Saturday, October 24, 2009

Delayed Rights

I’m a little upset right now so let me apologize beforehand if this post comes off as whiney. My mom is in from out of town this weekend and all I really want to do is enjoy her company, introduce her to some friends and share some of what Indianapolis has to offer. It’s hard to do that, though, with the university, its president and its lawyers after me. So I don’t want to write too much.

This has been going on for over 10 months. In fact, it’s closer to 11 months ago that the vice president for student affairs demanded a meeting with me to discuss the True BU blog. After that meeting, the administration let it go and I didn’t hear about it for over five months and during that entire time the True BU blog was silent. Oh, the posts from the original blog, cached in some far recess of the net, made a brief appearance on another Butler student web site, but those pages were removed relatively quickly when fear entered the consciousness of the new bloggers.

The administration didn’t forget about me and my opinions, the were just waiting to raise the issue for a time when it was useful to them: when my dad was starting to make some waves over a completely different, and separate, situation, even though the president is quoted in the faculty senate notes from last week as saying that their desire to pursue the blog had waned. “Our intent is not to police the internet and the blog, however hurtful, was essentially let go,” he is quoted as saying. Well, it might have been “essentially let go” for them, but it certainly hasn’t been let go for me or for Butler’s high priced attorneys who seem fixated on this issue. For the last 4 months, the lawsuit and the threat of disciplinary action have been held over my head and threatened repeatedly and, frankly, I’m sick of it. It makes it hard to concentrate, it affects my classes, and it doesn’t get anyone anywhere: The University has nothing to gain and I certainly am not enjoying this. It seems to me that pursuing this right now is bad for every single member of the Butler community and all I want is for it to end. It seems that the only thing they want is for me to be quiet, and I really have no interest in calming down now just so they can threaten to do something later. It needs to end, and soon, because, no matter how hard I try, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to succeed in the classroom and in my other responsibilities.

The US constitution, a document I discussed in my post on Thursday, and a document that Butler seems to ignore in favor of its own rules, addresses this point. The sixth amendment to the constitution provides defendants with the right to a speedy trial. In New York, for example, the prosecution must be "ready for trial" within six months on all felonies except murder. Now I understand that even the administration isn’t claiming that I’ve committed any felonies, but if people accused of those sorts of crimes have a right to clear their name in a reasonable time frame, why don’t I? The constant threats feel completely inhumane and, honestly, it feels like harassment. The president, on the other hand, told the faculty that I’m a bully. With the university’s disregard of the rights outlined in the US constitution, I ask, as I did in my post last Monday, “Who’s the bully?”

Your voices are helping. They’re demonstrating that people on and off campus, people locally and around the country, are watching to see how the administration conducts its business. You’ve asked them for apologies and an end to all of this. I hope our voices get through to the administration. Occasionally, I will publish more posts written by others, like yesterday’s, in the hopes of encouraging more people to come forward, face their fear, and stand up for Butler. I also want to commend those who have already done so, even anonymously. I certainly am not one to judge people for feeling too afraid to use their names: I simply hope that someday soon they won’t feel so afraid.


  1. Jess,

    I am so sorry that this has gone as far as it has. Who can blame you for wanting this to end? I can only imagine how emotionally and physically draining this has been for you. I first just want to tell you how much I appreciate you and what you are doing. You are setting an incredible example and showing courage that many of us envy.

    Butler Administration,

    You disgust me. Is that too harsh for your thin skin to handle? I cannot believe how unprofessionally you have handled this situation. In your attempt to silence "harmful" comments about the university, you have managed to enrage people from all corners of this nation. You think Jess did damage? HA! You're imploding. I BEG you to end this now before it gets any worse in the national eye.

    Faculty, students, and alumni,

    Now is the time to take a stand. Do not fear to be heard. As a united body, you can make a change. You can end this atrocity! The administration has played around for far too long at the expense of Jess. They do not seem to care about him and his well-being. They only care about themselves and coming off as blameless. STAND UP AND LET THEM KNOW THAT THIS COMMUNITY WILL NOT STAND FOR PIOUS ADMINISTRATORS WHO'S PRIDE GETS IN THE WAY OF REASON AND JUSTICE.

    I am going to do everything in my power to help you Jess. I may be young and I may not have a lot of influence, but you can be sure that I have a voice. A voice that WILL be heard whether they like it or not. I do not fear them and neither should you. You should never fear standing up for what is right.

    -Michael Landes, Butler '08

  2. Jess,
    I was following the events of your mother and father. I know that when the bulldog bites he doesn't let go until it puts its victim down. The hope is that you come out of this with possibility for a future. Granted that the University has no grounds to prosecute you and the only clause they have is the so called "threat", I believe that your determination to finish this once and for all is great. I respect both of you parents and I am glad to see that your father's great spirit is also in you. You will win and become a success. Just hold to this bumpy ride.