ERIC Number: EJ825847
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec-12
Reference Count: 0
When Does Provocative Student Expression Become Too Threatening?
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n16 pA27 Dec 2008
Just a few days before the shootings at Virginia Tech, officials at the University of Delaware received a complaint from the family of a female undergraduate student. The family said that Maciej Murakowski, a 19-year-old student who lived in the same residence hall as their daughter, had posted material on his Web site that made the woman fearful for her safety. After university officials examined the articles Murakowski had written and posted on his Web site, student-affairs officers brought disciplinary charges against Murakowski for violating the university's disruptive-conduct policy. After a hearing and an administrative appeal, Murakowski was suspended for a semester, evicted from the residence hall, and placed on deferred expulsion--the equivalent of disciplinary probation--for the rest of his undergraduate career at Delaware. Murakowski brought suit against the university, alleging, among other things, that administrators had violated his First Amendment rights by disciplining him on the basis of the content of his Internet postings. In this article, the author discusses the status of Murakowski's case and its implications for higher education. While it is never easy to distinguish lame attempts at humor or provocation from the genuine manifestations of a disturbed and dangerous mind, student-affairs professionals are the best-trained and most intimately involved observers of student conduct. They are more capable than many judges of making the kinds of instantaneous decisions that can calm agitated students and even save lives on campus. The author contends that it would have been good jurisprudence and a service to the higher-education community if the court in "Murakowski" had at least acknowledged that fact.
Descriptors: Antisocial Behavior, Freedom of Speech, Civil Rights, College Students, Constitutional Law, Dormitories, Student Behavior, School Safety, Discipline, School Policy, Court Litigation, Student Personnel Workers
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://chronicle.com/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A