Disacknowledgment Dissertations

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of California, Santa Barbara

At the University of California, Santa Barbara, grad student Christopher Brown was denied a Master’s degree for over one year for using language deemed offensive in the preface of his thesis. Brown submitted the thesis, along with his "Disacknowledgments". Told he would not receive a degree unless he removed the language, Brown took out what he considered the offensive writing. When informed by the Dean that he had to eliminate the whole preface in order to receive the degree, despite the fact that his thesis independent of the preface had already been approved, Brown dissented, invoking his First Amendment rights. Threatened with expulsion, Brown turned to FIRE, who informed UCSB that as a public university they could not withhold a degree because of critical comments made about faculty in a separate and personal preface to his thesis. In the end, UCSB relented, and awarded Brown his degree, but only after substituting in an earlier version of the thesis, one without the Disacknowledgments.

  • April 18, 2003

    By Robert De Koven at Arizona Daily Wildcat College journalists received a victory last week when a federal appellate ruled that college newspapers enjoy greater First Amendment protection than do high school newspapers. Many feared that an adverse outcome in the case would have allowed college administrators to pressure campus papers to censor popular columns like UC Berkeley’s “Sex on Tuesday.” The case involved student editors of The Innovator, a student paper at Governors State University, located in Chicago. The dean of students there ordered the printer of the paper not to print it without her approval. The students refused […]

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  • March 17, 2000

    Christopher T. Brown didn’t pull any punches when he attached a special “disacknowledgments” section to his master’s thesis that used the “F” word to criticize everyone at the University of California at Santa Barbara from the graduate dean on down. The stunt just may cost him his degree. Mr. Brown, a master’s student in materials science, tacked the disacknowledgment section onto his thesis last spring, after his paper had already been approved. But officials at Santa Barbara’s library, which keeps student theses on file, noticed the addition and alerted administrators, who told Mr. Brown that his degree would be withheld […]

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Это был тот самый парень, за которым он гнался от автобусной остановки. Беккер мрачно оглядел море красно-бело-синих причесок. - Что у них с волосами? - превозмогая боль, спросил он, показывая рукой на остальных пассажиров.

 - Они все… - Красно-бело-синие? - подсказал парень.

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