Buffalo Professor Arrested for Verbally Attacking Students Over Pro-Life Display

CurryLaura Curry, a professor of film at the University of Buffalo, has been arrested after she confronted a pro-life demonstration using profane language. In the video below, Curry objects to being asked to stop because of her language. She insists that she has a first amendment right to swear. In my view, she is correct. I do not see how this is any cognizable crime. One can certainly disagree with the tenor or public conduct of the professor, but this would seem protected speech. This is the second such arrest of a professor in a month for denouncing a campus demonstration. There are really two legal issues presented in such cases: a criminal case (which is quite weak) and an academic case (which is likely to be more substantial) against the professor.

Curry is shown on the video below confronting the students on a picture shown in their pro-life displays, which she called “fucking profane.” Police tell her that she is being disruptive and to stop swearing. Curry asked “Where does it say I can’t use the fuck word in public . . I can swear because that’s part of my vocabulary. That’s part of my First Amendment rights.” She asks why she can be stopped for being profane but they can show a poster viewed as profane.

As she is arrested, Curry is heard asking a witness to tell her students that she will miss her class because she is being arrested.

Curry is an adjunct instructor of media study.

As with the earlier Oregon story, the arrest will raise a question over whether a professor should have to comply with a more restrictive standard of conduct than an ordinary citizen on campus. I personally believe that professors can protest but they have to be more measured in their conduct as part of maintaining a community where different views and values can be expressed. Moreover, this is not the type of dialogue that we try to encourage in campuses. You can strongly disagree without reducing such confrontations to swearing contests. This are tough questions for faculty that balance free speech of faculty with faculty codes imposing standards of conduct. The Emory Faculty Handbook bars faculty from “Inappropriate, disruptive, discourteous or irregular behavior adversely affecting students, employees, patients, or visitors.” There are similar prohibitions at other schools sites.

What is clear is that this should not be a criminal case and the arrest should not have occurred in my view. The matter should be left to the University of Buffalo faculty on whether this conduct meets the standard of a professor at the university.

Here is the handbook: 2013FacultyHandbookInt

80 thoughts on “Buffalo Professor Arrested for Verbally Attacking Students Over Pro-Life Display”

  1. nick:

    I have an Armenian friend, a little old lady, very fiesty and involved in local democratic politics, she says “he thinks he is a Greek god but he is just a god damn Greek.” So I imagine she would agree with you.

    She wanted to nuke Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan after 9/11 . We get along pretty well even if she is a democrat. She’s my kind of liberal. 🙂

  2. Bron, I started working as a caddy @ age 12. I also had a morning paper route[Waterbury Republican] @ that age until high school. I worked @ our family restaurant starting @ 15 and also did catering jobs for my uncle. I have worked every job in a restaurant. In high school I also worked drilling jobs all over New England in the summer. We would drill in quarrys[trap rock, silica, etc.] and then blow up the mountain! That was the fun day but the drilling was back breaking..lots of sledge hammering. I worked a lot of jobs in college during school and the summer. I bartended, unloaded trucks and trains, during the school year. During the summers I worked @ Pratt & Whitney and then 2 summers in Wildwood as a desk clerk @ a resort hotel. Best 2 summers of my life. I also had to pay my way through college w/ work and student loans. That resume is just through college..I worked many other jobs until starting my own biz in 1984. I’ve lived in 3 time zones and 7 states. That diversity is a big part of who I am.

    I didn’t know you were from The Show Me State!! Dagos can be great to work for but they can also be pricks. Sounds like Joe was a good one. But, you must have been a good worker because guys like Joe don’t abide no accounts. Those cheap dago cigars are horrible. My uncles smoked them. Never work for a Greek restaurant owner, although I know you’re past that stage of your life.

  3. nick:

    how many jobs did you do as a kid and a young man? I did many myslef and some pretty good ones. paid for college they did. cant say I ever barbacked though, I washed dishes in high school and didnt much care for it so I stayed away from restaurants although I used to make Pizzas at a joint called Imo’s in Manchester, MO. Joe Guarino [sp?] was the manager. He used to call me Brun. He smoked Garcia Vega cigars at work and was a Korean War Vet. I worked for him for 2 years and enjoyed every hour.

  4. Bron, It is, you’re correct. I’m diabetic so I have to eat it sparingly. My old man used to say, “For Italians, pasta is oxygen, not just food.” So I only get oxygen ~once a week now.

  5. Nick: The term is “barback.” I was on my own the last two years of high school, and to pay rent and buy food I worked about 30 hours a week as a dishwasher and barback; later I quit that to become a night janitor cleaning toilets in an office building. Those did their job, I was able to rent in the school district of my choice, and therefore attend and graduate from the (highly ranked) public high school of my choice.

    I am neither insecure or jealous. If anything, people on this blog think I am too secure, I have certainly been accused of being presumptuous, egotistical and arrogant for believing I am on an equal intellectual footing with their dead heroes of politics and philosophy.

  6. Straw man. I’ve never said I despised the military. The rest of what you say is simply par for your course, nick: more ad hominem gibberish.

    Carry on.

  7. Bron, Pasta sucks?? I know there are some don’t like pasta but you surprise me on that. And, regarding the antics..I’ve found the most nasty people are insecure males. You know when of them is REALLY overcompensating when he fashions himself a military officer and keeps barking, “Carry on.” Ironic and pathetic from someone who despises the military.

    Finally, What about Mario and Andrew Cuomo??

  8. bettykath, I am perceptive enough to know that this type of male behavior turns off the good women of this forum. Thanks for the kick in the ass. I get it but I’m probably the only one that does. I do have a life, and that is the rub w/ those who don’t.

  9. this is the second thread hi-jacked by playground antics. not funny. not good. get a life.

  10. nick:

    I like Joe DiMaggio, Rocky Marciano, Mario Andretti, Frank Sinatra, John Basilone, Victor Mature and Aldo Rey.

  11. nick,

    Yeah, I did warn you about the civility rule and you ignored it. I even tried to illustrate the futility of your ad hominem tactics but that was a lesson you simply were incapable of learning. You saw how well that worked out for you. And guess what? I just warned you again about another rule you’re pushing. So keep it up. See how this works out for you too. Because if you out an anonymous poster? There won’t be any warning. You’ll simply be gone.

    If you have a problem that with the fact that what very few rules we do have around here we enforce, that would be your problem. You wouldn’t run afoul of the rules if you weren’t such a bad guest.

    I remind you again that your participation here is entirely voluntary.

    Carry on.

  12. Bron, Your support means a lot because you are well aware of the vitriol these 3 are capable of. Thanks!

  13. Who warned me on the civility rule..YOU?? That’s The Onion material. There was a heated thread where I was the only person w/ integrity to apologize to Mr. Turley. However, I was not singled out and I would bet[macho I know] I was not the only one to whom he was speaking. Just because I was the only person to accept responsibility does not mean I was the only one responsible. A 4th grader can understand that. And where has this thread been uncivil, except for the shoot from the hip accusations thrown @ me, including “liar.” Chrissake, give it up and get a job.

  14. I dont know, if you really live life there are many stories to tell. Nick is in his 60’s and as a private detective he has probably seen all manner of human fraility and strength.

    There are people who do more than just sit behind a desk, those who muck it up and really live. The Hemingway’s of this world or the adventurers and sportsmen like Zane Grey.

    The people who we read about and secretly admire for their spirit or hate because they show us how weak we are and what we could have done if only we had the guts.

  15. The 3 Blind mice together again. I’m accused of being a liar in this thread. Then via innuendo of “threatening personal retaliation” and finally of “revealing an anonymous poster”. Well, the unholy trinity are 0 for 3. And the record indicates it. Now, when #1 mouse talked about being a dishwasher/back bar I could have said I have been a bartender in a regular tavern and also an Italian restaurant for about 3 years. And, in the stadium realm I have been a beer vendor @ Royals and Arrowhead Stadium [1975-76], two things mentioned in this forum previously. Additionally, I have attended @ least 500 baseball games and have been to 23 ML parks. I’ve attended ~75 NFL games[8 stadiums] and was even a Chiefs season tix holder for one season[they really sucked but it was a wedding gift]. I’ve been to probably 50 NBA games and the same # of NHL games. I’ve been to numerous postseason games in all sports and 5 World Series game. I was @ the classic Kirby Puckett walk off home run vs. the Braves. The greatest game I’ve ever seen.

    As stated previously, I have lead a fascinating life and I thank God for that. However, my experiences are also a result of hard work[I am an overachiever.not underachiever like some!] self discipline, and great family and friends. The love of baseball came from my old man. So, whether you myopic trio realize it, I often bite my tongue when it comes to my experiences. I don’t do that w/ folks who know me. They know my life and ask for these anecdotes. Your resentment of me is diminishing you. As people here get to know me, the # of people of your ilk has dwindled. You’re the hard core 3. Remember, resentment is hating another person but instead of giving them poison, you end up drinking the poison yourself.

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