Who You Gonna Call?
May 22, 2012
by Adam Kissel
FIRE, of course!
Professor Maurice Eisenstein, who is suing Purdue University Calumet for violating his free speech rights after he criticized Muslims on Facebook, was interviewed by Frontpage in a piece published today. The interview provides a detailed account of his ordeal.
Here is an excerpt about FIRE's influence in his case:
FP: The University cleared you of these 9 harassment/discrimination complaints. How or why do you think that happened?
Eisenstein: My very short answer is: the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE. If not for FIRE, I think things could have and would have likely gone very differently. FIRE sent a letter in January 2012 and that letter was made public about 1 day before the University had to issue a ruling on these 9 complaints. The University ended up extending its decision time-line in the aftermath of the public relations fallout from the FIRE letter.
I really do think that without the support from a national organization with the credibility that FIRE has, the University would have tried to initiate termination proceedings. The whole attempt to fire me would be over the issue of "offending" someone.
Later, he says:
There are two things I would say [to people in similar situations]: 1) get a lawyer right from the start. And 2) contact FIRE.
Unfortunately, the university has continued to violate Eisenstein's rights. In the latter part of the interview, Eisenstein adds:
In fact, at this very moment, the University is conducting yet another investigation of my free speech. This time the University is investigating whether or not my blog has violated the University's anti-harassment/discrimination policies. The specific blog in question can be viewed here. It is essentially accusing me of retaliation for publishing emails they provided to me through a FOIA request. But, essentially, the University is continuing to violate my First Amendment rights even up to today.
FIRE continues to help Eisenstein—and professors across the political spectrum—defend free speech and academic freedom.