UND Suspends Play By Play Announcer For Being Too Critical

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Here’s a shining example of the state of free speech in higher education today:

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota announced Monday that North Dakota men’s basketball announcer Paul Ralston has been suspended from his play-by-play duties for two games due to comments he made after Saturday’s game against Northern Arizona. …

Ralston interviewed UND coach Brian Jones shortly after North Dakota’s 74-72 overtime loss to Northern Arizona at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. UND held a narrow lead in the final minute of regulation, but Northern Arizona rallied to force overtime and eventually won the game.

Ralston used the words “choke job” in his interview session with Jones.

Ralston will resume his play-by-play duties and travel with the team for Big Sky games Feb. 28 at Portland State and March 2 at Eastern Washington.

Here’s some other high points from the free speech track record in the North Dakota University System:

* NDSU President Dean Bresciani bullied the Commissioner of the Summit League into shutting up about being asked to cause trouble for the Fighting Sioux nickname.

* NDSU got Valley News Live anchor Chris Berg pulled from his sideline reporting gig for being too critical of higher education policy in the state.

* Former NDUS Chancellor Bill Goetz paid a visit to KFYR television and got reporter Brian Howell pulled off the Dickinson State University diploma mill story.

* The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education found last year that both UND, and NDSU, have unconstitutional provisions in their campus speech codes.

I could go on, but you get the drift. The North Dakota University System hates criticism and dissent, and they’re not shy about acting to silence (or try to silence) critics.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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