PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Prez Changes ‘Principles’ to Protect Free Speech

You might remember that in December the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) took issue with the Penn State Principles, specifically this passage:

Actions motivated by hate, prejudice, or intolerance violate this principle. I will not engage in any behaviors that compromise or demean the dignity of individuals or groups, including intimidation, stalking, harassment, discrimination, taunting, ridiculing, insulting, or acts of violence. [Emphasis added by FIRE.]

William Creeley of FIRE explained in a letter to Graham Spanier that while the passage is seemingly benign, the vagueness of the terms allows it to mean almost anything the administration wished. It was also worded as an imperative rather than an aspirational principle.

Spanier responded directly to FIRE’s concerns by changing the wording of the Penn State Principles. The section in question now reads:

The Pennsylvania State University is a community dedicated to personal and academic excellence. The Penn State Principles were developed to embody the values that we hope our students, faculty, staff, administration, and alumni possess. At the same time, the University is strongly committed to freedom of expression. Consequently, these Principles do not constitute University policy and are not intended to interfere in any way with an individual’s academic or personal freedoms. We hope, however, that individuals will voluntarily endorse these common principles, thereby contributing to the traditions and scholarly heritage left by those who preceded them, and will thus leave Penn State a better place for those who follow. [Emphasis added by us.]

Both Spanier and FIRE deserve to be lauded for this dialogue. I just wish Spanier would display the same kind of responsiveness when it came to the USAS situation.

Full story at FIRE.
Letter originally sent to Spanier.
New version of Penn State Principles
Letter FIRE sent to Spanier thanking him for his cooperation

[Thanks go to Vince for his tip about this story.]

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
OR
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Davis

Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters.

Comments

Other posts by Davis

Penn State and the Process of Life

To paraphrase Mark Twain: The reports of higher education’s death have been an exaggeration. American universities produce more research and relevant knowledge for the world at large than any other institutions I know of. Tuition may be too damn high, but over the long-run, undergraduate degrees are definitely worth the cost. But Penn State could be so much more. It used to be, I think.

Bonded in Blue, White, and Worry

43 Simmons

Get Spooky With It: Halloween Attractions Around State College

If you want to get spooky with it this Halloween season, you’ll definitely want to check out these nearby attractions.

It’s The Great Pumpkin Festival, Happy Valley!

Halloween fun returns to Penn State with the Arboretum’s annual Pumpkin Festival.

Send this to a friend