Censorship is Coming! New Jersey College Silences a Professor Over a ‘Game of Thrones’ T-shirt — Greg Lukianoff

 

Bergen Community College in New Jersey has placed professor Francis Schmidt on leave and is requiring him to meet with a psychiatrist before returning to campus—all for posting this picture of his daughter in a T-shirt quoting the popular HBO television show Game of Thrones.

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FIRE’s own Sarah McLaughlin broke the news yesterday:

While other characters in the show should probably be concerned that Daenerys will retake the throne with fire and blood (and dragons), administrators at Bergen Community College certainly don’t need to worry. Unfortunately, they are apparently under the impression that Schmidt’s T-shirt is not an expression of his interest in the show, but of his intentions to shoot up the school. Inexplicably, Miller claimed that he believed the “fire” described in Daenerys’ quote “could be a kind of proxy for ‘AK-47s.’”

Schmidt believes the school is acting not to protect students from potential threats, but to retaliate against him. A week before being placed on leave, Schmidt filed a grievance against the school because he was passed up for a sabbatical.

This is just another case of higher education teaching students to think like censors, something I’ve been pointing out for years, including in my book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. And this type of outrageous case is not unusual on campus. In 2011, FIRE dealt with a similar case of censorship over a poster of the character Mal from the cult hit sci-fi Firefly. Check out the video we made about that incident:

 

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  1. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    FIRE worked with Neil Gaiman?!

    That is so awesome.

    • #1
  2. greg@thefire.org Contributor
    greg@thefire.org
    @GregLukianoff

    Misthiocracy:

    FIRE worked with Neil Gaiman?!

    That is so awesome.

     Oh man, you have no idea how excited I was! I nerd deeply.

    • #2
  3. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Carroll Street F stop?! I live on President across from the park!

    • #3
  4. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    And, furthermore, isn’t Martin (author of Game of Thrones) a man of the left?

    • #4
  5. user_352043 Moderator
    user_352043
    @AmySchley

    Good thing it didn’t say “Winter is Coming” or he would have been censured for being a global warming skeptic.

    • #5
  6. greg@thefire.org Contributor
    greg@thefire.org
    @GregLukianoff

    Albert Arthur:

    Carroll Street F stop?! I live on President across from the park!

     Sadly I moved from my beloved Carroll Gardens in October. You live in a lovely place!

    • #6
  7. Palaeologus Inactive
    Palaeologus
    @Palaeologus

    tabula rasa:

    And, furthermore, isn’t Martin (author of Game of Thrones) a man of the left?

     Yes. Though I believe the PC term is “jackass,” Tab.

    It’s possible I’m mistaken. I have a hard time keeping up with the lingo.

    Greg, FIRE does great work. I also appreciate that you consistently take the time to respond to the membership on your threads.

    Out of curiosity, how do your posts at Huffpo go over? Lots of responses, few responses, anger, attaboys, indifference, does it vary drastically for each post, or is it relatively consistent, etc.?

    • #7
  8. A Beleaguered Conservative Member
    A Beleaguered Conservative
    @

    Sadly, it seems the only reliable constituencies for free speech are the Ricochetti and the noble organization called FIRE.

    • #8
  9. Wintermute Member
    Wintermute
    @Wintermute

    Amy’s comment about “Winter is Coming” and global warming skepticism almost made me shoot coffee out of my nose.  Good one!

    • #9
  10. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    I understand why Bergen Community College is upset.  After all, it threatens to sic FIRE on them.  FIRE has made many a college administrator’s life miserable.  And not only FIRE, but it throws in BLOOD, too.  

    I admit I have never heard of BLOOD before, I’ll bet it is even worse on education bureaucrats than FIRE.  It sounds so chilling.

    • #10
  11. greg@thefire.org Contributor
    greg@thefire.org
    @GregLukianoff

    Seawriter:

    I understand why Bergen Community College is upset. After all, it threatens to sic FIRE on them. FIRE has made many a college administrator’s life miserable. And not only FIRE, but it throws in BLOOD, too.

    I admit I have never heard of BLOOD before, I’ll bet it is even worse on education bureaucrats than FIRE. It sounds so chilling.

     Thank you for the hearty morning laugh!!

    • #11
  12. DestructoZach Member
    DestructoZach
    @Destructozach

    This post should have started with a trigger warning.

    • #12
  13. greg@thefire.org Contributor
    greg@thefire.org
    @GregLukianoff

    Palaeologus:

    tabula rasa:

    Out of curiosity, how do your posts at Huffpo go over? Lots of responses, few responses, anger, attaboys, indifference, does it vary drastically for each post, or is it relatively consistent, etc.?

    It’s interesting.  I have been writing for them for years under a belief you should make a point not to always preach to the choir, but over the years the comments seem to have gotten better and more favorable. Given the racy content on the site, I think it means that people with too high a regard for PC are turned off. I mean, after all, its hard to present yourself as modern Victorian censor when the articles next to you are for “celebrity skin” and sex secrets.  And when we get really ignorant responses I like to respond. I have found the commenters more receptive to engagement than, say, any commenter on an academic website…which can be like arguing with a wall.

    • #13
  14. greg@thefire.org Contributor
    greg@thefire.org
    @GregLukianoff

    Zach M:

    This post should have started with a trigger warning.

     Trigger warning, followed by a spoiler alert, followed by another trigger warning and then a disclaimer. :-)

    • #14
  15. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Seawriter I admit I have never heard of BLOOD before, I’ll bet it is even worse on education bureaucrats than FIRE. It sounds so chilling.  

    Greg Lukianoff: Thank you for the hearty morning laugh!!

    Maybe we should see who can come up with the best meaning behind the acronym BLOOD.  The rule is it has to relate to an organization pushing back against campus political correctness.

    Seawriter 

    • #15
  16. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Never mind the shirt.  I just find the pose a bit creepy.

    • #16

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