While I hate to bump a good discussion off of the mainpage, as Biedermann and I were hotly debating within the comment section of my last entry, a similarly veined topic has entered the atmosphere and I feel that it needs to be addressed. In a way that makes the Steiger lawsuit look downright logical, Marquette University has decided to suspend a Dental Student because of comments regarding a professor he never named within the the student's personal weblog.
I hate linking to conservative weblogs, but as The Marquette Warrior has a well written piece posted on the matter I shall fold against my own personal bias. Don't worry, the Liberals at Marquette haven't fallen asleep on the job, as the folks at 1832 are harping about this too. It's all ridiculous. Damned ridiculous. Imagine if Eau Claire suspended me for some of the things I said here? It's true I never mentioned Best Buy by name while I worked there for similar fears, but you shouldn't have to worry about your University... To continue the ludicrousness, for the student to return, he'd have to give up any scholarship opportunites, along with a mess of other restrictions. You can read the letter they sent the student (with his name removed) here [PDF].
While it's true that Marquette is a private university, and therefore not restricted the way UW Eau Claire, my beloved state-run school, would have to be in it's actions, the implications on this matter are huge. 1832 has an interesting piece on what this could all end up meaning for freedom of speech on private college campuses.
This can't be doing the school's image any favors either. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has already put out a piece on this, and it's appeared on nationally read blogs (I picked it up from Slashdot myself). Marquette is going to be seen as an enemy of student speech, or at least incredibly backwards -- and the public image of a private school can make or break it.