New Pro-Marriage TV Ad
It’s high time the pro-marriage folks got into the media with an ad campaign.
The gay lobby has a huge amount of money, and has been on the air for months.
We are here to provide an independent, rather skeptical view of events at Marquette University. Comments are enabled on most posts, but extended comments are welcome and can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailed comments will be treated like Letters to the Editor. This site has no official connection with Marquette University. Indeed, when University officials find out about it, they will doubtless want it shut down.
What is most disturbing about this editorial is not this [factual] error, though. It is the fact that the editorial treats the avoidance of institutional embarrassment as a higher value than liberty. It is the rare college newspaper that will cheerfully proclaim that speech can be arbitrarily censored because the school “is not a free-speech zone.” One suspects that the Marquette Tribune might feel differently if, instead of removing a Dave Barry quote, Professor South had decided to throw out a stack of issues of the Marquette Tribune. And the idea that free speech is to be confined only to “free-speech zones” is a shocking departure from the ideals of free speech that have served our nation and its universities well for over two hundred years.What does it say about the culture at the Marquette Tribune that they were unwilling to support free speech in this instance?
There is simply no plausible defense for Marquette’s removing a Dave Barry quote from Stuart Ditsler’s door. The office hallways of most colleges boast doors festooned with quotes, cartoons, political posters, etc. If a Dave Barry quote is the most offensive thing on display at Marquette, it must be a boring place indeed.
. . . sell, promote or glamorize the use of tobacco related products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco. Sample sites: www.philipmorrisusa.com/en/home.aspBut use of tobacco is perfectly legal -- at least if DOI employees don’t do it on the job. Likewise blocked:
Sites promoting the use of alcohol, drink recipes, bartender guides, home brewing methodology, drinking.Oddly, weapons sites are unblocked. It seems the nannies care more about tobacco and alcohol than about guns, knives and swords.
Sites related to personal ads, dating sites, dating services, dating tips, relationships, introductions, “how-tofind-a-mate” sites, introductions for purposes of finding friends or other relationships, etc.But unblocked are “lifestyle” sites:
Sites that contain material relative to an individual’s personal life choices. This includes sexual preference, cultural identity, or organization/club affiliations.All this is typical when the nannies try to decide what people can and can’t view.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Marquette administrators react to this.
“Students for Academic Freedom” to launch soon;
Constitution awaiting OSD approval
A petition signed by more than 25 Marquette students seeking to launch a new student organization called “Students for Academic Freedom” and the organization’s constitution is awaiting approval from the Office of Student Development. Students for Academic Freedom aims to:
“Marquette students need this group to secure greater representation of under-represented ideas on campus,” Charles Rickert, senior in the College of Business Administration and founder of Students for Academic said. “We need to make all of campus a free-speech zone if we are serious about becoming a marketplace of ideas.”
- Promote intellectual diversity on campus
- Defend the right of students so they will be treated with respect by faculty and administrators regardless of their political or religious beliefs
- Encourage fairness, civility and inclusion in student affairs
- Secure the adoption of an “Academic Bill of Rights” as official university policy
The Marquette organization would join more than 150 other Students for Academic Freedom organizations across the nation.
“I look forward to working with faculty, administrators and MUSG to bring positive change and intellectual diversity to Marquette,” Rickert said.
NEW YORK — The Dixie Chicks are again at the center of a controversy over the limits of opinionated talk. A film company said Friday that NBC wouldn’t accept an advertisement for Shut Up & Sing, a movie about the fuss created by Dixie Chick Natalie Maines’ comment that she was ashamed President Bush was a fellow Texan. The network suggested the complaint may be a publicity stunt.It seems that attempts to exploit claims of victimization are not limited to the Chicks. Their producer is doing the same thing.
The problem arose when the Weinstein Co. began conversations with networks about buying ads to be shown nationally, in anticipation of later wider release of the film.
But Alan Wurtzel, head of standards and practices at NBC, said it is network policy not to accept ads on issues of public controversy — like abortion or the war.
While the Weinstein Co. had shown NBC its ads, it had not inquired about buying commercial time, he said. Generally, when an ad is rejected, prospective advertisers return and work with the network on ways to make it acceptable — as was done with the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11, he said.
But NBC heard nothing more from makers of Shut Up & Sing until portions of what NBC executives thought were confidential business correspondence showed up in a news release, he said.
“There was no attempt to come back and have a conversation,” Wurtzel said. “There are times when some advertisers get more publicity for having their ad rejected.”
Feds say Maine restaurant must give up 150-year-old stuffed gullOur first question is: what kind of customer would complain about this?
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Government agents have served notice on a Camden restaurant that the stuffed bird that adorned its upstairs dining room for more than 20 years is illegal.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife agents, unshaven and clad in camouflage pants and plaid shirts, arrived Thursday at Cappy’s Chowder House to confiscate the 150-year-old greater black backed gull that is mounted under glass and surrounded by an ornate frame.
Gulls have been a federally protected species since 1918, and the agents acted in response to a customer complaint.
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act calls for penalties of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine for possessing a prohibited species, said Eric Holmes, one of the agents who visited Cappy’s. The law makes no exception for birds acquired before the passage of the treaty act, he said.
The visit was a surprise to Cappy’s owner, Johanna Tutone, who said it never occurred to her that it was illegal to own the stuffed bird she had bought at the auction of a sea captain’s estate. She initially thought that the two visitors who presented badges and identified themselves as federal agents were pulling a prank.
“I thought they were joking,” she said. “I thought any minute someone would come up the stairs and say, ‘Gotcha!’”
Canada Post plans to go ahead with the delivery of controversial booklets this week, despite protests from Vancouver postal workers who refused to distribute the mail they called “homophobic.”Here we have the usual politically correct notion that it’s acceptable to censor speech that certain groups consider “offensive.”
“It hasn’t gone out today because of all the attention and we wanted to make sure other mail wasn’t disrupted,” Lillian Au, communications manager for Canada Post’s pacific region, told CTV.ca.
“But it will be going out as scheduled within the next three days, that’s our time commitment to our client.”
If the postal workers were to refuse to distribute the unaddressed booklets prepared by an Ontario-based religious group, they would be notified they were participating in an “illegal work stoppage,” Au said.
Sixty-eight workers, who worked for a medium-sized postal facility in the Commercial Drive area, walked off the job for about 15 minutes Thursday morning rather than distribute a brochure they characterized as “anti-gay.”
President of the Vancouver local of the Canadian Union of postal Workers, Ken Mooney, told CTV.ca that the religious group picked the wrong community to receive the mail.
“Of all the communities to target, this is probably the poorest choice,” Mooney said in a telephone interview from Vancouver.
“The consciousness of social issues is very high here,” he said of the community he described as left-leaning.
Mooney said his office received several calls from offended local members regarding the booklet.
“It’s a 28-page booklet I would character as nothing but a 28-page diatribe against members of the homosexual community. It’s hate literature and nothing else,” he said.
“It never should have been accepted for delivery by Canada Post,” he said.
The pamphlet calls homosexuality “ungodly,” “unhealthy,” and “unnatural” and blames homosexual people for spreading AIDS by living without “any moral restraints.”
The walkout sent the message that the postal workers “weren’t going to take it. People are deeply offended by this literature,” Mooney said.
Mooney is calling for Canada Post to implement a policy that would spell out its position for future cases such as this one.
“That way, we don’t have to get them to stand off,” he said.
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company stated, “It’s a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America. The idea that anyone should be penalized for criticizing the president is sad and profoundly un-American.”In fact, the Chicks are in commercial trouble because we are living in a free society.
The university could have easily defended South’s actions with its Student Handbook policy. Despite the romantic impressions of some, Marquette is a private institution — not a free-speech zone.So the argument appears to be “since Marquette has a legal right to censor speech, that makes any particular act of censorship legitimate.”
The removal of the quote didn’t clearly violate any freedoms granted by the Constitution, federal or state, nor by the university. Marquette’s Student Handbook demonstrations policy states when people differ on whether a demonstration infringes on the rights of others in the community, an authority — in this case South — communicates his judgment and can require the demonstration be “promptly terminated.”
“As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”Just how does this “infringe” upon anybody’s rights?
. . . regarding unmarried straight couples, I’m all for preventing those who want the milk without buying the cow from being on equal legal footing with couples who make it legal. Many unmarried couples have children and say they want to ensure benefits for their kids. Perhaps the first step toward stability and security is to not have kids illegitimately.Of course, this is similar to the argument for excluding homosexuals from marriage.
No one benefits when society accepts irresponsible behavior or grants perks without demanding the work. And a couple who only sort of commits to each other should not expect the benefits of a marriage license any more than a person who takes a few classes in college should expect a diploma (even if he went to all the frat parties).
. . . the judges do not, I think, provide the kind of assurances that would undercut the argument proponents of the amendment make that it is needed to thwart some future state supreme court case finding a state law right to same-sex marriage. . . .The State Journal article says the following:
“In my judgment that would be a very, very close vote on the court,” said William Bablitch, a former Supreme Court justice who served on the court for two decades and took part in two key decisions relating to gay couples and families. “It could come out either way.”And further:
Recent cases in other states have been a mixed bag.
For his part, Bablitch guessed that in a hypothetical marriage law challenge, of the court’s seven members, Justices Abrahamson and Ann Walsh Bradley would likely vote to throw the current law out and Wilcox, appointed by former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, and Justice Pat Roggensack would likely vote to uphold it.Thus, people who say the Amendment is “not needed” are, quite simply, people who favor gay marriage and wouldn’t mind it being imposed by judicial fiat.
Justice Louis Butler Jr., an appointee of Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, might vote to throw out the law as well, Bablitch said. That would be 3-2 in favor of ending the ban on gay marriage, leaving Justice N. Patrick Crooks and Justice David Prosser Jr., another Thompson appointee, to decide which side would prevail.
Quietly and cleverly, a new project is being created on the west bank of the Milwaukee River. Lots of strings were pulled to make this happen, involving at least six different government entities. Yet there have been no public bids and little public scrutiny of the development, even as companies that donated to Gov. Jim Doyle were chosen to build it. The whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test.
The new project is a six-story dormitory for University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students at North Avenue and the west bank of the river. To oversee the $23 million development, UWM has created a new real estate foundation, a private nonprofit that in turn operates as an arm of another private nonprofit, the UWM Foundation. That makes the new dorm project twice removed from UWM.
From: “FOX11 News”So a tribal spokesperson “was not personally offended.”
Sent: Monday, October 23, 2006 9:39 AM
Subject: RE: Story Idea
Thanks for writing. We are aware of the comment referring to “injun time” it was not a reference to any one person.
A spokesperson for the tribe said she believes he was trying to be funny. She was not personally offended, and she is a member of the tribe.
We are considering a story.
WLUK-TV Green Bay
Editorial: It’s all a free-speech zoneOf course, it’s not just conservatives and libertarians who distrust the Federal government. Where the Patriot Act is the issue, it’s liberals and leftists who do that.
We were under the impression that the entire United States is a free-speech zone. Which is why the phrase’s use is puzzling in the case of a teaching aide and graduate student at Marquette University who had a quote from a well-known humorist removed from his office door recently.
The quote from Dave Barry was, “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”
Philosophy department chairman and associate professor James South called the quote “patently offensive” and said that the campus’ free-speech zones required him to take it down.
Point No. 1: If this quote is “patently offensive,” then a whole lot of folks who call themselves conservatives or Libertarians are patently offensive. Variations of this theme operate as their mantra. There’s nothing offensive about it. It’s a point of view. Agree or disagree, but don’t ban it.
Point No. 2: Lighten up. Most folks recognize hyperbole when they see it, particularly educated people such as those who walk the non-free-speech hallways of Marquette.
Point No. 3: While no right is absolute - yeah, yeah, yelling fire in a crowded theater - free speech should come pretty darn close. An easily offended nanny state might police cartoons and posters pinned up on office doors and walls. Thank goodness we don’t live in one. Right?
Of course, Marquette is a private university. OK, but one that presumably subscribes in some measure to the concept of academic freedom. Or is this reserved only for those graced with tenure?
No, the teaching assistant and graduate student who put up the quote - Stuart Ditsler, who says he is a Libertarian - should qualify. A campus spokeswoman said this is a workplace issue, not one of academic freedom. This makes no sense. The workplace in this case is a university.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has taken up Ditsler’s cause. A letter to the foundation from Marquette President Father Robert A. Wild said, because the quote wasn’t attributed, “someone reading . . . may not have understood the humor/satire of Dave Barry.”
So, here’s a compromise. Attribute the quote and return it to the office door. But here’s a better one. Allow Ditsler to put it up anyway if he chooses.
EPINAY-SUR-SEINE, France When the call came about a car burglary in this raw suburb north of Paris one night last weekend, three officers in a patrol car rushed over, only to find themselves surrounded by 30 youths in hoods throwing rocks and swinging bats and metal bars.Of course, the International Herald Tribune, being part of the mainstream media, won’t label the hoodlums “Muslim,” although the euphemistic language “offspring of Arab and African immigrants” makes it clear.
Neither tear gas nor stun guns stopped the assault. Only when reinforcements arrived did the siege end. One officer was left with broken teeth and in need of 30 stitches to his face.
The attack was rough but not unique. In the past three weeks alone, three similar assaults on the police have occurred in these suburbs that a year ago were aflame with the rage of unemployed, undereducated youths, most of them the offspring of Arab and African immigrants.
In fact, with the anniversary of those riots approaching in the coming week, spiking statistics for violent crime across the area tell a grim tale of promises unkept and attention unpaid. Residents and experts say that fault lines run even deeper than before and that widespread violence could flare up again at any moment.
“Tension is rising very dramatically,” said Patrice Ribeiro, the deputy head of the Synergie-Officiers police union. “There is the will to kill.”
The anger of the young is reflected in the music popular in the suburbs. In her latest album, the female rap singer Diam’s accuses Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy of being a “demagogue” and the police of hypocrisy. The rapper Booba proclaims that “Maybe it would be better to burn Sarko’s car,” while Alibi Montana, another rapper, warns Sarkozy, “Keep going like that and you’re going to get done.”
Next Friday is the one-year anniversary of the electrocution death of two teenagers as - rumor had it - they were running from the police in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois.
The tragedy triggered three weeks of violence in which rioters throughout France torched cars, trashed businesses and ambushed police officers and firefighters, plunging the country into what President Jacques Chirac called “a profound malaise.”
Last month, a leaked law enforcement memo warned of a “climate of impunity” in Seine-Saint-Denis, the notorious district north of Paris, where clusters of suburbs like Clichy-sous-Bois and Epinay-sur-Seine are located.
It reported a 23 percent increase in violent robberies and a 14 percent increase in assaults in the district of 1.5 million people in the first half of 2006, complaining that young, inexperienced police officers were overwhelmed and that the court system was lax. Only one of 85 juveniles arrested during the unrest had been jailed, it added.
. . . [W]hen the gay lobby has power, straight Americans will enjoy less freedom. . . .We’ve seen that on the Marquette campus, where the President of the Gay/Straight Alliance, Jess Cushion, has said that no speaker opposed to gay marriage should be allowed on campus. Why? According to Cushion, any such opposition is “hate speech.”
“As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”In an e-mail to the student (one Stuart Ditsler) South explained his rationale for the censorship.
I had several complaints today about a quotation that was on the door of CH 132F. I’ve taken the quotation down. While I am a strong supporter of academic freedom, I’m afraid that hallways and office doors are not “free-speech zones.” If material is patently offensive and has no obvious academic import or university sanction, I have little choice but to take note.Ditsler, doubtless astounded by the effrontery of this message, replied as follows.
Dr. South,That’s right. Professors had posted partisan anti-Bush cartoons on their doors, and left them there for months, with no attempt at censorship.
Because I know that it is tricky trying to convey the right tone over e-mail, I’m going to make an extra effort to be respectful. I just want to express my concerns about a discrepancy in the way this matter has been handled. To wit, last year Dr. [redacted], who I like, respect, and admire very much, posted a cartoon by Pat Oliphant of the Washington Post about the ethical principles (or lack thereof) in the Bush administration that stayed on his door for I believe the entire academic year. The year before that, you posted a piece on your door immediately after the 2004 presidential election criticizing “family values” voters for preferring Bush and the Republican Party to Kerry and the Democrats. What this tells me is that doors and hallways are not “free speech zones” (a Bush administration term, which is ironic in itself) only when the opinions expressed are contrary to those of the majority of the members of the department. Nor do I see, in the first place, what is “patently offensive” about a quotation (taken from a Dave Barry piece) the import of which is that we should always be on guard against the expansion of government power, a sentiment that has been expressed by too many brilliant thinkers for me to even try to recount them (although I will drop Thomas Jefferson’s name). By contrast, the two aforementioned pieces are explicitly critical of a particular political party and a particular administration.
In sum, I feel like not only is the department treating me unfairly, but the complaints are without merit in the first place. I am deeply concerned, and have been since I arrived, about the intellectual atmosphere of the department. This only gives me more reason to worry.
Thank you for taking the time to take my concerns into account, and I sincerely hope that I have been able to convey a properly respectful tone.
Hello Stuart,The passage from the Faculty Handbook involved responsibilities that accompany academic freedom for faculty. Nothing in the Handbook said that faculty have a responsibility never to express opinions that somebody might disagree with.
Thanks for your e-mail. I take it that you are responsible for the message on the door?
As I said in the e-mail, I am happy to talk with you about this matter. E-mail does not seem a very helpful way of have a thorough discussion.
Just to be clear, I don’t go around policing doors. I received complaints and that meant I had to take note of what was on the door. I did not do so unilaterally, but consulted two members of the Executive Committee and the Assistant Chair. My action and my e-mail to those using 132F were merely informational and designed to minimize offense to others. They were in no way related to any disciplinary procedure. Also, as I made clear, nothing in my e-mail is related to the responsible use of academic freedom in the context of the classroom.
I’m sorry if you’re bemused by my use of the term “free speech zone” -- I was not using it in the sense in which you construed it, but merely pointing to the fact that university office buildings, like shopping malls and restaurants, are not unregulated spaces.
The larger concerns you raise, while interesting, are not connected to my decision to remove the unattributed passage that was on the door of 132F. My action was based on specific complaints and consultation with other faculty in a leadership role in the department.
Finally, I encourage you to reread the passage I sent from the Marquette Faculty Handbook regarding academic freedom and its correlative responsibilities.
October 16, 2006This is an ineffectual, indeed almost bizarre response.
Ms. Tara E. Sweeney
Senior Program Officer
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
601 Walnut Street, Suite 510
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
Deal Ms. Sweeney:
I have received your letter dated September 27, 2006, regarding an incident that occurred in Marquette’s Philosophy Department.
I believe this matter has now been resolved within the academic department, as properly it should be, and that the original difficulty arose out of misunderstanding. However, I do want to correct a few points in your letter. Specifically, when the quotation cited was posted, it was without attribution; therefore, someone reading the quotation may not have understood the humor/satire of Dave Barry. Second, the e-mail from Dr. James South, Chair of the Philosophy Department, was sent not only to Mr. Stuart Ditsler but to all four students who occupied the shared graduate student office. At the time, Dr. South was unaware of who had posted the flier.
As you correctly point out in your letter, Marquette is a private, Catholic institution. That does not in any way diminish the importance we place on the principles of academic freedom. Marquette’s Faculty Handbook states, “academic freedom is prized as essential to Marquette University and to its living growth as a university.”
Thank you for taking the time to write.
Robert A. Wild, S.J.
Marquette spokeswoman Brigid O’Brien Miller said South’s decision was primarily a workplace issue, not an issue of academic freedom, and that he was responding to complaints regarding what “some felt was offensive material.”What sort of “workplace issue” does a political quote on an office door raise?
She offered up a letter from Wild to FIRE dated Oct. 16, in which Wild said that because the quote was posted without attribution, “someone reading the quotation may not have understood the humor/satire of Dave Barry.”
Miller said the posting might have been handled differently if it had included the attribution. She said there is no university policy dictating what can or cannot be posted on office doors.
Marquette is a private university and is thus free under the First Amendment to regulate speech as it chooses. But if libertarian jests are “patently offensive” and subject to censorship at Marquette, it might want to note that in a new paragraph of its academic freedom guidelines and perhaps in the catalog provided to prospective students.Undernews covered the issue, and a reader posted a comment saying that:
If they’ve reached the point where they believe Dave Barry is a dangerous threat who needs to be censored, then you know some kind of all-time new low in mindless hysteria has just been achieved.The Oregon Commentator observes that:
No surprises there: it’s a University. And as everyone who’s been following the Commentator for a past few years knows, words (and jokes in particular) are a potentially hurtful force in academia that must be vetted by secretly appointed committees before being uttered, posted, printed, or (if it were only possible) thought.Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of ... [sic] blog says:
So you can say anything you want as long as the University says its OK.lowercase liberty surmised that:
Got it. I weep for the future of America when our future is learning, very early on, that you can use coercive power to stifle even the most innocuous dissent.
Here’s what I suspect. If some commie had posted a quote on his office door about how the capitalist class constitutes a “dangerous, powerful, and relentless” common enemy , a conservative philosophy professor -- someone who, we are assuming for the sake of argument, would find such a sentiment “patently offensive” -- would nevertheless recognize Marxist class-warfare rhetoric as having “obvious academic import”. Just my guess.But the blog of the Miami Herald had an extended essay of “supporting” South and the Philosophy Department:
So it is that I invite you join me saluting the heroic Anti-Dave Freedom Fighters of Marquette University, who struck a major blow for our cause recently when they demanded that a grad student in the philosophy department remove a “patently offensive” Barry quote that was posted on his office door. Ordinarily this is a family-friendly blog (provided you are a member of the Manson Family) but for you to understand the magnitude of Dave’s offensiveness, I’m going to have to reprint his repugnant words here. Women, children and Parents Television Council members, avert your eyes NOW.Once again, leftist authoritarians have caused Marquette national embarrassment by shutting up rather innocuous political speech. But this time, the authoritarians are not those in the Office of Student Development, but those in the Philosophy Department.As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.Whew. Okay, it’s safe to look again. Gad, can you imagine if some innocent Marquette philosophy student had been inadvertently exposed to that tirade? Fortunately, they are under the brave and benevolent protection of Thought Police Chief James South, the chairman of the school’s philosophy department, who quickly warned the grad student who put up the offending quote that Marquette is not some anarchic hellhole where people can just go around saying what they think.
MILWAUKEE, Wis., October 18, 2006—Writer and humorist Dave Barry probably never expected that one of his jokes would spark a university free speech dispute. But in early September, a Marquette University administrator removed a Barry quote about the federal government from Ph.D. student Stuart Ditsler’s office door because the quote was “patently offensive.” Facing this arbitrary exercise of political censorship, Ditsler contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.Marquette’s policy of stonewalling on this issue is particularly disturbing.
“There have been several high-profile free speech controversies on campuses recently, such as at Columbia this month. But incidents like this one at Marquette and on other campuses illustrate how even innocuous expression is under ongoing assault at our colleges and universities,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said.
In late August, Ditsler posted a quote by Dave Barry on his office door in the philosophy department. The quote read, “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” On September 5, Philosophy Department Chair James South sent Ditsler an e-mail stating that he had received several complaints and therefore removed the quote. He wrote, “While I am a strong supporter of academic freedom, I’m afraid that hallways and office doors are not ‘free-speech zones.’ If material is patently offensive and has no obvious academic import or university sanction, I have little choice but to take note.”
“This incident at Marquette is part of a truly disturbing trend,” Lukianoff said. “Administrators seem willing to ban speech across the board and to designate increasingly tiny ‘free speech zones’ rather than risk any student or faculty member being offended.”
Ditsler reports that other members of the philosophy department have posted materials on their doors in the past without receiving reprimand or sanctions. FIRE wrote to Marquette University President Robert A. Wild on September 27 stating that Marquette’s policy against “offensive” materials is completely discretionary and therefore subject to abuse. FIRE also reminded Wild that Marquette’s Student Handbook protects the “right of the members of the university community freely to communicate, by lawful demonstration and protest, the positions that they conscientiously espouse on vital issues of the day.” Wild has not responded to FIRE’s letter.
From: “Wild S.J., Robert”Why a Catholic university has to defer to the voters in any congressional district, or indeed in the entire nation, is a mystery.
Subject: FW: John Lewis Luncheon
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2006 09:00:11 -0500
I have received your message regarding our presenting Congressman John R. Lewis with the Les Aspin Center Democracy Award. I have been president here at Marquette for ten years and have thought a great deal about this question of having political leaders speak on our campus. Here is my general sense of things.
First, the individual you are complaining about is in fact an elected member of Congress, having served in the United States House of Representatives since 1987. A majority of the voters of the 5th District of Georgia have elected him to that post 10 times to date. Like it or not, this is our democratic process. Consequently, I believe there must be a general openness to the efforts of whatever administration is in power and, whatever else, a clear sense of civic respect for these individuals. That certainly does not mean agreement with all their positions and views but it does entail due regard for the democratic choices made by the voters of this nation. That’s the way it works in this country, and our democratic system, even granted its limitations, is decidedly held in admiration by much of the world community.
Secondly, I most certainly do not have any problem with your choosing to disagree with some of positions advanced by Congressman Lewis and/or the Democratic Party. As a citizen of this country you most certainly have that right. And, further, because political leaders have to take a stance on a great array of issues, I assume that none of them are very likely to hold no position whatsoever that does not pose some problems in terms of the considered moral judgment of significant groups of people in this country or in terms of religious teaching, that of Roman Catholicism or of some other group. So if on that basis alone we would exclude a political leader from speaking on this campus, then on that same basis we had better exclude all of them. To put matters plainly, rare is the Democrat and rare the Republican who does not advance some position that poses moral and/or religious problems, e.g., the Iraq war on the Republican side, the pro-choice position on abortion taken by most Democrats.But Lewis’ voting record, as recorded on the Issues 2000 web site, shows him to be opposed to the Catholic position not merely on some issue, but on a very wide range of issues.
To exclude all politicians, however, from speaking on this campus seems contrary both to the democratic values of this country and the four and a half centuries of efforts by Jesuit educators to form their students into individuals that will be engaged members of their respective civic communities. True, there may be specific individuals so identified with a highly problematic moral stance that one immediately identifies them with that specific issue. But such are rare, especially since most politicians in our democratic society necessarily must address a great variety of issues and cannot afford in the political arena in which they operate to be, equivalently, a “one issue” person. Conclusion: it should be rare here at Marquette that we would have sufficient reason on that side of things to deny a platform to a political leader, and all the more so to a senior official of our national government.This argument is beside the point, and Wild ought to know that.
Third, we do need to be even handed in extending invitations to such leaders and most certainly should not limit our invitations to members of one major political party to the exclusion of members of the other. Our students and our entire Marquette community have a right to hear on occasion from members of both major political parties so that they become more aware of the issues that are at stake and can reflect more knowledgeably upon them.Again, Wild evades the point.
Fourth, I fully expect any time we invite a political figure to our campus that I will receive expressions of concern from a variety of people who legitimately disagree with this or that position held by that individual, and in that expectation I don’t think I have ever been disappointed. It is not at all unreasonable that in our democratic society there will arise such disagreements; that is the very nature of a democracy. Indeed, it should be a source of pride for all of us that we are free as a people to voice such disagreements. Yet at the same time the present polarization of our American political life, while hardly without parallel in this nation’s past history, is unfortunate in that many come to think in such an environment that political opponents are simply evil and political allies simply good. But my point is that things are not so “simple” since the vast majority of political leaders represent in their views a mixture of good and evil - like the men and women who elected them, like, in fact, you and I. Political leaders, that is, deserve our respect not only as fellow human beings but also specifically for the office they hold even while we remain quite free, as we should, to disagree with positions they seek to advance.One wonders whether Wild, had he been President of Marquette in the 1960s, would have approved giving a major honor to a segregationist political figure. Would he blow the issue off by scoffing at the idea that some people are “simply evil?”
It is on this basis that I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that we should not have invited Congressman Lewis to this campus and with those who have written me in the past about the presence of Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Vice President Al Gore, and a variety of Democratic and Republican political leaders on this campus. Their presence does not mean that the university as a body endorses the whole range of their political views or even any specific view. But since it is of the nature of a university-and that includes a Catholic university-to provide a privileged space in which a vast variety of issues can be discussed and debated, our campus ought generally to be open to such individuals as occasion offers.Wild continues to not get the point. It’s one thing to be willing to hear a particular position advocated, and another for Marquette to honor somebody who holds a vast number of positions that the Church disagrees with.
There may be, as I noted above, individual exceptions to this, but this seems the right stance for Marquette University to adopt and it is the one that I personally share.Nonsense. He was honored as a person.
Let me also add that Marquette was honoring Congressman Lewis’ long-standing and tireless commitment to civil rights in our nation, not his position on abortion.
Few can quarrel with the truly admirable work that Congressman Lewis has done in the field of civil rights.It’s certainly the case that speakers of all persuasions should be able to speak at Marquette. But it’s in no way necessary for Marquette to honor people of all persuasions.
Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns. Whether you agree with the perspective I am advancing here or not, I do hope that it helps you understand better Marquette’s position. I certainly pray that our loving and gracious God will bless you as you continue your studies.
Robert A. Wild, S.J.
It is not only about rage and resentment, and how some have come to see them as virtues, as an emblem of rightness. I feel so much, therefore my views are correct and must prevail. It is about something so obvious it is almost embarrassing to state. Free speech means hearing things you like and agree with, and it means allowing others to speak whose views you do not like or agree with. This--listening to the other person with respect and forbearance, and with an acceptance of human diversity--is the price we pay for living in a great democracy. And it is a really low price for such a great thing.This is certainly true on the Marquette campus, where the President of the Gay/Straight Alliance insisted that no speaker should be allowed on campus who opposes gay marriage, since opposing gay marriage is “hate speech.”
We all know this, at least in the abstract. Why are so many forgetting it in the particular?
Let us be more pointed. Students, stars, media movers, academics: They are always saying they want debate, but they don’t. They want their vision imposed. They want to win. And if the win doesn’t come quickly, they’ll rush the stage, curse you out, attempt to intimidate.
And they don’t always recognize themselves to be bullying. So full of their righteousness are they that they have lost the ability to judge themselves and their manner.
And all this continues to come more from the left than the right in America. [emphasis in original]
“As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”So here at Marquette, as in the broader culture, liberals and leftists think they have the right to shut up ideas with which they disagree.
The right to freedom of opinion and expression should be one of the cornerstones of any society. . . .Given the context, the Danish cartoons, it’s clear that Amnesty is interpreting “advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred” very broadly. In fact, in practice it will mean nothing more nor less than saying something that some politically correct group objects to.
However, the right to freedom of expression is not absolute -- neither for the creators of material nor their critics. It carries responsibilities and it may, therefore, be subject to restrictions in the name of safeguarding the rights of others. In particular, any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence cannot be considered legitimate exercise of freedom of expression. Under international standards, such “hate speech” should be prohibited by law.
AI calls on the government officials and those responsible for law enforcement and the administration of justice to be guided by these human rights principles in their handling of the current situation.