Thursday, August 17, 2006

Penn State Spins

As I noted in my previous two posts, the CDT reported yesterday on changes made to Penn State's "Free Speech Zone" policy which were made as part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by A. J. Fluehr. Penn State flack Bill Mahon had this to say about the change,
...Penn State had been considering the policy changes even before Fluehr brought the litigation.
Old Main will never admit that they were wrong and when forced to change a policy they will claim they were thinking about doing so before the they were forced to. Now thinking about something and doing something are two entirely different things. But the the likely intent of this statement is to give the impression that the change was on the way and the suit, if anything, only sped it up. This crap is so typical of Old Main.

It is also interesting to note that the revision history within the policy.
June 28, 2006 - Editorial change made in "Locations For Expressive Activity," removing sentence that referred to other areas on University property.
By not actually quoting the removed sentence this brief description of the revision obscures the importance of the change. This is made worse by the misleading characterization of the change as merely editorial. Why did the University chose to characterize the change, rather than fully quote the removed sentence? Could it be that they had hoped that no one would notice the significance of the change? Further, if they intended to make the change on their own, as Mahon's claim would suggest, why obscure the change when it was made?

These guys act like they believe no one is paying attention.

Update: Here is what Mahon told Penn State Public Radio.
The Alliance Defense Fund said its backing of the student lawsuit forced the changes, and said it was a victory for speech rights. Mahon said, though, that the timing of the group's action was coincidental. "We started talking last winter that maybe we needed to alter theses slightly to bring them up into current compliance," he said, "Some time after that -- weeks or months later -- we were contacted by this law group."
In this quote Mahon is far more explicit about his claim that the University was going to revise the "Free Speech Zone" policy well before the lawsuit was filed. These guy's cannot admit that they aren't always calling the shots.

I think they are afraid to look weak. Once they look weak people may begin to stand up to them and put an end to their power plays and power grabs. By the way, one of the things which I hope to do with this blog is to document Spanier's power plays and power grabs, past, present, and future.

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