From Daily Kos: Wisconsin GOP Attempts to Use Open Records Law to Read Professor’s Email

As reported on the Daily Kos, the Wisconsin Republican Party has sent a request to Professor Bill Cronon, who wrote a critical blog post and Times op-ed piece of the GOP’s (specifically its backers) campaign to bust public unions, for his personal emails sent and received through his school email account. As a public worker, it would seem that on the surface this request is legal. However, there are many complicating factors in a professor releasing emails wholesale–particularly in regard to confidentiality with other persons and potential FERPA violations with student records. Professor Cronon provides a clear rationale about why this is a significant attack on the intellectual community regardless of what point on the political spectrum you inhabit. Please read Professor Cronon’s thoughtful and thorough response to the GOP’s request here. Personally, I support Professor Cronon, and I do not believe that he should be made to release his emails to any group including the GOP. Intellectual freedom is impossible if you have to look over your shoulder constantly, because you fear that your communication and exchange of ideas with others may be de-contextualized and employed to discredit your work as a citizen and a scholar.

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Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.