NOTE: The article excerpted on this page is from an outside publication and is posted on FIRE's website because it references FIRE's work. The viewpoints expressed in this article do not necessarily represent FIRE's positions.
NEW JERSEY, August 11, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The despotism of the leftist establishment on American university campuses is a standard topic of most conservative magazines and websites. The war over freedom of speech is especially fierce among the tenured neo-Marxists who govern academia according to one group.
In a recent salvo, the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, (FIRE) has come to the defence of graduate student, Jihad Daniel, at William Paterson University. 63-year-old Daniel, who is both a student and employee of the university, is being punished for “discrimination” and “harassment” for a private email he sent objecting to the normalization of homosexuality.
Daniel was responding to a March 7, uacniversity-wide email from Arlene Holpp Scala, chair of the Women’s Studies Department inviting students to attend a film called “Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House,” a film about a lesbian relationship.
The full text of Daniel’s email read, “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 classes the Creator of the heavens and the earth is never mentioned.”
Holpp Scala, without further contact with Daniel, sent a complaint to the university saying that she felt “threatened.”
On June 15, the university, instead of explaining to Holpp Scala that even the employees of modern secular universities are still free privately to express disagreement, filed a letter of reprimand against Daniel in his employee record.
The case caught the attention of FIRE and Greg Lukianoff sent a letter to the president of the university saying that the “constitutional rights of all its faculty, staff, and students … and that no federal, state, local, or university rule, policy, or regulation trumps the exercise.”
“No one here was ‘harassed’ or ‘threatened’ as defined by the law,” he said. Instead, the university “simply strongly disliked a student’s point of view.”
The power of those institutions, however, was quickly manifested when the first response came not from the university, but from the attorney general of New Jersey, Peter C. Harvey who claimed that the university had done nothing unconstitutional, but that as an employee of the university Daniel had “violated New Jersey policies against discrimination, harassment and creating a hostile environment in the workplace.”
FIRE president David French responded saying, “The university cannot punish constitutionally protected speech.”
“For the university to convict a student of ‘harassment’ for sending a single, non-threatening e-mail dangerously trivializes real harassment,” French added.
The news media have discovered the story and The Washington Times, Newsday, the Associated Press, Fox News and the New Jersey Herald Star Ledger running headlines such as “Worker’s censure ignites debate,” and “Worker fights college over homosexual stand.”Download file "New Jersey University Student Punished for Voicing Opposition to Homosexuality in Email"