Forwarded from Jim Craven

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jan 31 09:59:20 MST 2003


[The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Washington State University
forwarded to all chairs a memo from the Attorney General's office
advising against using university resources for activity relating to war
on Iraq. Below is the response from one of the department chairs.]

* * *

MEMORANDUM

TO: CES [Comparative Ethnic Studies] faculty and teaching assistants
FROM: Alex Kuo, Chair
DATE: January 27, 2003
SUBJECT: State resources & anti-war discussions

Please be advised that after carefully looking at WAC 292-110-010 and
RCW 42.52.160, I am notifying you in writing as the chair of your
department and your supervisor, [that] I am granting you authorization
to use state resources (such as computers, e-mail, and regular mail) for
the discussions about a potential war in Iraq; for the dissemination of
protest letters, anti-war petitions; to organize meetings and teach-ins;
and other matters related to this issue.

My decision is based on the phrase, "an agency head or designee may
authorize a use of state resources that is related to an official state
purpose but not directly related to an employee's official duty, for
example, conducting an agency combined fund campaign. Such uses shall be
specifically authorized in writing and any use shall strictly conform to
specific agency guidance." (It is interesting to note that United Way is
always included on the exception list, but never a NGO such as Oxfam,
Doctors without Borders, World Vision or Mercy Corps.)

I believe the state's basic charge to Washington State University is to
educate its students. I interpret this to include morality, and
war-where people kill and die-or peace are definitely included in my
concept of education. Furthermore, the use of state resources to
maintain the morale of state employees in any agency must definitely be
considered in such a rule, such as, can we use the office phone to make
a doctor's appointment or to inform a teacher that we'll be late to pick
up a child from school.

Also, there's the matter of free speech and how these codes might
interfere with it. For example, can we use e-mail to participate in a
national discussion of affirmative action when it is clearly an
educational issue? Can we use e-mail to engage in a social issue of
national and global importance? These are complex legal issues, and I do
not believe WSU's AG Nancy Sloan's interpretation fully gives us the
available legal options, nor does she consider the intent of these codes.

I am therefore letting you know that as a designated head of a state
agency, I am giving you authorization to use your state computers and
the WSU server to engage in the local, regional, national and
international discussion on the possible war in Iraq -- in fact, I
believe you have the responsibility as an educational officer of the
state to do so.

* * *

--

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