[COMM-ORG] COMM-ORG may go off the air
Discussion list for COMM-ORG
colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Sat Mar 26 09:04:00 CDT 2011
Those of you following the events in Wisconsin closely may have heard
that one of our most prominent faculty, William Cronon, has been the
subject of a Freedom of Information request by the Wisconsin Republican
party seeking all of his e-mails that may contain a wide variety of key
words related to the protests in Wisconsin. This came after he
published an editorial in the New York Times related to the events in
Wisconsin. You can read more about the request at
You are probably also aware that I have sent out news reports about the
protests over COMM-ORG, and that many people across the world have used
the list to send out advocacy messages about a wide variety of causes.
I have always prided myself on not censoring COMM-ORG (well, except for
those Prince William wants to send you a million dollars spam messages),
making it an open forum on community organizing. I even created a
separate announcements list so that off-topic messages sent to the list
could have a home. I have also considered COMM-ORG to be a central part
of my academic work documenting the diversity and depth of community
organizing around the world, and community organizing necessarily
involves advocacy. Given the current climate, I do not know whether
such work will be protected under the principle of academic freedom.
I do not know whether the Republican Party will expand its efforts to
target other faculty and I do not know how the university will respond.
And while I have received no information that I or any other faculty are
being targeted, I want you to all be aware that there is nothing
predictable here and thus I am worried that COMM-ORG may be taken off
the air at any time. I am particularly concerned about students, since
I know a number of courses use the papers on the COMM-ORG site. For
those of you using those papers, please inform your students that they
should download the papers for their personal use immediately, in the
event that COMM-ORG is shut down.
I am sorry for all this uncertainty.
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