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Monday, January 09, 2006 

Anger: Blogger's Free Speech Punished

A strange and sorted tale indeed. It seems a student at Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) has a blog for his friends. He said some rather stupid things about a teacher and some classmates and found himself suspended and repeating a year.

Last month, in a decision that drew sharp criticism on and off campus, Schrubbe, 22, was suspended for the rest of the academic year and ordered to repeat his fall semester after a committee of dental students, professors and administrators determined that a half-dozen postings on his blog were in violation of Marquette's codes of conduct. One posting described a professor as "a (expletive) of a teacher." Another described 20 classmates as having the "intellectual/maturity of a 3-year-old."
Not a bright thing to say in a public forum, but is it the right of the school to punish him for his off-campus stupidity? I think not, but if it is then isn't the punishment a tad over the top? Marquette is not cheap and losing a year seems harsh for some foolish name calling. It seems the Dean agrees, at least in part.
"The advisory committee recommended, and I concur, that suspension in this specific circumstance is not appropriate," Taylor quotes Lobb's letter as saying. "Consequently, I have decided to overturn the decision to suspend you from the School of Dentistry."
While the suspension has been overturned, it is replaced by another over the top (IMHO) punishment, 100 hours of community service and a public apology to his class. Better, but still this poor schlub is being punished for off-campus sins against the on-campus "speech code". At least one Marquette blogger agrees:
"The most that the Dental School should have done is for some administrator to take the student aside and say, 'Off the record, don't you think those posts were a bit ill-advised? Don't you think that maybe you should take them offline?' " McAdams said on his blog. "The least the school could have done was to entirely blow off something that was, in reality, pretty trivial."
Marquette Warrior has much more.

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