20.1.08

SENSITIVITY GULAGS. The Perpetually Aggrieved don't like that expression, but how else characterize this?
On one evaluation, a student made derogatory comments about a professor’s sexual orientation. The university hired a handwriting expert to confirm the identity of the culprit so punishment could be administered. The university claims the student broke the code of conduct, but if anonymity was promised, is this investigation ethical?
University Diaries notes,
In this instance, seemingly anonymous forms are handwriting-analyzed by campus speech squads. The identity of the thought-criminal revealed, Orwellian punishments ensue...
Not Orwellian. Stalinist. There's an anecdote in Alexander Dolgun's Story about a conversation between the author and an elderly prisoner in Dzezhkagzan, who is serving effectively a life sentence for writing letters to Stalin. The comrade had trouble squaring Stalin's speeches about the Workers' Paradise with his lived existence in Moscow's tenements (these in the days before the khrushchobas, which were an improvement over the pre-revolutionary housing stock.) Because this comrade suspected that his letters might fall into the hands of corrupt underlings among the nomenklatura, he kept his letters anonymous, and to avoid notice by corrupt secret police in the pay of those underlings, he posted from several different drop boxes. But because he was a pensioner, and somewhat feeble, his radius of operation was small and the Organs were able to, after review of the postmarks, match his handwriting with that on more legitimate correspondence he also posted. His interrogator actually boasted of the effort the Organs went to to identify him. Mr Dolgun noted that the comrade took it as routine that so many investigative resources would be devoted to identifying the man who dared write the truth to Stalin.

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