Eviction from university housing for posting flyer
urging womenstudents to take the stairs
bobsheridan at earthlink.net
Thu Oct 28 14:08:15 PDT 2004
No Dumb Guy exception to the Billa' Rights around here, I'm glad to see...
or, more formally,
The Constitution in its majesty both restrains and protects dumb guys in
the exercise of their legal rights.
As my investigator is fond of saying, "Well, we can't defend against
stupidity, can we."
Equal protection for idiots, in a nutshell.
Sanford Levinson wrote:
>This strikes me as dumb all around, but what is dumbest is evicting the
>guy. And I suppose I think it is not only dumb, but also
>From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
>[mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Volokh, Eugene
>Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2004 1:29 PM
>To: conlawprof at lists.ucla.edu
>Subject: Eviction from university housing for posting flyer urging
>womenstudents to take the stairs
> The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes this
>incident. Any thoughts on the First Amendment issue here? (I take it
>that the university could generally prohibit the posting of flyers on
>dorm walls, or even impose a content-based but viewpoint-neutral ban on
>the use of certain words, such as profanity or for that matter perhaps
>even "dishonest" or "lewd" terms, but I take it that this isn't really
>what happened here.)
>University of New Hampshire Evicts Student for Posting Flier
>DURHAM, N.H., October 28, 2004-The University of New Hampshire has
>evicted a student from housing for posting fliers in his residential
>hall joking that freshman women could lose the "Freshman 15" by walking
>up the dormitory stairs. The public university found him guilty of
>violating policies on affirmative action, harassment, and disorderly
>conduct, and has sentenced him to mandatory counseling and probation
>along with his eviction. See the flier here.
>In appealing his sentence, student Timothy Garneau explained that the
>flier was intended to make light of the common frustration with people
>who delay the elevator by taking it for just one or two floors instead
>of taking the stairs. UNH rejected his appeal, and Garneau was ordered
>to move out of his dormitory. Garneau reports that he is currently
>living out of his car.
>"Forcing a student into homelessness for posting a satirical flier is
>not just unlawful-it's cruel," remarked David French, president of the
>Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which has intervened on
>Garneau's behalf. "UNH is demonstrating to its community not only that
>it will ignore their First Amendment freedoms, but also that it doesn't
>care about the basic welfare of its students."
>The "offensive" flier included a cartoon picture of a woman in outdated
>workout gear and the following message:
>9 out of 10 freshman girls gain 10 - 15 pounds. But there is something
>you can do about it. If u live below the 6th floor takes the
>stairs....Not only will u feel better about yourself but you will also
>be saving us time and wont be sore on the eyes. [sic]
>Garneau posted copies of the flier in the elevators of his dormitory,
>Stoke Hall. According to Garneau, a resident assistant had removed all
>of the fliers within less than two hours. When Garneau was approached
>by the Stoke Hall Director and accused of hanging the fliers, he
>initially denied responsibility, fearing that he would be punished
>harshly and embarrassed in front of his peers. However, Garneau soon
>admitted to posting the flier and was charged with offenses including:
>"acts of dishonesty"; violation of "affirmative action" policies;
>"harassment"; and "conduct which is disorderly, lewd."
>Within a week of the incident, and prior to his hearing, Garneau posted
>a written public apology for unintentionally offending others in his
>residential hall and apologized in person to students that he knew had
>At an October 8 hearing, the university found Garneau guilty of all
>charges. Despite Garneau's offers to voluntarily atone for his actions
>through community service, social awareness projects, and other
>activities, the university sentenced him to immediate expulsion from
>student housing and disciplinary probation extended through May 30,
>2006. He was also required to meet with a counselor to discuss his
>"decisions, actions, and reflections" about the incident, to write a
>3000-word reflection paper about the counseling session, and to submit
>an apology letter to the residents of Stoke Hall to be published in the
>Garneau appealed these outrageous sanctions on October 21, and quickly
>contacted FIRE for assistance. UNH promptly denied Garneau's appeal,
>however, and he was ordered to leave his dormitory by October 24. . . .
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