. This year, more high school                               States where they knew their basic
students than ever before—nearly                                  rights and liberties would be constitu-
3,200—submitted essays explaining                                 tionally guaranteed. Because of what
why they believe free speech is impor-                            my parents went through, I’ve always
tant in higher education.                                         been aware of how important and
                                                                  precious the right to free speech is and
Mark Gimelstein, a senior at Great                                how easily it can be taken away. As
Neck South High School in Great           MARK GIMELSTEIN         someone who is never afraid to express
Neck, New York, won first prize for his essay and      his views at school, even though they often dif-
will receive a $10,000 college scholarship. Nora       fer from those of my classmates, I look forward
Faris of Concordia High School in Concordia,           to college because of all of the opportunities it
Missouri, took second place and will receive a         offers to become even more politically informed
$5,000 college scholarship. Our three third-place      and engaged. However, our country’s colleges
winners (for $1,000 scholarships) are Alexandra        and universities—despite being elite institutions
Crum, Hannah Dent, and Asheshananda                    of learning in the freest nation in the world—
Rambachan. The winners of our $500 schol-              instead often choose to indoctrinate students,
arship drawing are Clayton Hammonds Jr.,               silence independent thought, and enforce politi-
Minhi Kang, Hannah Rasmussen, and Brian                cal correctness upon the student body. It is clear
Shouse.                                                that these policies contradict the very mission
                                                       of higher education, whose advancement is
FIRE thanks all of the participants in this year’s     inextricably linked to the exercise of free speech.
essay contest and wishes a hearty congratula-
tions to all of the winners! FIRE also thanks the      When students enter institutions of higher educa-
Sandra and Lawrence Post Family Foundation             tion, they have entered a moment in their lives
for its generosity in making the 2012 essay            when their political and intellectual curiosity is at
contest possible.                                      a peak. In an environment of learning, students
                                                       are supposed to be encouraged to explore and
The Audacity of Independent Thought make themselves into well-rounded individuals
by Mark Gimelstein                                     with their own thoughts and beliefs. After leaving
Before my parents left the Soviet Union in the         behind the restrictive, routine-based world of
1980s, they lived under an oppressive regime           high school, college students should have the
where the concept of free speech did not exist.        autonomy to make their own decisions in order
Anyone perceived to be critical of the government      to make the transition from naïve teenagers into
was threatened, imprisoned in the gulags, or even      mature adults. As a result, when students like
detained in psychiatric wards where mental and         Andre Massena from Binghamton University and


                                                SPRING 2013                                                    06
     Hayden Barnes from Valdosta State University            can say, think, or even wear, universities have
     are seen protesting against their professors and        constantly tried to interfere with and take away
     universities for social justice, environmentalism,      their students’ First Amendment rights.
     and other issues by putting up posters or flyers
     and sending emails expressing their concerns,           If injustices like these do not stop, what are the
     it should be considered a victory for higher            benefits of higher education? What is the point of
     education. When incoming freshmen from the              going to an institution in the hopes of pursuing
     University of Delaware express a wide variety           interests and enlightening oneself?
     of differing beliefs concerning politics, race,
     sexuality, and other issues of the day, it should be    College students, of all people, demonstrate their
     seen as a positive step toward real dialogue and        drive for knowledge, which requires the ability to
     understanding among the student body. When              think freely and ask important, critical questions.
     students like Keith John Sampson of Indiana             Colleges and universities claim the pursuit
     University-Purdue University Indianapolis read          of knowledge as their goal, yet the attempted
     books that interest them in order to educate            censorship of free speech, which has been
     themselves, we should view this as a success for        ongoing for many years, is not compatible
     the university.                                         with this idea. Higher education as a principle
                                                             promotes people pursuing their own interests
     However, all of these students who engaged in           and enlightening themselves with the multitude
     activism or exercised their right to free expres-       of resources and the autonomy that colleges
     sion were not celebrated by their universities,         and universities provide. Free speech naturally
     but rather condemned and punished. Student              develops when people are allowed to educate
     activists like Andre Massena and Hayden Barnes          and develop their ideologies and discuss them
     were threatened or nearly expelled for having           with others. When this liberty is highly censored
     the nerve to express a concern or gripe with a          and taken away, education becomes fundamental-
     school’s policies. Many colleges have vigorously        ly different. Public discourse slowly withers away
     tried to cleanse the ideologies of their students       as the opinions of most students and teachers
     and make them only believe the views approved           become exactly the same. Creativity disappears
     by the school. At the University of Delaware,           without any individuality, which is completely
     university officials took “diversity training” too      counterproductive to the overall higher educa-
     far by asking intrusive questions and making            tion experience. People are bullied into a corner
     their students feel polarized and guilty for having     where political and intellectual diversity ends
     unique personal beliefs. Keith John Sampson,            and the homogenization of “socially acceptable”
     on the other hand, was charged with violat-             opinions begins.
     ing school policy for reading literature that his
     university deemed politically incorrect and             It is impossible for higher education to exist as
     considered hazardous to its students. These are         it was originally intended without the guarantee
     just a few of the many cases in which colleges          of First Amendment rights to all. Both freedom
     and universities across the United States grossly       of speech and higher education are complements
     violate their students’ rights to speak freely,         to each other—without one, the other fails to
     which are guaranteed by the Constitution and            survive. The fight to preserve this sacred liberty
     nearly always by the university itself. From free       will be an ongoing battle, but students must per-
     speech zones, which isolate students into a part        severe to ensure that the freedom of speech is
     of campus that is far too small to accommodate          protected in the present and continues to be
     for the massive student body, to speech codes,          respected by higher education institutions
     which unreasonably prohibit what students               throughout the United States in the future.


07                                                   SPRING 2013
       on campus

FIRE’S 2013 SUMMER CONFERENCE
Featuring Juan Williams, Megan McArdle, and Bob Corn-Revere


F   IRE is thrilled to announce that the 2013
    Campus Freedom Network Conference will
be held July 19–21 at Bryn Mawr College, just
                                                       education and the shifting value and meaning
                                                       of a college degree in our society.

outside of Philadelphia.                               BOB CORN-REVERE, a partner at the law firm of Da-
                                                       vis Wright Tremaine in Washington, D.C., and a
Our conference brings together college students        leading expert on First Amendment law, who has
from across the political spectrum and around          represented student Hayden Barnes in his case
the country who care about free speech, and            against Valdosta State University administrators.
inspires them to protect and celebrate freedom
of expression on their campuses.                       Each student who attends will also receive a free
                                                       copy of FIRE President Greg Lukianoff’s new
The 2013 conference will feature an impressive         book, Unlearning Liberty, and will hear from
group of speakers, including:                          FIRE staff and fellow students who fought back
                                                       when their free speech rights were violated. The
JUAN WILLIAMS, a noted author and journalist           conference will open with a reception on Friday
for Fox News and The Washington Post. When             afternoon and close with lunch on Sunday.
Williams was fired from NPR in 2010, it sparked
a national discussion about the negative impact        The conference is FREE and open to current
of political correctness on American discourse,        students at U.S. colleges and universities, including
as chronicled in his book Muzzled: The Assault on      graduate students and incoming freshmen. Room,
Honest Debate.                                         board, and meals will be provided for attendees.
                                                       Up to $300 will be reimbursed for travel expenses
MEGAN MCARDLE, a special correspondent for             to and from Bryn Mawr.
Newsweek and The Daily Beast covering business,
economics, and public policy. McArdle has              Encourage the students in your life to register
written extensively about the rising cost of higher    today at thefire.org/conference!



STUDENTS MAKING A DIFFERENCE ON CAMPUS
FIRE’s Student Spotlight series highlights some of the amazing work being done by students to secure
free speech rights for themselves and their peers on campus. Students like these are the key to changing
the culture of censorship on college campuses:
Danielle Susi & The Quad News Staff, Quinnipiac University; Chris Morbitzer ’12, University
of Cincinnati; David Deerson ’13, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Morgan Freeman,
Sam Houston State University; Alex McHugh ’14, American University.
If you know of an outstanding student or student group that is promoting free speech on campus,
nominate them for Student Spotlight by emailing jaclyn@thefire.org.


                                               SPRING 2013                                                     08
                   rights at risk

           DEPAUL PUNISHES STUDENT FOR
           EXPOSING VANDALS OF PRO-LIFE DISPLAY

           D    ePaul University student Kristopher Del
                Campo has been placed on probation for
           publicly posting the names of 13 students who
                                                                 During the course of the investigation, 13
                                                                 DePaul students admitted to throwing away
                                                                 the flags. DePaul Assistant Dean of Students
           vandalized his organization’s pro-life display.       Domonic Rollins provided Del Campo with a
           Del Campo was found responsible for multiple          report of the students names, which the national
           conduct violations, including one that absurdly       YAF organization posted on its website. Three
           brands the publication of the students’ names as      days later, DePaul notified Del Campo that he
           “disorderly, violent, intimidating or dangerous.”     was suspected of violating the Code Of Student
                                                                 Responsibility. DePaul charged Del Campo with
           On January 22, 2013, the DePaul chapter of            “Disorderly, Violent, Intimidating or Dangerous
           Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) attained            Behavior,” which entails “creat[ing] a substan-
           the required permits and planted 500 pink and         tial risk of physical harm,” “causing significant
           blue flags in the campus quad to commemorate          emotional harm,” and “bullying.”
           the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. That after-
           noon, several DePaul students tore the flags from     FIRE wrote to DePaul’s president, Rev. Dennis
           the ground and threw them in trash cans around        Holtschneider, on February 21, making clear that
           campus. DePaul’s Department of Public Safety          students like Del Campo must be free to publicly
           investigated the incident after Del Campo—who         identify the students who commit crimes against
           is the DePaul YAF chapter chairman—reported           them. FIRE also pointed out that labeling Del
           the vandalism.                                        Campo as a potentially dangerous threat for
                                                                 doing so was absurd and made a mockery of
                                                                 DePaul’s free speech promises.

                                                                 Nevertheless, DePaul found Del Campo re-
                                                                 sponsible for the charge of “Disorderly, Violent,
                                                                 Intimidating or Dangerous Behavior,” as well as a
                                                                 charge related to “Judicial Process Compliance.”
                                                                 Del Campo has been placed on disciplinary
                                                                 probation and is prohibited from all contact
                                                                 with the students named in the public safety
                                                                 report. DePaul has also required that Del
                                                                 Campo complete a reflection letter as an
                                                                 “Educational Project.”

                                                                 Though DePaul upheld Del Campo’s punishment
                                                                 on March 21, FIRE continues to advocate for
                                                                 his rights and call public attention to DePaul’s
                                                                 wrongdoing.
     BYRNE HALL ON DEPAUL CAMPUS



09                                                       SPRING 2013
UC DAVIS IGNORES COMMITTEE FINDINGS THAT
PROFESSOR’S ACADEMIC FREEDOM WAS VIOLATED

F    or more than two years, University of Cali-
     fornia, Davis, School of Medicine professor
Michael Wilkes has dealt with
                                                        promised FIRE and the UC Davis faculty that
                                                        it would conduct a thorough investigation of
                                                                       CAFR’s findings.
threats to his academic free-
dom and free speech that have                                              In January 2013, however, an
chilled faculty expression at                                              administrative review panel
the California university. FIRE                                            largely rejected the findings of
has been working with Wilkes                                               the CAFR report. While the
to vindicate his rights.                                                   panel did find that the health
                                                                           system counsel’s letter to
In September 2010, Wilkes co-                                              Wilkes had been inappropri-
authored a column in the San                                               ate and could reasonably be
Francisco Chronicle, criticizing                                           construed by faculty members
a prostate cancer screening        UC DAVIS MEDICAL CENTER                 as a threat against their rights,
method he saw as seriously flawed. Wilkes                it rejected CAFR’s report in other key areas
also criticized UC Davis for co-sponsoring a             without substantiation.
symposium he felt excessively promoted this
screening method.                                        Among the findings rejected was CAFR’s deter-
                                                         mination that the timing of Meyers’ email to
Within hours of the column’s publication, Wilkes         Wilkes (received mere hours after his column’s
received an email from Executive Associate               publication) had been highly suspicious and
Dean Fred Meyers, notifying him of UC Davis’             likely motivated by the content of Wilkes’ column.
intent to reduce his teaching responsibilities           The report asserted that the timing had been
and cut funding for an exchange program he               coincidental and that the column had not, in
helped administer. An attorney for the UC                fact, been published before Meyers sent his email
Davis Health System later threatened that                to Wilkes. This, however, contradicts CAFR’s
Wilkes could be liable for “defamation” on the           thoroughly documented report, in which Meyers
basis of the column.                                     not only admitted to reading the column before
                                                         emailing Wilkes, but also stated that his email
The UC Davis Academic Senate’s Committee on              had been “intemperate” and that he wished he
Academic Freedom and Responsibility (CAFR)               had not sent it.
investigated Wilkes’ case and, in May 2012, issued
a comprehensive report finding that UC Davis             Such inconsistencies as these raise basic questions
had violated his academic freedom. The full Aca-         about the credibility of UC Davis’ investigation,
demic Senate unanimously passed a resolution             and UC Davis faculty have heavily criticized
calling on UC Davis to apologize to Wilkes and           the report. FIRE’s serious concerns for Wilkes’
withdraw the threats made against his academic           academic freedom have not been allayed, either,
freedom. FIRE wrote to UC Davis expressing               and we continue to help in the fight for academic
its concerns for Wilkes’ rights, and UC Davis            freedom at UC Davis.


                                                SPRING 2013                                                    10
how to reach us...

170 S. Independence Mall W.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215.717.3473 tel
215.717.3440 fax
www.thefire.org

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Twitter: @theFIREorg
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                       ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
                   The FIRE Quarterly is published four times per year by the
                   Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

                   The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual
                   rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights
                   include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process,
                   religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential
                   qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE’s core
                   mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the
                   public and communities of concerned Americans about
                   the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the
                   means to preserve them.

                   FIRE is a charitable and educational tax-exempt foundation
                   within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal
                   Revenue Code. Contributions to FIRE are deductible to
                   the fullest extent provided by tax laws.

				
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