Sunday, June 04, 2006

Dealing with Free Speech in White Bear Lake

Apologies for the lack of recent posts. Things have been very busy lately, but more on that later.

In late April, I posted a link to an article about Ms. Karen Murdock, a Minnesota community college professor who posted the Danish Mohammed cartoons on a school bulletin board. Unfortunately, her attempts to foster discussion on an important issue of the day were met less than enthusiastically by campus administrators.

When you look at the issue of free speech coming under threat on college campuses, White Bear Lake, MN, is probably the last place you would think of. Unfortunately, this seems to be exactly the case. Two weeks ago, Ms. Murdock emailed me and said the following:

Century has decided to deal with the problem of
controversial postings by making sure nothing like that
ever happens again. The administrators have promulgated
a new policy which forces professors to get prior approval
for anything they post. The vice president for academic
affairs will enforce this decree. He even threatens to take
down the *bulletin boards themselves* and not merely
material posted on them, if he has not personally approved
of the boards.

This should solve the pesky problem of free speech here
in White Bear Lake!

Unfortunately, the administrators at Century College are probably within their rights when they decided to censor the content of departmental bulletin boards. However, it is a craven decision that abandons any pretense that their institution stands for free speech and expression.


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