Wall Street Journal Piece on Steve Barber's Expulsion from UVa-Wise

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Wall Street Journal Piece on Steve Barber's Expulsion from UVa-Wise

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I thought I would copy you on my letter to the Wall Street Journal today (may 20) concerning their article on Mr Steve Barber's recent expulsion from UVa-Wise in today's edition. For the offending article, which includes some background on the affair, see:

<a href="http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB121124048245705393-C6h0S850XJ7I9GwIiHnkNxBWxls_20080619.html?mod=tff_main_tff_top">Schools Struggle with Dark Writing</a>
Schools Struggle With Dark Writings
In the Wake of Virginia Tech Killings,
Colleges Weigh Students&#39; Safety vs. Free Speech
By ELIZABETH BERNSTEIN
May 20, 2008; Page A16

Best to all,

Nick

Begin forwarded message:

To: wsj.ltrs@wsj.com
Subject: RE: Bernstein piece, May 20, Schools Struggle With Dark Writings

Regarding Elizabeth Bernstein&#39;s piece "Schools Struggle With Dark Writings" (May 20): Ms. Bernstein misses a crucial point in conflating Mr. Barber&#39;s experience at UVa-Wise with the plight of T. Hayden Barnes at Valdosta State University.

Bernstein implies that the school should have afforded Barber more latitude than it did because the context was that of "a classroom assignment for which he was expected to exercise his imagination"

With respect, I think it is the situation was more complex than she allows. Since his arrival on campus in Fall of 2007, Mr Barber strategically sought to make himself a very public figure. He advocated extremely controversial viewpoints in a series of inflammatory articles in his underground newspaper, wherein he also regularly targeting "liberal" faculty for views he deemed to be anti-American. And to top it all off, he publicly outed himself as a homosexual in the same newspaper - around about the time he was asked to appear in court to be prosecuted in a case of sexual assault case against a fellow male student.

Given this history of attention-seeking antics on campus, the comparison to the plight of Barnes is erroneous. Barnes was a social activist who did nothing to threaten anyone. As the record suggests, Barber had a penchant for generating controversy simply for the sake of it. Where Barnes&#39; actions were focused on raising awareness about an important issue, Barber&#39;s actions were of a rather more egotistical nature, focused simply on raising awareness about himself.

In complaining about the infringement on his right to freedom of speech, Mr. Barber demonstrates his complete failure to understand the fear his actions induced in the campus population that day. Indeed, having only last year graduated with my PhD from Virginia Tech, I can tell you that if I had been in Mr. Scalia&#39;s position receiving that paper, I would likely have been traumatized for life.

Had Mr Barber been allowed to remain in school, there would have been a revolt among faculty and students alike. The school was right to find whatever legal means it could to keep him from ever setting foot in the place again.

- Nicholas Kiersey, PhD

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Nicholas Kiersey

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2008-05-20

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Nicholas Kiersey

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eng

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Nicholas Kiersey, "Wall Street Journal Piece on Steve Barber&#39;s Expulsion from UVa-Wise," in The April 16 Archive, Item #2374, http://www.april16archive.org/items/show/2374 (accessed December 19, 2014).