A Blog By Any Other Name

| January 29, 2014

The Chicago Tribune had a recent article entitled “Chicago State sends 2nd salvo at faculty website“. The article mentions “Chicago State University has demanded that a group of faculty members remove a photograph and change the domain name of a website that criticizes university administrators, the second time the school has sent a letter to the blog’s owners. In a Jan. 3 letter to an attorney representing the site’s operators, Donald Levine, an attorney with Gonzalez, Saggio and Harlan, said the csufacultyvoice.blogspot.com/ address is not authorized or endorsed by CSU or its entire faculty.”

In response to the University’s request, the faculty bloggers, in a post entitled “More of the same???“, the blogger(s) assert:

So loyal readers, the regime continues in its feeble attempts to silence your humble narrator and colleagues. I am truly humbled that our attempts at shining the light on administrative misdeeds has driven a university with continuously declining enrollment to pay a law firm to infringe on our First Amendment rights. (See this Chicago Tribune article) I am sure that you, loyal readers, won’t stand for this blatant attempt at censorship, especially when administrative misconduct is at the center of this controversy. I am sure you remember falsified employment applications and the inaction taken by this administration. I am sure that you recall the failed attempts at censorship in the computer usage policy and the communications policy. This administration just doesn’t get it. The misdeeds you engage in will be brought into the light of day. And since no affirmative defense has ever been offered, I can only conclude what appears on this blog is true. The sycophantic responses by anonymous readers, usually few and far between, never offer any argument in defense of the abysmal performance of this administration. Those comments always seem to degenerate into ad hominem attacks on the authors and no discussion of the substance of the post.

Be assured loyal readers that all of the contributors to our fair blog will agree as to which tact we will take in the request presented by the university’s newest legal representatives.
Stay tuned.
Appears some faculty do not appreciate leadership or certain leaders at least and some of the policies of the university.  This should not normally be news but when you air your grievances on a public website and lawyers start writing letters I guess that makes it news.
blogging_lies_472415There are some excellent guidelines for corporations and businesses for blogs and social media interaction (see: http://www.scoutblogging.com/guidelines.html and http://www.ibm.com/blogs/zz/en/guidelines.html
Most are common sense and may be covered by employment agreements or other contractual relationships.  It’s one thing if you are Jon Stewart and you joke about Arby’s as opposed to if you work at Arby’s and joke about the quality of the product, particularly on a public website or social media page.
A quick search for “Chicago State University Blogging Policy” only revealed several pages of this issue largely  until I stopped looking at references of this discussion between the bloggers and the intended audience (i.e. University administrators, Chicago Tribune, other faculty, other university news sites and blogs).  And isn’t that the point of this blog? To get attention and have a discussion on the issues that appear to be plaguing the university in their eyes?
How do you see it?  Is this infringement on First Amendment rights or does the university have the right to demand this blog cease and desist? Would you take your university/hospital/laboratory/employer to task on a public forum?

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