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U North Dakota Won't Punish for Blackface Photos

October 10, 2016

The University of North Dakota has announced that it will not punish students who were involved in two separate incidents last month in which they posed in blackface and posted images of themselves to social media. (One of the images is at right.)

A statement posted to the university's Facebook page said that, after an investigation, the university determined that no rules were violated. "The conclusion was driven by the constitutional protection of free speech," the statement said.

At the end of the university statement was one from Mark Kennedy, the university's president. "As an educational institution, we value academic freedom and welcome sharing diverse views and opinions," Kennedy wrote. "But even though free speech is protected, that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t condemn expressions that are hurtful to others."

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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