Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gets one right 

Congratulations to Tufts University for understanding how to handle speech it doesn't like.
A Tufts University dean on Monday reversed a campus board's requirement that a student-run conservative journal include authors' names with articles - a rule imposed after the magazine published an unbylined parody that many found racist.

James Glaser, the private school's dean of undergraduate education, said the byline requirement was an unfair restriction on free speech, a view echoed by Tufts President Lawrence Bacow in a statement issued before the start of a new school year.

Glaser ruled on an appeal by the publication, The Primary Source, of a decision last spring by the Committee on Student Life. The panel, a board of professors and students that hears complaints against campus groups, took issue with The Primary Source's Christmas carol parody called "O Come All Ye Black Folk."

"Imposing such a (byline) provision on one publication in the context of a judicial decision can only be construed as punishment of unpopular speech," Glaser wrote in his decision. "To protect freedom of expression at Tufts, I must reverse this aspect of the outcome."
It is still pursuing charges of harassment and hostile environment against the newspaper. The paper is also facing charges from a Muslim student group (Mike blogged this last May) that hopefully will also be dispensed with. The harassment charge was discussed in this letter by The FIRE's Greg Lukianoff last May. If the school is truly committed to free speech, it would recognize the difference between actually putting a stick in someone's eye and satire.