Thursday, July 08, 2004

Metaphor alert 

Robert Campbell has a long follow-up post on the uses and abuses of campus email surveillance as reflected in the University of Southern Missisippi case.
Although the policy is more starkly worded than most, it doesn't differ in essentials from those presently in force at other universities, or in the corporate world. It appears that under current law, a company-owned computer has the same status as a company-owner meat slicer or drill press. The same managers and administrators who would be prohibited from opening snail-mail sent or received by employees, or from listening to their telephone conversations without their permission, can legally read any employee's email whenever they feel like it.
And the president of USM has been happily reading all kinds of stuff, as Campbell explains. And he makes an excellent point here that it requires a faculty to stand up to Campbell.
The USM Faculty Senate has a choice. If it moves swiftly to put forward a strict email privacy policy, it will do groundbreaking work and ensure loads of favorable publicity for its cause, while hastening the end of [President Shelby] Thames regime. If it falls back on reacting to administrative initiatives, or seeking to smooth things over with Thames and his administrators, it will have done its part to keep Shelby Thames in office for another two years, while insuring that one of his very worst policies remains in force after he is finally fired or his contract runs out.
Likewise, here at St. Cloud State, this president is getting puff pieces to help keep his job. His biggest dream?
Roy Saigo loves St. Cloud State University and its hockey team.
The president of Minnesota's largest state university attends almost every game. So, when asked about his dream for the coming school year, his face lights up with a grin.

"We'll win the Frozen Four," he said.
What happens if we have to play North Dakota?