Fourth Estate, July 22, 1905.
An earlier version misstated the term Mr. Vidal called William F. Buckley Jr. in a television appearance during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. It was crypto-Nazi, not crypto-fascist. It also described incorrectly Mr. Vidal’s connection with former Vice President Al Gore. Although Mr. Vidal frequently referred jokingly to Mr. Gore as his cousin, they were not related. And Mr. Vidal’s relationship with his longtime live-in companion, Howard Austen, was also described incorrectly. According to Mr. Vidal’s memoir “Palimpsest,” they had sex the night they met, but did not sleep together after they began living together. It was not true that they never had sex.
In a decision released this morning, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the University of Minnesota did not violate a student’s free speech rights when it punished her for Facebook posts related to her coursework in the mortuary science program.
It is an important ruling for student freedom of speech, especially as the line between what counts as “on campus” and “off campus” blurs. Like most big rulings, we’ll have to wait and see what other courts do with it before we really know what to think. But here’s why I think it raises more questions than it answers, and could be deeply troubling for all students’ First Amendment rights:
It is particularly fortuitous that the very object of this particular first amendment fight can be used to celebrate its protection.