Marquette University: Political Quote Banned from Office Door

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Marquette University

In August 2006, a PhD student at Marquette University, Stuart Ditsler, posted a Dave Barry quote on his office door. The quote read, “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” In September, the University administration had the quote taken down because it was “patently offensive.” On September 5, Distler received an email from the Philosophy Department Chair, James South, stating that there had been several complaints about the quote and that it had been removed as a result. FIRE wrote to the University president, Robert A. Wild reminding him of the free speech rights that Marquette had promised to its students and faculty. FIRE never received a response. In June 2009, Dave Barry recorded an interview with FIRE discussing the case and his reasons for cherishing the First Amendment.

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  • I am not making this up: Dave Barry is “patently offensive”

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    Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist and author of more than 30 books, is no stranger to critics trying to censor his writing. The nationally syndicated humorist has written some of our nation’s funniest columns—and with the First Amendment on his side, he’s been winning the battle for free speech for over 25 years. This new video from FIRE features Barry discussing why freedom of expression is important to him and how today’s politically correct college campuses are creating a culture of censorship that stifles humor writing and the opinions of millions of students across the country.

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    October 18, 2006

    A national free speech group is criticizing Marquette University administrators today for removing a quote by humorist Dave Barry from the office door of a graduate student. The Barry quote on Stuart Ditsler’s door read: “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” Philosophy Department Chair James South says he took the quotation down after receiving several complaints. An e-mail released by Philadelphia’s Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says South explained that the hallways and office doors at […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Marquette University President Robert A. Wild, September 27, 2006

    September 27, 2006

    September 27, 2006 President Robert A. Wild, S.J. Marquette University O’Hara Hall, 101/102 P.O. Box 1881 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-1881 Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (414-288-3161) Dear President Wild: As you can see from our directors and board of advisors, FIRE unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, due process, legal equality, voluntary association, and, in this case, freedom of speech and academic freedom on America’s college campuses. Our website, www.thefire-dev.wp.eresources.ws, will give you a greater sense of our identity and of our activities. FIRE […]

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