“I was expelled from Syracuse University for comments that I posted on Facebook.”
Syracuse University School of Education graduate student Matthew Werenczak was just trying to finish his masters degree early when he decided to take a summer course that involved tutoring at a local middle school. But after a comment he posted on Facebook about an experience he had at the school caught the attention of the Syracuse administration, Werenczak would be lucky if he graduated at all.
On the first day of Werenczak’s tutoring program at Danforth Middle School, he and another Syracuse student were introduced to their students by a member of the Concerned Citizens Action Program (CCAP). They happened to be the only two white people in the room. Shortly after the introduction, in the presence of Werenczak and the other white student teacher, the CCAP member, who is black, said that he thought that the city schools should hire more teachers from historically black colleges.
“This [comment] offended me, as well as the other student teacher in the room,” says Werenczak in FIRE’s latest video. “It just seemed inappropriate considering that the two student teachers happened to be from Syracuse and a not a historically black college.”
So Werenczak took to Facebook to write about the incident.
“Just making sure we’re okay with racism,” wrote Werenczak. “It’s not enough I’m … tutoring in the worst school in the city, I suppose I oughta be black or stay in my own side of town.”
“I was kind of trying to see if my friends or other peers, classmates would have a similar reaction to what I had,” says Werenczak about the reason for his posting the comment.
One reaction Werenczak didn’t see coming was an expulsion from the School of Education for the Facebook comments, which the school described as “unprofessional, offensive, and insensitive.” The school told Werenczak he could avoid expulsion by voluntarily withdrawing, or he could fulfill several requirements in order to gain a chance of “re-admittance.”
When Werenczak fulfilled the requirements and was still not readmitted to the school, he contacted FIRE for help.
“Hours after FIRE took the case public, Syracuse University backed down and I was brought back [into the program] and later graduated.”
For more details on this case, please visit: http://thefire.org/case/887.html
Rand Paul Vows To Block Internet Censorship Bills
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Paul continued: “While we support copyright protections, we are also concerned about websites being shut down without their day in court, and making innocent third parties bear the costs of solving someone else’s problems.
“I will not sit idly by while PIPA and SOPA eliminate the constitutionally protected rights to due process and free speech. For these reasons, I have pledged to oppose, filibuster and do everything in my power to stop government censorship of the Internet,” Paul said.
That the FBI is engaged in a campaign of defamation and intimidation aimed at this website is not at all surprising, and yet I still can’t accept it emotionally. We have done nothing wrong: indeed, it is the FBI which is clearly in the wrong. Their activities in regard to Antiwar.com are of dubious legality, and are an infringement of our rights to free speech and to organize on behalf of our ideas.
Everyone should take a few minutes to read this article. “Disturbing” doesn’t even begin to describe what is going on in the surveillance state that many of us have the misfortune of calling “home.”
It is vain to fight totalitarianism by adopting totalitarian methods. Freedom can only be won by men unconditionally committed to the principles of freedom. The first requisite for a better social order is the return to unrestricted freedom of thought and speech.