ACLU Writes Letter to Tufts in Defense of ‘The Primary Source’
June 12, 2007
by Tara Sweeney
While the ACLU of Massachusetts does not condone or agree with the views expressed in [the December 2006 and April 2007 issues of TPS], the offensiveness of the speech does not turn it into prohibited harassment within the meaning of the university’s policies. We believe that distinguishing between offensive speech and specifically targeted harassment which rises to the level of interfering with another student’s right to obtain an education is crucial to respecting the dual interests in equality in education and freedom of speech. Tufts’ harassment policy makes that important distinction, yet the [Committee on Student Life] has interpreted the university’s harassment policy much too broadly and we ask you to reverse this error.
Despite readers’ curiosity and the public’s interest in identifying the creator of a work of art, an author is generally free to decide whether or not to disclose his or her true identity. The decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of economic or official retaliation, by concern about social ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of one’s privacy as possible … Accordingly, an author’s decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions concerning omissions or additions to the content of a publication, is an aspect of freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.