That’s the Good News.
The Bad News – It’s a list of The 12 Worst Colleges For Free Speech In 2012 from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Widener joins such elite institutions of higher learning as Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, Brandeis and Tufts.
Here’s the FIRE write-up of why Widener is on the list. The story will sound familiar to readers of this blog:
In December 2010, tenured criminal law professor Lawrence J. Connell was banned from Widener’s Delaware campus and charged with numerous violations of the university’s Faculty Member Discrimination and Harassment Code. His crimes? Aside from allegedly using the term “black folks” (a choice of words that even President Obama uses), his real “offense” seemed to be his use of the name of Dean Linda Ammons in hypothetical classroom crime scenarios (a common practice in law schools). When a faculty panel recommended that this nonsense be dropped, Dean Ammons allegedly induced two law students to refile harassment charges against Connell, and added a new charge of “retaliation” for defending himself. Connell was cleared of all charges of harassment and discrimination, but found responsible for retaliation because he had explained his situation to his students!
Instead of restoring sanity here, Widener University President James T. Harris accepted Ammons’ recommendation that Connell be suspended for one year without pay and be forced to undergo a psychiatric or psychological evaluation before returning to Widener. Connell sued, and the case was ultimately settled out of court.
Congratulations Widener, you finally have made it into the top tier.