On Big Hollywood, actor Adam Baldwin has written an excellent piece about FIRE’s case at the University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS). It is getting hard to keep up with all of the press attention to the university’s censorship of two posters by theater professor James Miller. After all, it’s hard to believe that UWS would threaten a professor with criminal charges over his posters, report him to the university’s "threat assessment team," and then tell the entire faculty and staff that UWS won’t defend their First Amendment rights. But that’s what UWS has done.
Baldwin, with co-writer "Liberty Chick" (Mandy Nagy), has called out UWS on its absurd violations of free speech. Baldwin has good reason to write; the first censored poster featured a picture and quote from Nathan Fillion’s character on the TV series Firefly, on which Baldwin starred as Jayne Cobb, so he knows the full context of the quotation firsthand.
You actually don’t need any special training to see that neither poster can reasonably be taken as any kind of threat:
Nevertheless, I recommend that you visit Big Hollywood for a video clip of the quotation in context. Baldwin writes: "The context of the quote is an homage to fair play and a code of honor that obviously prefers non-violence."
Baldwin’s piece goes a step further, identifying the double standard apparently at work at UW–Stout:
When asked if he knew of any other examples of such posters or signs on campus, Dr. Miller replied that … a "Kill Bill" poster [adapted] from the popular Quentin Tarantino film was prevalent on campus earlier in the year … as part of a campus-wide protest held in February against Governor Scott Walker’s budget bill.
Unsurprisingly, as Baldwin points out, neither UWS nor Police Chief Lisa A. Walter herself (who had censored Miller’s posters) flinched an inch. After all, as Baldwin has discovered, it seems that Walter had an interest in killing the bill and didn’t mind the minor disruptions caused by protesters on campus at the time.
There’s a lot more in Baldwin’s article, too. Please head over to Big Hollywood and read it for yourself.
Schools: University of Wisconsin – Stout Cases: University of Wisconsin – Stout: Censorship, Referral to Threat Assessment Team, and Threat of Criminal Charges after Professor Puts Posters Outside Office Door