Censoring a Thousand Words: Universities Must Cease Punishing Students for Their Online Pictures

In 1980, Apple founder Steve Jobs called the computer “a bicycle for our minds.” Today, the advent of smartphones gives individuals the power to share images instantaneously with the rest of the world, often accompanied by an admonishment to college-bound students to “watch what you post online.” That is merited advice, as colleges and universities … Continue reading “Censoring a Thousand Words: Universities Must Cease Punishing Students for Their Online Pictures”


The Power of Denunciation in Political Science

A recent case of attempted silencing and censorship has roiled the field of political science. Two gender studies professors, Allison Howell of Rutgers University and Melanie Richter-Montpetit of the University of Sussex in the UK, wrote an interdisciplinary paper titled “Is securitization theory racist? Civilizationism, methodological whiteness, and antiblack thought in the Copenhagen School,” published … Continue reading “The Power of Denunciation in Political Science”


Misusing Editorial Power to Censor Unpopular Research

Academic freedom is under assault by people who want to control research and speech. One of their strategies exploits the gatekeeping functions of journal editors to censor unpopular ideas. The leading open-access journal in the field of intelligence research, the Journal of Intelligence, has a policy listed on its website since 2018 that states, “The … Continue reading “Misusing Editorial Power to Censor Unpopular Research”


What Provosts Get Wrong: A Failed Case for Campus Speech Restrictions

On picking up What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech, Truth, and Equality on Campus, one might expect a book urging those who dismiss today’s college students’ complaints about institutional racism, persistent sexism, and other societal ills to take them more seriously. To engage with their arguments and to try to empathize with them, rather than … Continue reading “What Provosts Get Wrong: A Failed Case for Campus Speech Restrictions”


Contra the “McDonaldization” of Higher Education

The term “McDonaldization” was coined by sociology professor George Ritzer in 1993. He meant for it to describe “the industrial process of rationalization that [was] expanding beyond industry into the cultural and educational spheres.” Ritzer’s term caught on and in 2002, Dennis Hayes and Robin Wynyard applied it to higher education in a book they … Continue readingContra the “McDonaldization” of Higher Education”


This University President Can’t Take a Joke

A university president recently addressed his campus community about an incident that had shaken his Wisconsin school. “The last few days have been painful ones for many members of our community, as they have also been for me,” wrote Lawrence University’s Mark Burstein. “The event and its aftermath have left many students wondering whether the … Continue reading “This University President Can’t Take a Joke”



Just What the Dirty-Word Is Going On in Wilmington?

This past semester several political items were removed, as soon they appeared, from the student union at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Among them: anti-war flyers labeling President George Bush a “bully,” depicting Lady Liberty impaling a dove by its rectum on a sword, and having the U.S. flag being produced in the exhaust fumes of B-1 bombers; magazines containing a photograph of men engaging in anal sex; a large sign advertising “The Vagina Monologues” that called for all [offensive slang for vaginas] to “Unite!”; and flyers in support of war against Saddam Hussein.

Actually, only the last one was deemed offensive enough for removal from campus. The rest were allowed to stand.