Emerson College Denies Appeal of ‘Bias’ Charge Against Conservative Student Group Over China Criticism
Emerson College said TPUSA violated the “Bias Related Behavior” policy for distributing stickers critical of the Chinese government.
The Turning Point USA chapter at Emerson College in Boston is being punished for distributing stickers that are critical of the Chinese Communist Party. We mentioned this story in a Quick Take.
TPUSA appealed a bias charge over this and now the school is doubling down.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has gotten involved in the case and is taking it very seriously.
From the FIRE blog:
STICKER SHOCK: Emerson College doubles down on censorship, denies TPUSA chapter’s appeal of ‘bias’ charge for distributing stickers criticizing China’s government
Criticizing a foreign government is a serious offense at Emerson College. That’s the message Emerson’s administration sent on Friday by denying the appeal of a conservative student group that passed out stickers critical of the Chinese government.
“Emerson’s actions from start to finish are extremely worrying,” said Sam Neves, president of Emerson’s Turning Point USA chapter. “They’re trying to bully us into submission, and we will use all the tools at our disposal to make sure they won’t. They can’t cancel us if we don’t let them.”
After Emerson initially suspended the campus chapter of TPUSA for distributing the stickers, Emerson’s conduct board found the group responsible for violating the school’s “Bias Related Behavior” policy and issued them a “formal warning.”
“FIRE is issuing a ‘formal warning’ to Emerson,” said FIRE attorney Adam Steinbaugh, who wrote FIRE’s initial Oct. 5 letter to Emerson. “Emerson violated its own promises by making it clear that speech criticizing foreign governments will not be tolerated if it angers supporters of those states. Authoritarian censorship should be rejected, not embraced, by any institution committed to freedom of expression — as Emerson claims to be.”
As an alum of Emerson College, I find this story particularly troubling. Emerson claims to care about free expression. The school motto is “Expression Necessary to Evolution.” The idea of censorship of any kind was abhorred by students when I was there in the early 1990s.
By the way, this is the sticker that’s causing all the fuss:
Emerson College reportedly suspended the school's chapter of Turning Point USA, pending a code of community standards investigation, after it distributed these stickers. https://t.co/fzZSb1mzqd pic.twitter.com/bYmx9iHOJM
— Eric Fish (@ericfish85) October 7, 2021
Here is the Emerson College statement on free expression:
Statement on Freedom of Expression
As an institution dedicated to Communication and the Arts, the first amendment of the US Constitution is of high importance. The right to freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of political belief and affiliation, freedom from discrimination, freedom of peaceful assembly, and petition of redress or grievances is not only a right but a community responsibility. It is equally important that all community members be granted the right to be free from improper and illegal discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, religion, political views, sexual orientation, age, sex, military or other uniformed service, disability or any other characteristic protected under applicable local, state, or federal law. Please see Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation.
The College encourages students to present ideas, express their individuality and culture, and be open to thoughts or life styles that differ from their own. The College expects all students will present themselves in a respectful manner that does not endanger, threaten, or infringe on the rights of others. The College also expects students will not conduct themselves in a manner that will infringe on another individual’s education or the mission of the College.
It looks as if TPUSA is being targeted on the basis of politics. It’s outrageous.DONATE
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