Skip to comments.William Paterson University Tramples Studentís Constitutional Rights
Posted on 07/28/2005 6:54:24 AM PDT by ZULU
William Paterson University Tramples Students Constitutional Rights Charges Student with Discrimination and Harassment for Demeaning Homosexuality July 20, 2005
FIRE Press Release
WAYNE, N.J., July 20, 2005William Paterson University in New Jersey has convicted student employee Jihad Daniel of discrimination and harassmentwithout due processfor describing homosexuality as a perversion in a private response to a professors unsolicited announcement of a university event that promoted a positive view of lesbian relationships.
William Patersons punishment of Mr. Daniel is a direct attack on freedom of speech, remarked David French, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which intervened on Daniels behalf. For the university to convict a student of harassment for sending a single, non-threatening e-mail dangerously trivializes real harassment.
Daniels offense took place on March 8, 2005, when he responded to an unsolicited e-mail from Professor Arlene Holpp Scala, chair of the department of womens studies, about a viewing and discussion of a film described as a lesbian relationship story. Daniel privately replied to Professor Scala, requesting that he not be sent any mail about Connie and Sally and Adam and Steve. Daniel went on, These are perversions. The absence of God in higher education brings on confusion. That is why in these classes the Creator of the heavens and the earth is never mentioned.
On March 10, Professor Scala filed a complaint with the universitys Office of Employment Equity and Diversity, accusing Daniel of violating university nondiscrimination policy because his message sound[ed] threatening and because she didnt want to feel threatened at [her] place of work when [she] send[s] out announcements about events that address lesbian issues.
Director of Employment Equity and Diversity John I. Sims subsequently proceeded to investigate Scalas complaint. On June 15, William Paterson President Arnold Speert wrote Daniel a letter of reprimand, stating that the investigator concluded that since the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of perversion is clearly a derogatory or demeaning term, Daniel therefore was guilty of violating state discrimination and harassment regulations. The president also wrote that the letter of reprimand would be placed in Daniels permanent employee file.
Daniel contacted FIRE for assistance and appealed Speerts decision on First Amendment grounds. President Speert responded that the constitutional argument was beyond the scope of this finding and that the assessed penalty of a written reprimand must, therefore, stand as issued.
William Paterson University is knowingly disregarding the U.S. Constitution. No one here was harassed or threatened as defined by the law. The university simply strongly disliked a students point of view, remarked Greg Lukianoff, FIREs director of legal and public advocacy. As the Supreme Court wrote in its seminal opinion in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. William Patersons administration would be well served by reading this compelling opinion.
FIRE wrote President Speert on July 5 to protest William Patersons unlawful actions and to remind this public university of its obligations to protect students constitutional rights. FIRE pointed out that the universitys decision blatantly contradicts decades of Supreme Court decisions clarifying unlawful harassment and protecting freedom of expression, and that William Paterson and its administrators cannot simply choose to ignore the First Amendment when it becomes inconvenient.
On July 15, New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey responded to FIRE, asserting that speech which violates a non-discrimination policy is not protected by the First Amendment. Harvey also denied that the university had violated Daniels due process rights, and stated that the recommended penalty against Jihad Daniel will stand as issued, subject to yet another appeal by Daniel.
Just as the university is free to sponsor events discussing the issue of homosexuality, Mr. Daniel must be free to dissent. To claim that a nondiscrimination policy trumps his First Amendment rights is dishonest and unlawful, declared FIREs Lukianoff. William Paterson and the attorney general have decided that Mr. Daniel is guilty until proven innocent. FIRE will continue to fight such illiberal actions until Mr. Daniels rights are vindicated.
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, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nations colleges and universities. FIREs efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America can be viewed at thefire.org.
CONTACT: Greg Lukianoff, Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, FIRE: 215-717-3473; firstname.lastname@example.org David French, President, FIRE: 215-717-3473; email@example.com Arnold Speert, President, William Paterson University: 973-720-2222; firstname.lastname@example.org John I. Sims, Director, Office of Employment Equity and Diversity, William Paterson University: 973-720-2389; email@example.com
He gets an UNSOLICITED e-mail from some radical feminist about a homozexual film.
As requested in the e-mail, he sent a response indicating that he personally felt that homosexual behavior was an aberration and that he didn't want any more of this material and that omission of God from the College lifer style was a negative influence.
The LATEST follow up to this is that the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey has issued a ruling stating that the individual was creating a "hsotile work environment" and violating the State's laws against discrimination against homosexuals.
He should claim he is a homosexual. How will they prove otherwise?
March 8: Daniel clicked to privately reply, "Do not send me any mail about 'Connie and Sally' and 'Adam and Steve.' These are perversions. The absence of God in higher education brings on confusion. That is why in these classes the Creator of the heavens and the earth is never mentioned." No other communication with Scala ensued.
March 10: Scala filed a complaint that the message sounded "threatening."
June 15: A letter of reprimand from University President Arnold Speert was to be placed in Daniel's permanent employment file.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and Peter C. Harvey, NJ's AG also weighed in.
CONTACT William Paterson University Hunziker Hall, Room 100 300 Pompton Road Wayne, NJ 07470-2103. Phone: 973 720 2988 Fax: 973 720 2057 ...
CONTACT NJ USAG christopher.christie@usDOJ.gov
CONTACT Toll-free hot line to the U.S. Department of Education's Inspector General's office if you have reason to suspect any fraud, waste or abuse involving federal aid funds. Call 1-800-MIS-USED (1-800-647-8733). You may remain anonymous if you wish.
I have written to David French at FIRE and told him of my impressions that the 'sexual orientation' Nazis have been moving in the job environment from a position of demanding 'tolerance' to one of demanding 'acceptance'.
Inspite of what the NJ attorney general has said, FIRE and Mr. Daniel's attorneys should contiue to pursue his case. A demand for 'acceptance' is in itself a policy of intolerance becuase it demands a right to control what you think, not what you do.
As in Mr. Daniel's case, they are not even pretending that he did anything in particular "on the job" to "create a "hostile work environment", simply that the mere private expression of his own thoughts were "hostile". And why? Because he behaved in some "intolerant manner" that cheated some underling or co-worker out of something there were due, in their work or in the benefits from their work? No. Simply because he does not "accept" homosexuality.
It is William Patterson College and the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey that are "creating a hostile work environment" and being intolerant and discriminatory in the process. The attorneys for Mr. Daniel should make a Federal EEOC case out of it.
I hope this goes to SCOTUS.
The war against views that are not in conformity with the politically correct Bolsheviks on Campuses has gotten totally out of control.
How is sending people who believe that homosexuality is a sin an email about homosexual topics not creating a hostile work environment, yet stating your constitutionally protected religous views and asking to not be sent emails about homosexual topics is creating a hostile work environment?
Mr. Daniel is clearly being discriminated against and not having his rights protected.
Scala is also the one who initiated the unsolicited communication with Daniel, not the other way around, and therefore it was she who created the hostile environment. He took issue with her action and asked her to desist, and was punished for it.
The University needs to recind the reprimand from Daniel and reprimand all those in the administration that contributed to this rather extreme act of discrimination.
They also need to pay all of Daniel's legal bills.
The AG that supported this needs to be voted out of office.
"The AG that supported this needs to be voted out of
Unfortunately, in the People's Republic of New Jersey, the State AG, like all judges, are politically appointed hacks and not elected officials.
But I totally agree with you.
Then the Governor needs voted out.
His first name is...Jihad?
Uh. Yeah. Jihad. On the other hand, the principle here is one all Americans should rally against.
The major college institutions, particularly State supported institutions, should NOT be using taxpayer dollars to promulagate an atheistic, homosexual, anti-American, communist, pacifist, or partisan political agenda - something they do regularly.
They have young, impressionable, vacant minds - for the most part - in their hands and they take advantage of inculcating their leftist, anti-American perspectives on them.
It is becoming increasing worse.
Thie FORE group looks like a positive organization whose time has come.
I think I would be suing somebody.
"On July 15, New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey responded to FIRE, asserting that speech which violates a non-discrimination policy is not protected by the First Amendment."
So a "policy" trumps the US Constitution now? I was always taught that the Constitution was the top law in the land...now a policy can take it down?
Makes one go "hmmmmmm."
I wonder how much worse they'd treat him if he were named after a holy war against Muslims, instead of a holy war against non-Muslims. We have such a name, although I don't know of anyone who has used it except Crusader Rabbit.