The Libelous World of Higher Education Blogging
As someone once accused (behind my back and falsely) of anonymously posting libelous comments about someone on a blog, I have been following with particular interest the story of the Butler University undergraduate student who was sued by the school for publishing libelous and defamatory statements about administrators on a blog.
The blogger, “Soodo Nym,” was critical of administrators for dismissing his stepmother as chair of the University’s school of music. Among other things, he wrote that the dean of the College of Fine Arts was “power-hungry and afraid of his own shadow” and that he “lied” to faculty and left the meeting “embarrassed” for having done so. He also sent an email in which he said: “We can create much more trouble than we have so far,” which supposedly put Butler’s provost in fear for his own safety.
- It never ceases to amaze me how thin-skinned some people who reach positions of power can be. If you are a leader, you should expect to be criticized, fairly or unfairly, from time to time. It goes with the territory.
- If there’s any area that should be a “free speech” zone, it is a college campus. I would not want to attend any institution that sued its students for libel for criticizing, even unfairly, its administrators.
- I would much rather have had my accuser publish his accusations on a blog, rather than behind my back, even if more people might see/hear them. At least you can refute the former.