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FIRE Issues a Soft Warning to Dartmouth

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, often referred to by Dartmouth when it desires to show that it protects freedom of speech, has taken exception to some of the ways in which Dartmouth is using the ‘green’ rating. FIRE tells Dartmouth’s administration that it “cannot legitimately treat FIRE ‘s ‘green light’ rating as a blanket endorsement of its attitudes, history, and all of its current practices regarding free speech. We have seen enough problems at Dartmouth in the past year to give us pause about the environment for free expression there…”

As it seems to me, Dartmouth has improved greatly on freedom of speech over the last three years. It is important to remember that Dartmouth has a terribly dark history of censorship, speech codes, and suspending students for saying the wrong things. This culture hasn’t disappeared entirely. But it seems to me that, today, Dartmouth just plain could not get away with disciplining students for speech. Unfortunately, that isn’t because of Dartmouth’s policy. It is because of politics.


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