Monday, August 15, 2005

A better analogy for Rieckman's column.

Imagine a hypothetical "Professor Rieckman" who published an article in the local newspaper attacking the integrity and operations of UWO. Because he is officially allowed to write freely,a high ranking administrator orders an investigation into the personal habits of "professor Rieckman".

After a few days, the university announces that "Professor Rieckman" has been fired for having illegal copies of software on his university computer. Campus security officers arrive at his office to immediately escort him off campus. Luckily for the administrator, the state legislature had recently removed all rights to due process or appeal from university employees. "Rieckman" is forced to move out of state and back in with his parents.

"Professor Rieckman" finds himself unemployed and the university critic has been silenced. "Rieckman's" computer program, which turned out to be shareware left on the computer for longer than the license agreement allowed, gave the administration an easy path to free the campus of a critic.

Is this really how our columnist envisions the unversity working? Wisconsin would be better off without critical inquiry and questioning? The state and country would be better if no one possessed any legal rights and operated completely at the whim of their superiors?

Those of us "drawing a paycheck from UW system" believe that free inquiry and criticism need to be protected by due process rights. If the system works a bit slowly from time to time, that is a price worth paying. It is very strange that a journalist, of all people, would not agree.

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