There is a controversy at the University of Illinois over the right of faculty to express views on social media outside of their positions. Steven Salaita had already been offered a tenured position in the American Indian studies program on the Champaign-Urbana campus and was just waiting for approval by the university’s Board of Trustees, usually a perfunctory stage. However, Salaita posted strongly anti-Israeli sentiments after the start of the recent war in Gaza. After those postings, he was informed that the university was rescinding its offer due to opposition on the board.
Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category
We recently discussed the controversy surrounding a confrontation between Thrin Short, 16, and her sister Joan, 21, and Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young. Miller-Young was then charged with criminal conduct including Theft of Person; Battery; and Vandalism. While initially pleading not guilty, Miller-Young has now entered a no contest plea to charges to the three misdemeanors. Despite the videotape of the incident and violation of both criminal law and presumably university regulations, Miller-Young remains employed at the university.
There is a disturbing story how this week concerning the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and specifically Commissioner Michael Yaki, a Democratic appointee who was a former senior adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Yaki spoke on sexual harassment law in education, a subject on which I have previously written to express my concerns over the loss of due process rights for accused students. Yaki’s comments however seem to threaten core free speech principles as he laid out his view of the need to curtail harmful speech. Yaki spoke of the need to outlaw unpopular or what he considers degrading speech because college students are too impressionable.
Warning: the image above may get you sued by the New York Port Authority. We have long discussed the insane evolution of trademark and copyright laws. Now, Fishs Eddy, a housewares store in Manhattan, has been hit with a cease-and-desist letter from the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) over dishes that merely show the skyline of the city. The MTA claims that the common silhouette of the city includes some of its “assets” and that the store must destroy all of its products with the images and promise never again to sell images of the skyline. It is reminiscent of the English decision finding that taking photographs of London icons are also violations. Here the authority is claiming ownership to skyline images and 9-11 images even in silhouette.
Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The Russian Parliament passed worrying laws that will certainly have a chilling effect on free speech in Russia. Now these laws are in effect and certainly prove to be useful to the government in stamping out dissent and non-sanctioned information.
BBC news reports bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with the mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor, and conform to the regulations that govern the country’s larger media outlets.
Internet companies will also be required to allow Russian authorities access to users’ information.
Submitted By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
The nation’s top constitutional court invalidated the Uganda’s highly controversial anti-homosexuality law, citing improper parliamentary procedures. The opinion cites that the Speaker of the House acted illegally when she allowed the original bill to be voted for passage by MPs despite the lack of a quorum in the chamber. Afterward, President Museveni signed the legislation into law.
Activists held the decision as a significant victory in for civil rights in Uganda, but will this be only a temporary legal reprieve?
In Pakistan, a Muslim mob has killed a seven-year-old girl and her baby sister (as well as their grandmother) in the latest carnage to defend the faith from blasphemy. The cause of the outrage was a simple picture posted on Facebook that was deemed offensive to Islam. The mob accused members of the Ahmadi sect, who live under continual discrimination by the Pakistani government and the threat of death from Muslims over their faith.