Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Abridging The Freedom Of Speech

According to the First Amendment, Congress shall make no laws abridging the freedom of speech, which is why the law does not apply to Chicago State University. Congress isn't running the school. Therefore, the professors have to shut up and stop beefing about the administration.

As a college, CSU is geared towards the unprivileged who don't have the background for rigorous university-level study. Graduation rates are low, and the incoming freshman class shrinks year after year. For a long time, it was the pet project of former State Senator Emil Jones, who directed millions of dollars in state funds to prop up the institution. Those who found jobs thanks to Mr. Jones returned the favor by voting him into office again and again, which is not how you expect the average four-year university to operate. But this is Chicago.

Chicago State has been in turmoil for years, going back to an attempt to replace the university's president that was followed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's changing of the board. Clout-heavy Chicagoans were inserted into place, and the school's president was suddenly given a vote of confidence.

With that kind of political shenanigans going on, it's little wonder that the faculty of CSU is fed up with the way things are run. They're all about education and intellectual pursuits, which is not the primary function of the school. CSU serves as a source of employment in an impoverished neighborhood, and a source of patronage jobs. When such widely divergent functions collide, the result is a public airing of complaints.

The university's lawyers sent a cease and desist order to political science professor Phillip Beverly to stop him from blogging about the problems and gripes of the faculty. There can be no freedom of speech at CSU. It's making the policians nervous.

Mr. Beverly and several of his colleagues are using their blog to expose the cronyism and chicanery that goes on behind the scenes. He was called out by the school's attorneys for using what they called trademarks, which would be the CSU logo. In response, Mr. Beverly adjusted the school's name to something more appropriate: Crony State University.

That will not satisfy the administration, however, which longs to silence Mr. Beverly and his fellow beefers. The powerful who run the school do not want the general public to know how their tax dollars are being wasted on clouted hiring practices that reward the connnected and leave the school without sufficient money to improve and, well, teach those most in need of education.

The university's spokesman, Tom Wogan, wants everyone to know that the administration is not threatening Professor Beverly to shut him up. No, not at all. It's that misuse of trademarks that must be stopped. And the professor cannot represent himself as an employee of the institution either. There's a rule in place that forbids all the school's employees from using any and all social media to air the school's dirty laundry without permission of the administration, but other than that, they can blog all they like.

The First Amendment doesn't explicitly say anything about censorship, right?

No comments: