The outpouring of support for University of Wisconsin–Stout (UWS) theater professor James Miller, whose Firefly and anti-fascism posters hung outside his office door resulted in threats of arrest and a report to his university’s threat assessment team, has streamed in from around the country. It’s not just the dozens of articles in the national media. So far, more than 900 free speech supporters (including a healthy share of Firefly devotees) have contacted the university through our website, calling on UWS to reverse the violations of free speech it has perpetrated against Miller and the UWS community.
The groundswell of support has been quite gratifying. Nevertheless, UWS has yet to admit its error. In fact, last week’s statement from the university only did more to lay bare its willingness to trample on the First Amendment rights of its faculty. In a memo to faculty and staff, UWS claimed that removing Miller’s protected, satirical, and clearly non-threatening posters was necessary to "maintain a campus climate in which everyone can feel welcome, safe and secure." As I wrote on Friday, UWS spokesperson Doug Mell has also been making the offensive argument that the tragic campus shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University justify UWS’s thuggish actions against one of its own professors.
A recent news item states that "Mell says as far as the university is concerned, the matter is finished." That’s quite false, especially now that UWS has basically threatened all of its faculty and staff, not just Miller himself, with charges of disturbing the peace if they put up such posters.
Read up on Miller’s case by visiting our case page, and then take action by writing UWS Chancellor Charles Sorensen and University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents President Michael Spector, and join the more than 900 supporters who have written in to ensure that UWS does right by Professor Miller and the First Amendment.