Friday, October 06, 2006

His freedom was merely academic 

Captain Ed and Eliana Johnson have already written about the Columbia University aborted appearance by Jim Gilchrist of the Minuteman Project. Gilchrist never got to speak as protestors stormed the stage to silence him, one saying afterwards "had no right to be able to speak here." The Columbia Spectator's report includes some video of the proceedings.

And now we learn that students participating in the protest bragged on their FaceBook sights, and now are shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that the university is looking at these sites and taking names. David French writes:
Facebook, Myspace, and other similar sites harness the power of the internet to the unrestrained personal lives of millions of students (and young adults). This leads to strange outcomes as twenty-somethings live private lives in public, but without mentally abandoning the notion that this very public information is still somehow �theirs.� I can remember once surfing through Myspace to see if any employees that I supervised had sites and were saying anything about work that I would find interesting or concerning. Sure enough, I found somebody talking about how they were going through �serious problems� with their boss (not me, thankfully). When I asked about the problems, she reacted as if I had just eavesdropped on a cell phone conversation.

Memo to college students: Public information on the internet is, well, public. Give some thought to how the information currently on the web might look to an employer, a parent, or � given the current Foley mess � perhaps even a Congressional panel. I think we�re less than ten years away from having a presidential nomination or a serious run for House or Senate derailed by an ill-considered Facebook entry.
You cannot brag of misdeeds in curbing someone's academic freedom without expecting some repercussions. Scott Johnson writes:
Public discourse at Columbia is for now in the hands of intellectual savages. Does the university have the wherewithal to restore the conditions of freedom?
I'd suggest a webpage of screenshots of the perps' Facebooks would be a good start.

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