The Symposium on Free Speech and Civil Discourse and the Teach In

Apologies for the twin entries today. As Caleb and I have wandered far from campus our direct involvement in the reaction to the lawsuit against Jess Zimmerman is limited. One thing we can offer is our support in the form of promoting events and using The Underground's facebook mailing list. Feel free to send requests for blog entries to the.butler.dissenters@gmail.com or jonwirons@gmail.com.

In response to the lawsuit, and in addition to the petition, a symposium and discussion of the consequences of the lawsuit on free speech will be held on Tuesday Oct 20th, from 5:30-8:30 pm in the Pharmacy Building 156.

"In light of the libel lawsuit, Butler University v. John Doe, and the attention this case has received, there will be a symposium on "Free Speech and Civil Discourse" on Tuesday, October 20 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in PB156. Speakers will include Stephant Laurent in Dance, Michael Vance in Pharmacy, and Bill Watts in English. All faculty and students are invited. Please come to discuss these issues that are so important to our community."

This so-called Teach-In has been organized by Dr. Vivian Deno from the Department of History. Here is a little information on the event and helpful links regarding the case against Jess Zimmerman. In lieu of publishing our own set of links please use these:

"How do you feel about having rights? How about free speech? What do you think about Butler suing one of its own students for libel and defamation - simply for speaking his mind?

If you haven't heard about the legal battle our university is waging against Jess Zimmerman, a junior here at Butler, I strongly urge you to visit Jess's blog:
Start with his first post, at the bottom of the page.

Here is Butler English Professor Bill Watts's op-ed piece in the Collegian about the suit:
Collegian article about the faculty senate on the lawsuit, including comments by President Bobby Fong: http://thebutlercollegian.com/index.php/news/717-fong-addresses-faculty-senate-about-truebu

Now that you're a little caught up, want to do something about your anger/confusion/outrage? Then you should attend a faculty-hosted Teach-In on Free Speech and Civil Discourse, this Tuesday, October 20, from 5:30pm - 8:30pm in PB 156. From History Professor, feminist and Collaborative member Dr. Deno:

'Please join the faculty, staff, and student body of Butler University in an open exchange about free speech and civil discourse. Bring your friends, your ideas, and your voice!! Spread the word!

What constitutes civil discourse? How do you distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable speech? Who decides? What is the proper response to speech deemed unacceptable? Butler's current libel suit and the ensuing media coverage raises a number of questions about what constitutes civil discourse on the modern college campus. We'll grapple with these and other questions in what promises to be a lively session.'

PLEASE, PLEASE go to this session! Even if you don't know the whole story - come find out. Even if you feel like you don't have anything to say - come listen.

-Jon Irons


  1. Jon--There needs to be a selection of "all of the above" on the poll. Can you add it? Thanks.

  2. Sorry Grace, I overlooked that option. Once people have voted though, I can't add more selections or edit the poll.


  3. Free speach? Speach?