Wow. The combination of FIRE + blogs proved to be too much for the University of Delaware.
Late Thursday, University of Delaware President Patrick Harker released on the school’s website a Message to the University of Delaware Community terminating the university’s ideological reeducation program, which FIRE condemned as an exercise in thought reform. He stated, “I have directed that the program be stopped immediately. No further activities under the current framework will be conducted.” Harker also called for a “full and broad-based review” of the program’s practices and purposes. While concerns remain about the University of Delaware’s commitment to free expression, FIRE commends President Harker for his decision to immediately terminate the Orwellian residence life education program. FIRE will have more on this development tomorrow.
The university president’s note reads in part:
While I believe that recent press accounts misrepresent the purpose of the residential life program at the University of Delaware, there are questions about its practices that must be addressed and there are reasons for concern that the actual purpose is not being fulfilled. It is not feasible to evaluate these issues without a full and broad-based review.
Upon the recommendation of Vice President for Student Life Michael Gilbert and Director of Residence Life Kathleen Kerr, I have directed that the program be stopped immediately. No further activities under the current framework will be conducted.
The program wasn’t “mischaracterized” by anyone other than the university itself, when it wrote that the program wasn’t mandatory. A plain reading of the program’s materials proved that beyond doubt.
Nevertheless, the program is dead, and that’s a very good thing.
Update: I think calls for a little Bruce Lee.
Update: I just received a nice note from FIRE’s Robert Shibley–
Thanks very much! And thanks again for your coverage of this – we were really impressed with both your coverage and with your commenters’ ability to dig up even more documents about the program and answer the counter-arguments. A lot of talent there!
You guys made a difference in this. Victory dance!
Update: By the way, FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff will be on Hannity & Colmes tonight. He was also on Glenn Beck earlier, and that’ll be re-run at 9 if you’d like to catch it.