This is bullshit: Marquette Dental Student Suspended Over Blog Posts
When I was at NYU I once gave some juicy quotes to an NYT reporter who stopped me on the corner of Waverly and Green and asked about recreational use of prescription drugs by students. Earned me my one and only conversation with the Dean of our Tisch School of the Arts, who's a pretty laid back guy and was remarkably cool about it given this came at a time when the media was focusing on a student death from painkiller overdoses at Holy Cross college (I think).
Another girl who was at the more conservative Stern School of Business -- and who copped to personally popping some unprescribed ritalin to pull through finals, a common practice but nontheless a violation of the law and the student body regulations -- was expelled. They're more hard-ass over there.
Now students are being suspended over blogging, and not for talking about illegal activity, just for blowing off a little steam about class.
This is a first amendment issue. There are verifiable chilling effects which amount to prior restraint (which the supreme court has roundly rejected). We need to rigorously move to define and defend our rights to freely post content online without the threat of administrative punishment.
Paging the 21st Century's Mario Savio...
...hmmm, maybe it really will be the frustrated campus activists on the right who push this. While I've nothing but contempt for David Horowitz (who's transparently two-faced about his idea of "academic free speech"), I also have no support for a university administration which seeks to stifle provocative Republican ad campaigns. That GOP3 blog cites an example of "Adopt-a-Sniper" at Marquette. I'm immediately reminded to NYU's College Republicans and their "Think Big: Bomb Iraq" postering campaign in late 2002. While they may lack taste, wit, or real political content, this sort of speech should certainly never be impeded.
These provocations are first and foremost in invitation to debate, and must be met on moral and intellectual grounds. Getting the school to quash them justifies the fantasy of many financially well-supported budding white male conservatives that they are somehow "oppressed." The reality is that their ideas are stupid, but they'll never learn this if the authorities keep stomping on them, they'll just develop that bizarre conservatives-are-victims complex that's so rampant these days.
A 21st-Centiry definition of free speech with a robust view of the right to publish online is a possible point of consensus on the left and the right. Someone aught to really make something of that.