Sunday, February 10, 2008

SA Sedition Act?

From the preprinted agenda for tonight's meeting:

SA Sedition Act
Author: Senator Ohler
Sponsors: Senator Ohler, Senator Piwarun, Senator Draheim, Senator Kristopeit

Whereas the Student Association at UW-Milwaukee is a venerated institution critical to preserving and expanding student rights, and

Whereas in the recent past some parties have disseminated untrue or otherwise misleading statements about the Student Association, and

Whereas libel and slander are not protected free speech, therefore

Be it resolved that upon evidence of libel or slander communicated by one or more individuals, or by one or more groups, the Student Association shall issue a cease-and-desist order to such entities, and

Be it further resolved that if the aforementioned entities do not cease libelous or slanderous communications regarding the SA after being served, the SA shall pursue civil relief against said parties, and

Be it finally resolved that the SA shall allocate from its reserves for this purpose if and only if no other funding mechanism is available.

I have been asked to comment on this proposed legislation. Here are my thoughts:
1. If the SA is really being libeled or slandered, the Senate has every right to fight against it.

2. However, my past dealings with the SA Senate lead me to believe that the actions the Senators term "libel" or "slander" is probably just dissent, and dissent is a natural part of the democratic process.

3. Therefore, while I support the concept of the bill, I will be very suspicious of any letters sent under its auspices, and extremely suspicious of any civil suit filed.

4. I will be even more suspicious if any such letters are sent my way.

This situation will be monitored here.