November 11, 2002

FRESH FROM A FREE-SPEECH VICTORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA, F.I.R.E. is now targeting the University of Tennessee. Well, as I say below, that’s what happens when you abandon the defense of free speech that is supposed to be at the core of a University’s mission.

Interestingly, further down the page I discovered that Tennessee’s current President, John Shumaker, was involved in a similar incident at the University of Louisville, where he was President before coming to Tennessee. Shumaker hasn’t, to my knowledge, played much of a role in these events at Tennessee, but this is interesting background. I also learned that the whole affair has made Fox News’s Tongue Tied feature on political correctness, which I had missed.

All that I can say is that I’ve gotten a number of emails on this subject from alumni and fellow academics, and not a single one has supported the University’s actions. So far, it’s a public-relations debacle.

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