University of Alabama: Disparate Treatment of Conservative Organizations
The University of Alabama (UA) ordered a faculty group that is critical of the university's grading policies to pay a rate eight times higher than that paid by other faculty organizations for use of the university's mail system. In an edition of its newsletter, The Alabama Observer, the Alabama Scholars Association (ASA) presented evidence of what it saw as grade inflation at UA. After the ASA mailed that issue of the newsletter, the administration informed the ASA that it would no longer be allowed to send mail using the discount rate enjoyed by other faculty organizations, thus making it prohibitively expensive for the ASA to distribute its newsletter. FIRE protested UA's actions, which are only the latest in a long, sad string of assaults on free speech and expression at UA. FIRE wrote UA President Robert Witt, calling on him to reverse the university's decision and to honor his duty to ensure that UA "serves as a vibrant 'marketplace of ideas,' not as a sterile echo chamber for 'approved' viewpoints only." Witt has yet to address either organization's serious concerns.
- "University of Alabama Continues Campaign Against Free Speech," June 16, 2004: Last year, the University of Alabama (UA) gained notoriety when it banned students from displaying the American flag (and all other flags) in their dorm windows. Now it has ordered the Alabama Scholars Association, a faculty group critical of the university's grading policies, to pay a rate eight times higher than that paid by other faculty organizations for use of the university’s mail system. FIRE and the National Association of Scholars are protesting UA's actions, which are only the latest in a long, sad string of assaults on free speech and expression on that campus.
- "University administration concerned about UA professors' usage of mailing system,"
by Marlin Caddell, The Crimson White, June 9, 2004
- "UA criticized over campus mail,"
The Birmingham News, May 31, 2004