Category Archive 'Woodward Report'

04 Apr 2017

“Doe v. Yale”

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A new lawsuit involving sexual assault witch-hunting combined with free speech issues is targeting Yale, the University where Free Speech is supposedly safely and permanently protected by promises made in the mid-1970s Woodward Report, the Wall Street Journal told us yesterday.

Doe alleges Yale violated his 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection of the law.

This case also involves free expression because it began, Doe alleges, with Yale’s draconian regulation of his speech. According to his lawsuit, in late 2013 a female philosophy teaching assistant filed a complaint with the university’s Title IX office about a short paper Doe had written. In the context of Socrates ’ account in Plato’s “Republic” of the tripartite soul, the paper argued that rape was an irrational act in which the soul’s appetitive and spirited parts overwhelm reason, which by right rules.

According to the lawsuit, Pamela Schirmeister, Title IX coordinator and an associate dean in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, summoned Doe to her office and told him his rape example was “unnecessarily provocative.” She ordered him to have no contact with the teaching assistant and directed him to attend sensitivity training at the university’s mental-health center. She also informed him that he had become a “person of interest” to Yale, which meant that the university had to intervene to ensure he “was not a perpetrator himself,” in the lawsuit’s words. A few months later, the same Title IX office initiated the sexual-assault investigation against him.

Through a spokeswoman, Yale described the lawsuit as “legally baseless and factually inaccurate” but declined on confidentiality grounds to address any specific factual allegations.

If the lawsuit’s account is accurate, Yale has reached a new low in the annals of campus policing of speech.

Full story.

Hat tip to classmate Seattle Sam.

23 Jan 2017

Jose Cabranes Sends a Message to the Yale Administration

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South Court of Berkeley College, where Karen and I used to live.

Judge Jose Cabranes took a public stand against Yale’s drift toward PC Totalitarianism

Writing for the Yale Law & Public Public Review (via CampusReform), US Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes (who was previously Yale’s general counsel) referred to Encounter Books’ recent decision to republish copies of the Woodward Report, a Yale document affirming its commitment to freedom of expression. In 1975, the university adopted the report as official school policy.

Cabranes says that their decision to reprint the report was a response to the institution’s fading commitment to its contents. Last year, Yale students petitioned to abolish its course on “Major English Poets,” which has existed since 1920, because they found it “hostile to students of color.” In the days prior, two professors resigned amid a scandal revolving around the “cultural appropriation” of offensive Halloween costumes.

Yale students also protested Milo Yiannopoulos, whose speaking engagement was canceled over last-minute venue changes, exorbitant security fees and a variety of other restrictions that the Conservative firebrand deemed “absurd.”

The federal judge also highlighted his concern with Yale’s commitment to “civility.”

“’Civility’ sounds innocuous enough, and, indeed, we can all agree that we should strive to be civil to each other,” said Cabranes. “But problems arise when we are told that ‘uncivil’ speech has turned the campus, or parts of the campus, into a ‘hostile environment’—and, more dangerously still, when we are told that university officials have a duty to make campus ‘safe’ again by suppressing alleged incivility.”

“In the fight against incivility, university officials too easily morph into monitors of acceptable speech—and, ultimately, into the unhappy role of ‘Civility Police,’” he said.

“We can toss our hands up and say that the malaise so palpably evident at Yale is simply part of larger cultural phenomena, national and international,” said Cabranes. But, he added, Yale’s job is not to be “swept along by a national tide” but rather to lead by example.

18 May 2011

Yale Suspends DKE

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German fraternity students led the revolution against autocracy in 1848.

The DKE fraternity chant affair has concluded with utterly contemptible behavior by the university, embodying cowardice and extraordinary and astonishingly unbecoming stupidity and violating the university’s own official commitment to freedom of expression.


Yale’s commitment to freedom of expression means that when you agree to matriculate, you join a community where “the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox” must be tolerated. When you encounter people who think differently than you do, you will be expected to honor their free expression, even when what they have to say seems wrong or offensive to you.

No one is entitled to any “atmosphere” free of speech or expression he (or she) does not like. The erection by the political left of a variety of groups claiming, on the basis of historical grievances and ressentiment, special privileges and status is a moral and intellectual abomination.

In this case, a tiny minority of Yale’s most obnoxious and neurotic females, members of a gender comprising a slight majority of humanity, already empowered by Nature with staggering powers of influence and control over members of the opposite gender, particularly during a period of life when the reproductive impulse and any young lady’s powers of personal attraction are at their height, have been persuaded by ideological influences hosted and specially cultivated by Yale to see themselves on the basis of myths, stereotypes, and crude historical misunderstandings as victims, and then encouraged to exploit that status for personal and group power and rewarded for doing exactly that with attention and applause.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is an ancient article of life wisdom imparted by parents to very young children over many generations. Modern liberal society has retreated in maturity to an intellectual state on the other side of childhood, to a state of infantilism, in which name-calling is inflated into a national issue superseding First Amendment rights and the tradition of free speech in Academia, and is viewed as demanding federal intervention and a coercive university response.

The tradition of academic freedom is based upon a general recognition that the period of the education of young people at university is a special period in which a completely open and unprejudiced approach to inquiry is appropriate and in which students traditionally enjoy special immunities from responsibility and conformity.

College students traditionally mock society’s sacred cows and college students are traditionally expected to let off steam and express high spirits through a variety of outrageous pranks. Only fools and outrageously presumptuous tyrants would ever take expressions made by fraternity pledges undergoing a ritual ordeal as statements accurately representative of real positions or as in any way meaningful at all. The fact that two incidents of fraternity ritual farce have been treated as matters of literal heretical expression and as gravely important transgressions by federal and university officials demonstrates only that both Yale and today’s United States are prey to ideological impulses capable of causing them to lapse readily into totalitarian regimes governed by nincompoops.


Yale’s 1975 Woodward Committee Report on Free Speech.

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