Episodes like this, coming out of the wreckage we call higher education, raise at least three troubling questions:
1. If universities are this ignorant of the principle of free speech, why is anyone surprised that our younger generations are so willing to sacrifice it for political ends?
2. How can institutions run by administrators this immune to basic ethical decision-making reasoning be trusted to competently educate their students?
3. How many equally outrageous policies do schools inflict on their students that we don’t hear about?
Northern Michigan University installed threatens students with discipline if they share suicidal thoughts with other students.
FIRE, as usual, is on the case, and has written to the school to explain to them why this is abusive and a flagrant First Amendment violation. One student who had received a warning about her discussing about her suicidal feelings with her friends on campus, and was told not to have such conversations. She asked for clarification from Associate Dean of Students Mary Brundage, writing,
Just to clarify, the email said that if I spoke to students about it that it would create a distraction—which could create disciplinary action against me. . . . I was also wondering if I respond to concerned people, is that enough to get me in trouble? I do not want to worry others by not responding and I do not want to have the possibility of getting expelled by reaching out to my friends during this emotionally trying time and I see the possibility of misunderstanding or getting more concerned.