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Chicago State University Lawyers Attack Faculty Bloggers

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the tenurous-grasp-on-reality dept.

The Courts 94

An anonymous reader writes "A blog run by faculty members at Chicago State University (CSU) has been threatened by university lawyers with a cease and desist notice. Since 2009 the blog has posted information critical of CSU's policies and hiring practices. The notice threatened legal action if the site is not disabled by Friday due to violations of 'trade names and marks' without permission and violations of University policies. The blog admin changed the name of the blog in the meanwhile to Crony State University and replaced an image on the page pending legal counsel. Also the blog is currently still active."

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94 comments

Anti-SLAPP Law? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402223)

Doesn't this fall under some anti-slapp law?

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402447)

Sometimes a simple "FUCK YOU." is the correct response.

Also, the First Amendment to The Constitution would trump any trademark law.
Additionally, it's Fair Use, also, assholes.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45403893)

Also, the First Amendment to The Constitution would trump any trademark law.

"Any"?

Try calling your used-car dealership General Motors and see how well that statement holds up.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45403925)

Don't forget the blog can easily be located overseas, well out of the reach of any US lawyers. Move it to a .ua, .ru, or .cn server, and there will be nothing the lawyers can do whatsoever, except try to do demand letters or try to get a judge to have a court order (and if the blog is owned by someone else, where the people posting have only post, not delete access), even that won't work.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 8 months ago | (#45405927)

They can still go after the admin.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 8 months ago | (#45405917)

Slander and liable are not protected by the First Amendment.

Even if they are fact.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (1)

6ULDV8 (226100) | about 8 months ago | (#45406067)

Facts aren't slander or libel.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (3, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#45403103)

Doesn't this fall under some anti-slapp law?

I would think so. "Chicago State University Faculty Blog" is a statement of fact, not a trademark infringement.

Having said that, they may have some logos, etc. they will have to take down.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#45403959)

I wrote "copyright" but of course I meant "trademark". Same basic idea though. If I started an organization called "Straight Students of Chicago University", intended for straight students of Chicago University, I don't think there's a whole lot Chicago University could do about it.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (3, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 8 months ago | (#45405951)

Get boycotted by the "Homosexual Students of Chicago University" possibly.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 8 months ago | (#45406171)

I'm not sure it really counts as a boycott if you were never part of the target audience anyway.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#45406969)

Hah. Try telling that to the Boy Scouts.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (0, Offtopic)

fast turtle (1118037) | about 8 months ago | (#45403655)

Guess nobody bothered to rtfs where it states "Unvervisity Policies". Since the blog is by University Facualty Members, they can and do have the right to tell em to shut it down on the Campus Servers. Sorry folks but the idiots don't own the server - it's their Employers so no, their screwed/blued and tattooed while having to bend over backwards.

The solution would be to host it with a commercial host instead of using the univervisities systems. It also drops it straight into the "Fair Use" rules where they could tell the Lawyers to "foad - Fuck Off and Die" and should the university retaliate, they then have federal "Hostile Work Environment" complaints and such that would finally forced a proper investigation into the admins practices. Of course, with idiots like this supposedly teaching our people how to think, I wouldn't trust them to teach my dog how to obey a leash as all it took was a bit of thought on my part to come of with a viable solution that gives them far more ammunition against the school should they continue.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 8 months ago | (#45403931)

I saw nothing in the article that indicated that the blog was run on servers owned by the University. For that matter, if it was on University servers, there would have been no need to send a cease and desist notice.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (4, Insightful)

daremonai (859175) | about 8 months ago | (#45403937)

I was unaware that Chicago State owned Blogspot (where the blog is hosted).

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (3, Insightful)

daremonai (859175) | about 8 months ago | (#45403981)

In other words, you should probably check your "facts" before you go off on a rant.

I know, I know, that takes all the fun out of it.

Re:Anti-SLAPP Law? (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 8 months ago | (#45404187)

The solution would be to host it with a commercial host instead of using the univervisities systems.

I guess you didn't bother to look at the link to the blog: http://csufacultyvoice.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

blogspot.com is not the universty's server.

Name change (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402241)

I might also recommend: Crony Streisand University

Great for the bloggers! (2)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 8 months ago | (#45402253)

I can't think of a more ringing [photobucket.com] endorsement of what the CSU faculty are doing with this blog.

Re:Great for the bloggers! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402873)

CSU has a VP and General Counsel who doesn't know the difference between "tenet" and "tenant". Says a lot about the administration there.

need another trademark (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 8 months ago | (#45402283)

CSU better trademark "Crony State U" so they can shut down the new blog.

Meanwhile, color me surprised that the administration is showing no interest in resolving the faculty members' complaints.

Re:need another trademark (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402569)

Well, shutting it down is a form of "resolution"...

"The floggings will continue until morale improves!"

Re:need another trademark (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 8 months ago | (#45402697)

Meanwhile, color me surprised that the administration is showing no interest in resolving the faculty members' complaints.

Read the letter, looked at the blog. The university was right to act to protect their trademark.

Where do you get your information that the University is showing no interest in resolving the complaints? The legal notice came from the legal department. It dealt solely with the trademark issue. The only complaint I saw in a quick look was "they are hiring their friends". Sounds like disgruntled losers in a promotion war. Classic "he said she said". Does the University trademark attorney have any part to play in that debate?

Whether the complaints, whatever they are, have any merit or not is a different issue. In any case, that group doesn't need to use university trademarks to make them.

Re:need another trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402805)

Sounds like disgruntled losers in a promotion war. Classic "he said she said". Does the University trademark attorney have any part to play in that debate?

With quotes from source material required to establish the veracity of claimed inaccuracies.

Whether the complaints, whatever they are, have any merit or not is a different issue. In any case, that group doesn't need to use university trademarks to make them.

From someone who obviously knows nothing about trademark law or fair use.

Re:need another trademark (2)

idontgno (624372) | about 8 months ago | (#45404803)

In any case, that group doesn't need to use university trademarks to make them.

Of course they did. It's called "nominative fair use" [wikipedia.org] . They have to identify who they're criticizing; otherwise, it's just empty-headed bellyaching (the kind we could probably expect from you).

Fair Use is applicable to trademarks, too. [wikipedia.org]

Re:need another trademark (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 8 months ago | (#45404905)

Of course they did. It's called "nominative fair use". They have to identify who they're criticizing;

That's not creating a need to use trademarks. They can identify them by simple language. I've put up web pages with complaints about various companies. Not once did I have a need to use any of the companys' trademarks to identify them. I just called them by name. And I can attest to the fact that using simple language to call them by name didn't stop them from finding the pages and complaining. They just had no legal grounds to demand a takedown because none of their IP was infringed.

it's just empty-headed bellyaching (the kind we could probably expect from you).

Thanks for demonstrating a civil way to have a disagreement.

Fair Use is applicable to trademarks, too.

Which still does not create a need to use them. It may, in some really stretched interpretation, mean they can use them. But if they use them to try to identify their website as an official function of the University (which is what is alleged to have been done) fair use does NOT protect them.

So, what in "fair use" creates a need to use a trademark, and not just a desire to use it to make the site look more official?

Re:need another trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45407169)

I've put up web pages with complaints about various companies. Not once did I have a need to use any of the companys' trademarks to identify them. I just called them by name.

Usually the company name's a registered trademark, isn't it?

Attacked? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402285)

Did they shoot them?
Did they charge at them with knives/machetes?
Did they break a chair over their heads?
Did they jump on them and start pummeling them?
Did they walk up and punch them?
Did they push them?

...

The lawyers didn't really attack anyone or anything, did they? Let's start using words of specific meaning as they were meant to be used, shall we?

Up next "bullying".

Re:Attacked? (3, Funny)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | about 8 months ago | (#45402401)

No, they used "sarcasm". The deadliest attack of them all.

Re:Attacked? (2, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 8 months ago | (#45402755)

I looked at the blog and all I saw was a bunch of petty complaints. Things that may technically be true, but are not anywhere near the horrendous scandal that the blog's author tries to claim.

For example, a couple of university press releases and documents from university board of trustees meetings refer to a person as "Dr. Henderson" 6 weeks before she officially received her PhD. Oh the horror!! And her resume fails to list the 4 months that she was demoted from Dean of Instruction to ordinary teaching faculty -- 11 years ago.

Seriously, these people need to get a hobby or something.

Re:Attacked? (5, Insightful)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 8 months ago | (#45403285)

I looked at the blog and all I saw was a bunch of petty complaints. Things that may technically be true, but are not anywhere near the horrendous scandal that the blog's author tries to claim.

I'm also an external observer to all of this, but I think if you had read further, you might see the point of all of these seeming "petty" details.

Basically, it sounds like a blog aimed at a huge increase in non-academic administration personnel. Apparently, in the past 4 years or so, the number of non-academic administrators and staff has risen by almost 50%, from 76 people to 112 people, while the rest of the university (including academics, etc.) has remained relatively stable. Salaries and numbers of upper-level administrators apparently also have risen significantly.

I have no idea about the internal stuff that might be going on here, but a 50% increase in non-academic staff at a university in just a few years, while the rest of the university doesn't grow, does seem like an issue that people might care about.

But, if you haven't heard, there's a significant concern these days with the large amount of administrators and administrative staff being hired [wsj.com] at colleges, which has apparently significantly contributed to the huge increases in college tuition at many schools.

The random stories you refer to apparently are related to the way that some administrators are refusing to hire professors or consider them qualified on the basis of some minor details in their academic credentials:

[The administrator] has also taken it upon himself to uphold the highest standards of the academy by weighing in on degrees and the quality of schools attended by CSU faculty applicants (across disciplines, it seems like he has a Ph.D. in everything). He has apparently decided that no one without a Ph.D. in hand should be hired at Chicago State and has often expressed the notion that CSU faculty should be able to "transfer" to Harvard.

Etc. The blogger seems to be responding in kind, by picking apart some minor details in the credentials of the new administrative staff.

Is some of this "petty"? Probably.

But that doesn't mean there aren't larger issues buried if you read more than the top two blog posts.

Re:Attacked? (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#45403653)

These are called "sinecure" positions, "without care", a name from old school religion where paid appointments were made for multiplying positions outside the responsibility of saving souls. i.e. graft

In this case, it means without care to the principle mission of teaching, i.e these are not actual teachers, TAs, principles, etc. However large the self-importance, people dedicated to feelings, environmental impact, speech code enforcement, and a hundred other things not directly tied to education raises costs.

This is a known problem and is under scrutiny. Note it is, ironically, easy borrowing that lets colleges fund this. Nobody will pay an additional $1000 each year for long...but add $25. to their monthly loan bill...4 years from now? Sure!
Loaners don't care because they know if it collapses, Congress will cover it anyway. Helping the kids and the future, you know.

Re:Attacked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45403675)

I work at cc and we had similar in the past, at first it seemed like a great lot of pettiness, but a petty war is still a war. Remember all involved are rather bright and have their dreams/aspirations and livlyhoods on the line.

Re:Attacked? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45404691)

Non-Academic Administrators include people like me. I'm a librarian. That "Non-Academic" phrase gets thrown around a lot and frequently includes people like guidance counselors who DO have an impact on student success.

Re:Attacked? (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 8 months ago | (#45405131)

Non-Academic Administrators include people like me. I'm a librarian.

Yes, I know what the phrase means, and I didn't mean to imply anything bad about all administrative (or "non-academic") positions -- AT ALL. I'm all for libraries and librarians. Apparently, if this blog is to be believed, the issue at this particular school is that there's also a significant amount of jobs going to friends of existing administrators going on in administrative hiring. I have no idea whether these claims are true, but the implication of the blog is that unnecessary jobs are being "created" and sometimes unqualified people are getting them.

This is NOT an indictment of all administrative staff at all institutions, let alone those who provide important services to students.

On the other hand, the reality of budgets at many schools is that administrative costs are rising at alarming rates (along with costs for new buildings and facilities, etc.), while academic budgets are static or going down, with more and more adjunct faculty hired at levels below minimum wage just to cover basic teaching needs.

These are general trends, and this blog seems to claim that one university has some particularly problematic stuff going on. Again, I have no idea how true it is, but that's the subject of this thread.

That "Non-Academic" phrase gets thrown around a lot and frequently includes people like guidance counselors who DO have an impact on student success.

Yep. That's great. SOME "non-academic" growth is certainly necessary at many universities to provide various kinds of student services, whether that's a career counselor or just an extra person at the registrar's office to facilitate student access to records.

The issue is the rate of growth relative to academic areas, making these administrative costs a significant driver of increasing tuition rates, as discussed in many [bloomberg.com] news [wsj.com] stories [aei.org] in [washingtonmonthly.com] the [washingtonmonthly.com] past [aolnews.com] few [popecenter.org] years [dailykos.com] . In many cases, these "administrative" staff have increased anywhere from 5 to 10 TIMES the rate at which faculty and academic staff have increased.

I'm all for providing student services, but if all of these guidance counselors and librarians, etc. are necessary for student success, what had colleges been doing before these giant increases in administrative hiring in the past decade? How could they possibly have functioned before with so few administrators?

I'm not at all saying that administration is somehow "bad" -- it's just that the growth seems disproportionate to other areas, and I'm certainly not the only person to have commented on that trend in the past few years.

Re:Attacked? (5, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | about 8 months ago | (#45403403)

For example, a couple of university press releases and documents from university board of trustees meetings refer to a person as "Dr. Henderson" 6 weeks before she officially received her PhD. Oh the horror!!

Actually, it was two years before she got her PhD.

If you're a PhD in academia, it is a big deal. Falsifying credentials is academic fraud, like plagiarism.

It's like a military officer wearing a battle ribbon for a battle he was never in. There was a Navy officer who killed himself after Newsweek reported that he did such a thing.

Re:Attacked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45404957)

It is an old aphorism that the battles in academia are so vicious because the stakes are so small.

Re:Attacked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45404899)

And litotes, don't forget litotes. Or dramatic irony.

Re:Attacked? (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 8 months ago | (#45406015)

Isn't that where the Sarlacc lived in Return of the Jedi?

Re:Attacked? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402411)

Did they ruin academic careers?
Did they chill discourse on campus?
Did they impoverish bloggers with legal costs?

Your narrow minded notion of the use of the work 'attack' couldn't be more naive.

Congrats On The Successful Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402951)

I think you dictionary is broken, but congratulations on sucking a few positive moderations.

There's no troll like a smooth troll.

Re:Congrats On The Successful Troll (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 8 months ago | (#45404265)

I think you dictionary is broken

I think you grammar is broken.

Re:Congrats On The Successful Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45404441)

"you dictionary"

Re:Attacked? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 8 months ago | (#45403021)

Lawyers wield the most dangerous weapon of all, the law.

Re:Attacked? (1)

cstacy (534252) | about 8 months ago | (#45405601)

Lawyers wield the most dangerous weapon of all, the law.

"Hunting the most dangerous prey of all..."

I'll give you a twelve minute head start..

Re:Attacked? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 8 months ago | (#45403755)

Let's start using words of specific meaning as they were meant to be used, shall we?

Sometimes words have more than one meaning.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/attack [merriam-webster.com]

Attack:
1: to set upon or work against forcefully
2: to assail with unfriendly or bitter words
3: to begin to affect or to act on injuriously
4: to set to work on
5: to threaten (a piece in chess) with immediate capture

(emphasis mine)

Though I guess maybe they only used friendly and sweet words in the letter.

Double standards? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402323)

Do Chicago State University lawyers also send cease ad desist letters to faculty bloggers that are supportive of its policies and hiring practices? Or do they apply the government standard of never prosecuting leaks that makes the government looks good even if they damage national security?

The Streisand Effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402559)

Is alive and well.

Obligatory 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45402579)

Welcome to the era of thought crimes, and consequences for "potential intentions".

only in academia (3, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about 8 months ago | (#45402685)

Only in academia would faculty feel entitled to freely criticize their employer while expecting their employer to turn a blind eye. In any other field you would be canned on the spot for doing something like this. Possibly government employees in some departments would have similar attitudes?

Now you can argue that academia has it right and the rest of society has it wrong or you could call the faculty self entitled tenured representations of antiquity. Having worked in the private industry as well as some years in a very large University one could argue this either way.

Re:only in academia (4, Interesting)

Ardeaem (625311) | about 8 months ago | (#45403013)

Only in academia would faculty feel entitled to freely criticize their employer while expecting their employer to turn a blind eye. In any other field you would be canned on the spot for doing something like this.

There are principles at play here that don't exist in other employment situations; for instance, academic employees have this thing called "academic freedom" [aaup.org] which, for decades, has meant that "[c]ollege and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline..." and that "a faculty member’s expression of opinion as a citizen cannot constitute grounds for dismissal unless it clearly demonstrates the faculty member’s unfitness for his or her position. Extramural utterances rarely bear upon the faculty member’s fitness for the position."

Re:only in academia (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 8 months ago | (#45403273)

People commit these kinds of things in corporations and other institutions on a routine basis. I assure you that if you publicly call out a company for someone's fabricated resume that your just as likely to lose your job as the person that fabricated their resume. I certainly don't support fabricating resumes (in my profession the background check would never let you get away with it anyways), but the point is about publicizing this kind of thing for the world to see.

HR departments, especially in large organizations, deal with things like fabricated resumes every single day. They also have policies and procedures in place to ensure that the situation is dealt with with the least legal risk possible. I'm not disputing the merits of what the bloggers had to say, or their right to say it. What I'm saying is that these kinds of things are handled offline by the rest of the world for what many people would argue are very good reasons.

Your point on academic freedom does not countermand my point that this kind of self entitlement would only happen in academia.

Re:only in academia (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#45403895)

The thing to ask here is whether Chicago State University has agreed to some sort of contract that requires it to honor "academic freedom". As it turns out, in order to be accredited, the university had to agree to certain standards [aaup.org] of academic freedom. They are accredited with the Higher Learning Commission. From the link:

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Higher Learning Commission

The current version of this commissionâ(TM)s Handbook of Accreditation includes shared governance under the first of its five âoeCriteria for Accreditation,â specifically, under core component 1d, which states that âoethe organizationâ(TM)s governance and administrative structures promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes that enable the organization to fulfill its mission.â The explanatory paragraphs that follow describe shared governance (without defining it) as âoea long-standing attribute of most colleges and universities in the United States,â adding the qualification, âoewhatever the governance and administrative structures, they need to enhance the organizationâ(TM)s capacity to fulfill its mission.â Among the âoeexamples of evidenceâ that might indicate compliance with this core component is this: âoeFaculty and other academic leaders share responsibility for the coherence of the curriculum and the integrity of academic processes.â Under criterion 2a (âoeThe organization realistically prepares for a future shaped by multiple societal and economic trendsâ) explanatory paragraphs describe shared governance as serving âoeas a check and balance to ensure academic integrity.â

While the North Central commissionâ(TM)s handbook does not employ the phrase âoeacademic freedomâ under criterion 4a (âoeThe organization demonstrates, through the actions of its board, administrators, students, faculty, and staff, that it values a life of learningâ), it does include the following âoeexample of evidenceâ relevant to this bedrock concept: âoeThe board has approved and disseminated statements supporting freedom of inquiry for the organizationâ(TM)s students, faculty, and staff, and honors those statements in its practices.â

Re:only in academia (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 8 months ago | (#45404487)

The thing to ask here is whether Chicago State University has agreed to some sort of contract that requires it to honor "academic freedom".

Academic freedom has nothing to do with this. Academic freedom doesn't mean you can use your employer's trademarks on a website you create for your own purposes, even if that purpose is to harangue your employer over what you see as employment issues.

Re:only in academia (1)

quetwo (1203948) | about 8 months ago | (#45404647)

Academic Freedom generally covers scholarly duties and not employment or illegal items (unless those are under their directive for their scholarly works). That is why many schools offer things like tenure to professors that would give them a higher ranking and would in theory protect them from all scrutiny.

Either way, pretty much everybody in academia is employed either via a contract or at will. As we move away from tenured faculty, the move is more to at-will faculty which means they can be fired for pretty much anything.

Re:only in academia (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 8 months ago | (#45404165)

Also remember that this is a government funded institution, so these profs are public workers criticizing a government agency.

Even in the private sector, using trademark law to prevent using an organization's name in criticism is a clear misuse. No one is going to be confusing the original organization from the blog site.

Re:only in academia (1)

komodo685 (2920329) | about 8 months ago | (#45403057)

Only in academia

No. You should read the blog post titled "If You Want to Know What a Falsified Resume Looks Like, Here's an Example"

When the compliants are 'company policy does not tolerate lying on resumes' and workers (Cheri Sidney in the blog) are hired and promoted after demonstrably lying on their resume (for 90k+ jobs not some CSR job) the point is no longer arguable.
Hypocrasy is not a subjective value.

Re:only in academia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45403143)

What makes you think there are only two ways to argue it? I can think of at least three other ways.

Re:only in academia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45403259)

Only in academia would faculty feel entitled to freely criticize their employer while expecting their employer to turn a blind eye. In any other field you would be canned on the spot for doing something like this. Possibly government employees in some departments would have similar attitudes?

That is because faculty have traditionally had a role in institutional governance. When other more formal avenues of addressing issues that the faculty feel are detrimental to the educational mission of the institution are foreclosed, they resort to less formal means.

It's what I would expect faculty to do. It's really part of their jobs.

Re:only in academia (1)

mounthood (993037) | about 8 months ago | (#45403455)

Only in academia would faculty feel entitled to freely criticize their employer while expecting their employer to turn a blind eye.

Straw-man.They being sued for bogus 'trade names and marks' not asking the university to "turn a blind eye."

Re:only in academia (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 8 months ago | (#45403477)

My point was about staff in academia feeling free to criticize their employer when no other field would dare. I didn't say a damn thing about the lawsuit in support of either side.

Re:only in academia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45403569)

Calling a spade a spade is healthy. Only in the brain dead world we live in where straight jacketed business types insist that their employees turn a blind eye no matter how much they fuck up does the parent make any sense:
Only in academia would faculty feel entitled to freely criticize their employer while expecting their employer to turn a blind eye. In any other field you would be canned on the spot for doing something like this. Possibly government employees in some departments would have similar attitudes?

Now you can argue that academia has it right and the rest of society has it wrong or you could call the faculty self entitled tenured representations of antiquity. Having worked in the private industry as well as some years in a very large University one could argue this either way.

Yet I see suit and tie types fucking up all the time, and they keep demanding fealty. If you are a business type, and you are hiring someone to dig ditches, then yes, you might know best. If its software, and you are hiring someone for their skill, then no, you definitely don't know best. Yet I've worked for places where they insist the boss always knows best. After putting up with that kind of crap for about 3 years at one place, I finally had enough and I left. They could not replace me, and had to disband the entire department and outsource, but by God they wouldn't give me credit for knowing anything. You can only go around after people with the puke pail for so long. My boss had a 2 year college diploma and a few management courses. I have several diplomas and a four year degree. You can pretend that business is the hardest thing in university or college, but its not true. Smart business people learn pretty quick what they know and what they don't and listen to people who know more. Dumb business people are like my old boss, who insist they know best at all times, fuck up regularly, and when people like me get fed up and leave, find themselves an underling in a different department. Tactfully calling a spade a spade is always the best policy. Shooting the messenger is categorically dumb. Business people who don't want criticism have two choices: 1) change for the better or 2) fire good people and when they are gone suffer the consequences (like me, I got tired of complaining subtlely, and left, and they spent 18 months trying to replace me before shutting the whole department down: they even tried re-recruiting me).

Re:only in academia (3, Insightful)

newslash.formatblows (2011678) | about 8 months ago | (#45403781)

Somebody mod this up! GP has no idea what the point of higher education is. The faculty aren't just "employees". While administrators job-hop from school to school, the faculty are the long-term caretakers of the institution. They largely determine whether the degree granted means anything or if the place is a clown college. It's sad that the idea of being able to safely point out shortcomings (= tenure) in an enterprise as large as a university is seen as such a crazy perk by those who work at the whim of others.

Re:only in academia (0)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 8 months ago | (#45403871)

Only in academia would faculty feel entitled to freely criticize their employer while expecting their employer to turn a blind eye. In any other field you would be canned on the spot for doing something like this. Possibly government employees in some departments would have similar attitudes?

Now you can argue that academia has it right and the rest of society has it wrong or you could call the faculty self entitled tenured representations of antiquity. Having worked in the private industry as well as some years in a very large University one could argue this either way.

Typical anti-intellectualism idiocracy, and one major reason that this country is heading into the toilet. At one time academics were respected for this wisdom. If they had an issue, they were trusted to be on the side of right. Now it's attack scientists and professors at every opportunity.

Re:only in academia (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about 8 months ago | (#45403967)

I take it you haven't actually read the blog with the inspired critiques? You also probably didn't catch that I worked in academia for years. You would probably be further surprised to learn that I took a significant pay cut from the private sector to do so. You were also oblivious to the fact that I openly left open the possibility that academia just might be right about this.

Instead you made an ass of yourself and started spouting nonsense in an attempt to make yourself sound an intellectual. Next time you might want to read what I wrote instead of putting words in my mouth.

Re:only in academia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45406287)

You were also oblivious to the fact that I openly left open the possibility that academia just might be right about this.

For whatever reason, you decided to write a snide and possibly sarcastic comment. It's your fault that it's almost impossible to figure out what point you tried to make. How can anyone tell which phrases are literal and which are hyperbole or sarcasm? I'm almost convinced you aren't even trying to make point. A bad writer blames the reader [oxfordreference.com] .

Re:only in academia (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 8 months ago | (#45406665)

My point was fairly clear in that only academia could ever be in this position to begin with. I further used the opportunity to make a point about what a unique situation that was within society as a protected class effectively enjoyed by almost no else. I never took sides on the matter, I merely brought up the merits of the issues to spark debate.

Those that were careless with an axe to grind jumped the gun and got caught out. Sounds exactly like something an academic would do, doesn't it?

Only in academia? Regrettably so. (2)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 8 months ago | (#45404163)

In this at least, academia had it right and the rest of society has it wrong.

The traditions of the academy stem from outdated (medieval) notions of freedom. Colleges are supposed to be collegiate, as groups of free scholars able to speak their minds freely. The university administration should serve the colleges and if the administration is corrupt then the scholars owe it to the institution and to their students to object. Otherwise, there is no check on the administration.

Professors should not be mere employees. (Of course, as you'll see, I don't think anyone is or should be a mere employee.) They ought to be members of a guild, granted the right to teach freely because they're recognized and accepted by their peers. Anything less and they become mere proletariat, providing their labor to a large institution which claims the right to fire them at whim.

Now, I say all this recognizing that de facto faculty are mere employees. For this reason, I've even argued that faculty ought to unionize. If we can't have the guild, at least we can have the union to offset the power of our employer.

Lest one should say this thinking makes me "entitled" because I'm an academic, as though that were something special, I would say this again: the rest of society has it wrong. Your employer does not own you. You are a free man or a free woman. If you perform your duties diligently, the duties you've promised to perform by agreement, you ought to be remunerated. Beyond this, they have no claim on you. It is a crime against the freedom and dignity of people that we've allowed employers to command our lives outside that time we've given them in exchange for payment. It is a great loss that we've reduced our notion of freedom to a mere matter of politics, while allowing employment organizational charts to dictate our lives in ways we would never tolerate from government.

Sitting here in an academic library, a janitor just walked by and wiped off the table next to me. So long as he continues to wipe off tables when he is obligated to do so, he ought in spare time to be able to call me, the university president, or the president of the United States a useless layabout.

I would propose that our notion of freedom extend beyond mere politics. I would submit that employers do not own their employees and that work is not the most important aspect of life. And while I am at it, I would close down everything but essential services on Thanksgiving day. The medieval peasant had more holidays than the modern proletariat. I've grown tired of the implication that longer hours away from loved ones, serving some robber baron who will leave one jobless and destitute for speaking ill of him, can be called progress

So, yes, I am an academic. I claim certain anachronistic rights and I wish only the same for you. /anachronisticrant

Re:Only in academia? Regrettably so. (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 8 months ago | (#45404387)

Interesting response with some merit put into your thoughts.

Re:only in academia (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 8 months ago | (#45405603)

Why do you assume that the faculty are the employees?

The administrators are employees. They're hired by the university to make it easier for the faculty to accomplish the university's mission of teaching and research.

Re:only in academia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45406493)

Only in academia would faculty feel entitled to freely criticize their employer while expecting their employer to turn a blind eye. In any other field you would be canned on the spot for doing something like this.

That's the difference between an academic and a teacher. We expect academics to speak their mind despite the consequences. That's the whole point of shielding them from the consequences. Sometimes, when the emperor is naked, it helps for society to keep some highly educated children around.

Terrible blog (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | about 8 months ago | (#45402955)

I poked around the blog a bit. It's more than a little creepy. They have people's resumes and pay scales available for all to see. That's just weird. What did the janitors at Olive-Harvey do to deserve having their names and wages published? That's wholly inappropriate, and not necessary to make the author's point.

Re:Terrible blog (5, Informative)

sribe (304414) | about 8 months ago | (#45403051)

I poked around the blog a bit. It's more than a little creepy. They have people's resumes and pay scales available for all to see. That's just weird. What did the janitors at Olive-Harvey do to deserve having their names and wages published? That's wholly inappropriate, and not necessary to make the author's point.

When you work for the government, your pay is a matter of public record, whether you're a senator or a janitor.

Re:Terrible blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45403425)

Yep. Every year here one of the local newspapers publishes a complete list of all of the city and school administrators and managers annual salary.

Re:Terrible blog (1)

StatureOfLiberty (1333335) | about 8 months ago | (#45403167)

What did the janitors at Olive-Harvey do to deserve having their names and wages published?

If you work for the public, you can't count on this information not being exposed in a freedom of information act request. I don't think it is fair either. But, this kind of information is posted at least once a year by our local newspaper for people working for our county.

So if you don't want this kind of information publicly available, don't work in a public sector job.

Re:Terrible blog (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 8 months ago | (#45403233)

The resumes and pay scales are public documents, which are available to anyone.

They're working for tax-supported a institution, and part of the deal if you accept the job is that your pay scale and resume will be public documents.

In New York City, pay scales of high school teachers and policemen are public. If you know what a cop's rank is, you know how much he's making.

It can't be any other way. The legislature sets the salaries, as part of a public proceeding.

Re:Terrible blog (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45403255)

Go check out the University of Wisconsin "Red Book." They list pay for university employees there. It's a matter of public record.

Re:Terrible blog (1)

Yebyen (59663) | about 8 months ago | (#45403487)

You obviously clicked through a few of the posts on that blog, so how did you miss the part where they're accusing people in the administration of having resumes with totally falsified information? And the Human Resources department of "taking care of it" read: promoting those accused to even higher-up positions.

Apparently the Human Resources dept have as much admitted they are aware of the falsifications and yet, they do nothing. As others have pointed out, nothing is posted other than information that was already public.

Q: what is difference between sharks and lawyers? (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 8 months ago | (#45402991)

A: Ties.

Re:Q: what is difference between sharks and lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45403069)

Sharks don't have necks!

necks? (2)

swschrad (312009) | about 8 months ago | (#45403703)

lawyers don't stick their necks out, either.

Re:necks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45405427)

Lawyers don't have a backbone!

Q: Why do lawyers wear ties? (1)

the phantom (107624) | about 8 months ago | (#45412883)

A: To hold the foreskin back.

Slashdot's new motto (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 8 months ago | (#45403031)

News for nerds, stuff that matters, and the latest outrageous flamebait gossip to stir up ad-watching lynch mobs!

Re:Slashdot's new motto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45403437)

Does timothy work there or something?

Is that timothy's blog?

Not sure why this story is even posted to slashdot.

Re:Slashdot's new motto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45404609)

Maybe due to the whole "University acting fraudulently, then using lawyers to silence commentary about it" angle? Generally speaking, academic institutions committing rampant fraud and then lawyering up to avoid people finding out about it is something nerd-type people are interested in, from both a "freedom of speech" angle, as well as a "guess I'm not going to do a Ph.D. at Chicago State, they don't know what one is" angle.

Re:Slashdot's new motto (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 8 months ago | (#45407329)

So in other words, it's flamebait.

If Slashdot had any journalistic integrity, the story would be delayed until any lawsuit has at least passed its initial stages, where a judge decides whether it has merit or not, and all the details become public. Until then, we have only a partial story presented with a heavy bias... but that's the norm for this place, I guess.

Re:Slashdot's new motto (1)

nbauman (624611) | about 8 months ago | (#45405617)

University professors are nerds too.

Sayre's Law (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 8 months ago | (#45403707)

"The reason academic politics are so bitter is that so little is at stake."

Attributed to various people.

Freedom of Speech? That will co$t you ... (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#45403991)

Rights? You have to upgrade your service plan to get those.

Remember, it's a business, not a place for scholarly pursuits ...

What a joke (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 8 months ago | (#45404105)

You can say whatever you want about anything or anyone you want as long as it's true. The legal department can threaten you all they want and truthfully it's a joke. The University can't fight you on anything that you say as long as you don't lie! As for using images and banners from the University well chances are they are publically or facility usable, I would check with the University non legal department before anything else.

the sound of success (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#45406047)

If they're being threatened by lawyers, I would take that as a sign that they're being very successful. It seems that this day and age, you aren't doing your job properly until you start getting cease and desist orders.

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