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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 09/26/2010

Student gets in trouble for e-mail on scooter parking

By Valerie Strauss

Put this in the “what-were-they-thinking” category.

“They” are officials at the University of Georgia, who took exception to a mocking e-mail sent by a student complaining about the location of available parking for scooters on campus.

As reported by FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the school actually invites students to send positive and negative feedback to Parking Services, so student Jacob Lovell sent an e-mail Aug. 17 that said the following (note that I took out some language not allowed on the Post Web site):

“Why isn’t there any scooter parking near Aderhold, according to your parking map? There’s like a billion places to park on north campus and over by the Georgia center, but nothing anywhere close to Aderhold. What the hell? Did you guys just throw darts at a map to decide where to put scooter corrals? Can I expect you guys to ... put in a corral near there some point before I … graduate and/or the sun runs out of hydrogen?”

Thanks for nothing, ever, J

This was deemed threatening to school officials.

On Aug. 18, Lovell received a message from Parking Services saying that his e-mail had been sent to the student judiciary. Then he received a letter Sept. 3 from Associate Dean of Students Kimberly Ellis that said in part:

“It is alleged that Mr. Lovell engaged in disorderly conduct and disrupted parking services when he sent an e-mail to them that was threatening.”

Lovell was ordered to meet with officials or have his record “flagged."

“A flagged record keeps you from adding, dropping or registering for classes,” the letter said.

Maybe I missed something; the e-mail didn’t sound threatening to me. Obnoxious, but hardly threatening.

Lovell asked FIRE, a nonprofit educational foundation that works to preserve free speech on campuses, for help. After the organization got involved, the school had a change of heart. Ellis sent a letter dated Sept. 14 to Lovell saying that there was not sufficient evidence to push forward with charges.

The case was closed. But why was it ever opened?

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By Valerie Strauss  | September 26, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
Tags:  campus parking, disorderly conduct, fire, free speech, free speech on campus, parking services, scooter parking, speech codes, uga, university of georgia  
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It's no secret academia is dominated by liberals. If you want a sneak preview of what society at large would be like if liberals were unopposed, you need look no further than the college campus with its speech codes, intimidation, kangaroo courts and all around desire to control every aspect of one's life.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | September 26, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

...simple, the letter made it obvious that he was a "disgruntled student".

Google that.

This what our society has come to. You do X to group A, group A labels you as Y, and Y's are well-known to have engaged in violent actions in the are labeled as a "threat" based on the actions of others with similar characteristics. No matter how loose the association.

And it's literally a criminal act in our society to be considered a "threat". Look it up.

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | September 26, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"If you want a sneak preview of what society at large would be like if liberals were unopposed, you need look no further than the college campus with its speech codes, intimidation, kangaroo courts and all around desire to control every aspect of one's life." opposed to conservative societies with speech-codes, intimidation, kangaroo-courts and all around desire to control every aspect of ones' life?

Conservatives trip themselves up on this point every time. It's hard to really attack liberals from a conservative standpoint when they want to react in the same way that conservatives react, just to different stimuli and for different reasons.

Posted by: tokenwhitemale | September 26, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for letting parents and students know to cross University of Georgia off our list.

Posted by: postisarag | September 26, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Agreed that the school officials overreacted. But someone needs to take the young man aside and give him a lesson in communication manners. Even in e-mail, when one is writing to anyone other than a close friend (and arguably not even then), profanity and egregious obnoxiousness are not appropriate. (IMHO, at least.)

Posted by: nan_lynn | September 26, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

This is typical politics in academia. They threaten & intimidate students over mere complaints, and then weasel when they get caught at it.

Curmudgeon10's unsubstantiated accusations are a great example of that type of behavior. The right is filled with angry stupid bullies who wave their guns, and their gun rights around in a threatening manner, along with a never ending litany of threats against the nation & types of people that they don't like based on factors of social difference and their own stubborn ignorance. The irony of his preposterous accusations are lost on him I'm sure, but the behavior of the GOP makes academia at it's worst look like bastions of tolerance. Universities don't threaten to violently secede from the union, it's members of his party that do that.

Posted by: Nymous | September 27, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

This is further proof that some people in our education system should be in a different vocation. A test should be developed where the applicant is asked to identify different body parts. Those that fail to know the difference between an elbow and ahole should not be offered employment.

Posted by: | September 27, 2010 6:05 AM | Report abuse

they should expell this kid. All this talk of "free speech" and "liberals on campus" is absurd. Part of the reason we have such huge societal problems is that parents let their little brats get away with this stuff, and they take it to society at large. Whatever happened to decorum? This is no less offensive than spitting on a teacher or administrator. Expell the kid; let him learn manners somewhere else.

Posted by: gasmonkey | September 27, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if our Far Right poster who sees liberals under every rock has ever actually talked to a person who works in Parking Services. What gave them away? The sunglasses? The uniform? The Cops-like accent? All, as we know, indicators of Left-ism.

Posted by: dane1 | September 27, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

If you think that the extreme response from a university was bad, try living on a military post. It is like living under martial law. Of course, they then tell you that living on post is a privilege, not a right. Ok. Logical reasoning and the inability to see what is really important has been trumped by the land of the politically correct. The veiled and not-so-veiled threats that are made on a daily basis give us a hint as to why our military must remain a civilian run entity. Universities are the land of politically correct, but the military reservations have them beaten by a mile.

Posted by: merrimac1 | September 27, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

@Curmudgeon10: Oh, yeah right, the University of Georgia, that bastion of liberalism in that far-left state, Georgia. I suppose Regent University is your idea of a "fair and balanced" college - with a founder who explains earthquakes with a declaration that they are the result of a "pact with a devil."

Posted by: cmckeonjr | September 27, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

You left out the best part of the story. Apparently after the administration notified the student that his email was sent to student judiciary, he responded (remember his question was whether scooter parking would be available before he graduates), "So that's a no?"

Posted by: Fran5 | September 27, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I fail to see how any rational thinking adult could conclude that that e-mail was threatening. Do they not know what the word means? All that kid did was say what (no doubt) everyone was thinking. Yeah, he was obnoxious, but sometimes expressing yourself doesn't mean tiptoeing around. Absurd that they made an issue of it.

Posted by: AnonyMiss | September 27, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"If you want a sneak preview of what society at large would be like if liberals were unopposed, you need look no further than the college campus with its speech codes"

Which administration came up with "free speech zones"?

Which administration wouldn't let you into its president's "public" events if you wore a t-shirt they didn't like?

Posted by: hitpoints | September 27, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon should register for courses at a college, or get a job there doing anything. First of all, professors range in political views across the spectrum. (When I was at William & Mary during the '70s, there was a hilarious story going around about a business professor who was offended by the lack of a dress code. One day he corralled someone passing by and proceeded to give him a lecture about how "you students show no respect for your professors when you dress for class as though you are going to the beach." The person he was lecturing was a fellow professor!)

Second, even if the majority of professors are liberal, the administration is usually very conservative--and the support staff are similar to their non-college counterparts in the same job.

Actually, the student sounds wet behind the ears--literally, like someone who was dripping wet from having to walk from a far scooter parking lot past a lot of cars to get to his class and wrote the complaint before he had dried off!

What's the followup? Is the University looking into more scooter parking?

Posted by: sideswiththekids | September 27, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"It's no secret academia is dominated by liberals. If you want a sneak preview of what society at large would be like if liberals were unopposed, you need look no further than the college campus with its speech codes, intimidation, kangaroo courts and all around desire to control every aspect of one's life."

Posted by: Curmudgeon10

I commend you on maintaining your ideological and intellectual purity by not pursuing higher education. It doesn't show AT ALL.

Posted by: irae | September 27, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

We can never be too safe.

Posted by: blasmaic | September 27, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

It's no secret academia is dominated by liberals. If you want a sneak preview of what society at large would be like if liberals were unopposed, you need look no further than the college campus with its speech codes, intimidation, kangaroo courts and all around desire to control every aspect of one's life.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10
That is ridiculous. You take a specific article about a single incident where officals overreacted and spin your conspiracy theories with no evidence what so ever about the adminstrator, any prior studnet behavior, prior similar issues on campus, etc. Do you use such logic in all aspects of "discovery"? What a knee-jerk reaction to the article.

Posted by: cadam72 | September 27, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

OK, critics, I'll take your arguments if you can just focus them. Are you arguing that campuses are NOT overwhelmingly liberal? If so, then provide some citations. Just a little Google yields plenty of data that documents the reverse.

So if you have an overwhelming political view on a campus, is it therefore unreasonable to attribute a whacky policy --- one that found this poor student guilty of issuing a "threatening" email to that political view? I think not.

After all, what those scaredy cats down in Georgia did is not that much different from what Linda Douglas tried to do with her solicitation to send the names of emailers who didn't like HCR to the White House. Or, to use a more recent example, Sebelius' threats against insurers for attributing rate increases to HCR.

I'm sorry if the truth hurts.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | September 27, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The irony here Curmudgeon is that the policy in certainly not "liberal" and far more draconean than a liberal administrator would enact (if you use sterotypes. As for your equation to Linda Douglas and Sebalius, they are laughable. Sebalius has every right to hold HCR accountable for saying the their rate increases are directly related to health care legislation that has not been enacted yet, has lead to no descernable profit losses yet, and tries to gouge and scare consumers. They one is certainly unlike the other in this case, not even close.

Again, stick to the merits of the story and stop infusing your politics.

Posted by: cadam72 | September 27, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The case was opened because they didn't expect him to fight back. The case was closed because he did.

Posted by: dcpsinsider | September 27, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

gee, a whiny kid getting a subsidized education may have to walk 1/2 mile to some classes? no wonder china and india ae leaving the us in the dust.

Posted by: george32 | September 27, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon, what's your definition of "liberal"? Are you using it in the intellectual sense of being open to new ideas and willing to try new things? If that's the case, then most colleges (except maybe some of the religious ones) are by definition liberal, since they exist to discover, evaluate, and spread ideas. If you mean the political sense, which in the 19th century meant believing the limitations on the government to protect the citizens from tyrannical government, in the 20th century meant believing in strong government actions to protect citizens from tyrannical fellow citizens or businesses, and now seems to include those who used to be moderate conservatives, then you will probably find pretty much the same assortment of liberals on college you will anywhere else.

(As a life-long political moderate, I don't think we have had a consistently conservative politican--limiting the role of government in private life--since Barry Goldwater.)

Posted by: sideswiththekids | September 29, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

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