Monday, October 13, 2008

Ban those Bumper Stickers!!

Although I have plenty of more important things to do, I just came across the story about the Ethics office of the University of Illinois system that tells all employees that they are not allowed to display political buttons, bumper stickers, or anything else.

You can read Stanley Fish's take on it from the NYTimes.  He argues that legally, the state can ban whatever it wants from the classroom, as long as they claim it is "political."

It is a complicated issue, but the state of Illinois absolutism (as well as Fish's) seem to be absurd.  We all should try to make sure the core knowledge of our discipline is passed along, but analysis and advocacy are part of making students think about that knowledge.   

We know that our system does not allow partisan political activity from state employees, but now Illinois is trying to ban even the expression of an opinion from campus?!

Will we soon see such draconian suppressions in our state?  I guess I'll have to get out my scraper . . . 

1 comment:

Bill Wresch said...

Actually, I can understand the button ban in the classroom or in my office since I would not want my students to feel uncomfortable if they were backing a different candidate than me. But the bumper sticker ban seems odd since how would students even know which car is mine?

Needless to say, I reserve the right to wear any btton I wish once I am off campus.