Skip to comments."Firefly' and Anti-Fascism Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges (U of Wisconsin)
Posted on 09/30/2011 5:04:04 AM PDT by tlb
MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 26, 2011A professor has been censored twice, reported to the "threat assessment team," and threatened with criminal charges because of satirical postings on his office door.
Campus police at the University of WisconsinStout (UWS) censored theater professor James Miller's poster depicting a quotation from actor Nathan Fillion's character in the television series Firefly, and the police chief threatened Miller with criminal charges for disorderly conduct. After UWS censored his second poster, which stated, "Warning: Fascism," Miller came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
"Colleges and universities are supposed to foster brave and bold environments of freewheeling intellectual inquiry and expression. If a quote from a network science fiction show is a bridge too far, something has gone seriously wrong," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. "As both president of FIRE and a huge Firefly fan, I call on the chancellor of UWStout to rein in his overreaching administration and to restore both free speech and basic common sense."
On September 12, 2011, Professor Miller posted on his office door an image of Nathan Fillion in Firefly and a line from an episode: "You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me. And you'll be armed." On September 16, UWS Chief of Police Lisa A. Walter emailed Miller, notifying him that she had removed the poster and that "it is unacceptable to have postings such as this that refer to killing."
Amazed that UWS could be so shockingly heavy-handed, Miller replied by email, "Respect liberty and respect my first amendment rights."
Walter responded that "the poster can be interpreted as a threat by others and/or could cause those that view it to believe that you are willing/able to carry out actions similar to what is listed."
Walter also threatened Miller with criminal charges: "If you choose to repost the article or something similar to it, it will be removed and you could face charges of disorderly conduct."
Later on September 16, Miller placed a new poster on his office door in response to Walter's censorship. The poster read "Warning: Fascism" and included a cartoon image of a silhouetted police officer striking a civilian. The poster mocked, "Fascism can cause blunt head trauma and/or violent death. Keep fascism away from children and pets."
Astoundingly, Walter escalated the absurdity. On September 20, Walter emailed Miller again, stating that her office had removed the poster because it "depicts violence and mentions violence and death."
She added that UWS's "threat assessment team," in consultation with the university general counsel's office, had decided to have the poster removed, and that this poster was reasonably expected to "cause a material and/or substantial disruption of school activities and/or be constituted as a threat." College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Interim Dean Raymond Hayes has scheduled a meeting with Miller about "the concerns raised by the campus threat assessment team" for this Friday.
Miller came to FIRE for help. On September 21, FIRE wrote UWS Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen, explaining that the posters are not a threat, nor would any reasonable person expect them to cause a substantial disruption. In Virginia v. Black in 2003, the Supreme Court defined true threats as only "those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals."
FIRE asked that Sorensen immediately end the university's censorship of Miller's peaceful speech, apologize to Miller for threatening criminal charges against him, and rescind its request for a meeting about the threat assessment team's inexplicable concerns. Sorensen has not responded.
"It is both shameful and absurd for UWS to suggest that campus community members are so impressionable and unreasonable that merely seeing a reference to violence on a poster will lead them to commit either actual violence or a substantial disruption of the campus," FIRE Vice President of Programs Adam Kissel said. "The police and the threat assessment team are the true threats to freedom at UWStout."
FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, freedom of expression, academic freedom, due process, and rights of conscience at our nation's colleges and universities. FIRE's efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America are described at thefire.org.
The offending poster
The second poster.
Firefly just can't stop causing trouble.
Hooray for Firefly!
I remember the line, but not the specifics. Does anybody remember who the captain was addressing?
Now, regarding Firefly, I keep watching re-runs just to check out Jewel Staite. What a honey.
I’d quip “political correctness gone mad”, but it went mad a long time ago. And the only way to crush it is to crush liberalism.
... On September 20, Walter emailed Miller again, stating that her office had removed the poster because it "depicts violence and mentions violence and death."...
So they are banning television, movies, children's mystery novels like "Hardy Boys" and "Nancy Drew".
There are also plenty of medications and household cleaning products and appliances like hair-dryers that mentions "death" in their warning labels. Better get rid of those offending items too.
Meanwhile, at a university somewhere, they are scheduling yet another speech by the president of Iran.
It's bad enough to see the abuse of power by these twits at a university. Imagine what they would do with real power.
"I aim to misbehave"
Simon Tam (”How do I know you won’t kill me in my sleep?”)
He was addressing the doctor, who was concerned that Mal might do something to him and his sister over the danger they might pose due to their being wanted by the Alliance.
Firefly....one of the best shows ever.
Serenity was full of great lines.
Dr. Simon Tam: In all that time on the ship... I’ve always regretted... not being with you.
Kaylee Frye: With me? You mean to say... as in sex?
Dr. Simon Tam: I mean to say.
Kaylee Frye: To Hell with this. I’m gonna live!
See my post #12
‘trust me, when I start fighting a war, you’ll see something new’
I'll be in my bunk.
I shaved my beard off for you DEVIL WOMAN!!!
I wonder if this Walter creature ever realizes her actions are dripping with irony in forcibly removing a poster decrying fascism...
That twerp didnt deserve her!
Funniest Kaylee quote: “They have man-whores! How thoughtful!”
In Star Trek II, Kirk tells Saavik, as he’s punching in Reliant’s prefix code, that she has to learn why things work on a starship. Seeing Kaylee Frye, we learn why Scotty works on Kirk’s starship.
One of the first episodes, he was addressing the doctor.
I hope he wins and the school has to pay to replace the posters.
He needs another poster:
“Jayne, my days of disrespecting you have definitely come to a middle” - Capt. Mal Reynolds in “Our Mrs. Reynolds”
I thought it was “My days of not taking you seriously have definitely come to a middle”. I love Vera almost as much as Jayne does.
It’s going on six months now I ain’t had nothin’ ‘twixt my nethers weren’t run on batteries...
“..the best of them carried this.”
“... I call her Vera.”
Another favorite from the same episode...
I swear by my pretty flowered bonnet, I will end you.
Jayne \ The man we call Jayne \ He robbed
from the rich and he gave to the poor \
Stood up to the Man and he gave him what for \
Our love for him now ain’t hard to explain \
The Hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne \
Our Jayne saw the Mudders’ backs breaking \
He saw the Mudders lament \ And he saw the
magistrate taking \ Every dollar and leaving
five cents \ So he said, “You can’t do that
to my people” \ He said...
Our love for him now ain’t hard to explain \
The Hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne
Now here is what separates heroes \ From
common folk like you and I \ The man they
call Jayne \ He turned ‘round his plane \
And let that money hit the sky
The man they call Jayne!
This show going off the air so soon was one of the great travesties of the last few years.
See, Vera? Dress yourself up, you get taken out somewhere fun.
“No power in the ‘verse can stop me.”
“Hey Captain, I want to go to the crappy town where I’m a hero.”
JAYNE: You think there’s someone just going to drop money on you?! Money they could use?! Well there ain’t people like that... There’s just people like me.
“If you take sexual advantage of her, you’re going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.”
SIMON: You’re out of your mind.
EARLY: That’s between me and my mind.
JAYNE: “I’ll kill a man in a fair fight. Or if I think he’s gonna start a fair fight. Or if he bothers me. Or if there’s a woman. Or if I’m gettin’ paid. Mostly when I’m gettin’ paid.”
I think the good Professor should just tell the university president that “You’re beginning to disturb my calm.” (Jayne)
MAL: It’s my estimation that every man ever got a statue made of him was one kind of sumbitch or another.
This is a liberal professor at the liberal U of W who hates "fascist pigs" and promotes radicalism in his own demented way and lets it be known through his posters and defiant activism.
This is not to excuse any heavy-handedness by the local gendarmes. However, the article is so blatanly biased I'd like to know the entire story here. You can believe there's more to this than contained in the turgid, biased leftist reportage above.
We freepers should know by now not to jump to conclusions from written blatherings by local graduates of the Berkeley East School of Journalism.
Obviously, the domehead perfessor enjoyed all the turmoil in Madison near the U of W campus a couple of months ago....and wants to further stroke himself by baiting authority in whatever offshoot U of W campus he's earning dirty capitalist dollars from.
Anti-establishment posters on the door? Real studious stuff now indulged in by professors paid to prepare students for good citizenship, oh yeah.
Anything goes, baby!
Always remember, liberalism is a mental disorder.
Have you ever seen Firefly?
Hey. I hate “fascist pigs.”
Although there’s a distinct possibility I define them differently than the professor.
My personal favorite.
The Operative: I’m sorry. If your quarry goes to ground, leave no ground to go to. You should have taken my offer. Or did you think none of this was your fault?
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: I don’t murder children.
The Operative: I do. If I have to.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Why? Do you even know why they sent you?
The Operative: It’s not my place to ask. I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin.
Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: So me and mine gotta lay down and die... so you can live in your better world?
The Operative: I’m not going to live there. There’s no place for me there... any more than there is for you. Malcolm... I’m a monster.What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.
Socialism in a nutshell.
The actor who played “the Operative” was amazing and disturbing in how good he was. The line “i’m a monster” sent shivers down my spine.
I agree. I thought he played the role to perfection.
A most amusing post.
Google "browncoats.com" "fireflyology" "Kaylee-in-the-buff" and kayleeason...
Greatest "Mal Quote" eh vah...
I go with “A Fair Fight means you’re doing it wrong.”