Robert Takes On Syracuse University College of Law in ‘Pajamas Media’

By October 29, 2010

Today in Pajamas Media, Robert criticizes Syracuse University College of Law’s (SUCOL’s) investigation of the satirical blog SUCOLitis and one of its alleged authors. These lines about sum it up:

Nobody forced Syracuse to build a giant building with the First Amendment emblazoned on the side. Having done so, however, one would think that the university would at least have the shame to try to live up to it.

And:

Unfortunately, Syracuse’s recent assault on the free speech of its students has shown that this private university’s voluntary commitment to the principles of the First Amendment may be nothing more than deceptive marketing.

Some of those who have commented on the Syracuse case have neglected a simple point: Syracuse actually promises its students and faculty free speech, which means that it not only has moral obligations to uphold the freedom of expression but also has legal, contractual obligations to do so. Robert writes:

Don’t get me wrong; Syracuse is a private university. It can act more or less like a dictatorship if it wants to. Such a place would have a hard time attracting students and professors, but some religious schools do function under very strict regimes. Nevertheless, that’s not what Syracuse says it will be. It promises free speech to students-its own student handbook says that "Syracuse University is committed to the principle that freedom of expression is essential to the search for truth, and consequently welcomes and encourages the expression of different and varied opinions, and of dissent." The investigation into the SUCOLitis blog and its authors gives the lie to this assertion.

Further politicizing the case, somehow Assistant Professor of Law and LGBT Studies Tucker Culbertson has found a way to make this case about race:

Tucker Culbertson, also a member of Team Censorship, also points out that the blog is racist, or something:

One of the problems with SUCOLitis is many of the people it pokes fun at are "women or people of color" when the law school is "blindingly white," Culbertson said. Those students who are most vulnerable should not have racial and ethnic slurs thrown in their faces, although derogatory names for sex, race and sexual practices are thrown around at SU often, he said.

I am pretty sure that in my reading of the blog, the closest it came to a "slur" was identifying someone as "Hispanic" or "Latino," and the jokes didn’t depend on racial stereotypes. The blog as a whole was certainly less dependent on racial stereotypes than a certain George Lucas movie that I refuse to mention on principle. (Hint.)

This case continues to get national attentionand Glenn Reynolds has linked to Robert’s article on Instapunditwhich means that Syracuse continues to get national shame every day that the investigation continues. Read Robert’s full article for yourself.

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