Breaking news on campus today. The president wrote in a memo sent to all faculty (linked on the right) that the University will not sue me, with the implication being that they never had the intention of suing me. Their purpose, he claims, in filing a suit against “John Doe” was to find out who “John Doe” was. Now that he knows that “John Doe” is a student, he seems insulted that anybody would think that he would allow Butler to sue a student.
If only the facts supported those claims.
The fact is, the president said on New Year’s Eve, more than a week before the lawsuit was filed, that he had incontrovertible proof that I was Soodo Nym. Was he telling the truth then or now? It can’t be both.
The fact is, on June 9th, he says the court provided him with incontrovertible proof that I was Soodo Nym. Did he dismiss the suit? Absolutely not. In fact, it was a week later that the University first threatened to substitute my name in the suit for that of “John Doe.” The University’s attorney wrote, “It will now be appropriate to substitute Jess Zimmerman as the defendant in that lawsuit.”
The fact is, on September 27th, the University, apparently tired of making threats, promised to substitute my name for “John Doe.” In an Email to my attorney their lawyer wrote, “we will proceed to substitute Jess Zimmerman for John Doe in the pending lawsuit. I anticipate that these actions will occur by the end of the week. Please let me know whether you will accept service for Jess Zimmerman.”
The fact is, throughout the entire summer, and to this day, they have refused to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice. (What that means is that they have the ability to re-file the suit at any time they want, even if they were to withdraw it.)
Simply put, the president’s statement is completely at odds with the facts. Even after he knew I was the blogger, he wielded the lawsuit like a club.
But let’s go one step further, because he’s also not telling you the truth about why it was so important to know who the blogger was. Repeatedly, when talking about the safety of the community (and referencing real violent acts), he cited a portion of a single sentence from a single Email that I did not write and that he agrees there is no evidence that I wrote, as the trigger for instigating the lawsuit. That sentence, he claims, is what crossed the line.
Let’s look at the facts.
The fact is, the Email in question was written on January second.
The fact is, the lawsuit was first threatened on New Year’s Eve.
Those two points are facts, not opinions. The only logical conclusion, other than that the president has not been truthful with the community about this issue, is that the Email that he found so offensive was written at his behest. Even I don’t believe that.
Let’s talk about one other fact, now.
The fact is, the president has decided not to attempt to prove any of his outrageous charges of defamation, harassment, threats, and libel in a court of law. My lawyers are confident that nothing that I wrote comes close to approaching the standard necessary for Butler to win a judgment in their favor. Similarly, my writings have now been read by a large number of lawyers and non-lawyers alike on the internet and they have formed exactly the same conclusion. What the president is attempting to do, by removing this from the court system, is to convict me, without any evidence, simply by assertion. He writes, “The free exchange of ideas demands that faculty, students, and staff be protected from defamation, harassment, threats, and intimidation because these are the means by which bullies intimidate others into silence.” The president’s implication is that I am guilty as charged and deserve punishment. The reality is, The True BU blog closed because the threat of a lawsuit intimidated me into silence. Since its closure, I have regularly been threatened with a lawsuit and disciplinary action and now, the president is attempting to convict me without a trial, using only the unfounded assertions in his memo. Who’s the bully here?
There is one more point I know I should discuss here. Yes, I lied to the vice president for student affairs about sending the December 25th Email. It was a difficult situation, one that deserves and will get its own post, and I made a mistake that I should not have made. For lying, I am sorry.
I hope you’re still with me.