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Sunday, December 04, 2005 

The End of Eminent Domain?!?!?!

Right now, I should be continuing my cramming for my Evidence final (tomorrow morning at 8:30) or crying or both, but I had to make a post. Prof. McAdams has a post about a Marquette Dental School student whose blog got him in deep trouble. Prof. McAdams states...
...Marquette Dental School Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Denis Lynch learned of a student blog that made one negative comment about a professor (who was not named), a negative comment about 25% of the year-two dental school class (with nobody named) and talked about going out on a few occasions and drinking too much.
The Dean brought down the thunder on this student for these mortal sins. The punishment for the student is as follows...
He offered the student the option of signing "“an admission of guilt"” and accepting a punishment that included probation for the rest of the student's Marquette career, making a public apology to his dental school class, and making an appointment with the Director of the Marquette University Counseling Center "to assess both your alcohol abuse and the underlying basis of your remarks posted on your blog site."”
I never knew that the dental students knew how to party.

The student referred to an unnamed professor as a "cockmaster" and called a large portion of his classmates stupid. The drinking part is the best. Prof. McAdams quotes the blog...
The blog entries do contain several descriptions that sound like binge drinking, although one of the cases was a "“Champaign brunch"” which the Dental School gave for students on the Dean's List. The student said he left "full and buzzin' a little bit from the booze."
What's the issue here? Hell, the Dean provided the booze! Let's compare that to the law school. Next week, the Student Bar Association (excellent word choice) is buying kegs of beer for the 1Ls to celebrate the end of their exams. They're all 21, they're adults in the eyes of the law, and they've all survived undergrad. They know how to drink. If a 1L wants to write a post about the free beer that he enjoyed at the event, what's the problem? There better not be a problem, because I made one of those posts last May.

Under the topic of "Binge Drinking" in Prof. McAdams' post, I get linked. Shocking, huh? The post linked was about my cousin's wedding in Madison. While Prof. McAdams quotes me as saying that I was going to get "hammered," technically I said "shit hammered." It's a distinction and a difference in my book. I also alluded to getting "tanked." You know what? I did. Nick can back me up on this in the comments section. He's a witness; he saw me after the reception. That was a part of my personal life. I was not there as a representative of the law school. I did nothing illegal or unethical. By comparison, I don't think that the dental student did anything wrong either.

For the record, I have never engaged in binge drinking according to the following definition quoted by Prof. McAdams...
Binge drinking describes an extended period of time (typically at least two days) during which a time a person repeatedly becomes intoxicated and gives up his or her usual activities and obligations in order to become intoxicated. It is the combination of prolonged use and the giving up of usual activities that forms the core of the clinical definition of binge drinking.
Two days?! Who's got a flexible enough schedule for two straight days of any one activity? All kidding aside, at that point, you've got some mental issues to be addressing. However, the dental student in question didn't even approach this level of drinking. Saying that he was a binge drinker is just absurd.

Prof. McAdams also posted the final sentence that the student received...
1. He was suspended for Dental School immediately, and would only be readmitted in the Fall of 2006, at which point he would have to complete the entire second year. In other words, a semester of academic work and a year of the students life would be thrown away.
2. He must forfeit a prestigious scholarship he had won.
3. He must make a public apology to his Dental School class. It is specified that "That apology must explicitly state your contrition for the crude, demeaning and unprofessional remarks posted by you on your blog site and an admission that you violated the School of Dentistry'’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, specifically Section IV, Subsection E and the related Marquette University Standards of Conduct."
Total overkill.

Prof. McAdams characterizes this for what it is...
a precipitous and emotional reaction from University administrators led to a punishment that, if it stands, will ruin a student'’s career.
This is nothing but an administration going too far in punishing a minor problem.

So, how does this affect me? It doesn't. The title of the post was a hook to draw you into reading all of this. I know of at least 4 law student bloggers. I don't know of any instance where the law school administration has taken issue with the contents of their blogs or even contacted them at all. Either they don't know about us or they don't care about us. Either way, it's going to be business as usual here at Eminent Domain.

Denis Lynch sounds like a real piece of work. Maybe a few law school profs could go over and help the kid out.

Good luck on the exams!!

Amicus Curiae for the plantiff: Steve was wasted that night when I found him wandering the streets of the capital square. He was in such a sad state of affairs that he turned down further drinks so he could return to his hotel sooner. Pity.

By the way, the definition of "binge" is typically 5+ drinks in one sitting (in Madison we call that 'Thursday'). This is not to be confused with a "bender" -- informally defined as going to bed intoxicated, then drinking the following morning and night to kill the hangover.

I know my credibility is going to take a hit when I hit the "publish" button and blogspot throws that picture of me binging next to this post.

His attorney seems to be doing everything right. Unfortunately, it's up to the administration to make the final call. But I think that sending the Constitutional law professors down the street to give the dental school a lesson in the First Amendment.

Nick, thanks for the back up. I take issue with the "wandering" though. I knew where I was going. As far as your picture, you are totally wrong. The picture adds to your credibility as a drunk.

"But I think that sending the Constitutional law professors down the street to give the dental school a lesson in the First Amendment."...

...would be a good idea.

That's what the comment should say. Unfortunately, my brain melted during my Evidence exam.

This fiasco boiled my blood when I read it. Is there no decency?

I want blood!

Of course you want blood. All of yours boiled.

I am so, so, so, so incredibly glad that when my chance to go to the Shithole school that is Marquette came up, I went somewhere decent instead.

Oh yeah, they "recruited" me. Offered me a "full" scholarship that required I pay their ridiculously overpriced dorm housing when I lived 15 minutes away for two years, and required that I work a ridiculous amount of community service every year. Offered me shit-else even as a National Merit Scholar, when other schools were bending over backwards.

Oh, the best part? The "faculty" at Marquette's idea of talking to a Freshman is shake your hand, that's great now come see me when you're a grad student and you're worth my time.

Fucking pathetic.

And then the year after I don't go there, their administration wusses the hell out and they become "Golden Eagles" to finish the job.

Marquette can take their craphole "university" and go to hell. I suggest you get out while you still can.

Just reading between the lines a little here... I take it that you don't like Marquette?

I didn't go to Marquette for undergrad. I went to UWM, which has its own flaws. Many of them. I've been happy at the law school so far. Things run pretty smoothly there. I can't say the same for the dental school though...

OK, so the students and professor were unnamed. That's not really relevant. For example:

If I were to say "Man, my Friday morning Civics professor was a cockmaster today. I was sitting in the back of Suchandsuch Hall, and he blah blah blah... and all of these other students are stupid," the school administration would know who he was talking about.

It's unprofessional of him to say that, but it seems pretty ludicrous to punish him for it.

I haven't made any judgment about whether the statements were a good idea. I personally will not comment about my professors in that way on ED. I won't talk about my family in detail. I won't explicitly give out my last name (although it's not hard to figure out who I am if you REALLY care that much...).

Those are judgments that each blogger needs to make for himself or herself. Juan Non-Volokh at The Volokh Conspiracy is an anonymous poster. Article III Groupie from the once-great Underneath Their Robes was anonymous. He decided to out himself and the rest (as well as his blog) is history.

I don't think that the dental student's criticism was smart. I personally wouldn't do it. But I still think that punishing him this harshly for it is a vengeful, needless act.

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About me

  • I'm Steve
  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
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