University of Chicago Repeatedly Censors Student Facebook Posts
CHICAGO, March 24, 2010—For the second time in two years, the University of Chicago has censored a student’s post on a private Facebook page. Undergraduate Joseph “Tex” Dozier posted a joke that he had had a dream about assassinating University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer “for a secret Israeli organization.” Mearsheimer is co-author of the controversial book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. This post prompted an investigator from the university’s police department to question Dozier about his political views, suggest that he would investigate Dozier’s comments on his university radio show, and demand that Dozier remove the post or else have the post reported to Mearsheimer, one of his professors. Dozier came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
“Any reasonable person would recognize that Dozier’s post was unquestionably a joke,” said FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley. “If Dozier worked for a secret Israeli organization, would he have announced it via Facebook? And if the University of Chicago truly believed that Dozier presented a threat to a professor's life, how would merely censoring the student have solved the problem? The U of C is making a joke of itself by policing and censoring student comments on Facebook.”