A reminder for prospective RA’s

Don’t make absurd videos in which you kidnap rubber ducks. Five RA’s at Long Island University tried this and found themselves on the wrong side of the administration’s idea of racial sensitivity:

The five RAs created a satirical short film this past February in which they dressed as Islamist extremists and took a rubber duck “hostage.” Dressed in black and armed with a Swiss Army knife, the RAs read a list of “demands” that included a request for an iPod.

The finished two-minute clip was uploaded to YouTube and that’s when the trouble started, because LIU administrators didn’t think the video was funny. In fact, they deemed it “racially insensitive” and promptly fired the RAs, resulting in the loss of tuition assistance and meal-plan benefits.

Whole thing here. The students promptly sued the university in February, and now LIU has settled out of court, realizing that civility is not sufficient grounds for yanking a college student’s job and therefore his means to an education. And at any rate, LIU was applying a double standard, since according to the linked article, a group of female RA’s had created a similar video and were not terminated. But students shouldn’t have to go through months of litigation to be freed from what is clearly a lack of common sense and understanding of simple free speech issues on the part of the LIU administration.

I’m halfway through The Shadow University, and this case is typical of the sorts of things that book addresses. More to come on that later, I think.

Technorati Tags:


Comments Off on A reminder for prospective RA’s

Filed under Academic freedom, Free speech, Higher ed

Comments are closed.