Lukianoff’s statement was recently posted on FIRE’s Web site. As the Mobile Register reported in January, the dispute started after University Provost Judy Bonner barred the Alabama Scholars Association from sending its newsletter via low-cost campus mail. Postal regulations allow only organizations funded and managed by the university to use the system, Bonner said at the time.
Scholars Association leaders alleged that the policy was retaliation for their advocacy of term limits for administrators and a study that found widespread grade inflation in some departments. Caught in the crossfire was the venerable American Association of University Professors, which also was barred from the campus mail system.
Lukianoff labeled the ban as “part of a pattern of disrespect for free speech.” University spokesman Chris Bryant responded, “This is >a postal regulation issue.”
The Alabama Scholars Association is the state chapter of the National Association of Scholars, a generally conservative organization with priorities that include free speech and academic standards.
Despite the campus mail cutoff, the group is finding other means of getting its message across.
For example, in an article on its Web site titled “The Mandarins of Alabama,” the association displays adjoining photos of the university’s main administration building and the tomb of the late Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong.
Sean Reilly Newhouse News Service 1101 Connecticut Ave. NW Suite 300 Washington, DC 20036 Ph: (202) 383-7815 > Fax: (202) 296-9537