Brandeis Case Gains Attention
January 24, 2008
by Emily Guidry
The case of Professor Donald Hindley at Brandeis University is rapidly gaining attention.
Hindley was found guilty of racial harassment and had to teach with a monitor in his classes after he criticized the use of the word "wetbacks" in his Latin American Politics course.
Inside Higher Ed ran an article calling the dispute "a showdown over autonomy, academic freedom and governance procedures"—an apt description considering Brandeis's administration showed a complete disregard for its own due process policies when handling Hindley's case.
First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh also outlined the case on his widely read Volokh Conspiracy blog, where he wrote:
The trouble is that the administration seems to be using a vague and potentially extremely broad definition of what the professor is not supposed to be saying—it's not just the monitoring, but monitoring coupled with (1) the threat of punishment for speech for which a professor ought not be punished, (2) a finding of racial harassment based on the earlier statements, and (3) seemingly serious procedural failings in the process the administration has used. Looks like very bad stuff, given the facts reported on the FIRE site and the documents to which it links.
We've fielded many calls from reporters interested in this case...stay tuned for even more coverage in the days ahead.