March 30, 2011

Conservatives keep trying to nose into professors' email.

The NYT reports:
A conservative research group in Michigan has issued a far-reaching public records request to the labor studies departments at three public universities in the state, seeking any e-mails involving the Wisconsin labor turmoil. The group, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, declined to explain why it was making the Freedom of Information Act request for material from professors at the University of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State University.... This records request, which was filed Friday, comes several days after the Republican Party of Wisconsin made a records request to a prominent University of Wisconsin history professor, William Cronon...

Greg Scholtz, the director of academic freedom for the American Association of University Professors, said: “We think all this will have a chilling effect on academic freedom. We’ve never seen FOIA requests used like this before.”
I think there have been requests like this before, and I could point to one from a prominent liberal group in the recent past, but I will refrain. I am glad this issue is getting processed in the context of a conservative intruder on a liberal professor, because it will help build support for the position I favor: academic freedom for professors. Come on, all you liberals, commit to the academic freedom position. I want to rely on that in the future.

166 comments:

Scott M said...

Academic freedom for professors, as a purely hypothetical debate point, is a wonderful thing. Equally hypothetical, how far would a professor have to go to abuse, and potentially loose, that freedom?

Asking the left to commit to a principle so you can skewer them with it rhetorically in the future is an exercise in futility. The left, increasingly, prove what many have previously claimed; that the left do not have principles, They have positions.

Consistency isn't part-and-parcel with that sort of worldview and your skewers will have all the effectiveness of trying to BBQ pudding kebabs.

Patrick said...

Academic freedom is good. I'm guessing it means something different in Academia, what with speech codes and all. the left isn't so good at freedom, they just have a tough time admitting it.

Shut up, Bob Wright explained.

mark said...

Academic Freedom? What does our (I teach at a university) use of public funds, via use of email, have to do with that?

If you are an employee paid by public money, then public is your boss. And they have the right to review your work. If you don't want them to do that, then do it on your own time with your own money. As a state employee when you have personal emails you should use a private account.

Ann Althouse said...

Email has come to take the place of phone calls or conversations in the coffee room.

al said...

Academic freedom - the ability to scare your students into accepting that only your ideas/beliefs/opinions/etc are acceptable.

Contrasting ideas/beliefs/opinions will be dealt with harshly.

Mick said...

This is your focus cause, when there is an illegal Usurper (Obama was born British, no matter where birth occurred) in the White House, giving illegal orders to our military?

tim maguire said...

If there were some way to distinguish between job-related and personal emails (especially political emails) on the university server, then I would favor protecting the former, but not the latter.

Failing that, the only option I can see is for the professors to join the 20th century and get a yahoo account.

Thomas said...

Requests from liberal groups won't have a chilling effect on academic freedom, because academics are liberals, or should be, and if they're not, they're doing something wrong and should be exposed.

Meade said...

In my meeting with Rep. Brett Hulsey yesterday, I learned that he is writing legislation meant to protect academic freedom in Wisconsin. "Closed Meetings" laws? I don't know - I'll report more when I see the details.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Academic freedom for me, but not for thee.

Oxymoron alert.

With the scripted nature of teaching today, borne of the oversight and blessing of the Dept of Education (at least in terms of K-12), I fail to see how 'academic freedom' is anything but code for carte blanche and undeserved protection for college professori.

I agree with other posters that point out 'academic freedom' does not apply to students, quite the contrary, reason being some memes/messages being more 'equal' than others. See: speech codes.

Ann Althouse said...

There's no FOIA/open records access to the students' email. Student privacy is protected.

mark said...

Email is where we can collaborate on ideas. But, state employees must use common sense and separate the job from their life. That is required anywhere you work. And we don't get to hide behind academic freedom for everything.

The easiest personal test: Would you write the information on departmental letterhead? Yes = Use departmental email. No = Use private email.

And then FOIA request of emails would uncover proper use of state funds where your email is used for your job. Outside of the typical "when are your coming home?" and "can you pick up milk are the drive home?" emails we all get.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@mark

"The easiest personal test: Would you write the information on departmental letterhead? Yes = Use departmental email. No = Use private email."

This sounds right. Your employer (the state/people) has a right to review any email you send or receive on their server(s). Pretty common policy.

'Academic freedom' is not a defense.

Patrick said...

I would say that students' use of email is different than the Professors' use. Students are not (generally) paid by the university, or public employees. BTW, the university shouldn't provide students with e-mail. Hotmail, Gmail and yahoo all have free services, which should suffice. As for the professors, academic freedom vs. transparency, not sure where I stand. It seems to me the threat to academic freedom should be real and imminent before transparency is denied.

Scott M said...

There's no FOIA/open records access to the students' email. Student privacy is protected.

Are they employees of the state in their official position as students?

Pogo said...

"Greg Scholtz, the director of academic freedom for the American Association of University Professors, said: “We think all this will have a chilling effect on academic freedom."

Nosing into e-mails has a chilling effect on freedom, period.

But laws, regulations, and lawsuits have forced the rest of us to comply.

All that has occurred without a peep from Democrats, activists, professors, lawyers or politicians about "a chilling effect" on freedom.

University professors are merely experiencing what everyone else has had to abide. Why should they be sacrosanct?

When they came for the e-mails of tobacco company executives, I did nothing, because I was not a tobacco company executive. ....

mark said...

As far as students ...

Academic Freedom doesn't apply to them because they aren't being paid for their academic status. They are paying the university for the privilege of being a product produced by the university.

Personally, have federal and state laws removed the need for the concept of academic freedom and tenure? Do they now provide similar protection that the concept of academic freedom/tenure was supposed to provide?

And then the same questions with "unions" replacing "academic freedom".

AllenS said...

Ann Althouse said...
Email has come to take the place of phone calls or conversations in the coffee room.

It has replaced the writing of letters more than anything else.

WV: sluck

Shouting Thomas said...

I don't care.

My politics, such as they are, embody nothing but self-interest.

In what way do you care about my self-interest, Althouse? I don't say this with any hostility. It's more of a flat statement.

So, no, I'm not going to crusade for you to have freedoms and perks at your job that I don't get. Sorry, but that doesn't interest me.

When I look at the demonstrators in Madison and read about the people that academia embraces (like Bill Ayers), I don't get any sense that my values or self-interest have any traction in academia.

So, you're on your own, Althouse. It's your fight, not mine. Has no meaning or purpose in my life. Good for you that you get the job security, the great income and great perks... but adding to that... what purpose does that have in promoting my self-interest? Abstractions be damned.

Maguro said...

Isn't the key question here whether a university professor is a government official or not? If they're government officials, then the FOIA statutes apply to them even if it cramps their style. If the law does apply to them, they need to comply and then lobby to get academic types exempted from the FOIA laws.

I would also suggest that in light of the role that FOIA requests played in unearthing the Climategate scandal, a blanket exemption for academic types would have its downside as well. To a certain extent, the professors have brought this upon themselves by coming down from their ivory tower and mucking about in political activism.

Windbag said...

Is this simply a case of a group taking advantage of a poorly written law with its accompanying unintended consequences now being exposed?

G Joubert said...

As a professor at a private college, let me say: They are public employees using their public employer's email system for non work-related and perhaps ultra vires purposes. Public records. It has nothing to do with academic freedom. They're still academically free. They should get a yahoo account.

shoutingthomas said...

Or, to put it another way...

After 50 years of quotas in college hiring and admissions that discriminate against me because I am white, male and hetero...

I'm supposed to care?

anon2 said...

I wonder what Richard Lindzen, Will Gray, and Roger Pielke think about academic freedom and tenure. I suspect that none of them would have retained their positions had it not been the respect for academic freedom and protection offered by tenure.

Freeman Hunt said...

If you work in the private sector, your employer has access to your work email.

Public sector employees seem to think that they are entitled to more than a few special privileges.

There are a plethora of free email services out there. Your freedom is not restricted by limiting the manner in which you use your work email.

That's not to say that I don't find the petitions to peek into email unseemly, I do, but I don't see any cause for special protection from such petitions.

Triangle Man said...

@Mark

Are lab notebooks of professors at public universities fair game for open records laws? How about legal pads? Anything scribbled on a napkin?

Universities, public and private have been doing email for much longer than almost any company. I can see why companies might have very restrictive policies on separation of public/private email. I have worked places that did not want you using the company phones for personal local phone calls. Just because that is true in some places, does not mean that the policy is true everywhere. It might make sense at a law firm whose email is subject to discovery demands, but at a University it makes far less sense.

It is clear that there is very little expectation that faculty emails be subject to the open record laws in general because there is no requirement that faculty emails be retained.

Expat(ish) said...

@pogo - ROTFL!

Why not use some software to separate out the three classes of email that prof's probably have:

1> Johnny, come to class;
2> Pick up some milk, pay the power bill, up your 401K deduction
3> Rethugligans.....

If something can't pass the filter, have a neutral mediator review it and put it in the right pile. Shoot, use Amazon Mechanical Turk!

-XC

PS - yes, I know, not a 100% solution, but perfect is the enemy of good enough

Freeman Hunt said...

Also, considering how dissent from the standard liberal lines is so poorly tolerated in academia, I find the appeal to academic freedom amusing.

Looks like Fen's rule coming into play.

Triangle Man said...

When they came for the e-mails of tobacco company executives, I did nothing, because I was not a tobacco company executive. ....

Those emails were made public though a subpoena. The Wisconsin Republican Party has not filed suit.

Triangle Man said...

If you work in the private sector, your employer has access to your work email.

Same is true in the public sector. The IT guys can know everything.

Public sector employees seem to think that they are entitled to more than a few special privileges.

What are you talking about? Access to a University Professor's email is available through private institutions?

That's not to say that I don't find the petitions to peek into email unseemly, I do, but I don't see any cause for special protection from such petitions.

Email communications should not routinely be publicly available. No special protection is needed. If there is an investigation of wrongdoing, then how about a subpoena?

Freeman Hunt said...

FOIA was used to obtain all of the text messages of the University of Arkansas's former football coach.

Because his phone was provided by the University.

I think that's far more intrusive than obtaining work emails, but I don't remember a lot of academics rushing to his defense.

Maguro said...

Email communications should not routinely be publicly available. No special protection is needed. If there is an investigation of wrongdoing, then how about a subpoena?

You're just saying that FOIA-type laws are a bad idea, and you may be right. Nevertheless, they are the law. How about explaining why those laws applies to other types of government officials but not professors?

Scott M said...

Email communications should not routinely be publicly available. No special protection is needed. If there is an investigation of wrongdoing, then how about a subpoena?

An FOIA request is hardly "routinely publicly available". Likewise, an FOIA request is just that, a request for info.

Gabriel Hanna said...

I think I have to agree with the commenters who say that since in the private sector, the compnay has the right to read your company email, why are academics immune if the law says they aren't?

Let academics take their case to the public, and justify why we should change the law to make the emails they send on the public dime secret from the public.

Freeman Hunt said...

Same is true in the public sector. The IT guys can know everything.

I don't even mean the IT guys. I mean your regular, non-techie supervisor.

The employer in the public sector is the public. So if the public doesn't have access, who does? The dean? Or are, as I was postulating, these public sector employees requesting that no one have access, that their work emails have some special privacy protection which exists nowhere else?

Freeman Hunt said...

Come on, all you liberals, commit to the academic freedom position. I want to rely on that in the future.

You have to know by now that that won't work.

Pogo said...

"Triangle Man said...
Those [tobacco company executives] emails were made public though a subpoena.
"

Just admit it, you want a double standard.

Whether by FOIA or subpoena, the left wants to curtail freedom, but they themselves should be excuded.

TosaGuy said...

How is political activism using employer resources academic freedom?

shoutingthomas said...

How is political activism using employer resources academic freedom?

Bingo! What else needs to be said?

This addresses a problem that obviously seeps down to the public school level in Madison.

What in the hell are all those high school teachers doing? They're obviously using their classrooms to indoctrinate their students in pro Democratic party politics.

At the college level, teachers have also absorbed this notion that they are justified in using their classrooms for political propaganda.

Althouse, the rest of us don't have jobs that encourage us to engage in political activism. In fact, that kind of behavior would get most of us fired.

anon2 said...

I suspect that email is used very differently in a business and a research university.

Let's say I am working with a new graduate student and playing devil's advocate to get her to think more carefully about a problem. Presumably a FOIA request would censor her responses, so all you would see is my half of the email. In such a scenario, I might make claims and arguments that I would never put in print (on university letterhead or otherwise).

A second issue (probably also an issue for businesses) is that the research enterprise is incredibly competitive. The release of tentative research results or proposal ideas could easily result in getting scooped. This could have disastrous consequences for a tenure track faculty member or PhD student. I get that the IT guys have access to my email, but I am not too worried about them blabbing about my latest NASA proposal nor do I think my competitors are going to risk jail time by hacking our university email system. On the other hand, publicizing our emails could be a real problem.

This has nothing to do with entitlement, but rather about making it more difficult to do our job. Email is a useful tool for quick, informal communication. Requiring that such communication be made public would make it a less useful tool. I don't see any reason why the law needs to treat email and phone conversation differently.

MayBee said...

"Academic freedom" sounds too much like "social justice". The freedom being sought seems to have almost nothing to do with academic endeavors, and more to do with old fashioned privacy.

Give it a fancy name for a special class, and it quickly becomes a some pigs argument.

Freeman Hunt said...

Carlos Lam sent his email from a Hotmail account, but because it came out because it went to Governor Walker, so I don't think the sender's portion is redacted.

Also, I already linked an example of a University employee's phone records being released.

anon2 said...

Freeman,
I hadn't heard about the Nutt case. Here is what James Joyner had to say about it:
http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/telephone_records_and_foia/

I agree with his conclusion...

virgil xenophon said...

It's ALWAYS a matter of whose oxen are being gored. Just look at femminista silence on the treatment of women by Islam (the enemy of my enemy..) or the silence of the left and the MSM on Obama's expansion of the "Imperial Presidency" that the left and Raoul Berger were so all a-twit about during the Nixon days.,

garage mahal said...

Like petty jealous boyfriends. Next they'll be calling these professors and hanging up and doing drive-bys.

"What are you saying about us! I NEED to know!"

Freeman Hunt said...

Ignore my first "because" there.

Anon brings up a good point about protecting research.

MadisonMan said...

BTW, the university shouldn't provide students with e-mail.

I disagree. Most on-line classrooms have an email everyone link. It's simplest to have a student's college-provided email there. Otherwise, it's a headache to maintain the email lists. At the local college I teach at, student communication is mandated to be through the college-provided student email, and I'm guessing because it is archived.

Scott M said...

It's simplest to have a student's college-provided email there.

Hypothetically, you cannot participate on campus without building a user profile. A user profile cannot be completed without a working email with verification. Whammo...you've got your email list and the impetus is on the student to both maintain their own email and to check it for academic material. This scenario is the way things are done for virtually (no pun intended) every online community I've ever joined.

virgil xenophon said...

PS: Another way of saying ScottM is right with the very first post: "...the left do not have principals. They have positions."

Ann Althouse said...

"If the law does apply to them, they need to comply and then lobby to get academic types exempted from the FOIA laws."

Not everything should be seen as a public record, uust because you're a public official. And not every public employee is a public official. The law should be interpreted (and also amended) to apply to people exercising governmental power in some way that the policies of freedom of information are at stake.

Scott M said...

The law should be interpreted (and also amended) to apply to people exercising governmental power in some way that the policies of freedom of information are at stake.

Any way to protect the theater profs while making the poli sci profs vulnerable?

anon2 said...

I agree that political activism by faculty at public universities should not be covered by academic freedom.

The problem is that the remedy being sought to shine light on nefarious political activism by university faculty has negative unintended consequences that impact academic freedom.

MadisonMan said...

Whammo...you've got your email list and the impetus is on the student to both maintain their own email and to check it for academic material.

That's fine for students who actually want to participate in an online class. But for others -- I have some who vanish for a month, then reappear -- it's not so handy.

If a student has student loans, and they fail a class and have to repay that loan, the college has to provide documentation that they actually failed, or that they did not attend. (I can't remember which, from the standpoint of student loans, means you have to give your money back). If you don't have access to the hotmail account, and a college wouldn't, how could they do that?

John Foust said...

Althouse certainly knows the list of exceptions granted by Wisconsin's Open Records law, and that a recent decision said purely private emails could be withheld. There's the issue of whether an institution has a policy that prohibits certain non-business-related activities such as endless surfing or personal blogging during the work day, but that only creates policy violations. If you were wasting your day at the water cooler, it's a similar problem. The advantage of a phone call is that there's no transcript. (The technology to automatically do so is conventionally available, of course, so watch out for Big Brother Fitz on the office line.)

Using a Gmail account doesn't circumvent the Open Records law. If you are conducting business there, those records are not somehow hidden or exempt. They're fair game for a request, and a records holder should surrender them. Eventually someone will raise the question of why those shaggy smelly hippie Madison professors get to use a public-funded Internet connection for their personal Gmail and streaming video.

Not long ago, a Milwaukee county supervisor attempted to see the phone call records for exec Walker's cell phone, to determine whether he'd been bargaining with certain development businessmen. Walker claimed he paid for the cell phone on his own, and thereby (arguably illegally) side-stepped whether his call records were open or not.

The open records law is the way that outside watchdogs can monitor and examine the communications of public officials and public employees. It works just as well for you, me, a newspaper reporter, a political operative, a professor with too much time on their hands, or a neighborhood crank.

Freeman Hunt said...

Actual, not rhetorical, question: Who oversees the teaching activities of professors?

Gabriel Hanna said...

Look, even if FOIA requests of academic emails are bad, that doesn't mean that courts should just "interpret" them away. If the law has bad consequences, change the law. Academics need to take to their state legislators and persuade them to see it their way, just like the rest of us do who are inconvenienced by the unintended consequences of a poorly thought out law.

Pogo said...

"The problem is that the remedy being sought ...has negative unintended consequences that impact academic freedom."

"Negative unintended consequences" is the Democratic Party platform.

Why stop now, just because it's biting you in the ass?

garage mahal said...

The law should be interpreted (and also amended) to apply to people exercising governmental power in some way that the policies of freedom of information are at stake.

Bingo.

Triangle Man said...

How about explaining why those laws applies to other types of government officials but not professors?

@maguro

I'm not saying that exactly. Some Professors may have some administrative functions and produce records that should be available to the public. The law is not about email produced using state sponsored resources (however minor the state financial contribution is), it is about records including email that have bearing on the governance of the state. Requests made under the open record law can be anonymous and do not have to provide any reason for the request. There are also many recognized exclusions, that include purely personal communications.

Gabriel Hanna said...

One unintended consequence of ethanol mandates is to raise the price of food. Let's have the courts order food prices to return to 2004 levels!

It's not like it's impossible to change a law, it's just inconvenient.

MayBee said...

Yes, there is a case to protect research professors.
But also a case to not protect them. Consider the case of Dr Hwang,professor at Seoul National University, who fooled the world with his cloning success.

If he were in the US, would we have wanted to be able to look at his records?

I don't think there should be fishing expeditions on professors, but there can't be blanket protection.

Triangle Man said...

If he were in the US, would we have wanted to be able to look at his records?

I don't think there should be fishing expeditions on professors, but there can't be blanket protection.


There is no blanket protection. There is a subpoena.

Lincolntf said...

Not exactly the same thing, but my wife's university has had a couple mini-scandals regarding e-mails. First, 6,000 e-mails (from the official school e-mail address) were sent out the day before the 2010 election specifically instructing recipients to vote Democrat. That resulted in a complete whitewash, half-assed apology, and a self-conducted "investigation" that found no systemic problems. A month later, 1,400 official University e-mails were sent out encouraging recipients to call their Reps and urge passage of the Dream Act. Again, total whitewash, no consequences.
The issue here is not privacy per se (every single Prof. is free to open a netzero/gmail/yahoo account whenever they want). The issue is the appropriation of State resources for partisan advantage.

Nathan said...

"The law should be interpreted (and also amended) to apply to people exercising governmental power in some way that the policies of freedom of information are at stake."

Does that governmental power include use of public resources? So if a professor receives a grant to study caffeine's effect on learning, it is of course in the public interest to know that the grant money is not being used to buy expensive coffee for the professor and his friends.

Likewise, if a professor is provided an official university e-mail address, how is it not in the public interest to know that it is not just being used for political activism?

By the way, it may be worth reviewing UW-Madison's Appropriate Use Policy for computer resources (including e-mail). Parts 8 and 9 seems particularly instructive.

Freeman Hunt said...

To whom are professors accountable?

David said...

See. Conservatives can be stupid too.

Sofa King said...

The law should be interpreted (and also amended) to apply to people exercising governmental power in some way that the policies of freedom of information are at stake.

There is an obvious "who watches the watchers" problem with this.

Beth said...

Freeman, I'd assume the structure may be different from institution to institution, but in my department the "committee of the whole," that being the tenured and retained faculty, review each faculty member every two years with classroom visits and a portfolio review. The chair supervises that process.

roesch-voltaire said...

The problem is that almost any research activity could be defined as political as seen by the request for anything relating to union, or political request etc, and as a result limit academic freedom. For example, my wife just sent me an emil announcement of a lecture on "Questioning Authority: The White House Press Corps as Watchdog, Lapdog, or Attack Dog?" which will take place in the Sociology Dept of all places of suspect. Should I respond to this with my take on the subject, or instead use the phone for fear that email will be used against me as I write: Lap dog in my opinion. Or will we be censured for using the email for personal use; we will have lunch together before attending the lecture?

Shouting Thomas said...

"Questioning Authority: The White House Press Corps as Watchdog, Lapdog, or Attack Dog?"

You should probably divorce your wife... and rid yourself of all ties to any Sociology Dept.

Original Mike said...

"To whom are professors accountable?"

In my department, if you're not paying for yourself (and others) off research grants, you're persona non grata.

virgil xenophon said...

sssshhhhHHH!, Freeman, that's the dirty little open secret: For all practical purposes--no matter what the platitudes (or especially because of them e.g. ""academic freedom")--effectively NO ONE!

(Well, I'll amend that somewhat. If one looks at campus speech codes/censorship issues one finds that FIRE, thru the court system can force academia to alter their operations to a limited extent. But in terms of functional answerability to the public that pays the bills over the entire range of issues? Effectively none, IMHO.)

Shouting Thomas said...

@roesch-voltaire

You are neck deep in ever imaginable type of lefty garbage.

Did you cut off your testicles, too? You know, as a matter of honor?

Maguro said...

Requests made under the open record law can be anonymous and do not have to provide any reason for the request. There are also many recognized exclusions, that include purely personal communications.

Right, certainly there are exclusions, just like the Federal FOIA legislation. And I would imagine that the state has an office of adjudication to determine what information is releasable and what isn't under the Open Records Law, just like Federal agencies do with FOIA requests. All standard stuff to anyone who has spent time working for the Feds.

Now, the way FOIA works is that any official records that aren't exempted have to be released. So it still seems the questions are 1) Whether a professor's email constitutes an official record 2) If so, whether the emails would qualify under an exemption to be non-releasable.

I suppose the state office of adjudication is ultimate authority for deciding these things.

Pogo said...

"roesch-voltaire said...
Should I respond to this with my take on the subject, or instead use the phone for fear that email will be used against me...
"

Welcome to the world the rest of us live in, where self-censoring has been the norm for a very long time.

In the USSR, there were official telephone call listeners, who were privy to any call you might make. It feels a little like that.

Over time you learn not to speak about certain things at work ever.

But don't worry, roesch-voltaire, you'll get used to it, in time. We all have.

Scott M said...

If one looks at campus speech codes/censorship issues one finds that FIRE,

You really have to hand it to those guys. The totalitarian speech codes at some colleges are quite shocking. These codes don't, it seems, survive very well in the light.

Titus said...

Althouse please don't turn over any of the pics I sent to you of my beautiful Indian UK husband and I.

Much appreciated doll.

DaveW said...

There's a difference between freedom and licentiousness. What is being advocated here is not freedom but the right to abuse a public asset for personal aggrandizement.

Get a yahoo account like everyone else. What you put on the public server is owned by, and rightly available to, the public.

garage mahal said...

In the USSR, there were official telephone call listeners, who were privy to any call you might make. It feels a little like that.

If you live in states controlled by newly elected nutball GOP'ers, yes. All good with Tailgunner Pogo though right?

Skyler said...

I'm all for academic freedom of professors. I think that freedom comes from not taking government dollars, though. The two are incompatible.

Shouting Thomas said...

If you live in states controlled by newly elected nutball GOP'ers, yes. All good with Tailgunner Pogo though right?

As usual, garbage, you've got everything completely backward.

Restrictions on speech in the workplace are entirely the work of liberal academics, primarily feminists led by Catherine McKinnon.

Women propagandized in women's studies flocked to HR departments in the 90s, determined to rid corporations of largely imaginary sexual harassment. The result was the Diversity hysteria. The Diversity seminar with its ham fisted propaganda tactics became a corporate staple.

And, ambulance chaser lawyers stood in front of office buildings in Manhattan, grabbed blacks on the way out and asked them if they wanted to file a discrimination lawsuit. Hell, why not? You might get something. These lawyers were all liberals.

Corporations did what they had to do. They told everybody to shut up lest anybody was offended. Your side did this, garbage.

Pogo said...

"All good with Tailgunner Pogo though right?"

Not so much fun to be hoist by one's own petard, is it garage?

Just think of all the Democrat-created problems that could have been avoided had you simply asked yourself one question before enacting any of the million stupid laws the Democrats have created in the last 75 years:

"What are the negative unintended consequences of this legislation?

Chas S. Clifton said...

Over twenty years teaching at public colleges and universities, I am sure I wrote things in email that I should not have. ("Let he who is without sin," etc.) So I feel for Prof. Cron in that regard.

"Academic freedom" is a widely misunderstood concept. It does not mean that one is free to indoctrinate students or be a jerk.

It does mean that you should be able to research, write, and introduce relevant topics in class without state legislatures, trustees, alumni, etc. telling you what you can or cannot do.

Triangle Man said...

Welcome to the world the rest of us live in, where self-censoring has been the norm for a very long time.

Bullshit Pogo. Since when is a physician "the rest of us"?

Triangle Man said...

I think that freedom comes from not taking government dollars, though.

This is going to need some explaining. Do you oppose public funding of higher education, or just think that public universities should be inherently inferior?

Lincolntf said...

Speaking of unintended consequences (or were they?), has everyone seen the Sentinel Journal piece on the millions of dollars needed for crowd control/security during the Madison mob scene? Gateway Pundit has the story w/links.

http://gatewaypundit.rightnetwork.com

Pogo said...

Ad hominem, Triangle.

Try another angle.

mark said...

@Freeman Hunt

The typical state accountability chain for a professor is Department Chair (elected by Department) -> College Dean -> Various Vice Provosts -> Provost -> President -> State Governance Powers.

Students have several opportunities to complain into that chain at any time. And we usually have evaluations per class by students and annual evaluations by the department. All to "check" quality of instruction and research.

Triangle Man said...

Just think of all the Democrat-created problems that could have been avoided had you simply asked yourself one question before enacting any of the million stupid laws the Democrats have created in the last 75 years:

I wonder what the historical roots of the open records laws are. Remember that in Wisconsin, the progressives were originally Republicans.

Pogo said...

Triangle Man said...
"Do you oppose public funding of higher education, or just think that public universities should be inherently inferior?"

The former does not suggest the latter.

Pastafarian said...

Triangle Man said: "The law is not about email produced using state sponsored resources (however minor the state financial contribution is), it is about records including email that have bearing on the governance of the state."

So is that what the law actually says, then? That FOIA requests are to be honored only with regard to records that have a bearing on governance, and not possible evidence of waste or fraud?

If so, why are we even having this discussion?

Or do you, and garage, and Althouse, believe that this is how the law should be interpreted, because that's how things OUGHT to be, and not because that's how the wording actually reads?

I'm asking an honest question here, I have no idea, I've never read the law.

garage mahal said...

As usual, garbage, you've got everything completely backward.

So we're talking about liberal groups doing FOIA requests on conservative professors? Take a look up at the title of this post.

Original Mike said...

"To whom are professors accountable?"

I could send you my teaching evaluations for the last few years. I'm rather proud of them.

Triangle Man said...

@Mark and Freeman

At UW the Professor is responsible for the content quality of the class. This is at the core of academic freedom.

Students complete evaluations and review of those evaluations happens in different ways in different programs. Anyone with consistently lousy reviews might have a conversation with the Chair of the Department or the Director of a Graduate Program. Again, it differs from school to school and department to department in the University. Pre-tenure faculty have to worry about tenure review. Tenured faculty have to worry about merit pay increases (if they ever happen again).

Maguro said...

So we're talking about liberal groups doing FOIA requests on conservative professors? Take a look up at the title of this post.

And what's wrong with FOIA requests? They promote openness, transparency and good governance.

That's what the politicians said when they passed the law, anyway.

roesch-voltaire said...

Shouting, I would guess by the stream of your anger and absurd suggestions that some women have accused you of sexual harassment,which is why you feel that liberal women censor your behavior, but that is an entirely different issue from academic freedom to research any topic, including the historical origins of sexual harassment. Just don't do this using a government owned computer because the New Republican Order is watching.

Triangle Man said...

That was not ad hominem Pogo. I was pointing out the absurdity of your attempt to argue as the egalitarian rank and file against the privilege of the elites.

Pogo said...

"roesch-voltaire said
...because the New Republican Order is watching.
"

When considering the negative unintended consequences of proposed legislation, Democrats might also consider the corollary query:

What would happen if this law were used by our opponents?

I know, I know. It does make passing legislation that you just know is 'The Right Thing To Do' so very much harder.

But there it is.

garage mahal said...

And what's wrong with FOIA requests? They promote openness, transparency and good governance

What does a history professor's emails with his students have to do with good governance? The FOIA request from Republicans came right after a private blog post, and the request only wanted to know if Cronin was talking about them. Like I said, paranoid jealous boyfriend type stuff.

Oh and did you know Walker now wants 150 million in choo-choo money from the Feds? Thought you'd get a kick out of that. It's getting harder and harder to parody these people.

Pogo said...

"I was pointing out the absurdity of your attempt to argue as the egalitarian rank and file against the privilege of the elites.

What a lot of words you deciphered from my use of the phrase "the world the rest of us live in".

The inability to focus must be maddening. So many tangents, hidden meanings, code words, and foucauldian connections to decipher!

I meant only: non-professors.

Triangle Man said...

@Pastafarian

I will be interested to see what the experts decide, and would not be surprised to be wrong in my interpretation. The Attorney General gets final say, and he is likely to be sympathetic to the view of the Republican Party.

Requests can be anonymous and don't have to provide any reason for the request. Under the interpretation here, any one could request Althouse's emails with any combination of search phrases or simply a date range. Then the fun will come when trying to decide what can be excluded by statute. How about everything in the spam folder?

YoungHegelian said...

I've got to agree with ST @10:28 analysis of who's responsible for turning corporate America into a PC wasteland for free speech.

Check the categories of what constitutes an "offensive" web site in web filtering services. It's PC thought made manifest in software.

I've also been to "how to sell our product" seminars for vendors who make e-mail archiving and retrieval software. You know what's the hook? "This product will more than pay for itself if you EVER get sued for any EEOC infraction. Litigants use the ruinious costs of discovery to try and force companies into settlements. With our wonderful product your e-mail recovery time for discovery will be hours instead of weeks."

Maguro said...

What does a history professor's emails with his students have to do with good governance?

You're obviously not familiar with FOIA. Any official records not covered under one of the 9 exclusions have to be released. The theory is that the benefits of openness and transparency in government outweigh the privacy rights of government employees. If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with FOIA as a whole, because there's nothing in the law that says the requester of information must be morally pure.

Oh and did you know Walker now wants 150 million in choo-choo money from the Feds? Thought you'd get a kick out of that.

Great news, garage, Walker must read this blog and have been swayed by your wonderfully cogent arguments in favor of high speed choo-choos. Pat yourself on the back, champ.

Pastafarian said...

This is one of the things about the topic of law that really bothers me, Triangle Man: We all speak the same language, but we have to rely on "experts" to tell us what the law says, because it's so big and convoluted and complex.

Why? Partly to make work for lawyers, I suspect; and partly because everyone thinks there's a compelling reason that they should be exempt, and so the law becomes a tangle of exceptions.

I've found the text of the law, I think, here:

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/Stat0019.pdf

(Sorry about the non-html link.)

What a goddamned mess that is. 28 pages of this stuff.

Now, one would think that Althouse might be right, and that professors wouldn't be officers of the state, and so this wouldn't apply to them.

But from an initial once-over, it looks like there are annotations here and there about school records. It appears as though the requirements of the law flow downhill from obvious officials (say the dean or provost of a public university) to their subordinates (like professors).

But I'm not sure yet. I'll read more later, when I need to force myself to fall asleep.

Frankly, I'm ambivalent about this issue. But I just don't want anyone to take the position that the law should be interpreted one particular way, not because it's what the law actually means, but because it's what she wants it to mean. One Roe v. Wade is one too many.

shoutingthomas said...

Shouting, I would guess by the stream of your anger and absurd suggestions that some women have accused you of sexual harassment,which is why you feel that liberal women censor your behavior, but that is an entirely different issue from academic freedom to research any topic, including the historical origins of sexual harassment. Just don't do this using a government owned computer because the New Republican Order is watching.

Anger is a good thing when it comes to death threats and window breaking by leftists, right?

No woman has ever accused me of sexual harassment. Nice job of fabrication. To be expected from a commie.

But, I'll bet you wish women would accuse me of something, don't you? You didn't answer about when, where and how you cut off your testicles.

Maguro said...

Requests can be anonymous and don't have to provide any reason for the request. Under the interpretation here, any one could request Althouse's emails with any combination of search phrases or simply a date range. Then the fun will come when trying to decide what can be excluded by statute. How about everything in the spam folder?

I actually responded to a FOIA request a few months ago for any records associated with Jessica Simpson. We all had to type "Jessica Simpson" into the search box on our hard drives and email boxes, then forward any applicable files to the local FOIA office.

The final adjudication for which files are exempt and which are releasable takes place at a higher level FOIA office. The Federal government has a huge number of people who do nothing but process FOIA requests all day.

shoutingthomas said...

@roesch-voltaire

When your sociology department wife decides to divorce you, take everything you own and (if you have children) take your children from you...

I've got the names of some guys involved in men's issues who can help you.

How old are you? You can't be over 23 and still be that stupid.

Playing the sensitive castrato for liberal, feminist women is a losing game, chump. You'll find out sooner or later.

Pastafarian said...

I'm not a lawyer (far, far from it), but this seems to indicate to me that FOIA requests don't have to be just about governance:

"Misconduct investigation and disciplinary records are not excepted from public
disclosure under sub. (10) (d). Sub. (10) (b) is the only exception to the open records
law relating to investigations of possible employee misconduct. Kroeplin v. DNR,
2006 WI App 227, 297 Wis. 2d 254, 725 N.W.2d 286, 05−1093."

Triangle Man said...

The inability to focus must be maddening. So many tangents, hidden meanings, code words, and foucauldian connections to decipher!

See, now that's an ad hominem. Glad you understand the difference now.

Pastafarian said...

And this would seem to protect researchers' legitimate research:

"5) TRADE SECRETS. An authority may withhold access to any
record or portion of a record containing information qualifying as
a trade secret as defined in s. 134.90 (1) (c)."

Triangle Man said...

@Pastafarian

The distinction I wanted to draw was between some functions professors have that are related to governance or administration and those that are related to scholarship and teaching. The descriptions of those areas and their boundaries might be vague.

MayBee said...

What does a history professor's emails with his students have to do with good governance?

What if he were encouraging his TAs to take part in the protests, and used his university email account to do that?
What if one of his TAs is a Walker supporter, and felt his academic freedom was threatened by having a professor who was using his position in this way?

Alex said...

Use your own hotmail/Gmail/yahoo account and problem solved.

Joe said...

"Academic freedom" means that professors should be able to say what they believe without fear of retribution from their superiors (who generally care only if they are the target or because some booster cares.)

The idea is to promote open discourse; to ensure nothing stay hidden. This is pure hypocrisy.

(I'll also wager that were these same folks in Utah when they passed their abhorent closed records law this year, these same professors would have been baying in complaint.)

garage mahal said...

because there's nothing in the law that says the requester of information must be morally pure.

Couldn't be truer in this case. Good thing the grown ups are in charge again!

Pogo said...

"See, now that's an ad hominem. Glad you understand the difference now."

Thank you; I learned from the best. ;)

Triangle Man said...

Use your own hotmail/Gmail/yahoo account and problem solved.

@Alex if a private email account is used for state business, then I bet it is still a "record" under the open records act.

Triangle Man said...

@MayBee

Do you know about The Wisconsin Idea? Getting involved in public policy is one of the expectations for UW faculty. Faculty are prohibited from campaigning for candidates using state resources, but getting involved in public policy debates is encouraged.

Pogo said...

"...if a private email account is used for state business, then I bet it is still a "record" under the open records act."

Dagnabit; those unintended consequences are everywhere!

Sofa King said...

@Alex if a private email account is used for state business, then I bet it is still a "record" under the open records act.

Yes, but it is then not evidence of misappropriation of state resources, which is what I suspect the FOIA trollers are actually looking for.

MayBee said...

Do you know about The Wisconsin Idea? Getting involved in public policy is one of the expectations for UW faculty.

Yes, I read about it. As I said at the time Althouse first posted about it, Wisconsin is starting to bug the crap out of me. What with all the "nice people of Wisconsin" taking over the statehouse, and all the "rules followers" calling in sick so school is cancelled, I really think Wisconsin needs to open its eyes.

That a TA should feel pressured by his professor to protest rather than work isn't some high ideal. It is the opposite of academic freedom. That a professor should use his position to influence politics isn't academics, it's politics. Which is exactly why I said the term "academic freedom" has the effect on me as "social justice".

garage mahal said...

If you have a problem with that, you have a problem with FOIA as a whole, because there's nothing in the law that says the requester of information must be morally pure.

Couldn't be truer in this case. Good thing the GROWN UPS are back in charge!

virgil xenophon said...

"He who takes the King's Gold does the King's bidding.."

See, were it not for the tax-payer supported "public university" system this line of concern would be a moot point. This is going to be an increasingly testy on-going problem in these days of academic political activism (both sub-rosa class-room indoctrination and overt public demonstrations/participation) and wide-spread casual, reflexive use of voluminous electronic comm that leaves a permanent/semi-permanent trail.

Thorley Winston said...

Email has come to take the place of phone calls or conversations in the coffee room.

Some people may (wrongly) treat email as just a casual way of conversing (just like some young people may think nothing of posting embarrassing pictures of themselves on Facebook) but it’s much more than that.


One of the key differences is that when you create an email, you create a document which could be potentially discoverable. In fact when complying with discovery requests, the bulk of the documents that we end up producing and / or reviewing are almost invariably employee emails.

MayBee said...

The thought of a bunch of college professors engaging in the Wisconsin Idea to use university time and resources to complain about the terrible influence of the Koch brothers is just delicious to me.

Thorley Winston said...

Universities, public and private have been doing email for much longer than almost any company. I can see why companies might have very restrictive policies on separation of public/private email. I have worked places that did not want you using the company phones for personal local phone calls. Just because that is true in some places, does not mean that the policy is true everywhere. It might make sense at a law firm whose email is subject to discovery demands, but at a University it makes far less sense.

I think that you’ve got this backwards.


Email at a law firm is probably less likely to be subject to discovery demands (unless the law firm itself is a party to a law suit) because it’s likely protected as work product.


Email from a public university is more subject to discovery because not only is it discoverable if the university is a party to a lawsuit but also because of FOIA and State laws promoting transparency of public institutions.

Meade said...

Titus said...
Althouse please don't turn over any of the pics I sent to you of my beautiful Indian UK husband and I.

Much appreciated doll.


Titus,
Stop hitting on my wife and sending her unsolicited porn. Much appreciated, dude.

MadisonMan said...

Sentinel Journal piece on the millions of dollars needed for crowd control/security during the Madison mob scene?

Wow, on top of the $7.5M in damages?

Freeman Hunt said...

Considering how much power academics do wield in spending millions of dollars in government grant money and in offering research to push public policy, I don't think they can be cast as non-actors in government power.

There should be some check on collusion between academics, who enjoy the special status of being considered dispassionate seekers of truth, and special interests seeking government power, whether they are corporations, unions, government officials, or whoever else. Especially when the public is paying for them.

Otherwise you can end up with situations where the academics are receiving money from these interests to produce research that promotes the further governmental power of such interests, allowing them to allocate even more taxpayer money for the production of such power-promoting research, and so on. (Exactly what we've seen with, for example, the issue of climate change.)

That's not to say that I think every email a professor sends should be publicly available. As anon pointed out, it's important not to compromise ongoing research. (And perhaps such an exception already exists under one of the existing exemptions.)

But I don't see why there should be some blanket protection, especially when it concerns FOIA requests specifically aimed at checking on political activism activities conducted through public universities with taxpayer funds.

Triangle Man said...

Yes, but it is then not evidence of misappropriation of state resources, which is what I suspect the FOIA trollers are actually looking for.

Maybe they are looking for that, but I think they are probably looking for text from emails that they can release to try and embarrass the Professor. Some dumb joke a friend sent, an off-hand comment, or a impassioned rant. The only explicitly prohibited use of state e-mail resources that I am aware of is campaigning for a political candidate.

Triangle Man said...

That a TA should feel pressured by his professor to protest rather than work isn't some high ideal

Are you referring to some specific story? I doubt any pressure would be required from a professor, but I agree that pressuring someone to protest or indoctrinating them in your political beliefs is not a value I share.

Triangle Man said...

@Thorley

Thanks for the clarification. Aside from attorney-client communication, I had thought that communication with expert witnesses or others would be subject to discovery.

Freeman Hunt said...

Some dumb joke a friend sent, an off-hand comment, or a impassioned rant.

Wouldn't most of that sort of thing already be exempted under the exemption for personal communication?

MayBee said...

Are you referring to some specific story? I doubt any pressure would be required from a professor, but I agree that pressuring someone to protest or indoctrinating them in your political beliefs is not a value I share.

I am referring to my own hypothetical, to which you responded w/ a reference to the Wisconsin idea.

MayBee said...

I doubt any pressure [to protest] would be required from a professor,

What does that say about your assumptions and/or the people chosen to TA at Wisconsin?

Lincolntf said...

MadisonMan said...

No, the 7.5 million dollar figure was a joke. These millions are very real and have already been spent. Read the article for crying out loud.

Godot said...

Academic Freedom
Freedom of Speech

I bet I know which one Bob Wright would defend to his last breath.
_

MayBee said...

Oh, and it is also delicious to think of professors who believe in Academic Freedom and the Wisconsin Idea! also supporting unions who arrange boycotts of businesses that supported Walker.

Meade said...

MadisonMan said...
"Sentinel Journal piece on the millions of dollars needed for crowd control/security during the Madison mob scene?"

Wow, on top of the $7.5M in damages?

MadMan: You realize the $7.5M in damages to the Capitol was an estimate made by the chief legal counsel for the Department of Administration, right? And that number was based on a ballpark figure/worst case scenario cost obtained from the state architect who oversaw the Capitol's restoration back in 2001.

Would you accept an estimate of $347,500.00? Whatever the cost ends up being, who do you think should end up paying? Taxpayers?

The $5.5M represents the actual costs for State Patrol and all the Wisconsin police who were called in to help keep the protests "peaceful."

Meade said...

$5.43M

Triangle Man said...

What does that say about your assumptions and/or the people chosen to TA at Wisconsin?

It says that the unionized TAs probably have a stronger personal interest in the outcome of the legislation than the non-unionized Professors and are therefore likely to make their own decision about attending the protest. TAs are graduate students, usually in the department or program in which the class is being taught. What are you trying to say about it?

Triangle Man said...

Wouldn't most of that sort of thing already be exempted under the exemption for personal communication?

I think it depends on who gets to make the call.

Original Mike said...

"Whatever the cost ends up being, who do you think should end up paying? Taxpayers?"

As a practical matter, who else is there?

John McAdams said...

labor studies departments

Aren't these all leftist departments known to favor unions and any other leftist movement?

And does anybody need to see their e-mails to know that?

MayBee said...

Triangle Man-
You said "
I doubt any pressure [to protest] would be required from a professor, "

Which is very different than what you are now saying, that each TA could make up his own mind.

Your first implies the TA would protest.
Indeed, they should be able to make their own decision about whether they would protest. And of course, they are students in the department for which they TA. Which is exactly why a Professor should not be pressuring (encouraging) them to protest. Which is what my hypothetical was.

Let's not pretend the answer is "Oh! How interested could a non-unioninzed professor be in those protests, anyway? "

jim said...

Generally society should err on the side of academic freedom (progress in some fields is impossible without it).

Where the principle falls down is when the professor is or has been a major player in setting policy, especially when that policy is perilous or questionable (John Woo comes to mind) or when their findings are the main basis for a policy that results in loss of life or injury, & those findings are then found to be non-replicable or fundamentally erroneous.

I can't see how either exception would apply to a history prof unless they'd previously been a big policy wonk. Even then, only relevant material should be considered as fair game for exposure.

At present one of the most toxic trends in American law is that corporations - including multinationals - keep getting more freedoms (see Citizens United) while individuals keep losing them (see Military Commissions Act) - if the trend continues you will eventually wind up with mandatory corporate feudalism. Perhaps the best solution to preserving academic freedom is for universities to register themselves as corporations?

Odd how the self-appointed champions of small government somehow manage to massively expand it every single time they get a chance to do so.

Numerous recent state measures now seek to expand it right into women's wombs - & the relative silence from both left & right on the subject is deafening.

roesch-voltaire said...

Shouting what a strange narrative you build that says more about you than me. I have been divorced once, shared custody for both children and remained friends with their mother so your story does not fit mine. My present wife is not in the sociology department, but she is a feminist along with many other attributes including being a wonderful conversationalist over the lunch we had together. I would email you about the content of the lecture, but mentioning the topic of the types of questions asked at press conferences, well you know the rules.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

who do you think should end up paying?

We've got to get Tubbs(& Crockett if necessary) busy writing those citations. That way the protesters can pay the extra security costs themselves. They should be more than happy to comply since it just represents more cash going to public employees. A win-win for everyone!

Alex said...

My present wife is not in the sociology department, but she is a feminist along with many other attributes including being a wonderful conversationalist over the lunch we had together.

Rephrase - my wife is a ball-buster and I enjoy it.

Alex said...

Odd how the self-appointed champions of small government somehow manage to massively expand it every single time they get a chance to do so.

It's called self-defense. We'll learning from the Alinsky-ites how to turn their methods back on them.

Scott M said...

Odd how the self-appointed champions of small government somehow manage to massively expand it every single time they get a chance to do so.

We have to expand the government in order to shrink it. Don't you follow modern political theory?

"We have to pass the bill before we know what's in it"

"I voted for the war before I voted against it"

"We can spend out way out of debt"

Freeman Hunt said...

Jim, we're talking about public universities, so they're already tied in with government. The idea at issue is what kind of accountability they have to the taxpayers. Specifically, should the public be able to make FOIA requests for emails in the public university system, and more specifically, those sent to or from professors?

roesch-voltaire said...

Alex since when is having lunch with your wife a ball buster? You and ST seems to have creepy ideas in regarding the power of women. I guess when your wife asks you to pass the salt, you grab your groin for protection?

Beth said...

Otherwise you can end up with situations where the academics are receiving money from these interests to produce research that promotes the further governmental power of such interests, allowing them to allocate even more taxpayer money for the production of such power-promoting research, and so on.

We saw this last summer with academics investigating the BP spill and cleanup, and we're seeing it again with their continuing investigations of the dolphin and turtles deaths along the coast. In some cases, they're being given gag orders by the gov't, with the explanation being that their data needs to be used for the case against BP, but in other cases, BP was being given quite a bit of ownership over data, I'd assume to protect shareholders.

Free sharing of information and research promotes peer review and more research, which is a good stay against the concerns you offer, Freeman.

Sofa King said...

Roesch -

They're busting your balls. It's something guys do to each other. Well maybe not inside the ivory tower. Have you ever seen that thing on TV, where guys make "whip" noises when one of their guy friends does something for his wife? Yeah.

Sociologically, I would speculate that it's a sort of social test, to see if you react in the proper way (which is to either laugh it off or bust balls back.) Getting huffy and defensive fails the test completely.

I'm sure Trooper York could tutor you if you need lessons for interacting with other men.

Francisco D said...

These jokers are always "chilled" that their free speech will be de facto curtailed. Are they chilled when conservative, libertarian or anti-jihadi speakers are shouted down?

Freeman Hunt said...

We saw this last summer with academics investigating the BP spill and cleanup, ...

Yes, the BP situation was and is another good example.

I am not convinced that peer review is a sufficient safeguard because one would have to get grants to do research that might dispute the earlier results, and, depending on the interests in play, that might not be possible. Also, it is so often the case that almost all grant money, especially when government takes an interest, surrounding anything controversial runs one way.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I am glad this issue is getting processed in the context of a conservative intruder on a liberal professor, because it will help build support for the position I favor: academic freedom for professors. Come on, all you liberals, commit to the academic freedom position. I want to rely on that in the future.

Where were you when we needed you?

Phil 3:14 said...

Speaking of unintended consequences (or were they?), has everyone seen the Sentinel Journal piece on the millions of dollars needed for crowd control/security during the Madison mob scene? Gateway Pundit has the story w/links.

The multiplier effect.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

"Triangle Man said...
Those [tobacco company executives] emails were made public though a subpoena."

Just admit it, you want a double standard.

Whether by FOIA or subpoena, the left wants to curtail freedom, but they themselves should be excuded.


(Spits out beverage!) This is the most hilarious thing I've seen all week. Pogo conflates a fictional right to make money off products that harm people while hiding evidence of that harm (lawsuit free!) with the ability to engage in free inquiry at our universities.

Dude, you're either nuts or really desperate.

And I held my tongue through this entire thread. Even found some of it a bit interesting.

Why did you have to ruin that with some obviously ignorant, self-serving BS?

;-(

Bad, Pogo! BAD DOG!

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

"When they came for the e-mails of tobacco company executives, I did nothing, because I was not a tobacco company executive. ...."

Oh, now I see where this came from! Pogo tried out the Niemoellerian Glenn Beck thing.

Jeebus! I always pegged you for a paranoid Beck-man! Nice to see it vindicated.

Freeman Hunt said...

During the BP spill, the government was willing to blatantly infringe on the freedom of the press in some cases (sending reporters away to disallow photography) and to simply fail to guarantee the freedom of the press in other cases (allowing BP to send reporters away to disallow photography.) The press is an industry specially equipped to blow the whistle on that type of behavior, so I can't imagine how much farther the state would be willing to go to further its chosen interests through less obvious channels (i.e. access to research information and grant money.)

Revenant said...

The University of Wisconsin at Madison has an oppressive speech code for students.

Food for thought.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Freemen Hunt: Also, it is so often the case that almost all grant money, especially when government takes an interest, surrounding anything controversial runs one way.

I eagerly await to see the statistics you've compiled on THAT.

You can't rest on your extensive experience reviewing grant proposals; anecdotes are not data.

Beth said...

Freeman, BP is still in charge of some of the beach and coast in south Louisiana; they have guards posted keeping people - reporters, citizens - off of public land. Weird.

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