Instead of Slaying a Beast, Syracuse Creates a Monster

By January 10, 2011

Those who wish to censor are often shocked to discover that the harder they try to suppress speech, the more widely known it becomes. This phenomenon is certainly true for the investigation of Len Audaer, the alleged author of the satirical blog SUCOLitis at Syracuse University College of Law (SUCOL).

Alex Piliouras of Syracuse Basement, another humor blog, explains how SUCOL’s attempts to silence SUCOLitis have given it a much louder voice:

For another thing, blogs aren’t exactly pulling in millions of viewers. They’re blogs. It’s the equivalent of vomiting on a keyboard because you’re bored. However, once there’s the David v. Goliath factor, wherein Goliath tries to silence David with a gag order (that’s how it happened in the Bible too, right?), people start to become interested in that vomit. All of a sudden, Audaer is on The Daily Show pleading his case about a blog that no one would have ever found without the law school’s help.

Piliouras points out that the school’s efforts have also solidified SUCOL’s reputation as a law school to avoid by those who value basic civil rights:

So we say, "Kudos," law school. You managed to increase Audaer’s popularity and support and enrage students nation-wide who now view Syracuse University as The Land of Big Brother.

Unless SUCOL wants to be known as a land where free speech goes to die, it should stop this chilling investigation and focus on preparing a generation of lawyers to enter a society in which freedom of speech is not seen as just some inconvenient sentiment, but as perhaps the most cherished American right. Until then, SUCOL’s reputation will continue to plummet.

Schools: Syracuse University Cases: Syracuse University: Disciplinary Investigations of Satirical Law School Blog