Monday, December 17, 2012
Censorship at the University of Delaware
InsideHigherEd asks in the headline of a short take, "Censorship or Trademark Enforcement at U. of Delaware?" To answer the question asked in the title, this is absolutely 100% censorship, and there is no doubt of this fact. There are two reasons for this. First of all, UD officials threatened "severe" consequences against the students who wanted to sell the T-shirts, implying the use of the campus disciplinary system rather than the civil courts for a trademark infringement case. As FIRE notes, that's a severe threat to free speech and a complete abuse of the campus judicial system, which has no business dealing with civil cases. Second, this trademark claim is simply ridiculous. The UD certainly does not own the letters "U" and "D," and its attempt to regulate every possible reference to its university is absurd. Universities should be more tolerant of free speech than other corporations, especially when it comes to their own students. They shouldn't be threatening their students in absolutely inappropriate ways in order to censor free speech.