Rights Group Writes Complaint Letter to Yale

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education chides Yale for pulling controversial T-shirt.


The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says it defends and sustains "individual rights at American colleges and universities." Well, FIRE is taking up a new issue, and it could get sticky.

FIRE wrote a letter to Yale University that rebukes the school for a decision it made earlier this year, the Yale Daily News reports. Controversy swirled around T-shirts that the Freshman Class Council made before Yale's football game against Harvard. The shirts bore a quotation from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel: "I think of all Harvard men as sissies." Yale's LGBT Co-Op said the word "sissies" was a gay slur and asked for its removal from the T-shirt, and Yale and the Freshman Class Council agreed.

But FIRE feels the decision to remove the wording from the shirts was wrong, as the organization's pointed letter to Yale says.

"It is not a happy day when a Yale College dean with degrees from Yale and Princeton, an historian of art, declares that T-shirts quoting Fitzgerald are 'not acceptable,' " FIRE's letter to Yale President Richard Levin says.

The letter also says, "In matters large and small, Yale has taken steps that erode the freedom it once championed, teaching its students that the authorities ultimately decide which expressions are acceptable or unacceptable. This seems the very opposite of a liberal education in a free society."

Yale has not issued a response to the Daily News.

  • Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of America's Best Colleges.