CSU, a public university, agreed to pay Philip Beverly and Robert Bionaz $650,000 and revise the unconstitutional policies that prompted the lawsuit.Thirteen down, another Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (they can use your contributions, tax code or no) lawsuit to follow. "After each victory, FIRE will target another school — sending a message that unless public colleges obey the law, they will be sued." Good.
On July 1, 2018, Bevery and Bionaz filed suit after CSU ordered them to shut down a faculty-run website that had criticized the administration. Administrators had alleged that this criticism violated the university's policy against cyberbullying, and one public relations director even filed a harassment complaint against Bionaz. These were obvious violations of the faculty's rights; the hurt feelings of university PR officials do not trump the First Amendment.
Professor Bionaz is declaring victory and returning to his desk.
After twice threatening the blog with legal action, after lying about the blog's violation of non-existent university trademarks, after lying about a variety of other matters, after ham-handed attempts by the Watson cabal to inveigle various administrators to file false sexual harassment charges, the university's feeble defense predictably failed to stop the lawsuit. Thus, the university faced the prospect of a trial which would have featured a defense by two notable liars having to tell their ridiculous lies on the stand. Kudos to President Scott for finally putting an end to this farce.We'll see. Margaret "University Diaries" Soltan is not yet ready to make nice with the local Little Rocket Man.
None of this had to happen. Soon after we filed the suit, the Illinois Attorney General's Office floated a potential settlement which would have resulted in a modification of the two unconstitutional policies (Computer Usage and Cyberbullying) and the payment of $60,000 in damages and attorney's fees for our attorneys. Rather than accept this reasonable offer, Watson decided to fight, replacing the Attorney General with a private law firm, whose efforts resulted in this loss, the modification of the policies, and an estimated $1.5 million price tag. After all, it wasn't his money.
So the university must once again pay the price for Wayne Watson's incompetence, his vindictiveness, his mendacity. Hopefully, the settlement indicates that at least someone responsible for administering this school will actually put the university's interests first.
[Chicago State] has disappeared as a university (few students attend; almost no one graduates) but continues to thrive as a taxpayer-sponsored kleptomania/litigation machine. Corruption, virtually the only game on campus (uh, plus basketball, must be kept quiet in order to sustain itself, so the school’s constantly suing or threatening to sue students, professors, and administrators who tell the truth about what’s going on. CSU loses the suits, of course, and has to pay (the good people of Illinois have to pay) big settlement and legal costs.The "basketball" reference is to the near-invisibility of the women's basketball program, which recently hired in a successful coach out of Rock Valley College to improve the team. A coach with previous community college experience might be a good fit for an open-admissions public university, and yet playing at the division I level is a different world. Consider the end of December, when Chicago State hosted Brown (on their home visit tour for their Illinois recruits) just after Christmas, after paying a visit to Northern Illinois just before. Let's say that Chicago State learned a lot from an experienced and determined Northern Illinois team.
Now, if university administrators will learn that attempting to silence dissident faculty who maintain weblogs is going to run them afoul of an experienced and determined Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.