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10 September 2009 @ 7:19PM >>
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has placed Bucknell University on their Red Alert list
, which names the schools that are the “worst offenders against liberty”:
Institutions on the Red Alert list are unrepentant offenders against basic rights that are guaranteed either by the U.S. Constitution or the schools themselves, and they have policies and/or practices that demonstrate a serious and ongoing threat to current and future students. They are the “worst of the worst” when it comes to protecting liberty on campus.
FIRE explains the latest in a years-long campaign by Bucknell’s administrators to shut down the speech of students whose opinions they don’t share:
The controversy at Bucknell began in March, when [Bucknell University Conservatives Club] members attempted to distribute fake dollar bills in protest of the federal stimulus, featuring an image of President Obama. BUCC members were told by a campus administrator that they were “busted,” and that their activities were a violation of Bucknell’s Sales and Solicitation policy. Even after pointing out that the “stimulus dollars” distribution was an obvious act of political protest and that the students were not engaged in solicitation, Bucknell still considered the act to fall under this policy, seeing it as the equivalent of “handing out Bibles” (which also would not be solicitation under the policy). Such a misinterpretation of this policy effectively subjects any distribution of materials between students to the prior review and approval of the administration, significantly undermining Bucknell’s commitment to free expression.
The next month, Bucknell shut down BUCC’s previously approved “affirmative action bake sale,” designed to protest affirmative action by charging different prices based on ethnicity. The sales are a well-known method of attracting attention to the issue, and are not intended to raise revenue. Associate Dean of Students Gerald Commerford cited a discrepancy between the prices being charged and the prices BUCC listed on its event application form (BUCC was charging lower-than-expected prices), telling BUCC “we have the opportunity to shut you down.”
When BUCC applied to hold a second bake sale, Commerford rejected the application outright, this time saying that the bake sale violated Bucknell’s policies against discrimination. Despite the fact that BUCC was engaging in a well-known form of political protest—which FIRE has defended numerous times at public and private universities—Commerford flatly rejected the possibility of the bake sale even if BUCC made all pricing options optional, saying “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, because it’s a discriminatory [pricing] policy.” Making matters worse, Commerford suggested that only under certain circumstances would any discussion of affirmative action be welcome, telling them, “It’s not a political issue, ok; it needs to be debated in its proper forum, ok, and not on the public property of the campus.”
FIRE wrote to Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell, pointing out the numerous violations Bucknell had committed of its own policies in suppressing BUCC’s activities, and of its legal and moral obligation to protect its students’ free speech rights. After receiving a response from Bucknell General Counsel Wayne Bromfield upholding the rationale for Bucknell’s deplorable treatment of BUCC and refusing to accept fault, FIRE wrote to President Mitchell once more. After receiving another response from Bromfield in which he refused to address FIRE’s concerns further, Bucknell was added to FIRE’s Red Alert list. President Mitchell has yet to offer any public comment on Bucknell’s free speech crisis, which has been chronicled in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.
Bucknell’s contemptuous treatment of BUCC should send a message to all current and prospective Bucknell students that their free speech rights are at the whim of an administration all too willing to bend its own policies and strong-arm its students to stifle speech it does not want heard on campus. By placing Bucknell on its Red Alert list, FIRE hopes to amplify that message, and to finally compel Bucknell to end its embarrassing fight against free speech.
Along with Brandeis, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins, Michigan State, and Tufts, Bucknell now shares the “honor” of a spot on FIRE’s Red Alert list.
I’ve covered Bucknell’s various attempts at political censorship extensively over the years. It’s a shameful record.
26 June 2009 @ 8:42AM >>
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal
, the Philadelphia Inquirer
and the Associated Press
picked up a story about my alma mater, Bucknell University, and its latest attacks on free speech
. The following afternoon, the school announced the resignation of current president Brian C. Mitchell.
Since its inception in 2001, the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) has been repeatedly singled out for political censorship by school administrators. The latest media coverage focuses on two more instances of the university silencing the political speech of the BUCC’s student members.
(Full disclosure: Several years ago, as an invited guest of the BUCC, a Bucknell administrator threatened to have me arrested during a screening of Brainwashing 101, a precursor to my documentary Indoctrinate U. The school objected to my videotaping the event, even though I was granted permission by the event’s organizers, who routinely taped their own events. The school was aware that my screening might be disrupted by protesters; apparently, Bucknell didn’t want me getting that on tape.)
In one incident, the BUCC held an “affirmative action bake sale,” which was intended to both illustrate and criticize racial preferences. University administrator Gerald Commerford shut down the bake sale, saying it was discriminatory.
But if an affirmative action bake sale is discriminatory, it’s only because affirmative action itself is discriminatory. And given that the university implements affirmative action, it’s really quite Orwellian to claim that an affirmative action bake sale is any more discriminatory than what the school itself is doing.
The BUCC also protested President Obama’s stimulus plan by handing out “Obama bucks,” mock Monopoly money with the president’s face on it. Administrator Judith L. Mickanis struck a law-enforcement tone with the students, telling them, “you’re busted,” and grabbing one female student by the arm while demanding that the group stop their protest. The administrator claimed that the students were not allowed to hand out materials without prior approval, a standard that never seems to have been applied to any other student group.
The university attempted to justify this, saying that by giving out Obama bucks, the students were committing a transgression akin to “handing out Bibles.” (Perhaps it is obvious to Bucknell administrators—but not to me—why handing out Bibles poses such a grave threat that it would need to be stopped by the university.)
As the school’s excuses continued to evolve, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)—the free speech advocacy group that has been defending the students—concluded that Bucknell’s general counsel Wayne A. Bromfield is now resorting to flat-out lies to cover up the school’s speech suppression. Unfortunately for Bucknell, their tactics have been documented on video and audio, so FIRE’s claims are verifiable.
President Mitchell will keep his position for one more year, so he isn’t exactly being shoved out the door. Still, it is interesting timing that Mitchell announced his resignation the day after the story began to get traction in the national media. Bucknell’s public relations office has to know that announcing the resignation the day after all this bad press would cause at least some people to conclude that the two events were related. So was the timing intentional, intended to mollify Bucknell’s critics by making them think that swift action had been taken?
Considering the last few days have probably brought him plenty of Maalox moments, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mitchell felt a wave of relief as the send button was clicked on his resignation letter. Now he’ll be free to continue ignoring the controversy and running out the clock on his time at Bucknell.
With a lame duck president who broke his pledge to run a university that respects free speech, Bucknell’s administrators will likely feel free to continue their harassment of students who dare disobey the dogma of political correctness.
But today’s students are armed with video cameras and the Internet, so alumni can keep a close watch on Bucknell’s actions from afar. The school may not care what students think, but if there’s one thing you can count on, Bucknell wants us alumni to keep opening up our wallets.
After all, the school knows that a conservative’s money is just as green as anyone else’s.
Maybe Bucknell just needs a reminder.
12 June 2009 @ 9:26AM >>
My alma mater disappoints again
Student rights are under assault at Bucknell University, where a conservative student group’s protests against affirmative action policies and President Obama’s stimulus plan have repeatedly been shut down or forbidden by administrators using flimsy or patently false excuses. After the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) had three events censored in two months, the students turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
“Bucknell promises free speech, but it delivers selective censorship,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “Bucknell administrators have gone out of their way to abuse and even invent policies in attempts to silence these students, all the while professing to respect free speech.”
Bucknell’s recent forays into censorship began on March 17, 2009, when BUCC members stood at Bucknell’s student center and passed out fake dollar bills with President Obama’s face on the front and the sentence “Obama’s stimulus plan makes your money as worthless as monopoly money” on the back. One hour into this symbolic protest, Bucknell administrator Judith L. Mickanis approached the students and told them that they were “busted,” that they were “soliciting” without prior approval, and that their activity was equivalent to handing out Bibles.
The students protested, but despite the fact that Bucknell’s solicitation policy explicitly covers only sales and fundraising materials, Mickanis insisted via e-mail that prior permission was needed to pass out any materials—”anything from Bibles to other matter.”
“Distributing protest literature is an American free-speech tradition that dates to before the founding of the United States,” said Adam Kissel, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program. “And why is Bucknell so afraid of students handing out ‘Bibles [or] other matter’ that might provide challenging perspectives? Colleges are supposed to be marketplaces of ideas, but Bucknell is betraying this ideal.”
Bucknell’s misguided crusade against free expression continued on April 7, when administrators shut down BUCC’s “affirmative action bake sale” protest. Affirmative action bake sales are a widely used form of satirical protest against affirmative action policies that treat people of different races differently. Organizers typically display suggested pricing in which African-American and Hispanic students are asked to pay lower prices than Asian and white students for the same items. The protests are thus intended to satirize and spark debate about affirmative action policies, not to raise revenue.
A video recording shows that an hour into BUCC’s protest, Associate Dean of Students Gerald W. Commerford arrived and informed the students that he had the “opportunity” to shut down the sale because the prices they were charging were different (lower) than what they had listed on their event application. The students offered to change the prices on the spot, but Commerford refused and insisted that they close the event immediately and file another application for a later date.
Accordingly, BUCC members filed an application to hold the same event two weeks later, but were then told that they would have to obtain the permission of the Dean of Students to hold a “controversial” event. No such permission is required by Bucknell policy. When the students nevertheless attempted to get this special permission, Commerford rejected the request. In a recorded conversation, Commerford said that such a bake sale would violate Bucknell’s nondiscrimination policy, even with satirical recommended (not actual) pricing, and that the only event he would approve on the topic would be a debate in a different forum altogether. This novel restriction also does not exist among Bucknell’s official policies.
What’s odd about Bucknell’s non-discrimination claim is that, by definition, affirmative action discriminates based on race. Bucknell clearly believes it is acceptable to discriminate sometimes, because they do it when deciding who to admit to the school.
So by Bucknell’s Orwellian logic, discrimination is not allowed unless they’re the ones doing it. Discrimination with real-world consequences (where you go to college, for example, or whether you get that job), that’s acceptable to Bucknell, but the tongue-in-cheek “discrimination” of an affirmative action bake sale (which is meant to mock real-world discrimination, not increase it)... well, we simply can’t have that!
The school’s latest assault on free speech prompted me to write an e-mail to Bucknell’s president. I copied the alumni office, the office of the general counsel, the affirmative action office, and Dean Gerald Commerford, who shut down the bake sale:
From: Evan Coyne Maloney
To: President Brian Mitchell
Subject: Concerned about the recent FIRE report on Bucknell
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 12:23:16 -0400
Cc: Dean Gerald W. Commerford, Bucknell Alumni Relations, General Counsel Wayne A. Bromfield, Affirmative Action Officer Linda L. Bennett
As a Bucknell alumnus deeply concerned about free speech issues at my alma mater, I was disturbed by this report issued earlier today by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education:
When you began your term, President Mitchell, you made some supportive statements on free speech and indicated that your administration would be more respectful of different views than previous Bucknell administrations.
Your seeming commitment to free speech put me and a number of other alumni at ease. That’s why I was disappointed to hear that the school may be backsliding on your promises.
Of course, so far, I have only heard the facts as laid out by FIRE. Do you have any comments on the FIRE report that would shed a little more light on this? I know I’m not the only alumnus who will want some answers.
We’ll be closely watching how the university responds to this. I’m hopeful that the university will reaffirm your previously-stated commitments to free speech and free thought.
Evan Coyne Maloney
Class of 1994
Although I haven’t heard back from Bucknell directly, several hours after my e-mail, one of the recipients—Bucknell’s general counsel Wayne A. Bromfield—issued a statement [PDF] changing the university’s original story. (FIRE has already poked holes in Bucknell’s latest story.)
Unfortunately, it is clear from Bromfield’s statement that Bucknell still has no plans to reverse their effective ban on free speech.
Full Disclosure: Before releasing Indoctrinate U, I visited Bucknell to screen my earlier film, Brainwashing 101. The group that invited me was same BUCC from the story above. With the group’s permission, I was taping the screening of Brainwashing 101 after I was tipped off that the event would be disrupted (fortunately, it wasn’t).
But because the school didn’t want any bad publicity if my screening was disrupted, instead of trying to prevent the threatened disruption, the head of security was sent to threaten me with arrest—in front of the entire audience, no less—if I continued filming the screening of my own film. (I continued filming anyway, and Bucknell’s threat turned out to be empty.)
9 July 2008 @ 9:19AM >>
If you’re a pop culture junkie who doesn’t share the politics of Hollywood, you may enjoy Yeah Right
, a new blog started by some fellow Bucknell alums I met while filming Indoctrinate U
. Current topics range from The Office
to the latest Weezer album, Che Guevara t-shirts, and the new 90210
24 April 2008 @ 1:12PM >>
Fellow Bucknell alumnus Michael Malice, a founder of the popular Overhead in New York
website, more recently the subject of a book-length profile
by American Splendor
icon Harvey Pekar
, has launched a new online venture.
Called “Worst Email Ever: The Internet’s Inbox,” what the site chronicles is fairly obvious.
Had I known there would eventually be an appropriate venue for airing some of the venomous missives sent my way, I would have made a practice of hanging on to many more of them.
Still, I was able to dig up a few, and I’ve sent them along to Mr. Malice. These e-mails are now publicly available for all to enjoy.
P.S. For you Harvey Pekar fans out there, here’s the scene from David Letterman that couldn’t make it into the film American Splendor. Yikes.
28 February 2008 @ 8:24AM >>
When I was an undergrad at Bucknell, one of the things that frustrated me was that, for all the talk of the importance of tolerance and diversity, there didn’t seem to be very much tolerance for diverse viewpoints.
I was involved in publishing an opinion and commentary newspaper at Bucknell, and on multiple occasions, entire stacks of our free paper were lifted wholesale from their distribution points. We knew it was theft because, several times, people reported seeing piles of unread copies dumped in trash and recycling bins around campus. Back then, the school took no action to try to counteract these crimes against free thought.
Recently, the students who publish the school’s conservative paper, The Counterweight, noticed that their publication was also confiscated from points around campus. It seems Bucknell’s current administration is taking this sort of thing more seriously these days.
Here’s an e-mail sent to the Bucknell community from Brian C. Mitchell, the university’s president:
From: Brian C. Mitchell
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 15:35
To: Bucknell Faculty Staff and Students
Subject: [CAMPUS:5878] Removal of The Counterweight from Campus Newsstands
Dear Member of the Bucknell University Community:
Last week, most of the supply of the latest issue of The Counterweight was taken from the campus distribution racks. This act of apparent theft and harassment undermines the right of The Counterweight, and in fact of all student publications, to express their views. In addition, this publication is printed with resources provided via Bucknell Student Government and is the result of the hard work of Bucknell students.
Our Department of Public Safety is now investigating this incident, and I write to request your assistance in identifying those responsible. Should you have any related information, I ask that you complete this anonymous tip form at [URL removed] or contact Public Safety at 7-3333. You need not provide any personally identifiable information.
We appreciate any knowledge you can provide to assist in this investigation and your helping to uphold the rights of our student publications.
Brian C. Mitchell
Good for President Mitchell to recognize the gravity of these thefts and for trying to do something about it.
Considering that the administration under the school’s previous president was at times quite antagonistic towards The Counterweight, I’m glad to see that Bucknell seems to be moving in the right direction.
5 February 2008 @ 12:32PM >>
A new announcement on the Indoctrinate U website
Bucknell University, the alma mater of Indoctrinate U director Evan Coyne Maloney, now has a screening scheduled for April 3rd.
Last time Evan visited Bucknell, it was for a screening of Brainwashing 101, a precursor to Indoctrinate U. The campus group that invited Evan to screen the film also gave him permission to videotape the screening and the Q&A afterwards. But the administrators at Bucknell had a different idea, and sent the head of Security to tell Evan—in front of the audience gathered to watch the film—that he had to stop filming or he’d be arrested.
Who knows what’ll happen this time, but whatever it is, it won’t be dull!
25 January 2008 @ 9:17AM >>
Good news! Next Tuesday’s screening of Indoctrinate U
at Duke University
is now open to the public
Also, we’ve just announced a screening at Indiana University School of Law on February 25th.
Other upcoming screenings: Louisiana State University (Shreveport) on January 29th; San Diego State University on February 13th; and Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) on February 18th. Many more to come.
And finally, plans should be announced shortly for screenings at my alma mater—Bucknell University—and Washington & Lee.
Last time I visited Bucknell for a screening of my work, the school’s head of security threatened me with arrest—in front of the audience gathered to watch my film.
Hopefully things will go a little more smoothly this time.
19 September 2007 >>
Recently, I was invited by the Pope Center
to write a piece for their Clarion Call
describing some of the resistance I faced from college administrators while putting together Indoctrinate U
In the article, I talk a bit about my run-in with the head of security at my alma mater, Bucknell University. It was one of some half-dozen times police and security officers were called on me while making the film.
The public premiere of Indoctrinate U is next Friday evening (September 28th) at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. For the time being, tickets are still available. And if you want to come to the after party at the infamous Watergate Hotel, you can get a package that includes tickets for the premiere and after-party admission.
18 September 2007 @ 7:08AM >>
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) just introduced a novel way to publicize the restrictions on free speech and free thought that many schools impose on students.
You may already be familiar with the concept of speech codes, but you may not know about FIRE’s system for classifying the severity of those speech codes. Schools receive a “red light” rating if they have regulations that “substantially restrict” speech. Yellow light schools have regulations on the books that could be abused by administrators to restrict speech. And schools that do not restrict speech at all get “green light” ratings.
It’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs in academia that fewer than 10% of all schools surveyed by FIRE have green light ratings. This means that over 90% of those schools have some administrative mechanism for restricting speech.
Legally, as government-run entities, public universities must adhere to the First Amendment. Despite this, some of them have speech codes that haven’t yet been challenged in court, and therefore haven’t been struck down. Private universities may legally restrict speech, but very rarely do they publicly acknowledge that they are doing so. Schools regularly entice prospective students with glossy-brochure promises of a vigorous intellectual environment that welcomes impassioned debate. But after coming to campus, these students—the customers of the university—soon discover that there are certain directions their minds are not allowed to go.
In any other industry, such behavior would constitute false advertising and business fraud. But for some reason, customers of educational institutions never seem to question it.
Thankfully, FIRE is doing for consumers of education what Consumer Reports did for consumers of just about everything else.
In the interests of helping prospective students understand the potential for a Kafkaesque entanglement with university administrators, FIRE has created the Speech Code Widget.
Here’s the one for my alma mater, Bucknell University.
Bucknell gets a red light. Boooo!
You can add Speech Code Widgets to your site using some very simple HTML code. Here’s the code I used to add the Bucknell widget shown above:
You can go to FIRE’s Spotlight website to lookup any schools you’re affiliated with. There, you’ll find the HTML code for each school’s widget. If you find any red or yellow lights among the schools that are important to you, maybe you can help shame them into respecting free thought.
It’s worth a shot...
1 November 2006 @ 9:59AM >>
My alma mater is now considered the sixth most expensive university
in the country.
You may wonder why higher education costs so much these days. Well, one of the reasons is that schools often employ a number of staffers whose job it is to push political views on students. Highly-placed school officials are sometimes called upon to spend their time micromanaging the words students use so they don’t offend politically correct sensibilities. And in some cases, the extracurricular activities paid for by the school can be quite costly.
Hey, forcing an ideology upon thousands of students each year isn’t cheap. Someone’s got to pay for it. Why shouldn’t it be you?
15 May 2006 >>
The Women’s and Gender Studies Department at my alma mater finally puts on a program I might be interested in
, and I find out too late to attend:
Recently, feminists at Bucknell University sponsored an event that looked more like a Duke Lacrosse party than a celebration of feminist diversity. On March 8, Bucknell’s so-called Feminist Majority - along with groups like the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, the Center for the Study of Race, Gender, and Ethnicity, and the Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Awareness - paid $1,920 for a strip show at Bucknell.
Billed as a “celebration of whore culture” the show was euphemistically titled the “Sex Workers Art Show.” It featured a group of hookers, phone sex operators, smut writers, porn stars, and one woman who appeared via her 24-hour porn website.
As the article points out, what’s interesting about this isn’t what Bucknell is willing to sponsor, but what they’re not.
18 January 2006 @ 3:24PM >>
If you bought a car only to discover that it came with no passenger door, you might be upset, and rightfully so. You paid for a full car and got something less than that. And if you banded together with other consumers who have been ripped off the same way, you’d be hailed as a consumer hero.
Most cars cost far less than four years at college, which now averages over $100,000 for a four-year undergraduate degree. Yet, like the car that comes with a major part missing, many colleges provide educations that are unbalanced and incomplete. Sometimes, you might sign up for an English class only to find out that it is really a class on politics. (This happened to me in a freshman English class at Bucknell.)
An alumni group at UCLA, the Bruin Alumni Association, is fighting back against such consumer rip-offs by letting the public know which professors are inappropriately injecting politics into the classroom:
“We’re just trying to get people back on a professional level of things. Having been a student myself up until 2003, and then watching what other students like myself have gone through, I’m very concerned about the level of professional teaching at UCLA,” said [former UCLA student Andrew] Jones, who said he is supporting himself with a modest salary from the organization and is its only full-time employee.
Needless to say, some professors are upset that alumni and students are demanding that professors perform the job function for which they’re being paid:
“Any sober, concerned citizen would look at this and see right through it as a reactionary form of McCarthyism. Any decent American is going to see through this kind of right-wing propaganda. I just find it has no credibility,” [education professor Peter McLaren] said.
The [Bruin Alumni Association] website also lists history professor Ellen DuBois, saying she “is in every way the modern female academic: militant, impatient, accusatory, and radical — very radical.” In response, DuBois said: “This is a totally abhorrent invitation to students to participate in a witch hunt ... against their professors.”
But DuBois minimized the effect on campus, saying “it’s not even clear this is much other than the ill-considered action of a handful, if that, of individuals.”
Interesting spin. Merely quoting professors and warning potential students (consumers) about what they can expect in certain classrooms is considered “reactionary” “McCarthyism,” “right-wing propaganda” and an “abhorrent” “witch hunt.” I wonder if these professors feel the same way when 60 Minutes or 20/20 exposes the malfeasance of other businesses that are engaged in consumer rip-offs.
[Cross-posted at the On The Fence Films website.]
6 October 2005 @ 11:51AM >>
Bucknell University President Brian Mitchell released a statement in the wake of the recent “hunting terrorists” controversy
1 October 2005 @ 3:24PM >>
I’ve gotten reports from a large number of people who have been expressing their displeasure with a Bucknell administrator who called three students into her office to discuss the inappropriateness of the phrase “hunting terrorists
.” Some of these people have e-mailed various school administrators, and the university’s responses are beginning to trickle in.
30 September 2005 >>
After reading about Bucknell’s problem with the phrase “hunting terrorists
,” an alumnus suggested that I give the new university president, Brian C. Mitchell
, the benefit of the doubt.
28 September 2005 @ 11:40AM >>
Two words. At Bucknell University, that’s all it takes to get dragged into the President’s Office for a half-hour discussion of word choice. And these aren’t offensive words, at least not out here in the real world. But Bucknell apparently has a different definition of what is and is not acceptable.
On August 29th, the Bucknell University Conservatives Club sent out a campus-wide e-mail announcing an upcoming speaker: Major John Krenson, who had been in Afghanistan “hunting terrorists.” Those two words—”hunting terrorists”—resulted in three students being called to Bucknell’s Office of the President by Kathy Owens, the Executive Assistant to the President.
According to the students, when they arrived at the President’s Office for the meeting, Ms. Owens held up a print-out of the offending e-mail and said “we have a problem here,” telling the students that the words “hunting terrorists” were offensive. For the next half-hour, the three students were given a lecture on inappropriate phrasing.
(When contacted, Ms. Owens did acknowledge that the meeting took place, but refused to answer any questions about what transpired. She did not deny the account of the students.)
Last year, while collecting footage for my upcoming film Indoctrinate U, I noticed that the campus was plastered with flyers that screamed “vagina” in large block letters. Although some people might find these flyers offensive, it is protected speech at Bucknell—as it should be—but apparently the phrase “hunting terrorists” is not.
(Perhaps someone should remind Bucknell’s administrators that the American soldiers who are “hunting terrorists” are fighting the very sort of misogynistic thugs who would gladly stone a woman to death for talking about her vagina in public.)
For years, Bucknell has denied that it has a speech code, the speech-stifling regulations that many schools use to punish political speech they don’t like. But if Bucknell isn’t in the business of restricting free speech, then why did these students have to spend 30 minutes listening to criticisms of the phrase “hunting terrorists”?
Most students I know would prefer not to spend their time defending their speech in front of highly-placed university administrators. By taking this action, the Bucknell administration is sending a signal to students: say only those things we approve of, or we will hassle you. The long-term effect will be that students will think twice before engaging in political speech that they know will be unpopular with the administration.
As an alumnus of Bucknell, this is all very depressing. Even more so because the recent appointment of Brian C. Mitchell as the new University President was met with optimism from students who have grown tired of fighting the constant battles against campus political correctness. Let’s hope this incident is just a minor misstep in a new administration, and not a sign of things to come.
Update: The university is now claiming that the students are misrepresenting the meeting. However, I have e-mail evidence from the university president himself that backs up the students’ claims.
16 September 2005 @ 12:00PM >>
of London’s Higher Education Supplement profiles Evan Coyne Maloney: “You need to leave or you’re going to jail,” intones the policeman. The camera pans down to a holstered gun at the officer’s waist. Evan Coyne Maloney, scourge of the Establishment, is clearly not welcome.”
15 August 2005 @ 2:46PM >>
Over at The Corner, the website of National Review
magazine, John Derbyshire mentions
in the Telegraph
I have just been watching the movie “Brainwashing 101,” made by Evan Coyne Maloney. (You can view it online here.)
Maloney’s work is new to me, though I suspect I’m behind the curve here & you’ve all been watching him for months. I actually read about him in one of the London newspapers. He doesn’t seem to get much coverage over here. Wonder why?
One of Coyne’s premises is that if he can get his films distributed, the parents of America will have their eyes opened about leftist indoctrination on our very expensive college campuses, and alumni donations will be hit. I think he underestimates the degree to which the American middle classes, especially Boomer parents, have bought into the PC package. Bill Clinton won two terms.
I just e-mailed a response:
Thank you for the plug on “The Corner”. As far as I know, Jonah Goldberg is the only Cornerite familiar with my work, although he may know me only as “the Brain Terminal guy.”
Also, although I take your point about President Clinton, he was elected twice in a very different media environment than exists today. There are many more conservative voices who have platforms today than in 1992 or even 1996. And with the continually better technology available at ever-cheaper prices, we can build our own platforms now. That’s what I did online, and it led to my being able to make a feature-length film.
One by one, various channels have expanded to allow the inclusion of views that, for a generation, were largely shut out of the establishment media. Radio, newspapers, television and book publishing have all been slowly opening up. What’s next? Film.
So, I see the trend in all media, and I’m optimistic. Somewhere in the film business, there’s a smart distributor sitting at a desk who understands that the best place to make money is in an untapped market.
I also don’t share your pessimism about college campuses. Public reaction to the recent campus scandals—from Ward Churchill on down—has been fairly uniform in its negativity. When the general public sees the overall picture of academia today, they will be quite shocked, I think, perhaps enough to ask for some changes.
To clarify one point, the purpose of my upcoming film (”Indoctrinate U”) isn’t to starve colleges of funding, but to cause people to ask what we’re getting for our money.
At my alma mater, Bucknell University, one year of education will cost nearly $40,000 per student. Some of this money goes to financing things like the school’s “Women’s Resource Center”, which has full-time employees who arrange bus trips for students to go to Washington and protest the Bush Administration. Some of it pays for Bucknell’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness, which has university staffers who use the office to encourage students to adopt their political views on gay marriage. The university may need to admit a dozen students each year just to keep those offices afloat. (The exact number is an estimate, since the university refuses to state how much those offices cost.)
I think you could find a consensus of people in America—right and left—who would support smarter spending by universities. Fiscal conservatives would prefer more prudent spending for its own sake, while egalitarian liberals would like the idea of a less expensive education being available to people who can’t afford it now.
Students and parents pay tuition, alumni give donations, and taxpayers subsidize public universities directly and private ones indirectly through tax breaks. Just about everybody in the country is paying for higher education right now.
Institutions that take your money have a responsibility to spend it wisely. And, if money is being wasted, then count me an optimist, because I think people will make themselves heard...assuming they know about the problems in the first place!
Evan Coyne Maloney
11 April 2005 @ 10:06AM >>
Many colleges and universities have permanent political offices staffed by paid university employees. These offices exist to push their views on students, and if you’re a student, parent, alumnus or taxpayer, you’re paying for it.
21 March 2005 @ 9:39AM >>
The adrenaline of the upset over Kansas did not manage to propel Bucknell beyond the second round
of the NCAA tournament, but I hope the Bison basketballers appreciate just how well they’ve done. Never before has Bucknell won an NCAA tournament game; in fact, never before has any
Patriot League team won a tournament game. Congratulations, guys!
19 March 2005 @ 12:06PM >>
Congratulations to the basketball team of my alma mater, Bucknell University, for their stunning upset victory
over Kansas in the NCAA finals tournament. Go Bison!
24 January 2005 >>
The New York Sun
profiles Evan Coyne Maloney.
10 September 2004 >>
Jonathan V. Last, the online editor of The Weekly Standard
, was the first to review my new video Brainwashing 101
This is from Jonathan’s blog Galley Slaves:
Evan Coyne Maloney, of Brain Terminal fame, has just put out a feature-length documentary on political bias at universities. It’s called Brainwashing 101 and it’s as funny and incisive as his shorts are, but much, much more devastating. For instance, one radical Bucknell economics professor worries that the schools board of trustees is turning fascist: “The chairman of our board of trustees right now . . . has, for example, said at times that we need to make sure that Bucknell has a sufficiently diverse curriculum, and has proposed maybe that we need an American studies major—implicitly meaning ‘American studies’ should be about celebrating America.”
It’s good stuff. Go take a gander and think about picking up the DVD. Maloney is going places, fast. He’s got the on-screen dexterity of a Michael Moore, only with integrity.
8 June 2004 >>
In the late 1970s, before the Age of Reagan, I remember my mother waiting in lines that snaked around the block just to fill up a tank of gas. I have vague memories of a trip to Toronto with my grandparents when President Carter delivered a major speech. We watched from our hotel room, but I was too young to understand or remember the topic; maybe it was the infamous “malaise speech,” perhaps it was about Iran. From my father’s office, I could see the hostage calendar in Times Square. It counted up to 444, the number of days that 52 American citizens were held captive in Iran. They were freed the day President Reagan was sworn in, the day the 1970s were pronounced dead.