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Marquette Dental Student Suspended For Blogging 644

Posted by Zonk
from the constitution-does-not-mention-blogging dept.
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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Marquette Dental Student Suspended For Blogging

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  • by tgd (2822) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:42PM (#14194722)
    I thought the EFF was bad [slashdot.org]. I'm so confused now.
    • Why does it need to be the EFF? I don't know how it is in the USA, but in some other countries, such as the UK, there is a student union. Other than provide certain student related services it also serves the roll of protecting the student interests. Surely this could be a case that could be brought up with a student union?
  • EFF? (Score:5, Funny)

    by FatAlb3rt (533682) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:43PM (#14194731) Homepage
    I thought they outlived their usefulness...
    • OT (Score:5, Informative)

      by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:55PM (#14195495) Journal
      I'd never suggest harassing anyone, but if you want to contact the ass-hat responsible for this and let them know what you think about it here is his info from the Marquette directory.

      Name: Lynch, Dr. Denis P.
      Phone: (414) 288-7267
      Position: Professor of Surgical Sciences and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
      Department/Office: School of Dentistry/Office of the Dean
      Location: Dental School 304C
      Email Address: denis.lynch@marquette.edu
      • Re:OT (Score:5, Funny)

        by SuperRob (31516) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @02:08PM (#14195604) Homepage
        And might I suggest that any such contact be free of the use of words such as:

        Asshat
        Jackhole
        Douchebag ... lest the reaction to your contact be less than favorable.
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:44PM (#14194745) Homepage Journal


    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.
    • by way2trivial (601132) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:55PM (#14194850) Homepage Journal
      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.
    • 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.
      • As an AnCap, freedom of expression is more important than merely free speech.

        Expression is:

        - How I talk
        - How I dress
        - How I spend my money
        - Who I voluntarily congregate with

        This freedom can not be limited on my land or on public land. This freedom can be limited on the land of others.
      • Exactly. Should it be legal to sell one's self into slavery? I think any case where one would want to do that would represent a huge power differential and thus have little chance of being a rational decision. I believe current laws generally disallow this, so clearly, many people have a line dividing what one should and shouldn't be legally allowed to agree to, and at least the selling of one's self into slavery falls on the far side of that line.

    • 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.
    • 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 un
      • I disagree completely.

        Prices of any goods or service is directly affected by the supply of money for the goods versus the supply of goods.

        Government "easy money" grants and loans increase the supply of money -- forcing prices way up. Easy loans/grants is to blame for high tuition costs.
    • 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.
      • Just because something is immoral does not mean it should be illegal. After all, whose morals are we talking about? If you use that argument then you wind up with the Taliban in power.

        Why should a business be FORCED to sell to anyone? Shouldn't they be free to choose who they sell to? We may find their choices repugnant, but that does not mean we should take away freedoms to rectify a particular situation.
        • by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:43PM (#14195351)
          Because a business exists as a business, with all the benefits of being a business, only because the government recognizes it as such. If the government made no special provisions for entities known as businesses, they would have higher taxes, less stability, etc etc etc.

          Being a business has many benefits. Does it not also have responsibilities?

          If a business exists to serve the public, to get benefits as a business from being recognized as such by the government which supposedly represents the public, is it fair to allow that business to serve only some subset of the public? It's one thing for a restaurant to refuse service to people without shoes and shirts -- that is at least arguably a matter of public health. But based on skin color or sexual orientation? Are those who are refused able to reclaim that part of their taxes which benefit the business?

          As long as everybody's taxes, whether direct or indirect, enable that business to gain benefits from the legality of being a business, that business must serve them all.

          Consider the pharmacists who are refusing to sell contraceptives because it bothers their own morals. They got their pharmacy license as a business, from the government which supposedly represents all people. Along with the benefits they get comes the responsibility to serve all the people who gave them those benefits. Are they going to recompense those who they refuse to serve for moral reasons? No doubt there are others who would happily avenge the discrimination. What if someone else refuses to serve the pharmacist for the reason that they refused to dispense contraceptives? You can't have this kind of discrimination. There is no end to the ever-widening circle of revenge and revenge upon revenge.

          When you have a business license, you must serve everybody, without discrimination.
      • by Shamashmuddamiq (588220) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:37PM (#14195288)
        Wrong. You've been beaten pretty badly by the PC police. Any private citizen or organization should be able to do business however they like. I should be able to refuse to do business with you because you don't pay your bills, because I don't like your hair color, or simply because you're annoying. In a real free market, someone else will gladly pick up the slack. Go buy from them.

        Yes, racism is often a very bad thing. However, making it illegal sets a poor precedent, and erodes freedoms. What if I own an authentic chinese restaurant and I only want chinese people working there? There is nothing immoral about me turning away an Italian chef or a waitress from West Virginia.

        You said racism should be illegal. Here's a nice quote from Thoreau's Civil Disobedience:

        There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves.
        Now replace "slavery" in the above quote with "racism". Making racism illegal didn't advance racial equality one bit. And it only became illegal after the average joe citizen had already decided it was generally immoral. But when the government made racism illegal, we lost some of our freedoms.

        • by Rydia (556444) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @02:12PM (#14195664)
          "Making racism illegal didn't advance racial equality one bit."

          If you're talking about social equality, perhaps, perhaps not. By having negative reenforcement of an action, you can curb tendencies. Sure, not for everyone, but there is an effect. Plus, if you legislate against something (like racism), then many forms of economic inequality can be solved, because racists need to resort to subtler, less effective means of discriminating. They can no longer keep them out of jobs, refuse to sell them things, or a bevy of other things they used to be able to do, which greatly aids the minority's position. Sure, it might embitter some, but in the long run (even after just 40 years), we've seen solid improvement in race relations. That's really quick in social engineering terms.

          Don't discount the power of government to affect peoples' behavior.
        • by aero6dof (415422) <aero6dof@yahoo.com> on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @04:00PM (#14196947) Homepage
          Any private citizen or organization should be able to do business however they like. ... Making racism illegal didn't advance racial equality one bit.

          It's hard to be free if you die when an ambulance refuses to carry you to the hospital because of the color of your skin. As an ideal, what you express is fine, but you should temper the implementation of free market ideals with some realistic assessment of the consequences when the market isn't working efficiently or the consumer has incomplete information or limited choices.

    • 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 ful

    • 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
    • When the web was young, universities were the incubators for some of the worst trash on the internet. Almost every racist site was kept at a university as "research". The worst of the anti-Clinton conspiracy rants were held at universities. Universities kept a hands-off approach and hid behind the mantle of free speech. Every crackpot was clamoring for a university account so they could put their insanity on display for the world to see.

      Today, universities are the bastion of the worst forms of Political Cor
  • by Anonymous Coward
    > 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.
  • Yay! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShyGuy91284 (701108) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:45PM (#14194748)
    A university not caring about their students and it's not mine!!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:47PM (#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?
    • 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.
    • I know doctors who are young-earth creationists. It doesn't interfere with their job, and their faith helps them get through what they have to do. There are plenty of religious scientists, unless you insist upon the definition that excludes anyone who believes anything that isn't supported by the scientific method. In that case, you need to make up a new term for all the Christians who explore and discover new things...The founder of the "scientific method" for one. And yes, I know you were being humorous
    • Odd enough I have a Jewish friend who graduated from Marquette with a degree in Polytheism. I always found that Ironic.

      -Rick
  • News Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bkeeler (29897) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:48PM (#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.
    • 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! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:53PM (#14194825) Homepage Journal
      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:News Flash (Score:2, Insightful)

      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 e
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:49PM (#14194780)
    Case closed. Write your own little journals and keep them to yourself! Attention whores!
  • by way2trivial (601132) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:51PM (#14194795) Homepage Journal
    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?

  • (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, i

    • Although IANAL, I'd say the university owes him more than just his tuition, since they also cost him a semester of his life, the cost (in time and effort as well as money) of finding a new school, and the cost of losing all the social and professional connections he made while at that school.
  • A side note. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr.Spaz (468833) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:55PM (#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).
    • Re:A side note. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jason Earl (1894)

      Yes, and that's because Mr. Blogger chose to see what was behind door #3 instead of choosing the initial punishment which was a public apology, probation for the rest of his time at Marquette, and some alcohol abuse classes. This just goes to show that only a fool messes with the administration at a private university. They don't have to worry about political correctness. Heck, a school like Marquette doesn't even give a crap about the possibilities of negative publicity. Lots of students would be more

      • Re:A side note. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by khallow (566160)
        Perhaps next time Mr. Blogger will show a little respect. We are all free to say what we want, but only an idiot overlooks the possible repercussions of speaking their mind in public.

        It appears to me that the university in question has shown itself unworthy of respect. They have engaged in immature, unprofessional behavior. Second, they have done so very publically. Finally, it amazes me that the university hasn't considered the legal ramifications of its harsh and subjective punishment of this student.

  • by ehaggis (879721) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @12:58PM (#14194880) Homepage Journal
    They should not drill the student for opening his mouth. It's a gas to see them filling the student with threats.
  • 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 u
    • 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 g

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:00PM (#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.
  • 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 u
    • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot&stango,org> on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:53PM (#14195471) Homepage Journal
      This stinks. I never thought I'd see the day in America when a STUDENT couldn't write or say what they wanted.

      Man, you haven't been paying attention for a few years, have you? That day has come and gone, a LONG time ago. [the-eggman.com]

      These days, if a first grader makes a gun out of his thumb and index finger and "shoots" another kid during a schoolyard game of cops and robbers, he's likely to be labelled a potential Harris or Klebold. If a teenager has a violent dream and writes about it in a school assignment, the school goes into lockdown and the police get called.

      If you think what happened to this Marquette student is absurd, wait until you read some of the stuff at that link. And those are mostly in public schools. Bastions of free speech and thought, my ass.

      ~Philly
  • EFF? Try FIRE (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:04PM (#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.

  • 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.
  • by jonnythan (79727) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:10PM (#14195002) Homepage
    "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.
    • Also, the title.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonnythan (79727)
      "Marquette Dental Student Suspended For Blogging"

      Typical for /. to have Enquirer-like sensationalist headlines to drive page views and comments, but this is obviously wrong. He was not suspended for blogging. He was suspended for directly insulting professors and students in a public forum.
      • by Zibblsnrt (125875)
        He was suspended for directly insulting professors and students in a public forum.

        Which professors? Which students? If it's direct, then obviously they're clearly identifiable..

        -PS

    • by im_mac (927998) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:41PM (#14195332)
      The professors and students were unnamed, according to the article, so that would mitigate some severity in my book. Saying "Professor XXX is an ass" is worse than saying "I have a professor who's an ass", at least in my mind.

      Also, the "co-director of Marquette's Ethics and Professionalism curriculum, determined that the postings did not justify disciplinary action". So if the person in charge of ethics and professionalism said it was "imprudent, immature and oftentimes distasteful" but "it doesn't make these entries unethical or immoral" then who said it did violate professionalism? When a co-director of ethics's opinion on a matter of ethics is brushed aside, it sounds more like the matter has little to do with ethics and more that some one at the univerisity was looking for an excuse to punish the student.

    • There is also the way he presented it on his blog. Sure you can talk like that with your friends, but when you put things on the internet you have to consider, really consider if you wouldn't object saying this to an auditorium full of people because that's what it's is. A public forum where people, teachers, YOUR PROFESSOR AND FELLOW STUDENTS will be able to read and discover if they want.

      Publicly you have that right, but I don't think this individual took into account the vast readership his .journal had
    • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @02:10PM (#14195639)

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

      You're right, because he doesn't have a legal right to free speech in a private university. Which is a shame.

      But that said, what are we? Six years old? Some immature student levels a couple of insults at professors and students he doesn't think much of and they suspend him for the rest of the year (no doubt, this will cause him to fail a number if not all of his classes and I'm sure he won't be getting that money back either). It's not like he disrupted the learning environment because it wasn't done in a forum that anybody was forced to look at. If there was libel or any other civil matter involved, let the parties take it to court if they're so inclined.

      The university's response may have been 100% legal, but I would not call it 100% correct. I find their response to be as immature and overbearing as the issue they say they're addressing.

      As a side rant, am I the only one who thinks that, public or private, universities should ensure themselves to be a bastion of free speech and discussion? It seems like that is the point in a person's life where free speech can be the most effective, as young minds are being shaped and civic responsibilities start to loom large in their minds. (It's no coincidence that most college/university campuses tend to be highly liberal.) That just makes Marquette's response all the more disgusting in my mind.

      I'll close with a quote that I've used on here a number of times before. I think he says it better than I can:

      The only freedom which counts is the freedom to do what some other people think to be wrong. There is no point in demanding freedom to do that which all will applaud. All the so-called liberties or rights are things which have to be asserted against others who claim that if such things are to be allowed their own rights are infringed or their own liberties threatened. This is always true, even when we speak of the freedom to worship, of the right of free speech or association, or of public assembly. If we are to allow freedoms at all there will constantly be complaints that either the liberty itself or the way in which it is exercised is being abused, and, if it is a genuine freedom, these complaints will often be justified. There is no way of having a free society in which there is not abuse. Abuse is the very hallmark of liberty.
      -- Lord Chief Justice Halisham
  • by Jeff Mahoney (11112) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:12PM (#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.
    • Everyone else is whining about free speech in a private institution, half the posts modded to 4+ are redundant. You my friend are one of the few who nailed the issue right on the head. I think this is a greater problem at universities (private and public) than most anyone is even aware of. In most cases the university only has itself to answer to, so if it breaks its own rules, there is no way to appeal a decision or punish the university.

      As an example, when I attended college our university started final

  • Not Surprising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ortcutt (711694)
    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, ...
    • Those cases have nothing to do with this one, do they? Did you even read the article, or do you just like bashing the Catholic Church? (I am not now, have never been, never expect to be, a member of the Catholic Church.)

      The question is whether his behavior was merely rude, or harassing and unprofessional, and if so, was it enough to result in the punishment he got?

      Nobody here is trying to silence anyone-- either the student or people making utterly absurd comparisons on /.

      If you can't tell the difference,
      • by Jason Earl (1894) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @02:34PM (#14195920) Homepage Journal

        Mr. Blogger's original punishment was to have been probation, a public apology, and some alcohol abuse classes. I personally think that is perhaps a little steep, but not unreasonably so considering that Mr. Blogger was a scholarship student. Marquette should expect more of students when they are picking up the bill for their education. Mr. Blogger refused the original punishment and turned to the blogosphere for "protection." It turns out that Marquette's administration doesn't give a crap about the blogosphere--there are plenty of students who would be more than happy to study at Marquette--and they also don't take kindly to scholarship students that are ungrateful, unapologetic, and unruly.

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:15PM (#14195055)
    The dental school's code requires students "to conduct interactions with each other, with patients and with others in a manner that promotes understanding and trust" and condemns "actions, which in any way discriminate against or favor any group or are harassing in nature.

    Nothing at all here about conducting interactions with honesty. And that's the problem. It's all about feelings now.

    They really are a bunch of 3-year-olds.

  • Go to school 8 hours a day.

    Lose your Constitutional rights 24 hours a day.

    And you pay money for this privilege too!

    Now that's education!!

  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @01:20PM (#14195105) Homepage Journal
    I signed up because I liked their line about Catholic/Jesuit values, not being just another number, and how they take care of their students. However, I had problems my freshman year and was struggling and the University actually threw up roadblocks to make it more difficult for me to seek help. I wanted to change majors and they wouldn't let me. This meant I had no access to an advisor who knew anything about the degree I wanted, and my current advisor was frustrated by the process. He even called the liberal arts college and demanded to know why I couldn't transfer. They said my GPA was too low to change majors, he said that was bullshit and told me that a more likely explanation is that I'm not on a scholarship and the Engineering college costs a lot more than the college of liberal arts. After a second year of much better grades but still being unable to change majors or get an advising appointment, I left.
  • Bad thinking? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by meburke (736645) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @02:12PM (#14195668)
    Marquette is a so-called "Jesuit" university. The Jesuits are noted for good thinking and solid logic (among other things), and the Jesuit universities are supposed to produce graduates with high-quality thinking skills and strong values. (Hey, I went to a Jesuit University in Chicago for a while!) In the early 70's, academic quality took a back seat to economic factors, academic standards were reduced to meet the requirement for government subsidies and to match more clearly with the reduced expectations of the public school HS graduates of lower ability. The egalitarian attitude did not extend to the student/teacher relationship. University staff and instructors still think of the student as an annoyance necessary to get their paycheck. Colleges have a number of seats, and after the first seats are filled with the students who can pay full boat or bring in outside dollars, empty seats are sold at a discount to fill capacity and get the marginal dollars. (They call this discount a "scholarship". Sometimes they recover the full sales price of the seat by convincing someone else to pay the difference.) The public perception of the University has a direct impact on the financial success of the institution.

    Interestingly enough, the "good thinkers" in this University have damaged the public perception 'way beyond what the blogger did. Now all they can save is their egos. The Dean, despite his incompetence as a thinker, decision maker and risk manager, is probably immune to termination or other consequences during the period of his contract. Under certain circumstances he may have tenure and actually be almost completely immune to termination.

    Too bad.
  • by sstidman (323182) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @02:16PM (#14195728) Journal
    Man, that dental student really got bit hard. He apparently hadn't braced himself for the consequences. You can't just brush these things off. This is more like something I would expect to happen in Fluorida.
  • by JakiChan (141719) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @02:37PM (#14195964)
    Which means that he's free to sue. Quite often these days it seems when the criminal court can't accomplish something, folks turn to the civil court. So while his treatment may not be illegal (although ill advised), it may be actionable. If the school were to get sued for millions of dollars it would hurt them more than any other action he could take. Seeing that they took his money, they entered into a contract. I would be that a smart enough lawyer could find a way to sue them for breaking that contract.

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