Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Can't TBOC! be shut down by administration or by lawsuit?

Let's think about this one for a minute.

Every time something goes up on this site that the SLU Republicans don't like, they run to the administration crying "foul." The unfortunate reality is, "political orientation" is not covered in the SLU discriminatory harassment policy. And, as long as posts made over the SLU network do not violate the AUP, there is no action the university can take, short of mere bullish intimidation tactics, which they have done before, to no avail.

What about lawsuits? Well, we've outlined in a pretty clear fashion how they wouldn't hold up. But, besides the slander/libel/defamation laws, there is also the fact that contributors (aka tboccers) blog anonymously--or most of them do. Who would be served with papers? The blog itself? You can't really do that. And again, this is all aside from the fact that no case against TBOC would hold any water, legally speaking. Sorry kids.

In short, the SLU administration can't touch TBOC, and neither can the SLU Republicans, so they might as well just get used to it. After all, you know what they say. If you can't take a joke, fuck off. Actions aimed at halting or shutting down TBOC! only further prove the point TBOC! has made repeatedly: SLU Republicans and the SLU administration have no respect for freedom of speech whatsoever, unless that speech involves promoting their own ideology, or in some cases, crypto-fascism.

So go ahead, you Lizs, Jakes, Carlas, and Peters of the world. Meet with Rance, and Margaret, and Cissy, and Sully until the cows come home. And go ahead you Rances, Maragarets, Cissys, and Sullys of the world, and try to shut us down. Each time you all go after TBOC!, we only get stronger.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Are you affiliated with SLU?

TBOC! is in no way officially affiliated with SLU, nor are we a Thelmo-recognized student organization. The opinions reflected on the site are those of the TBOC staff, and in no way represent those of the university.

Can't we all just get along?

Some people feel it's best to sit down at a big table and talk out their differences. We aren't those people. We believe that head-on confrontation and conflict is the only way to make real, meaningful progress, not through pretending to like each other while letting bad blood clot up. The culture of "politeness" that runs rampant at SLU is detremintal to actually moving forward, and so we take steps to remedy this.

Are you all Democrats?

No. In fact, the vast majority of us aren't. That's not to say we're Republicans either--we're neither. Nor are we affiliated with nor do we receive any funding/support from, in any way, shape, or form, from the College Democrats or any other Democratic Party or liberal organization.

Do you hate all conservatives, then?

Certainly not. Just those without a shred of intellectual honesty who prey on leftist students and faculty under the guise of "accuracy" and "freedom" (see below). We know for a fact that many conservatives are dissatisfied if not completely outraged with the College Republicans and other right-wing front groups, and we welcome them/you with open arms.

Do you folks really have nothing better to do than blogging this shit?

What, and you don't have anything better to be doing than checking the site every day and reading this FAQ? Like most people, we have plenty of other stuff to take care of. However, we consider countering the attacks of the College Republicans, Students for Academic "Freedom," "Accuracy" in Academia, "Accuracy" in the Media, and the Young America's Foundation to be equally important to, if not more important than, many of our other commitments. That is, social justice trumps all.

Isn't this stuff harassment?

Legally speaking, no. According to SLU policy, definitely no. That's because SLU doesn't have a harassment policy for students in its handbook. Just a discriminatory harassment policy. We should clarify by stating that according to SLU policy, "political beliefs" are not protected under the discriminatory harassment policy, which is reserved for things that are actually important, like real discriminatory harassment.

Feel like you're being harassed? That's probably because you're a whiney fuckwit suffering from the utter frustration of an uncomfortable confrontation that Mom and Dad's (but mostly Dad's) money can't solve, also known as Headinassitis. To deal with this, we strongly suggest "getting over yourself," and another treatment that, in the medical world, is commonly referred to as "pulling your head out of your ass." Hope one of these two remedies work for you, if not, you can always check with some online medical site. Maybe they can help.

So you guys must have a lawyer, huh?

Yep.

I still have questions.

Feel free to email us at takebackourcampus@yahoo.com with any further questions. If it's a good one, we'll add it to the FAQ!

I don't like what you have to say.

Fine, by all means, don't visit the site. To quote the old disclaimer,

You don't have to be here. You could be looking at any other site right now. you could be browsing a news site, sending your grandmother a nice Dayspring Christian e-card--hell, you could be looking at granny porn for all we care. But, if you want to take a look at the site we think that's fine and dandy, just keep one thing in mind: this site contains satirical work. Satire is protected speech under the law, even if the object of that satire doesn't get it. If you understand this, great. Stay a while; enjoy yourself. Otherwise, bugger off.

TBOC! is slanderous/libelous/defamatory!

While that's not really a question, it's a charge that's been thrown at us pretty frequently. Unfortunately, it's an argument that bears no relation to reality whatsoever. As tboccer Christian Evangelist writes, here's why:

If we post "1+1=3" this is certainly a false statement, though not a defamatory statement. See Phipps v. Clark Oil & Ref. Corp., 408 N.W.2d 569, 573 (Minn. 1987), which defines a defamatory statement as that which "tends to injure the plaintiff's reputation and expose the plaintiff to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, or degradation."

But here's the hitch-- you must prove that these ostensibly "defamatory" statements are untrue. If the statements are true, we can post whatever we like. If we want to print that Mike Owen supported Pretorian apartheid in the 1980s, we can. If we want to mention that John Jaunzems has made racist statements about illegal immigrants, we can. If we care to let slip that after decades at SLU both Mike and John are Associate Professors because they haven't published anything, we can. If we want to point readers to Steve Horwitz's pompous Rush fan page, we can. If we point out that when losing an argument, Steve Horwitz has been known to make utterly baseless allegations of anti-Semitism, we can point that out because it's true. We can post as many pictures as we like of Dolly Dolphin. These things are all true.

In order to make us pay, you have to prove that our false claims actually damaged your reputation. This isn't going to happen in the case of satire, which no reasonable person would mistake as true. That's why satire is constitutionally protected as free speech. [For a nice example of this, see Fox News Network, LLC v. Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and Alan S. Franken, Index No. 602514/2003, which ruled no reasonable person would believe that Fox News endorsed Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them and was therefore protected as satire.]

One brief addition-- a plaintiff may become "libel-proof." That is, the court may rule that the plaintiff's reputation could not be further damaged through defamation. [See Marcone v. Penthouse Int'l Magazine for Men, 754 F.2d 1072, 1079 (3rd Cir. 1985)]. If someone publishes a ridiculous piece in The Stump, we have every right to mock her for it.

Just so you know-- all our statements are factually accurate and our satire is protected. Go ahead and sue us. See how many billable hours your attorney can rack up. We'll laugh and blog about you. It's called free speech.


In a separate post, CE continued:

Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 US 46, 50; 108 S Ct 876; 99 L Ed 2d 41 (1988) protects the right of satire. The judge felt that no reasonable person would believe Rev. Jerry Falwell would engage in sex with his own mother-- in the words of the court, "could not reasonably be understood as describing actual facts or events." Our detractors may argue that Rev. Falwell is a public figure and therefore subject to a separate standard of protectiuon.

Thus we must cite a case in which a private citizen feels he has been defamed. See DeAngelo Bailey v. Marshall Bruce Mathers III, a/k/a Eminem Slim Shady, Case No. 2001-3606-NO. Bailey objected to Slim's song, "Brain Damage" in which Bailey (a former schoolmate of Shady and now a 33-year old sanitation worker) is referred to as a bully. Hon. Derborah Servitto summed the case in the following rhyme: "If the language used is anything but pleasin'/It must be highly objectionable to a person of reason/...The lyrics are stories no one would take as fact/ They're an exaggeration of a childish act/ Any reasonable person could clearly see/ That the lyrics could only be hyperbole."


Hope that clears that up.

If a post violates the AUP, then doesn't it violate state/federal law as well?

In theory it's possible, but nothing we do violates state and/or federal law. The AUP is simply a list of rules for SLU, enforced by SLU, and bears no relation to the actual "law."

Does TBOC! violate SLU's Acceptable Use Policy for the network?

TBOC! does not currently violate SLU's network AUP. There are a few reasons for this. The first reason is that SLU's AUP, as the name suggests, only applies to things that go across the university network. If a post violates the AUP in this regard, then chances are it wasn't posted over the SLU network. We've had issues with this in the past, and have, to the best of our knowledge, corrected them. The second reason, which is linked to the first, is that TBOC! as a site can't violate the AUP, only posts that are made over the network that do, according to the language of the AUP, violate it. But again, such posts are not made via the school network.

Is TBOC! really legal?

Presumably what you're wondering about is more pointedly, "Is what TBOC! does legal?"

The answer to your question, however, is yes. What TBOC! does is completely legal.