In apparent display of social correctness and lack of understanding of social media and free speech rights, Executive Director of HR, James Miller has suspended Associate Professor Francis Schmidt over a picture Schmidt had uploaded to his Google+ account.
Our schools and universities should be a place of open discussion, discovery, and analysis of all thoughts. By limiting what can be discussed, the bureaucrats who run our higher education institutions are limiting the ability of young people to learn and develop. Instead of banishing anything that may be deemed offensive, schools should be encouraging students to have their views challenged, discussed, and analyzed.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) summarizes the censorship:
Displaying a lack of both pop culture and First Amendment awareness, administrators at Bergen Community College in New Jersey placed Professor Francis Schmidt on leave this past January, requiring him to meet with a psychiatrist before returning to campus—just for posting a picture of his daughter in a T-shirt quoting the popular HBO television show Game of Thrones.
Schmidt, an art and animation professor, was required to meet with Jim Miller, an executive director at the college, as well as two other administrators prior to being put on leave because Miller believed he received a “threatening email” from Schmidt.
There are many problems with this accusation. First, the email was not sent from Schmidt. Jim Miller is a contact of Schmidt’s on Google+, so Miller automatically received an email from Google when Schmidt posted on Google+. Second, the “threatening” material was a picture of Schmidt’s young daughter doing yoga in a Game of Thrones T-shirt with the quote, “I will take what is mine with fire & blood.” For those who are unfamiliar with Game of Thrones, this is a quote from the character Daenerys, who is pledging to retake the throne in Westeros, a war-torn continent and the primary setting of the series.