Sunday, April 13, 2003

Administrator takes a big stick to Saginaw Valley students 

We run a site that makes some people on our campus upset. We do so as an expression of our freedom of speech and as a place to find out some of the crap that passes for education and administration here at St. Cloud State. As faculty, we enjoy some rights -- and tenure never hurts! We count ourselves as fortunate that a more concerted effort to silence this site hasn't happened ... yet.

I reported a few weeks ago about a website set up by students at Saginaw Valley State that provided links a group of faculty who were using their classrooms to proselytize for the peace movement and encouraging faculty to cancel classes to increase attendance at a "teach-in". Erin O'Connor, from whom we got the initial link to SVSU, now reports that the chair of the English Department has silenced that site by threatening legal action. It seems at first implausible that she could do this, as there seems to be little legal standing for a case where someone claims to be defamed by someone providing links to websites and flyers written by the plaintiffs. Regardless, the students decided to do put down the site. See the statement by "svsu student" in the comments on Erin's page on 12 April.

Erin opines that the students may have been worried due to the successful busting of an anonymous site by administrators at Louisiana-Monroe. But the key in that case was anonymity. Blogspot need not worry about that with us. The administration knows who we are. And those who don't like this site at SCSU would have to do more than this puffer-fish of an English department chairwoman at Saginaw Valley, who would rather scare students out of their speech rights than consider the ethics of her own faculty.