The recent hazing case, and how we talk about it

Most of the women’s swim team was recently suspended from finishing out the season, after members of both the men’s and women’s teams were found to have violated the College’s hazing policy.

At the expense of joining the conversation on this topic a bit late, MiddBlog hopes to examine the case and the reactions to it thus far. The goal is to build a basis for constructive discussion about the broader concerns the situation raises.

This post is longer than average, so hit “Read more” for the rest:

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Food for thought

Middlebury College Violates Its Own Speech Code.” Seeing that headline yesterday on the blog of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) was a bit shocking.

The article refers to the Aunt Des videos, which we already know can lead to some interesting sociopolitical conclusions. FIRE is not offended by the videos. On the contrary,

the point of this post is in no way to condemn the Middlebury administration for putting out these videos. Middlebury promises to protect free speech, and these videos are unquestionably … protected by the First Amendment. Rather, the intent of this post is to point out that broadly worded harassment policies like Middlebury’s encompass so much protected speech that they cannot possibly be enforced across the board, leaving administrators with complete discretion to decide what to punish.

Overall, Middlebury’s speech and harassment codes earn a Red Light, the worst of FIRE’s three categories, reserved for schools with “at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”  The site goes into minute detail about exactly which parts of the College Handbook leave space open for censorship and why. Continue reading