Insanity at WPU: Mr. Daniel’s censure

July 27, 2005

He didn't hit anyone. He didn't bully anyone. He didn't utter any of the slurs about lesbians that all men have heard and that no decent men use.

But he responded critically to a posting on a William Paterson University bulletin board and now stands censured for "threatening" a professor.

If Jihad Daniel, 68, a graduate student and computer tech at WPU, "threatened" Professor Arlene Holpp Scala in an e-mail, then any woman who ever responded to any man impatiently also was guilty of threatening.

If to "threaten" is to express intent to cause harm, Jihad Daniel is an innocent man.

And if his e-mail "threatened" Scala, the idea of free speech has been turned on its head.

This mess began last winter when Professor Scala posted a notice on WPU's computer bulletin board about a showing of the movie "Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House." She described the film as "a lesbian relationship story."

"Ruthie and Connie" is a documentary about two older gay women who left their families and made a life together. It premiered at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival.

Daniel's Muslim sensibilities were offended. Possibly confusing e-mail with the bulletin board announcement, he wrote to Scala: "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 [WPU] classes the Creator of the heavens and the earth is never mentioned...

Schools: William Paterson University Cases: William Paterson University: Punishment on Harassment Charges for Response to Mass E-Mail