The University of Chicago’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is upset that some of its flyers have been “written on, improperly removed, and criticized by unsigned flyers,” which are all violations of the school’s Posting Policy.
Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen “condemned the anonymous postings as contrary to University values” with a dubious rationale:
“The failure of the creator of these flyers to attribute them to an individual or group leaves little doubt as to their intent to deceive, and undermines the free and rigorous exchange of ideas.”
Because the speech is anonymous means it should be … automatically invalidated?
Ironically, at least one of the posters corrected an erroneous SJP statement.
[Rasmussen] added that the University “will pursue disciplinary action against any individuals responsible for violating University policies to the extent that is possible based on the complaints that we receive and evidence gathered in the investigative process.”
The Posting Policy which is available on the Center for Leadership and Involvement website, states that “individuals should only remove other’s postings if the date of the event has passed,” and that “posting should not cover current postings belonging to other organizations or individuals.” Anonymous postings are prohibited in University buildings, with the exception of the Reynolds Club.
Citing violations of the Posting Policy, [SJP member Zach] Taylor said that SJP and one student not affiliated with the group filed their complaint at a Tuesday meeting with Jeremy Inabinet, associate dean of students in the University for disciplinary affairs. At the meeting, Inabinet verbally promised the group a meeting with Rasmussen.
“First, we want an investigation into who is vandalizing SJP posters. Second, we want the administration to take the necessary steps to punish the people who vandalized our posters, and the people who distributed the anonymous posters. Third, we want the University to make a public statement against the harassment of SJP members. Fourth, we want a guarantee that SJP members will be [physically] safe, in accordance with the group’s rights as an RSO,” Taylor said.
Vandalism certainly is a legitimate concern; however, we’re now at the point where colleges will punish someone for hanging an anonymous flyer that challenges another person’s speech?