The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has ranked Yale University as among the worst violators of free speech on U.S. campuses.
In 2009, Yale College Dean Mary Miller censored the Freshman Class Council's traditional t-shirt before the Yale-Harvard game because it sported an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote containing the oh-so-incendiary word – sissies."
Yale also garnered international headlines when a chief administrator pressured the allegedly autonomous Yale University Press to censor a scholarly view of the Danish cartoon controversy. And, oh, the intervention happened to coincide with Yale President Richard Levin's courting of Persian Gulf donors.
Also, when Levin was on the trail of Chinese money, he restricted protests outside the campus venue in which Chinese President Hu Jintao, the university's guest of honor, would hold forth.
Such trampling of free speech is par for the course on campuses throughout the nation. But what magnifies the usual hypocrisy and arrogance in Yale's case is the high-level responsibility of journalists in rubber-stamping the transgressions.
As Rubin states, "Two prominent journalists and one media mogul sit on the Yale Corporation, which, because of its small size, 'plays an unusually active [read: influential] role in University governance.'"
Both Jeffrey Bewkes, chairman and CEO of Time Warner, and Margaret Warner, a senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour, have been silent in the face of Yale's assault on free speech. When Yale administrators sought advice on whether to censor the academic treatment of the cartoons, they turned to Yale Corporation member Fareed Zakaria, a CNN host and Newsweek International editor. He endorsed the censorship, telling the Boston Globe, "You're balancing issues of the First Amendment and academic freedom, but then you have this real question of what would be the consequences on human life."
Yet Yale had not been threatened in any way, nor had vengeance been taken on the many U.S. media outlets that reproduced the cartoons. Gutlessness, in other words, ruled the day.
How low they have sunk, these "captains" of the news industry. Enemies of free speech, they should be removed from high places – including the leadership of Yale.