Note: Updated for clarity.

In my last post,  I quoted from several people involved in the Capehart Imbroglio.  Today I was threatened by an anonymous poster that I was committing libel.  Here is the post and my response:

Rex:  You seem to fancy yourself quite the legal scholar. There absolutely was no tortious interference with contract, but you might want to rethink your libel of various professors and administrators.”

I said:

January 4, 2016 at 11:42 am Thanks “Rex” for this opportunity to point out that libel has a high bar for public personalities, who open themselves up to the public. You anonymously fancy yourself a lawyer too to make such a claim. I have taught Constitutional Law….and you? Actually there was interference by the definition of the phrase. Reread it. I have not written anything that was not said in public by the people involved. My conclusions are my own based on what they said. If people do not want others to cast judgement on their public pronouncements, they should not speak to the press. Incidentally, I am sorry to inform you that everyone at WLU is a public employee. That means they are open to public scrutiny. IF there is a correction to be made, I want to hear it. I will make changes and apologize publicly if I have erred. The ball is in your court now.

 

There is a lot wrong with what Rex wrote.  First, IF I have committed libel, then so have numerous faculty members who made false statements to the press about Capehart, Wright, and a whole host of people.

However, second, I have not libeled anyone.  As public employees, everyone is fair game.  They are doubly fair game if they make statements to the press.  I have made comments on their comments, not on their person.  If indeed, people do not want judgements cast on their public pronouncements, then they should not make public statements.

The real problem it seems to me is I disagree with a majority of the faculty and staff.

Another non-sequitur is people like “Rex” charge that since I am not a lawyer I cannot reliably judge when a public body has broken the law.  This is especially odd given people who are also not lawyers–like presumably “Rex”–are making claims that I don’t know what I am talking about because I am not a lawyer.  So, a non-lawyer sets up the framework for condemnation without having the very skills they assert disqualifies me.  This is utter nonsense.  The law is public for a reason—so anyone can read it and live freely.  While I am not a lawyer, I am also not stupid, and unlike my critics, have taught Constitutional Law.  What the Faculty senate did was break the law–at least twice.  It is not libel to note that.  It is also not libelous to note my opinion on that fact.  It is not libel to note that their violation of another person’s rights (whether Robin or Emily Capehart) was illegal and despicable.

Do I think each person is awful personally?  No.  Do I think their public acts are?  Yes, most definitely.  There is a difference.

Let me make this next point very clear:  If I have written anything that is wrong, I will correct it.  If I have erred, I will correct the record, and offer a public apology.  I am literally serious about correcting any instance where I have incorrectly misquoted a public pronouncement.  

To date, no one has brought up a single point contradicting the public pronouncements of what happened.  Not one.  I have only received threats in anonymity from people like Rex–a curious name choice since it’s Latin for King.  That edges close to wire fraud, if not internet harassment and cyber bullying.

For those who disagree with me, I welcome a public debate.  If you think I am wrong, say so and do so under your own name.

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