Friday, December 09, 2005

Journal-Sentinel Chides Marquette on Blogger Issue

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has editorialized on the Dental School blogger issue, and the comments aren’t kind to Marquette.
Blogs and bloggers can be churlish, childish and sometimes just plain wrong. And none of that justifies most moves to silence them.

Marquette University has severely disciplined a student blogger. We fear this will be widely perceived as a move to silence unpopular speech rather than as a case of standing up for “professional conduct.”
The editorial analyzes the case that Marquette has made for “unprofessional conduct” on the bloggers part, and notes that the clause in the rules the blogger supposedly ran afoul of “isn’t very specific.” The conclusion:
Society is still feeling its way around this new blogosphere world. We’d prefer that judgments err on the side of maximum free speech, even if, individually, we can make sound judgments about the maturity and acumen of individual bloggers.

[...]

The dean should reverse the committee’s decision. A reprimand or warning, perhaps, if that makes the university feel better. But suspension is a punishment that does not fit this alleged crime.
We are happy the paper came down on the student’s side on this. But it’s a bit disturbing that the Journal-Sentinel, which is now all in favor of “maximum free speech,” didn’t take such a position when Marquette shut down the College Republican’s “Adopt a Sniper” fund-raiser in the Alumni Memorial Union. They supported the Administration shutting the fund-raiser down.

It’s nice they will support free speech in a non-political case like this one. When they support campus speech for conservatives, we’ll be more impressed.

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