Brandeis University: Professor Found Guilty of Harassment for Protected Speech

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Brandeis University

Brandeis University declared a professor guilty of racial harassment and placed a monitor in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. Professor Donald Hindley, a nearly 50-year veteran of teaching, was neither granted a formal hearing by Brandeis nor provided with the substance of the accusations against him in writing before a verdict was reached. Determined not to be branded as a racial harasser simply for using a word in the process of explaining it, Hindley appealed the decision. Provost Marty Krauss pointedly ignored various responsibilities to consult with the Faculty Senate and Krauss’ assertion of arbitrary administrative power angered the Faculty Senate, which has refused to peacefully surrender its bargained-for rights and led to a total meltdown of faculty-administration relations. Hindley has also alleged that he was targeted for his political views including his pro-Palestinian advocacy. The unwillingness of the administration to reach a resolution in this case has led FIRE to place Brandeis University on its Red Alert list as one of the worst of the worst abusers of liberty on campus.



























    • Free speech ‘dead’ on campuses

      August 7, 2013

      by Anya Bergman The Justice   Harvey Silverglate, founder and chairman of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, gave a lecture titled “The Death of Free Speech, Parody, and Vigorous Debate on Campus: Why Has It Happened, and What Is to Be Done?” last Wednesday in the Shapiro Campus Center Multipurpose room. FIRE is a nonprofit organization that examines issues of free speech in higher education. Silverglate started his speech by saying that free speech, parody and vigorous debate have died in American higher education and are “worth fighting [for].” He explained that liberal arts campuses should be devoted […]

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    • The Hindley case: Not over yet

      November 7, 2008

      After the furor over the mistreatment of professor Donald Hindley (POL) last year, featuring student strikes outside of Bernstein Marcus, and the freezing of all Faculty Senate Buisness for the semester, the lack of resolution or follow up this semester has been striking. We could be lulled into thinking that because Hindley continues to teach without restraint and the faculty senate is back to business, that the matter is closed. However, in reality the matter is like a festering wound draining the vigor and light from the name of Brandeis, and, if renewed public attention is any indication, one that […]

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    • Editorial: Brandeis shames itself

      October 25, 2008

      Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., is named for the late Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, a passionate defender of freedom of speech. The university has dishonored its name, it appears, in its persecution of Prof. Donald Hindley, a politically liberal member of the faculty for 48 years. Mr. Hindley’s troubles began last year, not long after he told his Latin American politics class that Mexican migrants to the United States were (and are) discriminated against and disparaged as “wetbacks.” Certainly, such a statement would be factually correct. Indeed, in 1954, the U.S. government itself named one of its programs to […]

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    • HENTOFF: Fear and intimidation at Brandeis U.

      September 29, 2008

      Having reported on many cases of college and university administrations attacking students and professors for purported prejudicial speech that could be “offensive” on campus, I have just discovered an even more appalling case than in my book, “Free Speech for Me But Not for Thee – How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other.” At Brandeis University in Massachusetts, professor Donald Hindley, on the faculty for 48 years, teaches a course on Latin American politics. Last fall, he described how Mexican migrants to the United States used to be discriminatorily called “wetbacks.” An anonymous student complained to the […]

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    • Brandeis University dishonors its name

      September 24, 2008

      For years, I have reported on many cases of college and university administrators infected with “political correctness,” punishing students and faculty members for allegedly prejudicial and otherwise “offensive” remarks – as if there were a constitutional right not to be offended. I have now found the most outrageous case of all. At Brandeis University in Massachusetts, professor Donald Hindley – on the faculty for 48 years – teaches a course on Latin American politics. Last fall, he described how Mexican migrants to the United States used to be discriminatorily called “wetbacks.” An anonymous student complained to the administration, accusing Hindley […]

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    • FIRE founder discusses speech

      March 14, 2008

      Harvey Silverglate, founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, spoke to an audience of over 60 about the decline of the freedom of speech on campuses Wednesday. FIRE, a civil liberties non-profit group, was a vocal defender of Prof. Donald Hindley (POL), who was reprimanded by Provost Marty Krauss in November for alleged discriminatory remarks and ordered to attend anti-discrimination training. “Free speech—the right to parody and free speech and vigorous debate—have died in American higher education,” began Silverglate. “Universities, especially liberal arts universities, are among the least free places in our society…it used to be the opposite. […]

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    • Prof investigated for offensive class remark

      February 6, 2008

      Though college campuses are normally considered havens for candid and challenging conversation, a Brandeis University professor recently learned some classroom topics are not always open for discussion. After political science professor Donald Hindley allegedly used the term “wetback” in September, Brandeis students, alumni and faculty said the school mismanaged the ensuing investigation. The comment was allegedly made during class about discrimination. Hindley declined comment for this story, but his lawyer told The Boston Globe Hindley used the word in a discussion about racist terms people use. Brandeis sophomore Mike Mendel, a student in the Latin American politics class in which […]

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    • ACLU statement criticizes Provost

      February 1, 2008

      Both the Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Provost Marty Krauss issued statements last week about Prof. Donald Hindley. Last semester, Hindley was ordered to take “anti-discrimination” training by the Provost after allegedly making “inappropriate, racial and discriminatory” statements. “I am well aware that many of you are concerned about the investigatory process and outcome following a complaint by a student last semester against a member of our faculty,” Krauss wrote to the faculty on Tuesday. “As a member of the faculty and as an administrator,” she wrote, “I share with all of you the goal and […]

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    • Civil liberties group defends Hindley

      January 25, 2008

      The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit civil liberties group, issued a press release Wednesday in defense of Prof. Donald Hindley (POL). Hindley had a monitor placed in his classroom and was ordered by Provost Marty Krauss to take “anti-discrimination training” after allegedly making “inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” statements. “As Justice Brandeis said, ‘sunlight is best disinfectant,” said Adam Kissel, the Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program. “What that means to FIRE is when a university has done something plainly wrong, and that wrong thing has been publicized and the public gets to see it, the university […]

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    • Brandeis professor under fire for description of racial epithet

      January 24, 2008

      A longtime Brandeis University professor says he has been the victim of “vindictive persecution” by school administrators after he was found in violation of the university’s nondiscrimination policy for describing a racist word in one of his classes. Politics professor Donald Hindley, who has taught at the Waltham school for 47 years, had a monitor placed in his classroom and was asked to undergo sensitivity training after he told students in his Latin American politics class last semester that Mexican migrants are sometimes referred to pejoratively as “wetbacks,” according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which is aiding […]

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    • Brandeis professor under fire for description of racial epithet

      January 24, 2008

      A longtime Brandeis University professor says he’s the victim of “vindictive persecution” by school administrators. It comes after he was found in violation of the university’s nondiscrimination policy for describing a racist word in one of his classes. Politics professor Donald Hindley has taught at the Waltham school for 47 years. He had a monitor placed in his class after he told students in his Latin American politics class that Mexican migrants are sometimes referred to pejoratively as “wetbacks.” That’s according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which is aiding his case. A student complained to the administration, […]

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    • EDITORIAL: We didn’t start the FIRE: Future of free speech at stake

      August 7, 2013

      The Justice   When he spoke here earlier this month, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education founder Harvey Silverglate proclaimed that free speech, parody and vigorous debate have died in American higher education. Free speech may not be completely dead on this campus, but the administration’s disregard for the voice of its faculty members means free speech is in serious jeopardy. FIRE recently put Brandeis on its “red list,” meaning that the University’s policies are dangerous to basic freedoms. That was evident after the handling of the case of Prof. Donald Hindley (POL), in which Provost Marty Krauss maintained that […]

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    • Brandeis Student Column Assails Politically Correct Culture, Criticizes Hindley Punishment

      November 24, 2010

      Brandeis University student Shafaq Hasan has an excellent column in The Brandeis Justice highlighting Brandeis’ continued mistreatment of Professor Donald Hindley. The article is a much-needed reminder for Brandeis’ inert administration, as well as for younger students unfamiliar with the story of their $50,000-plus per year university’s appalling treatment of one of its own. Hasan writes: In fall 2007, Brandeis encountered one such violation with regards to an incident surrounding Prof. Donald Hindley (POL). In a course about Latin American politics, Hindley allegedly described to his class that Mexican immigrants are sometimes referred to as “wetbacks.” An offended student complained […]

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    • Red Alert at Brandeis University: Administration Must Clear Professor’s Name

      September 9, 2010

      Following last Tuesday’s full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s annual “Best Colleges” issue, FIRE has been detailing why individual rights are in serious jeopardy at each of the six schools on our Red Alert list. For those of you just tuning in to this blog series, the Red Alert list is reserved for universities which, in FIRE’s estimation, have displayed severe and ongoing disregard for the fundamental rights of their students or faculty members and are the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus. This year’s list includes Brandeis University, Bucknell University, Colorado College, […]

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    • Still Looking for a New Year’s Resolution, Red Alert Schools?

      January 14, 2010

      Here’s an easy New Year’s resolution that Brandeis University, Bucknell University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University can make: get off of FIRE’s Red Alert list of America’s worst violators of campus liberty! This week, FIRE sent the presidents of each of the six Red Alert schools a letter reminding them of their schools’ serious and ongoing violations of student and faculty rights, and just how easy it is for each of them to remedy their mistakes and reaffirm their commitment to freedom of expression. FIRE also included with each letter a copy of the […]

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    • Former FIRE Intern: Brandeis Must Reform Its Ways to Get Off Red Alert List

      September 29, 2009

      Former FIRE intern and Brandeis University student Daniel Ortner published another excellent op-ed in The Brandeis Hoot last week (his previous op-ed about free expression and other problems at Brandeis is here). In the article, Daniel specifically criticizes the Office of Student Rights and Advocacy (OSRA) for asking FIRE to remove Brandeis from FIRE’s Red Alert list. Daniel writes: One would think that with a title like Office of Student Rights and Advocacy, this newly reconstituted Student Union organization would be concerning itself with righting the many abuses of student rights and trust that I wrote about extensively a few weeks […]

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    • President Who Made Brandeis University a FIRE ‘Red Alert’ School Resigns

      September 25, 2009

      The media is abuzz today with news of the resignation of Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz. According to The Brandeis Hoot, resignation talks between Reinharz and Board of Trustees Chair Malcolm Sherman began about “three and a half weeks ago,” just at the time FIRE launched a national advertising campaign listing Brandeis on FIRE’s Red Alert list as one of the “worst of the worst” violators of individual rights among colleges and universities in the United States. The centerpiece of FIRE’s campaign is a full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s famous “America’s Best Colleges” rankings issue. Brandeis has now appeared on […]

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    • FIRE Intern, Student Leader Both Defend Faculty and Student Rights in Brandeis Student Newspaper

      August 28, 2009

      Former FIRE intern and current Brandeis student Daniel Ortner has an op-ed today in The Brandeis Hoot blasting Yale University Press for refusing to reprint cartoon depictions of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed in Brandeis professor Jytte Klausen’s book about the controversy sparked by their initial publication. Robert scourged the prestigious university publisher in a post on Pajamas Media a couple of weeks ago. Daniel relates that episode of censorship to the larger problem of censorship on campus and a few past FIRE cases. The academic press and universities at large are supposed to be the bastions of freedom. They are […]

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    • How Can Brandeis University Get Off FIRE’s Red Alert List?

      August 26, 2009

      Over the last few days, FIRE has been driving home reminders about the dire state of free speech at Brandeis University, whose misdeeds we featured in not one but two major print advertisements. In addition to being highlighted as one of the six schools on FIRE’s Red Alert list in our full-page ad in U.S. News & World Report for a second straight year, FIRE also took out a prominent ad in the Brandeis student newspaper The Justice, as Greg announced earlier today on The Huffington Post.   Prospective matriculants should think twice about applying to Brandeis upon seeing the […]

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    • Brandeis University Called Out for Free Speech Abuses in Its Student Newspaper

      August 26, 2009

      Yesterday I announced a national ad campaign by my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calling out colleges across the country that have consistently and unapologetically stood by actions that violated the free speech rights of their students or faculty. At the same time, we placed this half-page ad in the Brandeis University student newspaper The Justice: The ad refers to an appalling case that seems as though it sprung fully-formed from a Philip Roth novel. In the fall of 2007, Donald Hindley, a Brandeis professor of nearly 50 years was found guilty of racial harassment for using […]

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    • FIRE Shines a Light on Brandeis University in ‘Huffington Post’ and Full-Page Ad

      February 13, 2009

      FIRE is applying Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ maxim “sunlight is the best of disinfectants” to his namesake university in a big way today. First, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff has an article in The Huffington Post in which he chastises Brandeis University for its refusal to apologize for its treatment of tenured Professor Donald Hindley, who was found guilty by the university of “racial harassment” for using the term “wetbacks”—in the context of criticizing the term—in his Latin American politics class. Greg points out that the media have comparatively ignored this outrageous case while giving massive attention to the university’s […]

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    • Reply to Comment on Brandeis Case

      February 12, 2009

      My op-ed in the Brandeis Justice this week outlines the outrage at Brandeis over the Hindley affair (a professor punished after he critiqued the term “wetbacks” in a relevant course), the Rose Art Museum fiasco, and the implications of these controversies for the viability of the Reinharz administration going forward. The op-ed also outlines the widespread response at Brandeis among faculty members and students asserting their rights in the face of a stiff-necked administration. Brandeis sophomore Nathan Hakimi has commented on the op-ed, largely agreeing with me: I have to commend you, for making legitimately powerful points about the lack […]

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    • Will the real Brandeis please stand up?

      February 12, 2009

      I spent most of the summer of 1996 on my brother’s couch in Long Beach, California. I had just graduated from college and was discovering that it’s extremely difficult to find a job in the greater L.A. area without a car. I remember watching the evening news one night: four stories into the broadcast, almost as an afterthought, it mentioned a meteorite that seemed to strongly indicate the presence of life on Mars. I sat there bewildered that this news station actually considered two stories about the private life of O.J. Simpson more important than a discovery that we were […]

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    • J. Peter Freire: Attach strings to college donations

      February 11, 2009

      A WEALTHY art collector gives his prized original Andy Warhol painting to his alma mater’s museum. Within a few months, that painting is on the auction block. That’s what has happened at Brandeis University, in Waltham, Mass., where the board of trustees announced the other week that it could not longer afford to keep its Rose Art Museum open. Donors now have to ask two questions. First, can the universities they support get away with hocking donated paintings? Second, is the school spending its money wisely? Welcome to the murky debate about donor intent: Donors give money to universities. Universities […]

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    • Silverglate and Creeley on Brandeis Scandal in ‘Minding the Campus’

      February 10, 2009

      Minding the Campus just posted an incisive examination of recent events at Brandeis University authored by FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate and Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley. Like the op-ed by FIRE’s Adam Kissel published earlier today in the Brandeis student newspaper, The Justice, Silverglate’s and Creeley’s post takes Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz to task for his handling of both the Rose Art Museum fiasco and the case of Professor Donald Hindley. They write: During the fall 2007 semester, Brandeis Professor Donald Hindley was accused of “racial harassment.” His offense? Critiquing the use of the derogatory term […]

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    • FIRE Op-Ed: Brandeis Administration Must Demonstrate Integrity to Avoid Calamity

      February 10, 2009

      Today’s edition of The Justice features an op-ed from FIRE’s Adam Kissel about the ongoing controversy at Brandeis University regarding the future of the Rose Art Museum and what it reveals about the viability of the Reinharz administration at Brandeis. Adam succinctly demonstrates that this is only the latest in a string of crises including the abhorrent treatment of Professor Donald Hindley. As he explains, the school is in the midst of a campus revolt which has been brewing for some time and is a direct and predictable result of the administration’s continued lack of effective leadership. Anyone who has […]

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    • OP-ED: University should solve censorship issue

      February 10, 2009

      When I wrote an e-mail to University President Jehuda Reinharz and all of Brandeis’ trustees last summer saying Brandeis was in “revolt,” little did I know the big revolt was yet to come. The Rose Art Museum controversy is just the latest issue to put the president’s judgment in question. With a declining endowment, donor outrage, withering press coverage, a sharp decrease in applications and extensive faculty and student resistance, Brandeis is only one or two steps from the brink of chaos. It cannot afford a leader whose decisions lack transparency and reasonable decision-making processes. Given these conditions, I can […]

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    • Brandeis University in Hard Times: No Better Time to Heal Free Speech Wounds

      February 2, 2009

      Brandeis University is in quite a pickle these days trying to maintain the trust of faculty members and students as it takes action to survive the economic downturn. The Boston Globe and The New York Times, among others, are reporting some of the drastic measures Brandeis is taking. By far the most controversial has been the announced closing of Brandeis’ Rose Art Museum and the sale of its approximately $350 million of holdings. Last week, over 200 students attended a forum to encourage the Brandeis administration to involve students more actively in some of these excruciatingly hard decisions. The student […]

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    • Brandeis Backs Down on New Free Speech Issue

      February 2, 2009

      “You are all paid employees of the Brandeis University Office of Development and Alumni Relations. It is in incredibly poor taste for you to write anything that can be perceived as slanderous or offensive about the University. Several members of the Development Staff, including myself, are going through facebook, blogs, boston.com, and online petitions.” So read last Tuesday’s e-mail from Matthew Magida, Annual Giving Officer at Brandeis. According to Ariel Wittenberg for The Brandeis Hoot, the e-mail continued, “If I see you have written anything (positive or negative) about the Rose Art Museum [which is going to be closed, with […]

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    • When speech isn’t free

      February 1, 2009

      FIRE defines a speech code as any regulation that punishes, forbids, heavily regulates or restricts a substantial amount of protected speech. FIRE said this definition is needed because colleges rarely label restrictions as “speech codes” in handbooks. Instead, they call their codes “harassment” codes or “civility codes,” while what they do is prohibit free speech. At the University of New Hampshire, student Timothy Garneau was evicted from a dorm in 2004 after posting fliers joking that freshman women could lose the “Freshman 15″ – a reference to weight – by walking up the dorm stairs. After FIRE wrote to UNH […]

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    • Brandeis Students Struggle with JuicyCampus and Anonymous Speech

      December 9, 2008

      Last Friday’s edition of The Brandeis Hoot student newspaper carried a report about today’s inaugural meeting of the group “Students Against JuicyCampus.” According to the Hoot, the group already boasts a Facebook group of 400 members. Comments by students in the meeting demonstrate that like many universities, Brandeis is doing a terrible job of educating students about the fundamental rights enjoyed by Americans. To wit: The majority of the meeting was spent discussing the negative and positive effects of anonymous free speech. Erica Lubitz ’12 stated, “the purpose of anonymity is to make [people] comfortable to speak, but then it […]

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    • Student Op-Ed Blasts Brandeis for Continuing Hindley Affair

      November 7, 2008

      The Brandeis Hoot has an excellent op-ed today by student Daniel Ortner on the case of Donald Hindley: “The Hindley case: Not over yet.” Ortner is referring to FIRE’s case at Brandeis University regarding Professor Donald Hindley, who was punished with a class monitor and a letter finding him guilty of “inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” statements in class after he critiqued the term “wetbacks” in class discussion. Ortner calls attention to FIRE’s ad in U.S. News & World Report naming Brandeis and the other Red Alert schools as the “worst of the worst” campus censors. Media outlets continue to take […]

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    • Condemnations Continue for Brandeis Administration

      October 27, 2008

      Today, The Providence Journal became the latest publication to weigh in on the horrendous treatment that Professor Donald Hindley has received at the hands of administrators at Brandeis University. The Journal‘s sharply worded editorial follows on the heels of recent articles from Nat Hentoff in The Washington Times, Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald, and Stephanie Siek of The Boston Globe, among others. Numerous journalists and pundits both on and off the Brandeis campus have exposed the abuse of power that occurred last fall when Hindley was found guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classes […]

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    • Brandeis Students Start Three New Organizations to Protect Their Rights

      October 21, 2008

      Students at Brandeis University are growing restless with concern for their rights—as they should be. This month marks a year since Brandeis University found Professor Donald Hindley guilty of “inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” statements in alleged violation of Brandeis University’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy after Hindley critiqued the term “wetbacks” in his Latin American politics class. As punishment, Provost Marty Krauss ordered him to attend anti-discrimination training and placed a monitor in Professor Hindley’s classroom until she could determine that Hindley was “able to conduct (himself) appropriately in the classroom.” Hindley was never presented with the evidence against him or […]

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    • ‘Wetbacks’ Case Still Roiling Brandeis

      September 26, 2008

      The case of Donald Hindley at Brandeis is not going away anytime soon. Today’s Brandeis Hoot covers a discussion between attorney Daryl Lapp and Brandeis faculty members regarding anti-discrimination law as it applies to “discriminatory speech.” Lapp, who commonly defends universities in claims against them, was invited for this discussion by Provost Marty Krauss after faculty members asked for clarification about harassment and anti-discrimination law in the wake of Brandeis’ treatment of Hindley, whom the university punished under its non-discrimination and harassment policy. Hindley had critiqued the term “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course last fall, a student complained, […]

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    • Nat Hentoff on Brandeis: ‘The Most Outrageous Case of All’

      September 24, 2008

      Renowned scholar, critic, and free speech advocate Nat Hentoff, a member of FIRE’s Board of Advisors, published a syndicated editorial today sharply criticizing the administration of Brandeis University for its deplorable treatment of Professor Donald Hindley, accusing the university of betraying the legacy of its namesake, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. Brandeis University’s disregard for Hindley’s fundamental rights has been so egregious that Hentoff, who has been writing about free speech issues for decades, writes: “I have now found the most outrageous case of all.” Emphasizing how far from free-speech principles the university has strayed, Hentoff quotes Justice Brandeis’ opinion […]

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    • Brandeis Hires University Defender to Teach about ‘Racially Harassing Speech’

      September 22, 2008

      Brandeis University seems to be moving even farther away from any notion of guaranteeing free expression on its campus. In the wake of a breakdown in faculty–administration relations over the case of Brandeis professor Donald Hindley, Brandeis has hired an attorney whose principal work involves defending universities against lawsuits and claims in areas such as civil rights. The attorney, Daryl Lapp, is to make a presentation to the faculty on September 25 on “the legal definition and boundaries of racially harassing speech and the implications of case law on this subject.” Free expression advocates should be alarmed if this is […]

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    • FIRE Uses Facebook to Target Worst College Offenders

      September 17, 2008

      Last week, FIRE launched our first Facebook ad campaign targeting a school on FIRE’s Red Alert list, Brandeis University. We began placing ads on the Facebook pages of Brandeis students and alumni, alerting them to the unfortunate case of Professor Donald Hindley, who was found guilty of racial harassment after he critiqued the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. In only one week, the advertisement has been featured on over 121,000 Facebook pages. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, while many students and faculty have stepped up to the plate and defended Professor Hindley’s […]

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    • Brandeis Faculty, Administration Still at Odds

      September 11, 2008

      Last Friday, Alison Channon, News Editor for The Brandeis Hoot at Brandeis University, wrote an update on the case of Donald Hindley, the professor who was found guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classroom after he critiqued the term “wetbacks” in class. As many readers know, FIRE has been heavily involved in the case. The article notes that English Professor William Flesch was appointed the new chair of the Faculty Senate, which has been a strong defender of Professor Hindley’s rights and has gone toe-to-toe with Provost Krauss, who has attempted again and again to […]

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    • How Can Brandeis University Get Off FIRE’s Red Alert List?

      August 26, 2008

      The current edition of U.S. News and World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” issue, released on Monday, includes a full-page advertisement by FIRE highlighting the five colleges and universities that have earned FIRE’s Red Alert distinction for being the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus: Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, and Valdosta State University. Students should think twice before choosing to attend one of the Red Alert schools. Faculty also should think twice about joining these academic communities, which got on the list because they not only have committed egregious violations of […]

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    • FIRE Exposes Unrepentant Abusers of Liberty in ‘U.S. News’ College Rankings Issue

      August 25, 2008

      PHILADELPHIA, August 25, 2008—The 2009 edition of U.S. News and World Report‘s America’s Best Colleges issue, released today, includes a full-page advertisement from FIRE highlighting the five colleges and universities that have earned FIRE’s Red Alert distinction for being the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus. Students should think twice before choosing to attend Red Alert schools, which include Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, and Valdosta State University. “Every year, millions of students and parents turn to U.S. News and World Report to see the latest college rankings,” said FIRE President […]

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    • Where is the Alumni Outrage Over the Brandeis Administration’s Shameful Behavior?

      August 20, 2008

      On July 9, FIRE sent a second letter to Brandeis University regarding its unfair treatment of Donald Hindley. A veteran professor at Brandeis, Hindley was accused of making “statements in class that were inappropriate, racial, and discriminatory” and had a monitor placed in his classroom after using the word “wetbacks” in class. He was never given a written account of the charges against him, other procedures in the Faculty Handbook were violated, and Hindley’s appeal was unilaterally cut off by Brandeis’s Provost, Marty Krauss. In the letter, we reminded Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz that his administration “has dramatically violated its […]

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    • Now I’m Offended

      July 22, 2008

      (Jake Summerhays is a senior majoring in Political Science at Columbia University. He is a 2008 FIRE summer intern.) To be honest, I was caught off guard on that first day of class. I was offended, and for a moment, I considered whether it was going to be beneficial for me—academically or spiritually—to remain in the class. Being a good Mormon boy (or at least making my best efforts), I had been taught that there are some words you just don’t say. I had also never come across a teacher in all my years of schooling who routinely used profanity, […]

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    • Brandeis Alumnus Blasts University for Treatment of Professor

      July 11, 2008

      In a letter sent yesterday, Brandeis alumnus and Central Connecticut State University professor Jay Bergman called upon Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz to immediately clear the record of Professor Donald Hindley, who was found guilty of racial harassment for using the term “wetback” in his class. Bergman writes: I urge you now, as I have in the past, to drop the university’s finding of guilt in the matter of Professor Hindley, who did nothing wrong. Furthermore, as a way of acknowledging the egregious violation of Professor Hindley’s academic freedom that occurred as a result of the unconscionable conduct of your provost […]

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    • FIRE Calls on Brandeis to Resolve Faculty Revolt

      July 10, 2008

      Given the unprecedented revolt of faculty and students at Brandeis University, FIRE has called on President Jehuda Reinharz to rescind the ill-conceived finding of guilt against Professor Donald Hindley in order to restore order and Brandeis University’s good name. In a letter sent to Reinharz yesterday—with copies to about 160 others within and beyond Brandeis—FIRE noted that the revolt has involved multiple unanimous faculty resolutions against the administration, faculty reports demonstrating that Brandeis administrators violated Hindley’s academic freedom and due process rights, the withdrawal of faculty support for the school’s harassment policy, the suspension of hearing new faculty grievances, and […]

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    • Brandeis’ Inexplicable War Against Its Faculty

      July 3, 2008

      FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley has written a noteworthy article on the wider implications of the Brandeis University faculty revolt against its own administration in the case of professor Donald Hindley. Here are some choice excerpts: [Brandeis Provost Marty] Krauss’ assertion of arbitrary administrative power angered the Faculty Senate, which has refused to peacefully surrender its bargained-for rights. By February of this year, cooperation between faculty and administrators on discipline issues completely broke down in the wake of three scathing reports on the handling of Hindley’s case. And since early March, Brandeis’ Faculty Senate has been refusing even to hear […]

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    • Brandeis University “Honored” in ‘The Boston Phoenix’s’ 2008 Muzzle Awards

      June 30, 2008

      FIRE co-founder and board chairman Harvey Silverglate, writing last week in The Boston Phoenix, pronounced Brandeis University “a clear winner” of the Phoenix‘s annual Muzzle Awards, which single out the worst offenders of free speech and individual rights in the New England area. Brandeis has earned this dubious accolade “thanks to the farcical treatment of veteran faculty member Donald Hindley this past fall.” Torch readers by now are familiar with Hindley’s case, in which the tenured professor of politics, after discussing—and criticizing—the term “wetback” in his classroom, was found in violation of the school’s anti-harassment code and forced to teach […]

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    • Faculty Rights vs. Provostal Abuses at Brandeis

      May 22, 2008

      I reported on Monday that the Brandeis University faculty continues to stand up for its academic freedom and due process rights against Provost Marty Krauss in the wake of her disastrous handling of the case of Professor Donald Hindley, who was declared guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. To recap: after faculty protest of Krauss’ handling of the Hindley case, Krauss challenged the authority of the school’s Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR. In response, the faculty passed […]

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    • Brandeis Faculty Continues to Revolt in ‘Wetbacks’ Case

      May 19, 2008

      Admirably, the Brandeis University faculty continues to stand up for its academic freedom and due process rights in the wake of Provost Marty Krauss’s disastrous handling of the case of Donald Hindley, who was declared guilty of racial harassment and had a monitor placed in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. Professor Donald Hindley, a nearly 50-year veteran of teaching, never was granted a formal hearing by Brandeis, nor was he provided with the substance of the accusations against him in writing. The provost challenged the authority of the […]

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    • “Muzzle Tov” to Brandeis and Valdosta State from Greg

      April 11, 2008

      In his latest Huffington Post blog, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff recaps the 2008 Jefferson Muzzle awards, bringing special attention to with “winners” at Brandeis University and Valdosta State University. He also puts in an early nomination for 2009’s Muzzles: Finally, while I know it’s only April, I already have two nominations for next year’s Jefferson Muzzles. First, I would like to nominate Colorado College, where administrators have used tragic school shootings of recent years as justification for finding two students guilty of “violence” for posting a flyer making fun of another flyer. I ask readers once again to compare these […]

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    • Demonstration at Brandeis Today—Red Alert in Action

      April 10, 2008

      Why are students demonstrating at about 6pm today at Brandeis University? Today is apparently Accepted Students Day at Brandeis. Potential students should know that Brandeis has so badly violated principles of free expression that FIRE has put Brandeis on our Red Alert list, reserved for the worst offenders among colleges and universities in the country. A bunch of current students agree. Here are excerpts from their press release, a copy of which was received by FIRE: Today April 10th, during the kick off for Open House, Brandeis University Students will assemble to demonstrate to their university that their voices have […]

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    • Associated Press, Harvey Silverglate and Blogosphere Cover the Jefferson Muzzles

      April 10, 2008

      After Tuesday’s announcement of the 2008 Jefferson Muzzles awarded by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, the media and blogosphere have lit up with coverage of the “honors” given to “the country’s most egregious and ridiculous censors”. An article by the Associated Press mentioned the FIRE cases at Brandeis University and Valdosta State University: Rounding out the list were Brandeis University administrators for declaring a professor guilty of harassment and placing a monitor in his classroom after he explained to his class that Mexican migrant workers are sometimes pejoratively called “wetbacks;” Valdosta State (Ga.) University President […]

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    • Justice Brandeis would be proud … or would he?

      April 8, 2008

      The Waltham-based university named after the late and great Supreme Court Justice, Louis D. Brandeis, champion of free speech and free thought, has just achieved the dubious distinction of winning one of the “muzzle awards” given out annually by the highly respected Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Twelve “winners” were picked this year, and Brandeis was chosen for its utterly incomprehensible efforts to punish a tenured faculty member, long-time Professor Donald Hindley, for his having used the word “wetback” in what turns out to be a perfectly appropriate and relevant manner during […]

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    • Brandeis Faculty Senate Excoriates Administration, Revolts

      March 26, 2008

      The recently published minutes of the March 13, 2008, meeting of the Brandeis University Faculty Senate show continuing animosity against Provost Marty Krauss over issues relating to the case of Professor Donald Hindley. The Brandeis faculty’s Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR) already had explained in detail, numerous times, the failures of the Brandeis administration in Hindley’s case. One result has been that the CFRR has been refusing to hear new faculty grievances. Since the Provost has challenged the CFRR’s authority, what else could it do? Several CFRR members have met with the Faculty Senate “to discuss the breakdown […]

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    • Editorial Warns of Brandeis’s Waning Reputation Over Speech Controversies

      March 26, 2008

      Yesterday’s issue of Brandeis University’s Justice student newspaper features a hard-hitting editorial that once again takes Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss to task for her handling of the case of professor Donald Hindley, who had a monitor placed in his classes by Krauss after he explained and critiqued the use of the term “wetback” in class. The editorial adds to the avalanche of bad press, both internal and external, about Brandeis’s handling of the case. It would be simple enough to do justice in the case by reversing the flawed finding that Hindley had somehow engaged in harassment or discrimination during […]

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    • Brandeis Student Press Critiques More Violations of Free Speech

      March 7, 2008

      All too often, it takes someone getting into serious trouble before discussions about free speech arise on a college campus. Because Brandeis University has been involved in a string of free speech incidents—most recently Professor Donald Hindley being found guilty of alleged harassment for protected speech—one of the student newspapers, The Hoot, has attempted to decipher what free speech means at this private university. In a series of articles, student Pat Garofolo critiques the blurry rules regarding allegedly offensive speech in Brandeis’s Rights & Responsibilities handbook, “which aims to establish ‘community standards of behavior.’” The rules are vague and seem […]

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    • Brandeis Faculty Step Up to Defend Academic Freedom, Attack Administration

      February 7, 2008

      The minutes of the Brandeis University Faculty Senate meeting last week show many serious steps that the faculty are taking in response to the mistreatment of professor Donald Hindley by Brandeis administrators such as Provost Marty Krauss—and in the absence of any action on the part of the administration. The Senate discussion focused heavily on his case. The Senators unanimously approved several statements and pointed once again to administrators’ unrepentant violations of Brandeis policy in their prosecution of Professor Hindley. (1) The Faculty Senate no longer supports Brandeis’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy because of “the violation of the understanding that […]

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    • FIRE Alerts Brandeis Trustees to Hindley Case

      February 6, 2008

      FIRE has written Malcolm L. Sherman, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University—and the rest of Brandeis’s trustees—to alert them to Brandeis’s mistreatment of Professor Donald Hindley over his critique of the word “wetback” during one of his classes. The letter addresses the misrepresentations of the case by Provost Marty Krauss, the sharp rebukes of Brandeis administrators by the school’s own faculty, the bad publicity that the case already has generated, and the unbecoming public silence on the matter by President Jehuda Reinharz. The letter also cites the landmark 2003 letter from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office […]

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    • The Case of Donald Hindley: Eerily Familiar, Inexcusably Handled

      February 1, 2008

      Does something seem oddly familiar about the case of Donald Hindley at Brandeis? As Torch readers well know, Donald Hindley is a professor who has served Brandeis for over 46 years and was found guilty of “racial harassment,” apparently for criticizing and explaining use of the word “wetback” to deride Mexicans and other immigrants. I say “apparently” because, as Eugene Volokh so effectively has pointed out, Brandeis has not even been clear with Hindley what words got him in trouble. Still, all signs point to the use of the word “wetback,” which a single student apparently found so offensive that […]

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    • ‘The Brandeis Hoot’ Seeks Answers from Administration

      February 1, 2008

      As the negative media barrage against Brandeis University continues, The Brandeis Hoot has written an excellent editorial titled “There is such a thing as bad publicity,” calling for school administrators to admit their wrongdoing in the case against Professor Donald Hindley and start “damage control.” The editorial points out that A search of Google news for the name “Brandeis” brings up nothing but articles about Hindley and the Brandeis sports teams. It is quite sad that, judging from an online news search, Brandeis is known for athletics and violating free speech. This is not at all what we should be […]

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    • After Brandeis Response, Professor Volokh Asks Tough Questions

      January 30, 2008

      Eugene Volokh, professor of constitutional law at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law and influential blogger, has some pointed words and tough questions for Brandeis administrators in response to yesterday’s frustratingly empty statement from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marty Krauss. Like FIRE, Volokh is far from satisfied with Brandeis’s statement. Specifically, Volokh wants to know what precisely Brandeis thinks Professor Donald Hindley said that was worthy of the ensuing investigation and punishment. Volokh writes: The university refuses to publicly say what it thinks the professor said. Is it missing the use/mention distinction? […]

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    • FIRE in the Brandeis Student Press

      January 30, 2008

      The Justice, an independent student newspaper at Brandeis University, features an article discussing FIRE’s work on behalf of embattled professor Donald Hindley. As loyal Torch readers know by now, Professor Hindley was found to have violated the school’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment policy after he used the word “wetbacks” in a classroom discussion to explain that Mexican migrants in the United States are sometimes referred to by that term. As FIRE stated in its press release, Hindley’s use of the word in that context plainly did not have any racist intentions or insinuations, and it certainly did not rise to the […]

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    • Brandeis Provost Misrepresents Its Prosecution of Professor’s Classroom Speech

      January 29, 2008

      This morning, Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss sent Brandeis faculty a letter defending the indefensible investigation and punishment of longtime professor Donald Hindley for his classroom speech. To make matters worse, this letter outright misrepresents the violations of Brandeis’s own policies identified by Brandeis’s own Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR) numerous times. In addition, in this letter the Provost fails to apologize for these violations, downplays the Brandeis faculty’s justified fears of new prosecutions, and ignores the scathing CFRR reports. Why does President Reinharz permit Krauss to continue refusing to own up to her missteps? This is a question […]

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    • FIRE publishes report on Hindley

      January 29, 2008

      by Noah Bein A report from a prominent watchdog group last week sharply criticized the administration’s handling of the discrimination case against Prof. Donald Hindley (POL) and ignited a firestorm on the Internet and in national media. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit organization that examines issues of free speech in higher education, published the report on its Web site last Wednesday, admonishing Provost Marty Krauss and University President Jehuda Reinharz for their role in the investigation of student complaints about Hindley’s alleged use of the word wetbacks in a Latin American studies course last September. “Brandeis […]

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    • Professor Condemns Brandeis’s Treatment of Donald Hindley

      January 28, 2008

      FIRE friend Jay Bergman—a professor at Central Connecticut State University and an alumnus of Brandeis—shared with us an e-mail he sent to Brandeis Provost Marty Krauss regarding the university’s treatment of Professor Donald Hindley: Dear Provost Krauss, I have read what FIRE and Eugene Volokh have written about the Hindley case, and am appalled by the lack of due process Professor Hindley received, by the ridiculous lengths to which the Brandeis administration has gone to ensure that minority students not be made “uncomfortable” by what their professors and other students say in their classes, and by what appears to me […]

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    • Ethnic sensitivities threaten academic freedom

      January 28, 2008

      A professor at Brandeis University, a prominent institution of higher education located in Waltham, Mass., was found guilty of racial harassment for using language Brandeis officials deemed offensive. Brandies officials, however, never informed Professor Donald Hindley, nearly a 50-year veteran in academia, exactly what words spurred the verdict, but Professor Hindley suspects it was his use of “wetback” in his Latin American Politics course. Professor Hindley was not provided a formal hearing and is now subject to classroom monitoring. In the Fall 2007, Professor Hindley explained to his class Mexican migrants have sometimes been victims of racial discrimination and the […]

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    • Shhh! Free speech crackdown on campus

      January 27, 2008

      This is scary stuff. Yet it’s been tolerated on college campuses for years. Suppose it moved from campus to your office, your company? Suppose it threatened your job? Here’s the plot. Brandeis University, named after Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (a famous champion of free speech), just insisted on sensitivity training and threatened to fire a professor after one student-maybe two or three-complained about the professor’s speech. In a Latin American politics class, professor Donald Hindley, 74, who’s taught at Brandeis for nearly 50 years, used a word he’s used many times-“wetback”-to explain the nastiness aimed at Mexican immigrants who […]

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    • FIRE Speaks About Brandeis on WBZ Radio Tonight

      January 25, 2008

      Robert Shibley, FIRE’s Vice President, will be a guest on the Dan Rea show on Boston’s WBZ News Radio 1030-AM tonight at 8:15 pm (ET) to talk about the case of Prof. Donald Hindley at Brandeis University as well as similar situations across the nation. Rea and Shibley are also planning to take phone calls, so if you are an interested listener and have a question, please call in! You can also listen live on the Internet at WBZ.com.

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    • Brandeis professor says his right to free speech violated

      January 25, 2008

      A professor at Brandeis University says his rights to free speech and due process were violated after he was disciplined for using the word “wetback” during a political science class. The professor, Donald Hindley, has said he was simply describing the use of the word while teaching his Latin American politics course last fall. But the university has said that students in the class who lodged a complaint heard him use the word in a way that was offensive. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that advocates for free speech on college campuses, has been publicizing […]

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    • Prof fights reprimand for ‘wetback’ reference

      January 25, 2008

      Free-speech advocates are calling on Brandeis University to apologize to a longtime professor who was disciplined after he allegedly told students in his class on Latin American politics that Mexican migrants are sometimes pejoratively referred to as “wetbacks.” The university accused Donald Hindley of making statements that violated its policies on discrimination and harassment, Hindley said in a statement Wednesday. Neither the letter nor Hindley’s statement specified what he said or is accused of saying. But in a press release this week, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said Hindley turned to the group for help, insisting that he […]

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    • Slang term use lands professor in hot seat

      January 25, 2008

      A free speech organization has taken up the cause of a veteran Brandeis University professor who was disciplined by the school for describing the word “wetbacks” in his political science course. Professor Donald Hindley was teaching a Latin American politics course last fall, when he told students the word “wetbacks” is a derogatory term used to describe immigrants from Mexico, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “Professor Hindley is a respected scholar who until now has not faced a single student complaint in nearly five decades of teaching,” foundation president Greg Lukianoff said on the group’s Web […]

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    • Prof in trouble for blasting ‘wetbacks’ slur

      January 24, 2008

      A professor is being punished for criticizing the use of an ethnic slur in what the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is calling a “a mindless application of ‘sensitivity at all costs’ at the expense of freedom of expression.” The dispute arose over the work of Brandeis University Latin American Politics professor Donald Hindley, a veteran of nearly 50 years in teaching. He has been declared guilty of racial harassment and has had a monitor placed in his classes after “he criticized the use of the word ‘wetbacks’ in his Latin American Politics course,” according to a statement from […]

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    • Professor takes heat over wetbacks stance

      January 24, 2008

      Brandeis University declared a professor guilty of racial harassment and placed a monitor in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American politics course. Professor Donald Hindley, a nearly 50-year veteran of teaching, was threatened with termination without being granted a formal hearing by Brandeis. “Brandeis’ actions demonstrate a fundamental disregard for academic freedom and for fair, rational fact-finding procedures,” said Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which is seeking justice on Hindley’s behalf. “Professor Hindley is a respected scholar who until now has not faced a […]

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    • Censorship at Brandeis, again

      January 24, 2008

      A new battle has commenced in the war over suppression of free speech and due process at Brandeis, the institution named (ironically and inappropriately, it would seem) after the late Supreme Court Justice and champion of individual liberty. As my colleague Wendy Kaminer wrote in this space on Wednesday, the school opened an investigation into Professor Donald Hindley, a 40-year veteran of the Politics Department, last October after two students complained about comments he made in class. No one can say for sure what Hindley is accused of saying, however, because to this day the university’s provost has not told […]

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    • Harassment vs. academic freedom, round two

      January 24, 2008

      It started as a student accusation of harassment against a long-tenured professor. Now, with the faculty’s backing, the dispute has turned into a showdown over autonomy, academic freedom and governance procedures. Donald Hindley first learned through twin October 30 letters that he was deemed in violation of Brandeis University’s nondiscrimination policy for allegedly uttering “inappropriate and racially derogatory statements.” The provost, Marty Krauss, informed the professor of politics that a “monitor” would observe his classroom and that he would be required to attend “anti-discrimination training.” The administration’s sanctions were deemed unusual by veteran observers of academic freedom, such as the […]

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    • Prof in trouble for blasting ‘wetbacks’ slur

      January 24, 2008

      A professor is being punished for criticizing the use of an ethnic slur in what the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is calling a “a mindless application of ‘sensitivity at all costs’ at the expense of freedom of expression.” The dispute arose over the work of Brandeis University Latin American Politics professor Donald Hindley, a veteran of nearly 50 years in teaching. He has been declared guilty of racial harassment and has had a monitor placed in his classes after “he criticized the use of the word ‘wetbacks’ in his Latin American Politics course,” according to a statement from […]

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    • Brandeis University Tramples Free Speech and Academic Freedom

      January 23, 2008

      WALTHAM, Mass., January 23, 2008—Brandeis University declared a professor guilty of racial harassment and placed a monitor in his classes after he criticized the use of the word “wetbacks” in his Latin American Politics course. Professor Donald Hindley, a nearly 50-year veteran of teaching, has neither been granted a formal hearing by Brandeis nor provided with the substance of the accusations against him in writing. Hindley has turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “Brandeis’s actions demonstrate a fundamental disregard for academic freedom and for fair, rational fact-finding procedures,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “Professor […]

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