Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Another University, Another Student Persecuted for Trying to do the Right Thing

If you have been following my writing vis a vis Grady and Emory you know my radar will get up when I see evidence of a university retaliating against a student when they try to do the right thing. With a special hat tip to my cohorts at Red State, I bring you another such case at Central Michigan University.

By this point everyone's likely well aware of Dennis Lennox and his crusade to protect the taxpayers from Central Michigan University and their decision to grant a professorship to Gary Peters, a candidate for Congress some two-hundred odd miles away in Oakland County.

Lennox has become a thorn in Peters' side and a constant migraine headache for the school administration which backs the Democrat candidate one-hundred and ten percent. They've harassed Lennox, they've threatened him with expulsion and they've questioned his mental state all because he has the audacity to follow the good professor around with a video camera when he's on public property asking legitimate and reasonable questions.


And all of that is rotten to the core. But the "solution" to their "problem" is much worse. They've blocked the use of video cameras on public property. Even the ACLU agrees that the move infringes on Lennox's Constitutional right to free speech...

Here is another perspective...

Again, I am going to say that I do not support Dennis’s methods in this situation, but I am going to defend him here. He has every right to video tape a PUBLIC official on PUBLIC property, especially an official who is running for PUBLIC office. The University’s ban on video taping is both unconstitutional and unethical. When you have a problem that is exposed, you fix the problem, you do NOT cover up the problem by taking away rights of students!

and another...

A politically conservative student armed with a video camera and a Web site is trying to force a Democratic congressional candidate out of his teaching job at Central Michigan University.Dennis Lennox, a 23-year-old junior, has posted videos on YouTube of himself questioning assistant professor Gary Peters about campaigning for office while holding a prestigious position at the university.Some say Lennox is persistent. Others accuse him of pandering for attention.

I gather that the professor in question, Gary Peters, has been made to feel less than comfortable. It appears, at least from what I have found, that his comfort is more important apparently than such trivial things as Constitutional rights. He also could have felt a lot more comfortable if he hadn't taken on this clear conflict of interest by maintaining his professorship at the same time he was running for office. While it is quite possible and likely that there he is doing nothing wrong, he has certainly created the appearance of impropriety. Lennox was obviously disturbed by it and is doing everything he can to investigate. It appears, to me at least, that Lennox is doing everything he should in the spirit of what college is all about. For this, he is being threatened with expulsion.

You, the readers, can help. Please send a respectful email to all of these individuals and let them know that what Lennox has done is well within his rights. If they try and expel him, you will be watching. There is an important meeting this Thursday, so please mobilize immediately.

Mr. Jeffrey R. Caponigro, chair: capon1jr@cmich.edu
Ms. Stephanie Comai: comai1s@cmich.edu
Mr. Brian W. Fannon: fanno1bw@cmich.edu
Ms. Jacqueline N. Garrett: garre1jn@cmich.edu
Dr. Marilyn French Hubbard: hubba1mf@cmich.edu
Dr. Sam R. Kottamasu: kotta1sr@cmich.edu
Mr. John G. Kulhavi, vice chair: kulha1jg@cmich.edu
Ms. Gail F. Torreano: torre1gf@cmich.edu
Dr. Michael Rao: (989) 774-3131, president@cmich.edu


charliewilkes said...

If this guy wants to inteview the prof, he should arrange an interview. Stalking is not a reasonable form of political expression.

It has often been said that liberals regard civil liberties as an excuse to indulge in immature or offensive behavior. This the same kind of thing.

mike volpe said...

Maybe he should, however two things...

1)He may very well have tried

2)Whether his behavior is or isn't appropriate is not grounds for threats of expulsion. This student has every right to have a camera on this guy in public. If this professor didn't want to be harrassed then he shouldn't have made himself into a public figure by running for office.

This student is not the first to use so called ambush journalism. You may not like its confrontational nature, however that doesn't mean he should be threatened with expulsion because it makes its subject, a public figure, uncomfortable.