Speech memo hyperbole saddens

By James Phillips

A recent editorial expressed outrage at an ethics memo that, “strictly interpreted,” could ban political activity “at any time, even off the clock.”

Readers may want to compare this hyperbole to the actual memo, which states in its first paragraph the “the activities defined as “prohibited” per the law are only prohibited while employees are on University time or using University resources or property. If the appropriate benefit time is charged and the activities do not take place on University property, it is permissible for you, while representing yourself individually (not as a University employee), to become involved in such events.”

Furthermore, this is state law, not an easily-reversed policy like banning the Chief in the homecoming parade, so complaining about the messenger isn’t going to change anything.

I am a proponent of strong free speech rights, especially speech that is unpopular and allegedly offensive. It saddens me that the same Daily Illini that was offended by a Jamaican bobsled team Halloween costume last year is now spreading misinformation to defend the “rights” of professors to turn their University offices and classrooms into personal Obamanations.