University President Accused of First Amendment Restrictions

The president at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence has been accused by an academic watchdog group of restricting the free speech rights of the faculty, the latest First Amendment dustup to engulf the Kansas college.

Haskell’s president, Ronald Graham, sent “non-negotiable” directives outlined in a March 11 memorandum after experiencing what he termed “detractors” to his decisions addressing issues at the university.

In it, Graham prohibited all employees from expressing derogatory opinions about the administration and others, contending that such expression was not protected by academic freedom.

Haskell Vice President of Academics Melanie Daniel also sent an email to faculty forbidding them from mentioning their Haskell employment when speaking with the media.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit that aims to protect free speech rights on college campuses, wrote a letter to the Bureau of Indian Education to report what it called the administration’s second front in the battle against expressive rights.