07 December 2005

Marquette University Punishes Bloggger

Marquette University has decided that ordinary comments about life in dental school are violations of their ethical rules in a decision that shows little respect for values like academic freedom and free speech.

The focus of the hearing, Taylor said, were half a dozen postings including one describing a professor as "a (expletive) of a teacher" and another that described 20 classmates as having the "intellectual/maturity of a 3-year-old." . . .

[Out of order]In one entry, he wrote, "haha the guy in my class I dislike extremely, no names mentioned, but he is the srpenidte, got yelled at today in the practical (skills) exam we took today in preservation of tooth structure. That brought a smile to my face, because it just one more display of his idiocy."[End Out of Order] . . . .

In a letter to the student dated Dec. 2, Denis Lynch, the dental school's associate dean for academic affairs, said the committee had found the student "guilty of professional misconduct in violation of the dental school's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct."

The student also violated a universitywide code that subjects students to disciplinary action if they participate in stalking, hazing or harassments, the letter states.

In addition to informing the student of his suspension and his need to repeat his fall semester, which costs $14,000 in tuition, Lynch threatened the student with expulsion if he continued to post material on "any blog sites that contain crude, demeaning and unprofessional remarks." . . .

Daniel D'Angelo, an adjunct associate professor of behavioral sciences in the School of Dentistry, . . . who is a co-director of Marquette's Ethics and Professionalism curriculum, determined that the postings did not justify disciplinary action.

But, the school disregarded that advice. The student is appealing.

If you value intellectual freedom, you should not go to Marquette University, whose actions in this case show that it is a mediocre institution.


Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Update: The discipline committee was headed by one of the individuals critized in the blog. Truly disgusting.

John McAdams said...


Although the suspension has been overturned, the student still faces some non-trivial punishments:

Dental School Blogger: Dean Reduces Punishment