Brandeis Lifts ‘No Contact Order’ on Student Journalist

Hours after Free Beacon report, Brandeis caves to pressure

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January 9, 2015

Just hours after the Washington Free Beacon revealed that Brandeis University student journalist Daniel Mael had been slapped with a "no contact order" restricting his movement on campus, university officials lifted the punishment, according to emails obtained by the Free Beacon.

Mael, who was unsuccessfully prosecuted for "harassment" by university officials before being hit with the "no contact order" late last year, was informed Thursday afternoon by a university official that the order would expire on Friday.

The latest punishment against the Brandeis senior followed an article he had written drawing attention to tweets by another student leader who endorsed on Twitter the recent murder of two New York City police officers and declared that "amerikkka needs an intifada."

The order had prevented Mael from being in the same physical location on campus as student Michael Piccione, who launched a campaign to convince the Brandeis administration to punish Mael for writing the article.

After the Free Beacon revealed the existence on the "no contact order"—prompting outrage at Brandeis from those who accuse it of stifling free speech on campus—Brandeis Dean of Students Jamele Adams contacted Mael.

"Thank you for respecting the mutual No Contact Order between you and Michael," Adams wrote, according to a copy of the email obtained by the Free Beacon. "As there have been no reported incidents from either side of attempting to contact one another, I do not see any justification for continuing the No Contact Order into the spring semester."

"By way of this message I am informing you that the No Contact Order is lifted as of this Friday, January 9, 2015," Adams wrote. "If you have any concerns about this, or would have reasons to suggest that the NCO remain in place for your protection, please contact me before Friday and I will consider extending it."

Many including Mael had viewed the order as a form a retribution meant to stifle the student leader’s movement on campus as a result of his past reporting.

Mael told the Free Beacon on Thursday there had been no due process or judicial proceeding surrounding the "no contact" order.

"My movement on campus has been restricted because I wrote an article," he said at the time. "And this punishment has been imposed without any due process."

The order against Mael followed on the heels of a separate, yearlong judicial proceeding undertaken by the school against him for alleged "harassment." These charges, which were recently documented in a Wall Street Journal expose, were eventually dropped after Mael retained legal counsel and fought back.

Requests for comment emailed to a Brandeis spokesman and Adams were not returned by press time.

Brandeis’ senior vice president for students and enrollment addressed the controversy in a Thursday Facebook posting claiming that the order was not meant to stifle Mael’s free speech rights.

"It is undoubtedly a challenge in that this narrative is being guided by discussions of events regarding our students about which the university can only offer limited comments," Flagel wrote in a Facebook forum for Brandeis parents. "Though we don't comment on specific NCOs, I need to reiterate first and foremost that they are not a punitive action and do not impact a student's record in any way."

"NCOs are designed to address direct interactions between two parties when one or both parties is concerned about the impact of that interaction, or there are other safety concerns," Flagel wrote. "They are not designed to restrict speech, and are of particularly low impact when made during break."