Duke University Professor Linsey Lebowitz Hughes has banned students involved in the school’s newspaper from enrolling in her economics classes, according to a report from Inside Higher Ed.
“Anyone who is on the staff of The Chronicle is not permitted to take this class,” Hughes’ syllabus for her “Inside Hedge Funds” course reads. Students at the Chronicle, the student newspaper at Duke University, got ahold of the syllabus according to a report that was published on Monday,
“Audio recordings of this class are not permitted and students will be asked to keep the information shared by some of our guest speakers confidential,” the full quote reads. “Anyone who is on the staff of the Chronicle is not permitted to take this class. Please honor this in order that we can continue to get high quality visitors and information.”
Scott McCartney, chair of the Duke Student Publishing Company board, condemned Hughes’ desire to ban students from the Duke newspaper from her classroom.
“No student should be barred from a class because of extracurricular activities, and no Duke class should be hidden from open access to the university community,” wrote McCartney. “To ban Chronicle staffers from a class is absurd discrimination and shouldn’t be tolerated by Duke.”
“I thought [the policy] was appalling. These kids are first and foremost students,” he added. “The notion that you would not trust those students, but you would trust other students who are on social media constantly, or have parents who are traders — there’s a million financial connections people could have.”
Frank LoMonte, the director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, told Inside Higher Ed that the ban is silly because any student in a Duke classroom can report on class proceedings on social media or a blog.
“It’s really a civically toxic notion that honest conversations can happen only behind closed doors,” LoMonte said. “If speakers are saying things they don’t think can withstand the light of public scrutiny, that’s probably a pretty good signal that they’re saying something indefensible. There are plenty of high-quality speakers who won’t impose such antiquated conditions, and those are the speakers that colleges should be rewarding and showcasing.”