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CARBONDALE, IL - Southern Illinois University issued charges last week to a student for passing out fliers at an antiwar demonstration on campus.
Marc Torney, a graduating senior and honors student in History, was charged with three violations of SIU's Student Conduct Code, for which Torney faces sanctions ranging up to expulsion. Torney was passing out fliers on Friday March 19, one day before the international protests that marked the one year anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War. Torney has been charged with violating the University's demonstration policy, which restricts student protest to a small patch of grass in an area of campus that is largely deserted due to construction.

Outrage over the incident has swelled on campus, with resolutions passed by Undergraduate Student Government and the SIU History Department condemning the University's free speech policies and demanding the charges against Torney be dropped. Student's protested silently on campus, their mouths taped shut with duct tape, to all attention to SIU's anti-speech policies.

The incident is illustrative of a growing number of civil liberties violations across the country, where President Bush and his allies have cordoned off dissent from its intended target. Torney's case may prove to be a test case for free speech on college campuses.

Torney's hearing will take place Friday April 30 at 9:00AM at Woody Hall B-145 on the SIU campus in Carbondale, Illinois.

For more information:

Sue Davis, Executive Director Marketing and Communications..(618)453-1423 (office)
Terry Huffman, Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs... ... ... .(618)536-2338 (office)
Larry Dietz, Vice Chancellor Student Affairs... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...(618)453-7452 (office)
James Walker, President... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... (618)536-3331 (office)
Walter Wendler, Chancellor... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..(618)453-2341 (office)

SIU student newspaper:  http://www.dailyegyptian.com/
 http://newshound.de.siu.edu/spring04/stories/storyReader$1542 article on USG resolution
 http://newshound.de.siu.edu/spring04/stories/storyReader$1513 article on demonstration(many factual errors)

homepage: homepage: http://bigmuddyimc.org

This Needs to Be Escalated 25.Apr.2004 10:56


SIU is a public school, and as such, is subject to constitutional provisions for free speach. If SIU imposes sanctions, then Torney should get the support of civil rights advocates to take the case into state and federal court.

In the mean time, it should be made abundantly clear to the Illnois Board of Regents that this case will become a major thorn in their sides.

Dealt with this shit while I was in high school 25.Apr.2004 14:59

Luke from DC

When I was in high school, the principal tried this shit with me(again, for passing out fliers-and then end-running a flier ban with an ad in the school paper). Only thing was, I hated school, so I escalated and threatened to bring other activists on campus to escalate things until he couldn't handle it anymore. He caved, and that was the end of it.

The fliers I was giving out? Ones advising students to refuse to register for the draft. The principal then threatened to sack the staff of the school paper for running my ad with teh same text, but after a draft-registration form burning demo ar a post office got me interviews in teh mainstream press, he decided he'd had enough and let the isssue drop entirely,knowing there was no limit to how much trouble I would make for him if the mainstream press got interested as they often seem to in thse sort of cases.

On a related note, a teacher I had who like me opposed U$ intervention in El Salvador pulled a grand joke on a military recruiitng van: He gave me a pass to their presentation out of the blue, knowing I would disrupt it. I did that by listening to him pour out his crap about career and education and such shit, then asking just one question: "What if there's a war?" This was in "peacetime," so he was totally unprepared and looked like a total fool in front of everyone. Mission accomplished, I returned to class. Today you might ask him what kind of benefits the military offers if you lose use of both legs and your genitals in Iraq to a bullet in the spine.