A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Only for some

On most college campuses these days, it seems that free speech is only for those with the liberal point of view.

Here we have another example:

The publicly funded William Paterson University (search) in New Jersey reprimanded Jihad Daniel for discrimination and sexual harassment. The 63-year-old Daniel, who is both an employee and a student at the university, is now at the center of a free speech controversy.

He is also a fine example of the sleight-of-hand being called "due process" by universities that quash politically incorrect speech.

The facts are uncontested.

On March 7, Arlene Holpp Scala (search), chair of the Women's Studies Department, sent Daniel an unsolicited e-mail announcement of an upcoming film event: "'Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House,' a lesbian relationship story." Scala advised those who wished to respond, "Please do not hit reply, click here," thus directing messages to her university e-mail address.

On March 8, Daniel clicked to privately reply, "Do not send me any mail about 'Connie and Sally' and 'Adam and Steve.' These are perversions. The absence of God in higher education brings on confusion. That is why in these classes the Creator of the heavens and the earth is never mentioned." [His message is quoted in full. No other communication with Scala ensued.]

On March 10, Scala filed a complaint with the university claiming Daniel's message sounded "threatening."

"I don't want to feel threatened at my place of work," she explained.

On June 15, university President Arnold Speert (search) issued a letter of reprimand, to be placed in Daniel's permanent employment file.

The unsavory matter might have ended there, but the stakes were raised by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and by Peter C. Harvey, the attorney general of New Jersey.
Fox News has the story. Of course, FIRE is on the case.