Bucknell University

Location: Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Website: http://www.bucknell.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 3rd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Bucknell University has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

  • Bucknell University: University Slams Door on Student Satires of Obama Stimulus Plan and Affirmative Action

    May 21, 2009

    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, including the distribution of “Obama Stimulus Dollars” and an affirmative action bake sale, the students turned to FIRE for help. The case is still ongoing.

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Red Light Policies

  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    HARASSMENT. Deliberately annoying, alarming, or threatening another person; following a person in or about a public place or places; or subjecting an individual to one or more unwanted and abusive phone calls, computer contacts, written messages, or verbal communications. A charge of harassment can be based on the quality of the incident(s), on the quantity, or on both; use of an external website that permits the posting of a disparaging message(s) with/without identification of the sender.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Freedom of Speech 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    Freedom of speech here is understood not to be absolute: it must be integrated with other protections provided for the community in the Code of Conduct (such as the right to be free from harassment) and it must concord with the principles embodied in the Pledge of Student Responsibility. For example, the individual who directs epithets or threats at another cannot claim immunity under a perceived right of absolute free speech.

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  • Student Handbook: Bias-Related Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Bucknell University prohibits and makes subject to sanction bias-related harassment, which it defines as follows: Physical or verbal conduct by a person or group targeted at an individual’s or group’s race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, or disability, which conduct, in the view of a reasonable person, has the purpose or effect of creating a significantly intimidating or hostile educational, work, or living environment, significantly interfering with an individual’s educational or work performance.

    When a student, professor or staff member is actively subjected to others’ stereotypes or generalizations about an inherent trait that he or she has — a disabling condition, for example — the climate is no longer “receptive, welcoming and supportive.” And the atmosphere of danger and fear that can result may interfere with his or her ability to learn or work. That is, harassment may occur.

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  • Student Handbook: Sales and Promotions 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes

    Sales and promotions may be conducted on campus by recognized student organizations in order to: … Promote goods, services, or causes if they do not violate other provisions of the Student Handbook.

    Sales and promotions must be registered with and approved by the Events Management Office at least one week prior to the event.

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  • Student Handbook: Pledge of Student Responsibility 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience

    Upon entry to Bucknell, students promise to observe the following points which are contained in the Pledge of Student Responsibility.

    As a member of the social community, I will respect individual differences and the rights of all others. I understand that bias on the basis of gender, handicapped status, national origin, race, religious belief, or sexual orientation, whether expressed in word or action, is repugnant, and that Bucknell will not tolerate harassment, discrimination, or violence against any person for any reason.

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  • Appropriate Use Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Do not use university resources (including, for example, e-mail, web pages, or newsgroups) to defame, harass, intimidate or threaten any other person(s), or to promote bigotry or discrimination.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Disorderly Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    DISORDERLY CONDUCT. Conduct on University-owned or University-controlled property or at University-sponsored or University-supervised event, or off campus when the interests of the University are involved that:

    i. Uses obscene language or makes an obscene gesture at members of the community who are not in the process of performing their duties.

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  • Dean of Students Publications: Guide About Sexual Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Some examples of inappropriate behaviors that may be in violation of Bucknell’s sexual harassment policy include:

    • disparaging or condescending remarks about a person’s gender or sexual orientation
    • verbal abuse including sexist jokes and inappropriate remarks about one’s body or clothing
    • sexual innuendoes made at inappropriate times ….

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Physical and/or Psychological Assault of Self and/or Others 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Conduct which threatens or endangers the health, safety or well being of self, other individuals or a group of people on or off campus including but not limited to Bucknell sponsored events, study abroad programs, community events, etc. This includes anything that could be harmful, physically or psychologically to self, members of the Bucknell community or the community at large.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual Harassment is a violation of this Policy and is defined as: Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature when … such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s employment or education or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or educational environment and has no legitimate relationship to the subject matter of a course or academic research.

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  • Outing Campus Censors in ‘U.S. News & World Report’

    August 6, 2013

    by Greg Lukianoff The Huffington post   Today, for the third year in a row, my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, took out a full-page ad in the college rankings edition of U.S. News & World Report to highlight abuses of free speech on campus. This year, the ad focuses on the outrageous case of Andre Massena at SUNY Binghamton. We also prepared a short video about his case: While the complete details of Massena’s case would be enough for a full-length documentary or a feature article, a quick summary of the case goes like this: Andre […]

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  • 5 More of the Worst Free Speech Violations on College Campuses

    September 12, 2012

    On Tuesday, I shared the first half of my list of ten of the most common free speech violations which the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE ) encounters in its work defending campus expression. As I noted yesterday, the list is far from comprehensive, and the offenses listed are in no particular order. They do, however, give a sense of the depth and variety of ways free speech is threatened at our colleges and universities. Here are five more of the most common violations against free speech on campus. Be sure to visit yesterday’s post for the first half of […]

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  • Don’t speak: Report ranks 2012’s ‘Worst Colleges for Free Speech’ in the country

    April 2, 2012

    Last week, the Foundation For Individual Rights in Education released its second-annual “Worst Colleges for Free Speech” list. The Philadelphia-based nonprofit named 12 U.S. colleges and universities that, in its view, continue to impose limits on student speech — even after intense pressure from FIRE and others.  FIRE president Greg Lukianoff released the list on his Huffington Post blog.  Topping the dozen was the University of Cincinnati, due to a pending civil rights lawsuit filed against them by Young Americans for Liberty, a Ron Paul-inspired activist group. In February, the officially sanctioned student organization was limited to a small “free […]

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  • The top 12 worst colleges for free speech

    March 28, 2012

    Who doesn’t love a good awards show? The gowns, the acceptance speeches, the brutal infringements of civil liberties … the excitement just never ends. Once again, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work), has sorted through the hundreds of colleges and universities across the nation that severely restrict the First Amendment rights of their students, and is ready to present a “dirty dozen” of colleges that have attacked freedom of speech with such zeal that we cannot help but (dis)honor them. While it was difficult to choose from such a wide talent pool, certain schools took our breath […]

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  • JOHN STOSSEL: Get Your Affirmative Action Cupcakes Here!

    November 10, 2010

    This week, I held a bake sale — a racist bake sale. I stood in midtown Manhattan shouting, “Cupcakes for sale.” My price list read: Asians — $1.50 Whites — $1.00 Blacks/Latinos — 50 cents People stared. One yelled, “What is funny to you about people who are less privileged?” A black woman said, angrily, “It’s very offensive, very demeaning!” One black man accused me of poisoning the cupcakes. I understand why people got angry. What I did was hurtful to some. My bake sale mimicked what some conservative college students did at Bucknell University. The students wanted to satirize […]

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  • Bucknell should embrace free speech as Lehigh University does

    October 20, 2009

    It pains me to say it, but I owe Lehigh University an apology. You see, I went to Bucknell. We’re rivals, you know. So as a proud member of the Bucknell family, I’ve considered it my job to make occasional fun of our nemesis in Bethlehem. When I was in school, I even owned a T-shirt that said: ”Lehigh: Because not everyone can get into Bucknell.” Sophomoric, I know. But then again, I was a sophomore. Now, I’m taking it back. I’m sorry, Lehigh. The reason is the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects our right to, among other things, […]

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  • BUCCing the Bucknell Liberals

    September 9, 2009

    The Bucknell University Conservatives Club, like so many other conservative clubs on America’s campuses, has grown accustomed to its political minority status on campus and having to fight the good fight for equal treatment. Yet, Bucknell’s administration has outdone itself in violating BUCC’s freedom of speech over the past several months. Bucknell, a private university in Pennsylvania, promises free expression to its students. But it has flouted this commitment and bent its policies in order to shut down BUCC’s affirmative action bake sale and a protest of President Obama’s economic stimulus. The latest outrage began in March, when BUCC members […]

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  • A crackdown on free speech at … Bucknell University?

    June 27, 2009

    Bucknell University, a well-regarded liberal arts institution set in a picturesque location in the rolling Pennsylvania countryside, looks entirely benign. Its campus is safe, its students intelligent. It counts among its alumni the famed author Philip Roth and Leslie Moonves, the president of CBS. It’s a college to which most parents would be proud to send their kids. But if your son or daughter is the type who might join the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC), you would be well-advised to send him or her somewhere else. Because Bucknell really, really does not want to hear what the students of the BUCC have […]

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  • Bucknell and the ‘Affirmative-Action Bakesale’

    June 23, 2009

    Oh to be back in college. The parties, all that time to stretch out with the world’s great books, those absolutely mind-blowing affirmative-action bakesales. Yes, we jest – at least on the last point. Truth is, we’ve never experienced an “affirmative-action bakesale,” though we understand that they’ve popped up on college and university campuses periodically over the last several years. The bakesales, typically put together by conservative student groups, attempt to make a political point about the alleged unfairness of affirmative action by charging different prices for cupcakes and other baked goods based on one’s race and sex. For instance, […]

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  • Bucknell bake sale sparks First Amendment debate

    June 23, 2009

    Bake sales – typically the sweetest and most innocent of displays – again have become a flashpoint for strident political debate and free speech arguments on college campuses, this time at Bucknell University. The “affirmative-action bake sale,” at which the Bucknell University Conservatives Club charged different prices depending on a customer’s race, was shut down by the administration in April. But it didn’t end there. Bucknell president Brian C. Mitchell has received about 100 letters, e-mails, and phone calls protesting the administration’s response. A Philadelphia-based national free-speech group this month blasted the school in a news release that began, “Student […]

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  • Bucknell University requires permit to hand out Bibles

    June 11, 2009

    Giving away Bibles on the campus of Bucknell University is at your own peril, since the school requires a permit for such an activity, according to a new dispute that arose involving the school’s Conservatives Club. The organization has attempted to make several political statements on campus, and has been shut down by officials with the university repeatedly, said a complaint letter assembled by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The revelation of other permit demand for giving away Bibles came as part of an e-mail exchange over the dispute, in which school administrator Judy Mickanis told the leader […]

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  • Colleges Pervert the Word ‘Political’

    July 29, 2004

    In my first column for Townhall.com, I described Ralph Nader’s recent commencement address at Bucknell University, an unabashedly political screed calling for universal health care, taxes on gambling, transforming the tax system, and the like.  That was problematic, I argued, since Nader had signed an agreement that his speech would not be “political in tone or content.” Afterward, I received an email from reader Jason Browning declaring that, “The tone of [my article] seemed obviously to be more concerned with the fact that Nader was voicing issues that are not popular amongst conservatives.  Quibbling about whether or not the speech […]

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  • FIRE blames newspaper’s ad refusal on school’s ‘culture of fear’

    August 7, 2013

    by Anne Elliot Student Press Law Center   A free speech group blames “a culture of fear” at Bucknell University for the student newspaper’s refusal to run an ad criticizing the university. Bucknellian Editor-in-Chief Lenore Flower informed the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in early September that the paper would not be running the organization’s ad because of libel concerns. Adam Kissel, director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program, dismissed the editor-in-chief’s claim that the ad was potentially libelous, saying its claims were clearly the opinion of his organization. “If third parties cannot even criticize the university in […]

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  • FIRE Places Billboard Criticizing Bucknell University’s Free Speech Record

    August 2, 2013

    LEWISBURG, Pa., September 20, 2010—One of the main ways that universities maintain immoral and unconstitutional speech codes is to keep alumni and parents in the dark about rules that restrict student and faculty speech. That is why today the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has purchased a billboard advertisement to publicize Bucknell University’s poor record on free speech. Bucknell, which used two policies to shut down the expression of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) on three separate occasions, is on FIRE’s Red Alert list as one of the worst violators of free speech on campus. Two Bucknell […]

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  • FIRE’s 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2012

    March 27, 2012

    Here’s today’s press release:  PHILADELPHIA, March 27, 2012—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its 2012 list of the 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in The Huffington Post today. Harvard is new to the list this year, joining Yale, Syracuse, and the University of Cincinnati at the top of the list. “These colleges and universities have deeply violated the principles that are supposed to animate higher education,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “Sunlight is one of the best disinfectants, and the public needs to know which schools to watch out for.”  Although schools appear on the list in no particular […]

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  • Something Fishy in Wyoming

    March 19, 2012

    CampusReform.org brings to us a disturbing story from Laramie County Community College in Wyoming, where a student says that administrators took some troubling actions to prevent his Campus Conservatives group from holding an “affirmative action bake sale” protest on campus: Once the university realized that my event would expose their racial preferencing policies, I was called into the dean’s office of campus living and learning. I was told that what I was doing was border line racist and harassment. They said I would be better off not doing the bake sale at all. The dean even called the faculty advisor […]

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  • A ‘Bake Sale’ Protest at Aquinas College (Bucknell, Are You Listening?)

    February 2, 2012

    A perennial topic of consternation on college campuses is the “affirmative action bake sale” protest that groups opposed to affirmative action hold with some regularity on college campuses. If you don’t recall or haven’t heard of these protests, they take the form of bake sales where people of different ethnicities are charged different suggested amounts for baked goods, with whites and Asians paying the most and African-Americans and Native Americans paying the least. The different prices are meant to signify the advantage in college admissions that opponents of affirmative action argue such policies give to certain ethnicities. Probably the most […]

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  • ‘Stossel’ Show Exposes Censorship at Bucknell, Yale, and More

    November 18, 2011

    The most recent episode of Stossel on Fox Business Network, titled “Free Speech … and Its Enemies,” featured interviews with FIRE Board of Directors Chairman Harvey Silverglate and Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley discussing free speech on campus. Harvey described the evolving attacks on free speech whereby people are using terms like “harassment” and “bullying” to censor and punish speech they simply don’t like. Will explained why Yale University appeared on FIRE’s Huffington Post list of the “12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” (there are many reasons) and how seven schools made it to FIRE’s Huffington Post list of the […]

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  • After More Bake Sales Across the Nation, Bucknell Looks Dumber and Dumber

    October 7, 2011

    FIRE has been drawing attention to Bucknell University’s shutdown of an “affirmative action bake sale” on its campus. Bucknell administrators have been claiming incorrectly that such a sale constitutes illegal discrimination and have stated that such controversial issues as affirmative action could not be discussed in the public areas of campus without Bucknell’s permission. That was a couple of years ago, but Bucknell still refuses to acknowledge that such bake sales would be allowed on campus. Meanwhile, bake sales that criticize affirmative action policies, and other bake sales that criticize the gender wage gap, continue all over the country, making […]

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  • FIRE in ‘The Huffington Post’ on America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech

    January 27, 2011

    Today, The Huffington Post published FIRE’s list of America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech. An expansion of FIRE’s Red Alert List of the “worst of the worst” schools for student and faculty rights, this “dirty dozen” slideshow includes the schools that come onto FIRE’s radar screen again and again for their repeated and egregious violations of fundamental rights, as well as schools whose policies are so bad that they simply had to be included. For longtime Torch readers, the presence of most of these schools on our list won’t come as a surprise. But we don’t want to give it all away here. Is […]

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  • An Open Letter to Bucknell University’s New President

    November 11, 2010

    Today, FIRE sent an open letter, reprinted below, to Bucknell University President John Bravman, asking him to vindicate student rights on Bucknell’s campus. FIRE is nonpartisan, and we take no position on the issues that Bucknell University students wanted to freely discuss on campus, including President Obama’s economic stimulus initiatives and affirmative action. We do, however, passionately and aggressively defend students’ rights to engage in free expression on campus—especially regarding contentious national issues, and especially at schools that, like Bucknell, explicitly promise free speech to their students. Now that Bucknell is ceremonially inaugurating its new university president this weekend, we […]

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  • John Stossel Discusses Bucknell’s ‘Affirmative Action Bake Sale’ (and His Own) with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly; Watch FIRE on ‘Stossel’ Tonight

    November 11, 2010

    John Stossel’s “affirmative action bake sale,” which I highlighted here yesterday, is continuing to make waves in advance of FIRE’s appearance on his program this evening. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Stossel’s visit with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, where he previews tonight’s Stossel program with FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and students from FIRE cases at Bucknell University (Kirby Thomas), Tarrant County College (Clayton Smith), and Valdosta State University (Hayden Barnes). The seven-minute segment with Megyn Kelly on Fox’s America Live covers Bucknell University’s repeated violations of its own free speech promises when it shut down the “affirmative […]

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  • Finally, a Positive Free Speech Story from Bucknell

    October 11, 2010

    Bucknell University has been under a lot of heat from FIRE recently for refusing to amend the speech policies it used to shut down three of the Bucknell University Conservative Club’s events last year. Between August 31 and October 8, we wrote President John Bravman a letter urging him to amend Bucknell’s restrictive speech codes, designated Bucknell as a “Red Alert” school for the second consecutive year, wrote four blog posts (here, here, here, and here) and distributed a press release about Bucknell’s free speech abuses, criticized its policies on a local Pennsylania radio station, and erected our first-ever billboard warning […]

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  • The ‘Bucknellian’ Publicizes FIRE’s Electronic Billboard

    October 8, 2010

    As Torch readers know, FIRE’s electronic billboard criticizing Bucknell University’s poor free speech record has been out on Route 15 in Pennsylvania since September 20. The ad was placed in reaction to three separate occasions on which the university shut down the expression of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC), as well as Bucknell’s policy preventing “affirmative action bake sale” protests and “gender wage gap bake sale” protests. Bucknell’s student newspaper, The Bucknellian, caught wind of the public shame and blogged about it, noting our intention for the ad: Representatives of FIRE hope the new billboard advertisement will force the […]

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  • FIRE’S Billboard Ad about Bucknell University on Route 15

    September 23, 2010

    As we mentioned in Monday’s press release, FIRE purchased an electronic billboard ad criticizing Bucknell University’s poor free speech record. Here it is, out in the wild, with a map to help you see it for yourself.

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  • FIRE on WILK Radio This Morning

    September 21, 2010

    This morning, FIRE’s Adam Kissel will be on WILK Newsradio, 103.1 FM in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area, to discuss FIRE’s new Bucknell billboard. If you’re not in the area, you can stream Adam’s interview live here. Adam will be on the air at 10:05 a.m., right after the news. Tune in!

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  • Red Alert at Bucknell University: Permission Needed to Promote a Cause

    September 3, 2010

    On Tuesday, FIRE announced our full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s college rankings issue, alerting prospective students and their parents to consider avoiding the six schools on our Red Alert list. We warn people about Bucknell University, Michigan State University, Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, and Tufts University because they are the “worst of the worst” nationwide when it comes to meeting their free speech obligations. Bucknell is in the ad, which we place every year, for the first time this year—although it was added to the list almost a full year ago. We have given Bucknell plenty of chances to revise the policies it used to shut […]

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  • Bucknell University Would Thwart AAUW ‘Wage Gap’ Bake Sales

    July 1, 2010

    AAUW (formerly known as the American Association of University Women) is a formidable nationwide entity with much to contribute to campus debate: For more than 128 years, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day-educational, social, economic, and political. Our commitment to our mission is reflected in all aspects of our work. AAUW boasts “more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 500 college/university institution partners.” In Pennsylvania alone, AAUW has partnerships with 29 colleges and universities—public and private, religious and secular. But AAUW has no official presence at Bucknell University, and I think it would get […]

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  • Bucknell’s General Counsel Abuses the Truth to an Exceptional Degree–Even for Him

    June 10, 2010

    Every year, FIRE places a full-color, full-page advertisement in the college rankings issue of U.S. News & World Report. The ad (here is 2009’s) names the colleges and universities on FIRE’s Red Alert list, our “worst of the worst” list of schools that have shown such severe and ongoing disregard for free speech that we warn students and faculty members to avoid them. This year, Bucknell University is scheduled to be included in the ad (along with Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University). Bucknell deserves its ignominy because it (1) repeatedly shut down […]

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  • In Which Bucknell’s General Counsel Calls Me a Big Ole Liar

    June 4, 2010

    On January 18, 2010, I received a letter from Bucknell University General Counsel Wayne Bromfield that is undoubtedly the most personally insulting letter I have ever received in my time here at FIRE. We actually didn’t respond at the time because when someone sends you a letter like this, you can be sure that he or she is no longer acting in good faith.  But as we get closer to the time when we will highlight Bucknell as a Red Alert school in our annual full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s college rankings issue—Red Alert schools are the “worst of the worst” […]

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  • Incoming FIRE Intern Urges Reform of Bucknell University’s Speech Codes

    May 11, 2010

    Bucknell University student Kirby Thomas, an incoming FIRE intern this summer, has penned an excellent critique of Bucknell’s speech codes in the April 2010 edition of the student publication The Counterweight. In the article, Thomas warns of the dangers of these speech codes and the wrong messages they send to Bucknell students. In light of the free speech problems that Bucknell has seen in recent years, Thomas’ article is a welcome addition to the campus discourse. Thomas begins her critique (PDF, pp. 18-19) by noting that Bucknell has a red-light rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database: According to FIRE’s website, red-light […]

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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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  • Bucknell Alumnus Prefers Rival Lehigh on Free Speech

    October 20, 2009

    Bucknell University alumnus Charles Mitchell has a strong piece in today’s Morning Call (Allentown, PA) regarding the administration’s wrongheaded censorship of political activity by the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC). Because of Bucknell’s actions, the school is on FIRE’s Red Alert list, which warns students to think twice before applying for admission to Bucknell if they value free speech. Mitchell, who also is a trustee of the Alliance for a Better Bucknell, concludes that despite a healthy rivalry between his alma mater and Lehigh University, Lehigh is the winner when it comes to free speech: [I read in] Lehigh’s student […]

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  • Rights in the News: Victory at Community College of Allegheny County Starts October off on High Note

    October 9, 2009

    As FIRE’s 10th Anniversary Celebration inches closer, FIRE is proud to unveil a newly revamped Campus Freedom Network site. We’re happy, too, to ring in October with a major victory for student rights at the Community College of Allegheny County. Torch readers, of course, were well aware of the travails of CCAC student Christine Brashier, whom CCAC attempted to intimidate into silence when she attempted to start a chapter of the national group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. After months of administrative wrangling under the hot lights of FIRE’s media campaign against CCAC, we were thrilled to announce this Monday that Brashier, with the help of FIRE and […]

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  • Do Bucknell Administrators Believe in Free Speech or Not?

    September 28, 2009

    After mid-level administrators shut down or censored several of the activities of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC), FIRE placed Bucknell on our Red Alert list as one of the “worst of the worst” for protecting liberty on campus. After months of administrative recalcitrance, however, a letter published in the August 27 issue of The Counterweight (a newspaper published by BUCC) offers hope for a quick resolution. Bucknell undergraduate Scott Teagarden, in his letter responding to a previous Counterweight article about the shutdown of BUCC’s satirical “affirmative action bake sale,” writes: The article reads, “If the Administration had its way, of course, […]

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  • Rejected FIRE Ad at Bucknell Reported by Student Press Law Center

    September 23, 2009

    The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) has reported on The Bucknellian‘s rejection of FIRE’s advertisement critical of Bucknell University and some of its administrators. The student newspaper rejected the ad, citing a worry that it “crosses a line that could lead to legality issues for the Bucknellian” because it “might be construed as libel.” The ad named Associate Dean of Students Gerald Commerford as the primary malefactor against student rights at Bucknell.  As FIRE has noted for several months, for instance in a May 21 letter to Bucknell’s president regarding Commerford’s actions, The Bucknellian previously reported on Dean Commerford’s actions to shut down and later […]

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

    September 21, 2009

    Having posed this question regarding Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University—the other five schools on FIRE’s Red Alert List—we today turn to the newest member of the list, Bucknell University. Today’s press release—and its spot on the list—was earned by its continuous and unrepentant censorship of the activities of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC). Bucknell’s troubles started in March when Bucknell administrator Judith Mickanis prevented BUCC from distributing “Obama stimulus dollars,” which bore an image of President Obama on the front and read “Obama’s stimulus plan makes your money as worthless as monopoly […]

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  • Red Alert: Bucknell University Hardens Policy Used to Shut Down Student Protests; Student Newspaper Rejects FIRE Ad

    September 21, 2009

    LEWISBURG, Pa., September 21, 2009—A culture of fear appears to be chilling expression at Bucknell University, where even the student newspaper fears a libel lawsuit from Associate Dean of Students Gerald W. Commerford if it were to print a critical advertisement from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). After Bucknell administrators misapplied and abused Bucknell’s Sales and Solicitation and nondiscrimination policies last semester to shut down the Bucknell University Conservatives Club’s (BUCC’s) protests of affirmative action and President Obama’s economic stimulus, the group turned to FIRE for help. Bucknell has expanded and hardened the language in its policies […]

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  • Bucknell Revises ‘Solicitation’ Policy after Administrators Use It Repeatedly to Shut Down Student Speech

    September 18, 2009

    Bucknell University has quietly revised its “Sales and Solicitation” policy after administrators badly misinterpreted it last semester in order to shut down student speech at least twice. Last semester, members of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) 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. Bucknell administrator Judith L. Mickanis came along, however, and told the students that they were “soliciting” without prior approval. Although the Sales and Solicitation policy explicitly covered only […]

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  • FIRE’s rejected Bucknell ad

    September 18, 2009

           

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  • Bucknell’s Oppression of Free Speech in Today’s Issue of ‘Human Events’

    September 9, 2009

    When will Bucknell University realize that trying to suppress free speech is one of the best ways to help the speakers get their message out? Human Events is the latest publication to shine the light of shame on Bucknell’s frequent actions to shut down the expression of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC). The article, coauthored by FIRE Program Officer Peter Bonilla and BUCC President Travis Eaione, describes how Bucknell administrators flouted the university’s commitment to free speech and bent its policies out of shape in order to shut down BUCC’s satirical “affirmative action bake sale” and BUCC’s distribution of […]

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  • FIRE’s Biggest Ad Campaign Ever Hits ‘U.S. News’

    August 25, 2009

    For the second year in a row, FIRE has run a full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s America’s Best Colleges issue, released today, highlighting the 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, Michigan State University, and Tufts University are listed in the print ad, while Bucknell University, a late addition to the list, will be prominently featured in Facebook ads and in the school’s own newspaper.  But that’s not all—in the coming weeks, FIRE will also run ads in U.S. News‘ bestselling guidebook, every Red Alert school’s newspaper, and the papers of the top 25 largest and most prestigious universities in the nation, […]

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  • Bucknell University Joins Worst Offenders Against Liberty on FIRE’s Red Alert List

    August 25, 2009

    Thanks to its continuous distortions and abuses of its own policies on free expression to suppress political speech, Bucknell University has earned the dubious honor of being placed on FIRE’s Red Alert list. 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. Though repeated letters from FIRE, backed up with documentary evidence, […]

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  • FIRE Releases Video about Bucknell Case

    August 12, 2009

    Check out FIRE’s newest video, which comes straight from one of the students embroiled in the ongoing fight for free speech at Bucknell University. Watch as Bucknell University Conservatives Club President Travis Eaione recounts how the Bucknell administration censored his student group on three separate occasions as the group tried to peacefully protest affirmative action policies and President Obama’s stimulus plan. You’ll be shocked at how Bucknell is blatantly betraying the ideal of free speech using phony and patently false excuses. Help FIRE restore free speech and open debate to Bucknell: Listen to Travis’ story, demand that Bucknell’s president restore […]

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  • ‘A Crackdown on Free Speech at … Bucknell University?’

    June 29, 2009

    Check out FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley’s latest column at Pajamas Media, where he takes on Bucknell University’s suppression of a conservative student group. As Torch readers know, Bucknell has repeatedly defended its indefensible actions against the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC), but FIRE will keep the pressure on Bucknell until it lives up to its promises of freedom of speech to its students. And, as Robert points out, if Bucknell doesn’t see the light, it will likely find itself part of our national campaign against “Red Alert” schools this fall. Bucknell does not want to be on that list. To […]

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  • Rights in the News: Victories at UCSB and Wright State as Pressure on Bucknell Intensifies

    June 26, 2009

    FIRE’s victories for religious liberty and academic freedom at Wright State University and the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) were in the news this week, while Bucknell University’s continuing refusal to acknowledge its wrongful and discriminatory treatment of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club has only intensified the media spotlight it is trying to avoid. As Torch followers read this week, The Wall Street Journal’s law blog and The Philadelphia Inquirer both ran in-depth stories on Bucknell’s suppression of the political activities of the BUCC. Susan Snyder’s article for the Inquirer, since its publication on Tuesday, has been one of the […]

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  • Bucknell University Lies Again

    June 25, 2009

    Maybe someone is feeding false information to Bucknell University General Counsel Wayne A. Bromfield, because his latest response to Bucknell’s free speech meltdown repeats the lies we already have heard from him and Bucknell. The truth is, Bucknell shut down a student group’s protests against President Obama’s stimulus plan and against affirmative action policies, using inapplicable university policies as pretexts. The distribution of “Obama stimulus dollars” by the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) was shut down under an inapplicable solicitation policy, and the administrator who shut it down gleefully said that the students were “busted.” (Here’s the evidence.) Later, the […]

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  • Bucknell President Resigns Effective June 2010

    June 24, 2009

    Maybe it’s related, maybe not. But we know that just one day after the national media picked up Bucknell University’s pattern of mistreatment of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club, Bucknell President Brian Mitchell announced his resignation. Bucknell had shut down the group’s protests against President Obama’s stimulus plan and against affirmative action policies, using inapplicable university policies as pretexts. After FIRE publicized the case, Bucknell responded with false and misleading information about what actually happened, contradicting the audio, video, and other documentary evidence of the case. Yesterday, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Associated Press, and Wall Street Journal Law Blog reported on […]

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  • AP and ‘Wall Street Journal’ Pick Up on Bucknell’s Violation of Conservative Students’ Rights

    June 23, 2009

    The Associated Press has picked up Susan Snyder’s excellent Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on Bucknell University’s pattern of shutting down events run by the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC). As FIRE’s press release points out, Bucknell not only shut down BUCC’s satirical affirmative action bake sale but also refused to let BUCC hold any such sale in the future, falsely citing Bucknell’s nondiscrimination policy when administrators had to come up with some kind of pretext. Earlier, Bucknell had shut down BUCC’s distribution of “Obama stimulus dollars” in protest of President Obama’s stimulus plan, in that instance falsely citing the university’s solicitation […]

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  • ‘Philadelphia Inquirer’ on Bucknell Bake Sale Fiasco

    June 23, 2009

    The top story in the local section of today’s Philadelphia Inquirer print edition explores Bucknell University’s decision to bar a conservative student group from hosting an affirmative action bake sale on campus. FIRE first wrote to Bucknell on May 21 and issued a press release condemning the school’s actions on June 11 after having received no response from the school. As today’s Inquirer story explains, Bucknell’s hostility to core political speech involves more than just the shutting down of the bake sale event: In March, the club complained that the administration shut down another of its activities – passing out […]

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  • Bucknell Alumni on Bucknell

    June 17, 2009

    The word is getting out to Bucknell University alumni that their alma mater has taken a strong stand against free expression on campus—and so far, they don’t seem too pleased. Alumni group The Alliance for a Better Bucknell issued a statement calling on Bucknell President Brian Mitchell, “in the strongest possible terms, to immediately condemn the recent censorship and proclaim publicly that no one will ever be treated this way again at Bucknell for expressing social or political views.” Indoctrinate U filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney, another Bucknell alumnus, has also condemned Bucknell for its vendetta against the Bucknell University Conservatives […]

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  • Bucknell to Student Conservatives, Liberty: Drop Dead

    June 11, 2009

    Wow, that was fast! Today’s press release about Bucknell’s lamentable ongoing crusade to squelch the expression of the students of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) has shaken a formal response loose in record time—probably less than two hours. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the university did even two minutes’ worth of thinking about the evidence and our arguments, despite the fact that it has been sitting on FIRE’s letter since May 21. In fact, I can’t even figure out how Bucknell General Counsel Wayne A. Bromfield could sit down, read our letter, and produce a presumably straight-faced response that […]

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  • Bucknell University Slams Door on Bibles, Student Satires of Obama Stimulus Plan, Affirmative Action

    June 11, 2009

    It still amazes me that university administrators come up with such flimsy excuses—sometimes even making up rules out of nowhere, on the spot—for interfering with students’ freedom of speech on campus. I reported in April that Bucknell University had shut down a satirical “affirmative action bake sale” on a pretext. On further investigation, FIRE found a pattern of violations of the speech rights that Bucknell’s own policy promises to students. Indeed, as today’s press release details, student rights are under serious assault at Bucknell, where not only the bake sale but also criticism of President Obama’s stimulus plan have repeatedly […]

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  • Bucknell University Slams Door on Student Satires of Obama Stimulus Plan, Affirmative Action

    June 11, 2009

    LEWISBURG, Pa., June 11, 2009—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 […]

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  • Video: Bucknell Shuts Down Affirmative Action Bake Sale

    April 27, 2009

    Bucknell University claims to be committed to the “free and open exchange of ideas.” Apparently this is false advertising—far from the truth. In violation of students’ rights, Bucknell University has shut down an affirmative action bake sale. And the students got it on video. We have added it to our list of favorites. On the video, an administrator shows up at the event and demands that it be shut down. Apparently, the bake sale prices were not exactly the same as those the group originally put on its approval forms (the group actually charged less than it said it would), […]

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  • Your ‘Guide’ to Fighting Thought Reform on Campus

    November 11, 2005

    If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.   —West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943) These words recognize that the freedom of conscience is an inviolable right provided to Americans by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Tragically, however, many […]

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  • Hunting Witches and Terrorists

    September 29, 2005

    As we have pointed out before, American University President Benjamin Ladner is currently suspended and under investigation for possible misuse of AU funds. In a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required), Ladner responded to the controversy with a striking statement: In a lengthy interview with The Chronicle, Mr. Ladner said he wants to return to his post. “I felt mugged,” he said of the recent furor over his expenses. “Clearly it was a witch hunt. I now know that.” The reason that comment was so striking to me is that Ladner ought to know a witch […]

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  • File Under ‘See No Evil’

    August 3, 2005

    Terry Caesar penned a column Monday on Inside Higher Ed lamenting the chilling effect speech codes have on professorial humor. Citing one of FIRE’s favorite examples, the former speech code at the University of Connecticut, he wrote: To relate an official response to some example of a joke, or even an unintended joke, on American campuses today is itself to appear to be telling a joke. Yet everybody knows speech codes that ban “inappropriately directed laughter” (say) are no joke. It’s not clear to me if a professor can be held accountable for a student who spontaneously tells a joke […]

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  • The Good and The Bad (Plus Some Ugly)

    October 11, 2004

    Today’s college campus is a study in contrasts. Professors and administrators cling to their grotesque orthodoxies, but students seem to be getting saner by the year. What follows are five of the most outrageous campus incidents of the last academic year, then five of the most heartening acts of courage. The conservative-speaker double standard is almost an academic institution. At Bucknell University, administrators refused a student group’s request to invite Republican congressman and Senate hopeful Pat Toomey to give a speech, arguing that his appearance would violate a school policy against electioneering on campus. Meanwhile, Bucknell paid presidential candidate Ralph […]

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