Tuesday, January 13, 2009

FIRE Fight: Heated Exchange on SIU's Academic Freedom Record

In today's Southern Illinoisan, Chancellor Sam Goldman lashed out at academic watchdog group F.I.R.E. Focusing solely on the speech zone policy, Goldman faulted FIRE for being "a group that does not do their homework whatsoever."

FIRE helped win a major court decision against SIUC on religious freedom (2006), it spoke out against the sexual harassment policy and due process treatment of Cal Meyers (2008) and continues to monitor all of its "Red Alert" institutions, including SIU-C. In a word, FIRE's interest in student and faculty rights is longstanding, whatever you think of their position.

Today, the group responded with a broad critique of SIU's "many existing policies, which violate the First Amendment." FIRE accused the chancellor of "deceit" in failing to announce that SIU had silently changed the RSO Handbook. FIRE also accused the chancellor of misleading the media about the reasons for SIU-C's "Red Alert" status. The FIRE statement comes before a promised second statement by Chancellor Sam Goldman defending SIU against FIRE's "Red Alert" rating of the school.

With the controversial sexual harassment policy due for review soon, FIRE will probably be watching the end result, not expected until February, if media reports are accurate.

For more on FIRE's monitoring of SIUC, click the Traffic Sign widget to the right of this blog, or click here.

See also "Attention, Chancellor Goldman: Here’s Why SIUC is a 'Red Light' School."


Anonymous said...

I would like to know more about the history of speech zones such as SIUC's. What is the legal/institutional reasoning for a "speech zone". Just wondered?

i-History said...

This issue goes way back. Here is a brief survey:


pasaluki said...

what a bunch of bullshit these free speech zones are respectfully. If you have to be in a zone to practice free speech then how is it free?

pasaluki said...

Although I mean there have to be SOME restrictions IMO when it comes to government buildings for obvious reasons (we don't need the white house burned down for example), but for a campus university it's nonsense people should be able to do as they please. Maybe the university thinks they are more important than the government.