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Marquette Dental Student Suspended For Blogging

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the constitution-does-not-mention-blogging dept.

The Media 644

whiteSanjuro writes "Reported first by the bloggers, and now the mainstream press, is a story of a student being suspended by his university for the rest of the academic year because of entries in the student's blog which the university did not view favorably. It has already had some chilling effects and looks like it will be setting a standard that students at private universities aren't guaranteed free speech online. The student (who wishes to remain anonymous) is appealing the university's decision in an effort to remain in classes and finish out the current semester, but even the terms of re-admittance (pdf) leave the blogger subject to probation, minus a scholarship, and prohibit future free blogging. Perhaps now is the time to consider joining the EFF if you attend a private university and have a blog."

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Join the EFF? (5, Funny)

tgd (2822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194722)

I thought the EFF was bad [slashdot.org] . I'm so confused now.

Is that happening in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194766)

The Land of free speech ?

Re:Is that happening in America (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194990)

Yes, but luckily the government doesn't get to control what happens at private schools, only the public ones. The student would have suffered at least the same fate at any of the public universities.

Wanted For Crimes Against Humanity: +1, Helpful (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194984)

George W. Bush [whitehouse.org] :

Do NOT approach this individual. He believes that he is the democratically selected President of the United Gulags of America. If you see him, contact your nearest police station.

Thank you.

Patriotically,
Kilgore Trout, M.D.

Re:Wanted For Crimes Against Humanity: +1, Helpful (0, Flamebait)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195037)

Huh, I didn't know that /. let people self-moderate now.

In that case, I award myself +5, Just Because I Feel Like It.

EFF? (4, Funny)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194731)

I thought they outlived their usefulness...

Re:EFF? (0, Offtopic)

Celt (125318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194935)

damn I was hoping his would be the first post.
ironic I think

Refund (0)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194735)

As long as he gets a full tuition refund, I don't see a problem with this.
He has the right to write, and they have the right to disagree and take action.

Re:Refund (0)

StupidHelpDeskGuy (636955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194781)

Unless I misread the first amendment, wouldn't this be considered protected speech? Or was the blog operating on Marquette servers? I applaud this guy, taking a stand for what's right. I love the part about him being offerd probation, if only he would admit to his guilt. Guilty of what? Bad writing? Censorship is so 20th Century.

Re:Refund (4, Insightful)

DarkFencer (260473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194846)

As much as I find what Marquette is doing disgusting, it is NOT illegal. The first amendment doesn't give you the right to say whatever you what wherever or whenever. The government may not do this but there is nothing in the first amendment or anywhere else in the constitution which prevents a private entity (like this college) from doing so.

Re:Refund (4, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194868)

A private university can expell a student for many more reasons than a public one can. It's not a state school. If he doesn't want to be burdened by the private school's restrictions, he shouldn't go there...This is more along the lines as the private Catholic high school that kicked out a student because her legal guardians were lesbians. In this case, I think it's a jackass thing for them to do, but I don't believe it's illegal.

Re:Refund (1, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194788)

As long as he gets a full tuition refund, I don't see a problem with this.

WRONG WRONG WRONG!

God, this makes me sick. The US Constitution guarentees that you will not suffer the consequences of censorship nor retaliation for what you say - that is freedom of speech. To even bow yourself to the point of suggesting that retaliation is acceptable as long as he gets his tuition back is... listen - it's not just tuition. It's a scholarship, it's the time he's already put into the degree. This is straight censorship and intimidation. Understand that not only does this student suffer, but others may be frightened by this action and will hold their tounges.

Please, do not accept this as "OK" tuition returned or not.

Re:Refund (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194873)

correct to a degree, except that if what you say is libelous/slanderous, they have a right to retaliate legally and file suit. But that's only if what you're saying is false- and I think on top of that it has to be damaging, but IANAL.

Re:Refund (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194877)

The US Constitution guarentees that you will not suffer the consequences of censorship nor retaliation for what you say - that is freedom of speech

Unfortunately, that only applies to the federal government (and state governments, by judicial decision). The college can hide a line in it's policy guide (who actually reads the whole thing) stating that all female students have to provide nude photos on demand. And it'd be perfectly legal.

Not agreeing with it, just saying that's what it is. Private institutions can pretty much put anything in their student agreements (or even the squirmy "we may change these terms at any time" clause) and tell you to take a hike if you violate them.

Re:Refund (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194968)

The college can hide a line in it's policy guide (who actually reads the whole thing) stating that all female students have to provide nude photos on demand. And it'd be perfectly legal.

Did'n know sex discrimination is legal.

Re:Refund (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195031)

Well now you do.

Re:Refund (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194878)

IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU BOLD WHAT YOU SAY.

You are the one who is wrong. (in my opinion, of course)
And guess what? I'm allowed to say that, and you are allowed to disagree.
But, you know what else? The slashdot editors are free to ban me for typing "FUCK YOU", also. And I'm okay with that.

Re:Refund (1)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194937)

Banning you from saying "fuck you" is different from banning you for posting an opinion or a position on an issue. While the words "fuck you" may be controlled to a degree, I can't be banned for saying normally offensive stuff, like "i support racial profiling" or "i think marriage should be between a man and woman." regardless if these are my opinions or not, it's my constitutionally protected right to say them.

See the difference?

- "I think marriage is between a fucking man and woman."
- "I think marriage is between a man and a woman."

The word "fuck" can be banned, but my message can't, my opinion can't, and I am protected from retaliation for it.

Interesting question about precedent for a lawyer - whistle blower laws were drafted to prevent retaliation against someone reporting a wrong. Could this, in some way, be argued to set precedent against any retaliation for expressing free speech?

Re:Refund (5, Informative)

jmp_nyc (895404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194882)

The US Constitution guarentees that you will not suffer the consequences of censorship nor retaliation for what you say - that is freedom of speech.

Where do you see that in the Constitution? [house.gov] All I see is the bit in the First Amendment saying that "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or the press..." It says nothing about a private institution reserving the right to determine the terms under which it will do business with an individual.

Now, you don't have to like it, but if a university accepts a student's tuition on the condition that they adhere to a policy of conduct, the university has every right to enforce that policy. It's just like any contract between individuals. I could hire you to work for me, and include in the conditions of your employment that you don't disagree with me in public. I could then fire you with cause if you violate that contract, and the government would back me up on enforcing the contract. No one forced this student to choose Marquette as opposed to any other school.
-JMP

Re:Refund (4, Informative)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194929)

He isn't being criminally or civilly charged, and it's not a state school. A private school has the right to limit itself to students who only follow a particular political, religious, or cultural view if it wants, because it's not funded by the Government, but by private citizens. You can't tell them who's going to benefit from their money. Now, I agree that the school in question is doing something asinine, but it's not illegal.

Re:Refund (-1, Troll)

PlayfullyClever (934896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194942)

Okay, first of all, the US Constitution does nothing of the sort. You might want to check out http://www.usconstitution.net/constnot.html [usconstitution.net] .

The First Amendment gives you freedom of speech, not freedom from consequences. You are free to call your boss an asshole, but he is also free to fire you because of it. The government will not prosecute you for it, but they will also not protect you.

Secondly, the First Amendment applies only to government institutions. If this was a public school, maybe it would apply but a private institution is allowed to kick you out for saying things all they want.

Re:Refund (2, Insightful)

ReverendHoss (677044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194971)

Er, no. The First Amendment promises that you will not be subject to criminal prosecution for your speech. If I call my boss a *bleep*, or start singing showtunes in the middle of Psychology 101, I am not Constitutionally protected against consequences. I just won't be arrested for it.

By your argument: "The US Constitution guarentees that you will not suffer the consequences of censorship nor retaliation for what you say", then Slashdot lowering my karma, or restricting me from posting due to troll/flamebait posts is a violation of my civil rights. This is not the case.

Unfortunately, people claim Free Speech protection so often and from private entities, that when true violations of it occur, such as cartoonists getting visits from the Secret Service for insulting the President (not just the current one), are arrested at peaceful protests, etc. the true violations get lost in the noise.

Re:Refund (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194985)

Sorry, but you're a bit confused. The Constitution (or Bill of Rights technically) says:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
No where does it say that person/private institution A has to do or not do anything to person/private institution B. There are no laws involved here, so there is no violation of the First Amendment. If I don't like you because you make a speech about something, I can decide to not invite you over for tea. If you violate a stipulation in my private school's code of conduct, I can expell you. This is a GOOD THING! This is why a teacher can remove a student who swears in class or won't shut up and disrupts the learning of others. This is why (religious?) schools (who don't take money from the government) can make up any silly rule they want, like dress codes, or no-blogging or whatever. People need to wake the f*** up and realize that having repercussions for saying and doing things is a good thing. It is an important part of the checks and balances. Think before you say/blog something. If it is still worth the consequences, then by all means go ahead. If it isn't, keep your damn mouth shut.
my $0.02

Re:Refund (1)

xdroop (4039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194988)

The US Constitution guarentees that you will not suffer the consequences of censorship nor retaliation for what you say - that is freedom of speech.
You are incorrect, sir. The US Consititution directs that the government shall make no law restricting freedom of speech. It is silent on the ability of private organizations to regulate speech within their boundaries.

Re:Refund (2, Insightful)

fupeg (653970) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194996)

Free speech is with regards to the government, not to private parties. Write an email to everyone in your company saying what a jerk your boss is and you will be fired. The Constitution does not protect such things. However, you will not be arrested for writing such an email. Similarly you will not be arrested or have your property taxes doubled, etc. for blogging about how you disagree with the war in Iraq. That is free speech. That is protected by The Constitution.

This is not a free speech issue, it is a contract issue. He had a contract with the university. They are claiming that he violated that contract by violating their code of conduct, and thus are taking actions that their contract says they can do in such cases. He can only argue that he did not break their contract or that their contract language was too vague and thus non-binding.

Now Marquette may reverse their ruling because of the bad press. They will probably be worried that less people will be willing to enter into contract with them given their actions in this case. That would mean their school would be less desirable to students and thus their business would suffer. Or they may decide that such negative effects are not significant enough.

Re:Refund (1, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194806)

He has the right to write, and they have the right to disagree. However, they do not have the right to take action. The blogger's comments did not violate any law, and far worse things have been posted on the 'Dog Ears' board accessable via a link from the student government web page. By linking to 'Dog Ears', the university tacitly approved such opinions as free speech. Marquette has no case here, and they would be wise to withdraw, before they take a pounding in the PR arena over this.

Re:Refund (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194903)

Is Marquette a private school? Did they break any law?

Re:Refund (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195011)

Probably not, but they can be sued.

There are a lot of potential damages in this case - consider that the student will take longer to graduate because of this. This will result in loss of income, which will be considerably more than 14,000. If the student can convince a judge or jury that Marquette is arbitrary in enforcing its disciplinary codes,or that their codes of conduct are vague and students are not informed sufficiently, he very well could win.

Lawyers can be very creative in figuring out damage claims, and there are definitely legitimate claims which could result from this.

Re:Refund (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195013)

Yes, actually. By persecuting the blogger, while linking to a website containing many other negative comments, they are guilty of discrimination.

Re:Refund (4, Insightful)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195049)

By persecuting the blogger, while linking to a website containing many other negative comments, they are guilty of discrimination.

Discrimination of what? Race? nope. Gender? nope. Sexual Orientation? nope. Religion? nope. How are they discriminating against the student?

Re:Refund (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195025)

Given that they're supposed to be encouraging him to think instead of punishing him for it, I think at the very least they've committed breach of contract! After all, unless the school is from Bizarro world, censorship is much more serious "professional misconduct in violation of the dental school's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct" than posting complaints about professors and other students on a blog!

Re:Refund (1)

PacketScan (797299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195019)

He has the right under the constituition. Which if he fought i doubt he would win.

The School is Private so What they say goes, Period.

Maybe you shouldn't be attending a school that is run like a facist regime.

And Forget Being anonymous Stand up for your Fellow Citizen(s). /rant

EFF == Good again? (-1, Redundant)

AntiTuX (202333) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194739)

Anyone notice that the previous article is about how the EFF has outlived it's usefulness?

Freedom is a two-way street (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194745)



Freedom from tyranny means no party uses force to coerce another party to give up their property or person involuntarily. It also means that no force can be used to abridge any natural rights against a party's will on that party's property.

Force means making someone do something with no way out of the situation. Taxes are force. The draft is force. Government sponsored censorship is force.

What is not force? When two parties negotiate and one party will not accept part of the agreement, the parties may part ways. This is the free market. If you don't like my price, don't buy from me. If you don't like my skin color, don't sell to me. If you don't like the rules on my private property, leave. If my rules are excessive, competition will decide what the market will accept.

I believe a private school with NO direct government funding can set the rules for conduct and speech, even off their property. The student agrees to the rules to utilize the private property even if the student pays for it.

When my store sells a paintball marker ("gun") or a skateboard, I tell my customers I will refuse them future service if they don't use the items safely. I am allowed to pick who I voluntarily trade with and how. The student can negotiate or not agree to a rule, the school can refuse.

Only government has a monopoly on force. They can not, in a free market, truly own or control property -- they only use what all the people loan then. As such, they'd be abusing their monopoly on force by setting rules for speech or expression, as they control no property. The government borrowed property is not theirs to rule, it is the people's and all people are free to speak or express themselves (or bear arms on their property which includes publicly managed properties).

If the school accepts government funding directly, they can not regulate expression. If they are truly privately funded, they can (in a free market) say what conduct they expect in a person's life. There are other competitive schools that may not have such restrictive policies that the student can attend.

Re:Freedom is a two-way street (4, Informative)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194850)

and does marquette take no government funding?
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Marquette+uni versity+site%3Agov [google.com]

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&q= Marquette+university+site%3Amil [google.com]

here's a goody (if old) quick result
http://www.dodig.mil/Inspections/APO/SingleAudit/C OGOVER.htm [dodig.mil]
in part "Subpart D, Section __.400 of OMB Circular A-133 requires recipients expending more than $25 million a year in Federal awards to have a cognizant agency for audit. "

and marquette is on that list.

Re:Freedom is a two-way street (2, Interesting)

headkase (533448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194883)

Yeah but,
[Al Pacino: Scent of a Woman]
If I was half the man I was 5 years ago I'd take a flamethrower to this place!
[/Al Pacino]
Seriously some things are more important than contracts and I believe free speech is one of them.

Re:Freedom is a two-way street (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195006)

Seriously some things are more important than contracts and I believe free speech is one of them.

Ah, so if you owned a company and an employee called all your customers "complete morons" to their faces then you shouldn't have the right to fire the person (after all, he's just stating his opinion right?).

Re:Freedom is a two-way street (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194926)

I believe you will be found correct--the key is the government funding. The US Supreme Court just upheld that college campuses can choose not to allow military recruiters on their sites if they receive no direct government funding as a result of anti-discrimination policies at said schools that conflict with the the US government policy of "don't ask don't tell". While these are two different things, I can see the same policy being applied.

freedom costs a buck-o-five (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194943)

what would youuu do

...and there's the rub. (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194959)

The vast majority of private universities could not charge the prices they do without government funding, be it Pell grants, Stafford loans, whatever--to say nothing of their dubious tax-exempt status as "non-profits." For that matter, neither could the public universities. Also, the vast majority of college students not only could not afford university study without financing, the vast majority of finance companies either could not or would not afford to finance such young debtors for so much completely unsecured credit without government security. This is a case where the "free" market simply can't provide but for an infinitessimal percentage where there are enough very well-heeled 18yo customers who can write $37,000 checks. The other 99.9% of the private universities that want all the benefits of being private and all the benefits of receiving public money and not paying any public tax on it, well, as Kathy Griffin might say, they simply need to suck it.

Re:Freedom is a two-way street (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194992)

...I tell my customers...

I'm surprised you have the time: http://slashdot.org/~dada21 [slashdot.org]

Dear Buddha! Do you do anything other than post on /. all day?

Re:Freedom is a two-way street (2, Insightful)

MrNonchalant (767683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195005)

You've got a good point, except for this part here:

If you don't like my skin color, don't sell to me.

If it isn't already illegal (and I'm pretty sure it is) then it should be. It certainly is immoral. Anything determined by genetics should not be basis for refusal to serve.

Note: I'm assuming you meant this only hypothetically and I hold no grudge against you until proven otherwise.

And a deal's a deal (2, Informative)

Engineer-Poet (795260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195023)

Marquette didn't demand that its students refrain from saying unkind things about their professors, either in blogs or elsewhere. It has taken no action against much more severe criticism elsewhere, singling out the subject. That violates the understanding we all have as members of a free society.

More to the point, Marquette U. gave the subject a scholarship and other encouragements to attend. The subject may also have taken out loans and incurred other expenses to attend. Unless MU is also willing to fully reimburse the subject for his expenses and pay for his lost time, the university has no business trying to back out of the deal at this point.

The do regulate speech. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195044)

In fact schools can regulate speech as long as its "politically correct". The best example is the current refusal by some schools to permit military recruiters on their campuses because of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Yet what of the rights of their students who want these recruiters to have access? Or what of the students who want fair representation by all, including those they disagree with.

How do they pull this seemingly impossible double standard? Easy, brand anything that opposes as "Hate Speech". That excuses any double standard.

"First they came for the Jews..." (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194747)

> Perhaps now is the time to consider joining the EFF if you attend a private university and have a blog.

Are you kidding me? Now is the time to consider joining the EFF period!

This affects us all, and it's high time we started to behave accordingly.

Re:"First they came for the Jews..." (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194972)

Note to mods: the parent post is insightful, not funny.

Yay! (2, Insightful)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194748)

A university not caring about their students and it's not mine!!!!

Different than the T.O.'s "speech"? (1)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194758)



Aren't the effects of this student's blogging the same as Terrell Owens of the Philadelphia Eagles statements?

I've always been told it's not what you say but how you say it. We are sure T.O. could have used more-proper channels to vent is emotions. Perhaps this student could have as well?

We do have the right to free speech. And listeners have the right to react to it.

Re:Different than the T.O.'s "speech"? (1)

jmp_nyc (895404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194915)

Two parties to a contract have a right to set the terms under which their business is conducted. Those restrictions can be enforced legally, even if they might constitute a restriction of speech in other circumstances. The Eagles can write into their player contracts that their players must adhere to a code of conduct, and can restrict speech in that code. A university can tell its students that if they don't want to adhere to a code of conduct, they can find another university. No one forces an individual to go to a specific university. Once you select one, you agree to play according to their rules.
-JMP

Re:Different than the T.O.'s "speech"? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194933)

No! It's one thing to complain as a blogger. It's another to complain as a blogger while getting paid $$$millions like T.O. You, the student, are a customer to the university. You are the one paying in most cases. And if you are getting full scholarship, the school want something from you.

When the school makes money off you and tell you to shutup, it's plain wrong. Tell them to go to hell, doesn't matter if you're 20 years old and they are a 200 year institution. If a company is paying you and tell you to shutup, perhaps that is more acceptable. Since you are complaining on their expense.

Re:Different than the T.O.'s "speech"? (1)

Reverberant (303566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195010)

Aren't the effects of this student's blogging the same as Terrell Owens of the Philadelphia Eagles statements?

I don't see the parallels here:

  • TO is getting paid to work, the student is paying to learn.
  • TO publicly criticized specific teammates in the local and national media; the student criticized unnamed students and professors in an unknown blog.
  • TO's conduct violated the NFL players' collective bargaining agreement; the student's conduct didn't violate the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (as argued by Professor Daniel D'Angelo in the linked article)
  • TO is still getting paid as per his contract (admittedly without a chance to earn performance bonues); will the student still be forced to pay the $14,000 for the semester he's not getting credit for?

Juxoposition much? (-1, Redundant)

Ostien (893052) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194759)

"The EFF has outlived its usefulness."

...

"Join the EFF to protect your rights."

Re:Juxoposition much? (1)

Ostien (893052) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194834)

redundent? I posted before I even saw any of the other posts. I assure you it was not intended.

Marquette? Dental school? WTF? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194764)

Faith-based schools shouldn't have Med schools, that's Science!
I mean, you wouldn't go to a GP that graduated from Jehova's Witness U, would you?

Re:Marquette? Dental school? WTF? (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194860)

So Science shouldn't be taught in a private school? And why not? What if the school worshipped an un-named god who they think created the Big Bang and left Earth to it's own? What if they believed god is really a being from another planet? Or, horror of horrors, they actually are a Christian AND a scientist? In fact, there happens to be tens of thousands of them. When you're stupid, you should consider saying (writing) less.

to eff or not to eff? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194771)

Perhaps now is the time to consider joining the EFF if you attend a private university and have a blog."

Slashdot already confirmed that eff is dead!

News Flash (4, Insightful)

bkeeler (29897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194773)

Just because you have the constitutional right to free speech doesn't mean you can say what you like with no repurcussions. If you tell your boss to go fuck himself, the 1st amendment doesn't protect you from being fired. School is no different.

Re:News Flash (2)

castoridae (453809) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194811)

And blogs are no different from print media - putting them online IS publishing them for the public to view. Don't think anyone will ever find it? Security by obscurity...

Hear! Hear! (5, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194825)

Welcome to the real world, college boy. You don't like something, you're free to bitch about it all you want. However, if others are less than pleased with your comments, they may express their displeasure in ways that adversely affect you.

As the Parent poster points out, I'm free to create a blog and call my boss a stupid fuckhead. on the other hand, he's also free to fire my ass as soon as he finds out.

Oh, and guess what? All that stuff you've been publishing on the internet under your real name? Every future, potential employer is going to see it as they all google recruits now. How many companies do you think actually want a known rabble-rouser in the midst?

Re:Hear! Hear! (0)

Sir Homer (549339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195001)

Do you work for a University? Or a company that gets federal funding? One of the requirements to recieve federal funding is to "uphold the United States Constitution", and yes that means free speech as well.

Re:Hear! Hear! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195047)

This is your boss. So I'm a stupid fuckhead am I? You aren't the only one who can read Slashdot on company time. Oh right about coming in tomorrow, don't bother unless you bring me Coffee, 2 cream one sugar. Don't use the powder either, that stuff is gross.

Signed your PHB - yes we the bosses do read Dilbert, no you arent that clever. I might be a "stupid fuckhead" but I am all knowing.

Re:News Flash (2, Insightful)

StupidHelpDeskGuy (636955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194861)

I take it back, this isn't about free speech. It's about a vague and ambiguous policy.

"E. Interpersonal Interactions - Each member of the MUSoD community is obligated to conduct interactions with each other, with patients and with others in a manner that promotes understanding and trust. Actions, which in any way discriminate against or favor any group or are harassing in nature, are condemned. Respect for the diverse members of the MUSoD student body, administrators, faculty, staff and patient base is expected."

In the new America, you have the right to not be offended by anything.

Re:News Flash (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194924)

WTF... it's physically impossible to respect such terms! They basically say I MUST love everyone on sight. What if I, uh, don't like someone and, you know, insult them?
Wait, someone's at the door, must be the thought police coming for me...

Re:News Flash (1)

Arandir (19206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195053)

In the new America, you have the right to not be offended by anything.

The Berkeleyites are winning the war against free speech. Sad.

Re:News Flash (1)

TallMatthew (919136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194941)

Beh. Telling your boss to fuck off is completely different. You're paid to be at work, you pay to be at school.

Complaining about teachers choosing favorites, treating their students like infants or not bothering to read papers they grade sounds legitimate to me. At university, we had a course and professor evaluations manual where comments like those were recorded to aid students in their choice of classes. That manual was funded by the university who also used it as a means to grade professor performance. People spending money on tuition have a right to know whether it's been put to good use, no?

I suppose a private institution that charges a bucket of money for tuition would rather students didn't know that some of its teachers weren't any good. But that would fall under consumer protection more than free speech, I would think.

Re:News Flash (1)

Arandir (19206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195032)

Beh. Telling your boss to fuck off is completely different. You're paid to be at work, you pay to be at school.

It's no different at all. Your employment is a voluntary relationship. Your college enrollment is a voluntary relationship. Shacking up with your girlfriend is a voluntary relationship. You tell the other party in a voluntary relationship to "fuck off", you will lose that relationship.

It's one of life's truths that can only be taught be experience. Learning it is part of growing up. Just as a toddler learns that he is not the center of the universe, so too must a recent college graduate learn that the world is full of two way streets.

Lesson Learned, dont blog (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194780)

Case closed. Write your own little journals and keep them to yourself! Attention whores!

MARQUETTE SUCKS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194791)

STATE SCHOOLS RULE.

Feh... what's the point? (0, Redundant)

botlrokit (244504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194793)

According to reliable sources [slashdot.org] , the EFF has outlived its usefulness.

Re:Feh... what's the point? (1)

gaveawaymyname (934554) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194876)

Polly want a cracker?

why is it so many 'private' universities (2, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194795)

I know I've read in the past that "private" universitys often have to participate in govermental requirements because they accept so much money from government development programs.. or they lose a lot of funding. So much so that almost every univ (except maybe oral roberts U) must knucle under.. why wouldn't this apply for individuals at a private/public establishment as well?

Liberal groupthink victim classes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194818)

All this anti-bullying, anti-racism, anti-homophobia and making sure absolutely everyone everywhere feels special and empowered has lead to this nonsense where those with the thinnest skins gets to determine acceptable behavior. And if you think things will get better, think again. The right wing has now taken the baton of victim hood and is running with it. If you think bleeding-heart liberalism is suffocating speech, wait till the bleeding-heart conservatives really get going.

What's the Problem Here? (1)

TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194823)

(Obligatory IANAL)

Private universities (as with any other private organizations, such as corporations) can dissociate themselves from people, whether they be students, employees, etc., for any reason that they may choose, as long as they're not breaking a contract.

In other words, if they expelled the student without a full refund of his tuition, then that would be considered fraud, and they would be liable for damages in court. However, if they compensate the student for services not rendered, then, sure, it's perfectly legal.

Now, of course, this doesn't stop the university in question from being a bunch of blowhards...

I'm not sure what's wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194836)

The university is a private organization. What do you expect? If he wants to go there he has to follow their rules. He knew what he was getting into.

Re:I'm not sure what's wrong? (1)

Sir Homer (549339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194954)

Just because it is a private organization does not make it above the law. Besides, in order to get federal funding you have to "uphold the Constitution of the United States" as a requirement, even if you are just accepting FAFSA grants. Sorry.

Re:I'm not sure what's wrong? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194995)

Is it me or is the US getting to become more communistic...and China is 'becoming' more free?

Re:I'm not sure what's wrong? (1)

Sir Homer (549339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195035)

If anything the US is becoming more communistic cause conglomerates are taking over world markets and destroying individual entrepreneurship. Since these companies usually have more control over our lives then the government, it makes sense that we need to control them.

Listen up morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194839)

Half the current posts here are along the lines of "OMFG, the previous article said they were bad! Now they are good?" Retarded humor karma whoring aside, I have to wonder just how fucking stupid you people are? How about this: Listen to opinions on the same subject that differ, examine them carefully, and make up your own fucking mind! News stories aren't necessarily, or even most of the time, to be taken at face value! Not at /., not anywhere! EVER! GOT IT?! /faints

A side note. (4, Insightful)

Mr.Spaz (468833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194852)

Anyone who has read the "terms of re-admittance" letter can clearly see that they are not terms of readmittance but a very clear "get out now, thank you."

Based on the other blogger reports (I did not read the mainstream press report), this is quite clearly overreaction on the part of a flustered administrator. Unfortunately, I think the poor student is out of luck. As has been stated; if you attend a private university then you submit completely to their rules as they set them. If they chafe too badly, it may be best to leave (as they have not so subtly asked him to do).

Right... (0)

bastardadmin (660086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194867)

... Heh, sorry, poor Canadian here... I thought the First Amendment of your nation's Constitution was the right to Freedom of Speech? Must have been somewhere else I guess...

Hmmm... TFA points out that the blogger in question did not name anyone. I would assume that means its not being taken as libel or slander.

So the administration didn't like it and came down on this individual like a tonne of bricks.

That's crap. I hope the appeal is successful.

Re:Right... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195048)

Heh, sorry, poor Canadian here... I thought the First Amendment of your nation's Constitution was the right to Freedom of Speech? Must have been somewhere else I guess...

I feel sorry for you if you can't, in Canada, form a private organization or institution, and then say (and enforce) what are the terms under which someone can join or use that entity. A private school is a product, and one of the things they're selling is the understanding that their students are expected to conduct themselves in a certain way, or they're no longer students. You don't have to like that particular aspect of the organization, but you're welcome to go patronize another, instead.

You're focusing on Freedom of Speech, and forgetting about Freedom of Assembly. The student can say anything he wants - his speech is not limited in any way. But if he happens to want a relationship with that particular private institution, he's got to agree to its terms... or go elsewhere - he's got thousands of schools to choose from. But if you don't let the school organize itself around guiding principles to which their students can be expected to adhere, then you're violating the school's own liberty to do its intellectual business in the manner it sees fit.

This is just as important for other school policies. Let's say a different private school makes absolute tolerance for anything anyone says a requirement for students. Great, that's the atmosphere of that school, and that's part of their product. But if another school wants prospective students to agree that they won't hold skinhead marches on campus, etc., that's between the school and the student and the payment of tuition as part of an agreement.

So the administration didn't like it and came down on this individual like a tonne of bricks.

Yup, just like they say they will - an action that new students of that private organization state that they understand.

That's crap. I hope the appeal is successful.

The only thing that should be successful should be a longer-term changing of the school's policy if most of its staff and customers (the students) think that's the way it should be. But if the people running the school don't think so, then they'll either find new customers that agree with them, or they'll go out of business. That's a far better approach than screwing with constitutionally protected things like freedom of assembly.

"Why would I want to join a club that would have me as a member?"
-Grouch Marx (paraphrased)

This Action has Some Teeth (2, Funny)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194880)

They should not drill the student for opening his mouth. It's a gas to see them filling the student with threats.

Constitution... (1)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194885)

Now, I'm not an American, so I may be wrong about this. Which is why I'm going to ask you Yankee slashdotters ;)

I've seen a few posts already complaining that this is against the Constitution. But I was always of the impression that the Constitution was something that only applied to the government - you know, "Congress shall pass no law..." or whatever the exact wording is. So, how does the reality of free speech being prevented in private establishments like this university fall under the Constitutional umbrella? Or does it apply at all?

Re:Constitution... (1)

Sir Homer (549339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194912)

No, the constitution doesn't apply to private industry, but universities specifically, public or private, have to protect freedom of speech in order to get federal funding.

Re:Constitution... (2, Informative)

scheming daemons (101928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194975)

In fact you are correct and, I guess not so amazingly, understand American law far better than most Americans.

The first amendment guarantees that the government cannot take action to limit your freedom of speech, right of free assembly, and right to practice the religion of your choosing.

Private organizations are under no such restriction. It is why my employer can prevent me from posting unflattering comments on the bulletin boards at work.

It's why Augusta National can bar women from joining their golf club.

It's why the Catholic church can excommunicate any member for any reason it so chooses.

The first amendment, indeed all of the Bill of Rights, only guarantees one's protection from the government limiting one's rights.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), private Universities have no such restrictions.

Private Universities have Private Courts (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194904)

I am not beyond bothered by this type of thing because it's that type of experience that one will find in the real world in any private institution, with your employer. The school is expensive and he is effectively paying a $14,000 fine (tuition) to repeat his semester which is completely ridiculous but perhaps he learned his lesson and that even free speech has its cost and consequences in that people will want to get back at you for this type of thing and perhaps saves him and a lot of other people (classmates) pain down the road if they learn the lesson about human nature. But it also makes the university professor and others look completely insecure with themselves.

The charges of "harassment, hazing or stalking" are dubious though and really bring up if they are punishing free speech. They should have just blown it off and perhaps the insulted Professor should have read his comments aloud in the class just to embarass the hell out of the offending student and make him sweat:D That would have been more appropriate.

What bothers me much more is when Private Universities try to keep women hush-hush about rape cases (against their top jocks) and bring that through their private courts instead of releasing it publicly. Violent cases like that should be illegalized because the outcome isn't justice, but a way for them to keep their best players on the field. Somewhat tangent to this case, but it needs to be said.

King Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194932)

"Free speech" means King Bush can't throw your ass in jail with a lettre de cachet, and forget about you. It does not mean you are free from civil responsibility for what you say, it only means you will not be incarcerated.

Private University, State University. Same damn thing. Keep your fucking hole shut like your god damn life depended on it, or find yourself another institution of "higher learning".

Call me when the University has your monkey-ass thrown in jail for "conduct unbecoming a member of our Fine University"...

Talk about Constitutional Crisis (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194938)

This stinks. I never thought I'd see the day in America when a STUDENT couldn't write or say what they wanted. While I think places like Berkley are where nutcases go to school, at least they have and exercise their freedom of speech. While much of it is bunk, this freedom causes others to think, and it causes the student to formulate who they are as an individual.

Sure...this was not Berkley and he was on Scholarship. Who cares. His performance as a student is separate from what he chooses to write.

I used to have faith that America would not turn its back on the freedoms grated by the Constitution. I have seen way too much in 2005 to have that same faith.

EFF? Try FIRE (5, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194949)

Perhaps now is the time to consider joining the EFF if you attend a private university and have a blog.

Perhaps. But the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education [thefire.org] specializes in free-speech issues at educational institutions, rather than dealing with every conceivable online issue like the EFF does.

Some serious BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14194973)

denis.lynch@marquette.edu gets a polite letter from outraged viewers.

Lip Service (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14194976)

Nice to know that these Bastions of Free Speech seem to only like it when it's directed against enemies of their own choosing. Quite an education they're providing in this incident.

The University's response was 100% correct. (5, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195002)

"half a dozen postings including one describing a professor as 'a (expletive) of a teacher' and another that described 20 classmates as having the 'intellectual/maturity of a 3-year-old.' "

This is a private institution enacting disciplinary action on a member who directly insulted other members and staff of said instutition ina public forum.

If I walked down the street telling everyone how much my professor sucked monkey balls, and one of the people I told happened to be the dean, I would be amazed if I didn't get suspended or expelled.

The kid wasn't put in jail. His rights haven't been infringed in any way.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Accurate statement of the law (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195024)

First, IAAL, but this isn't legal advice.

Second, I used to be a higher-ed acceptable use policy enforcer.

Students at private universities don't have any First Amendment rights when they're using university network resources. Private universities aren't state actors and aren't bound by the First Amendment. Read your local acceptable use policy carefully; it defines your rights.

Most universities' AUPs give students and employees pretty broad rights of free expression. But each university's AUP is different from every other's.

Also, as a general rule, it's better to handle this sort of issue informally to minimize the downside risks for everyone and to generate a "teachable moment" for the student involved.

Not free speech - Due process. (5, Insightful)

Jeff Mahoney (11112) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195026)

Enough with the free speech vs. private university arguments. Free speech applies to government prosecution, not enforcement of the rules of a private organization. As others have noted, if you are a member of a private organization, be it a university, company, or professional sports team, you are subject to their rules if you wish to remain a member.

The problem with this story isn't that the student violated the rules and now doesn't want to deal with the consequences, but that the administration is being accused of interpretting the rules far beyond their intended meaning, employing selective enforcement, and not allowing the student to present his side of the case. As a graduate of a private university, there are usually rules in place to ensure due process for the student as well. I haven't read Marquette's rulebook, nor do I plan to, but the discussion should really be focused around that, not free speech vs. university rules.

spoke truth to power, got kicked out (Mankato, MN) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195027)

Here is another student's account of a similar action taken by another institution:
Part 1 [nyud.net]
Part 2 [nyud.net]

Freedom of speech (1)

WickedLogic (314155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195040)

Our right to freedom of speech, is not the freedom to say what we want, when we want, free from consiquence. It is the freedom to not have our speech prevented by the government. Private citizens and organizations are free to do what they like, based on what you say, again... within the law.

Not Surprising (2, Interesting)

ortcutt (711694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195042)

Marquette is a Catholic school. Free speech has never been a priority in the Catholic Church. They've silenced Galileo, Oscar Romero, whistleblowers of sexual abuse, ...

The standard is already set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195043)

It has already had some chilling effects and looks like it will be setting a standard that students at private universities aren't guaranteed free speech online.

Nobody is guaranteed free speech online. For all you USA citizens who gladly go on about your precious constitution, you should be aware that the only thing that your constitution guarantees is that Congress won't infringe on your freedom of speech.

That being the case, this won't "set a standard" that private uni students aren't guaranteed free speech online, because nothing has ever guaranteed that for anyone. If anything, this is just business as usual.

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