Thursday, December 08, 2005

MUSG Concedes Marquette Has Right to Censorship

I don't know what I was thinking when I had hope that MUSG would actually do something positive for their fellow students on campus. This is the MUSG after all that is led by Alex Hermanny who actually "thanked the administration" for the input it took from students in the "GOLD" annoucement.

Resolution 1: "On Behalf of Student Expression", which was passed, contained the following statement:

"Whereas: It is recognized that Marquette University, in accordance with its Jesuit values and ideals and in compliance with its Policies and procedures, reserves the right to monitor and censor expression both on and off Marquette's campus"

Um hello MUSG!?!?! When did censorship become an ideal " in accordance with Jesuit values"? So thats where the Dental School got the suspension idea from--the Jesuits! (Im clearly joking, I assume this was just poor wording that none of them caught).

MUSG passed the resolution despite the fact that I stated in the public comments section, that including such a statement makes the rest of the resolution null and void, much like the War Powers Act fails to limit Presidential War Powers because the Congress conceded that the President has the right to insert troops into combat without the consent of the Congress.

During the debate, Alex Hermanny and Brock Banks stated that (from the GOP3.com live blog):
SENATOR BANKS: Talked with Dean McCarthy. Their view is that when you commit yourself to MU student, you sign onto a contract with a policy and student conduct code, and that they have the right to censor student expression whenever they want since when we're on campus we'’re theirs and when we're off-campus we're a representative of the University. Still, just because they can censor us doesn'’t mean they should. Brock points out the negative effects that can occur when the University does exercise their right. MUSG wants the University to be prudent in its decisions to curb student expression, given our goal to make the University an open forum for the free exchange of ideas.

DANIEL: Alex mentioned that he talked with Fr. Andy, and Fr. Thon [sic] said that he felt part of this issue was the higher standard of conduct expected from professional school students.

Jeez guys you talked to Dr. McCarthy the Dean of OSD, which is the Department that is the main oppessor of speech on and off campus, and Fr. Andy Thon who both agree that Marquette has an absolute right to "monitor and censor speech on and off campus". They clearly wouldn't have a vested interest in claiming such a right even if its doesn't legally exist.

Did any members of MUSG speak with a lawyer or Professor from the law school to verify this? Nope. Apparently none of the MUSG Senators even bothered to readl this Marquette Tribune staff editorial that stated:

The expelled student could argue that the university rule in question was not clear enough with regards to off-campus speech. He could also argue that Marquette received money from the government for the dental school building, and in that way is a government actor, broadening the student's right to free speech, according to Erik Ugland, a professor of media law at Marquette. Ugland said in an e-mail interview that he hoped the university would rescind its suspension.
I'm going to write a lot more later this weekend about everything that is wrong with this resolution because I have a lot of work to do tonight.

However, I will say this, unless MUSG is willing to put up a tougher fight with the Admin, I have zero faith in MUSG's pledge to pass a real "students bill of rights" next semester that actually protects students.