“We must do away with all newspapers. A revolution cannot be accomplished with freedom of the press.” - Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
When I first started writing about campus free speech issues for Town Hall in 2003, I complained that most college administrators were ignorant of the constitution. One of my readers, Jim Collins from Colorado Springs, was quick to correct me. Jim pointed out that college administrators aren't just ignorant of the First Amendment. Instead, he insisted that they are hostile towards it. Time has shown just how right he was. In fact, administrative hostility towards the First Amendment has gotten worse since 2003.
Unfortunately, this hostility has spread from the administration to the faculty. In fact, just a few years ago, Dick Veit, our former faculty senate president here at UNCW, joined an administrative effort to punish faculty who dared to criticize the administration in opinion columns written in off-campus forums. This was done under the guise of promoting "collegiality."
The collegiality pretext has been used at other universities. It was first pushed at UNCW by then-Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo. She actually admitted that it was intended to punish me for publicly criticizing the university - for various reasons such as excessive spending on diversity and exorbitantly high salaries for university administrators. Internal emails confirmed that collegiality was being proposed as a device to explicitly punish my constitutionally protected speech.
It is noteworthy that these emails also revealed that Dick Veit was working with the administration to put the collegiality measure in place. Fortunately, when the measure came up for a vote, the junior faculty rebelled and voted it down. Veit later left the senate in frustration over his failed effort to supplement "teaching, research, and service" with a broad "collegiality" factor, which could be used to veto the United States Constitution.
Unfortunately, there are a lot other Dick Veits working in academia. Enter Gabriel Lugo who is a fan of Ernesto "Che" Guevara and is the current faculty senate president at my university. Lugo recently circulated false information on the faculty senate mailing list, which, unfortunately, may embolden senior faculty and administrators inclined to punish junior faculty for speaking out on matters of public concern. This requires a little background information. Please keep reading.