Yesterday, some organizers of the May 6 protesters against Wild announced they were seeking legal and academic sanctions against the university. However, they only did so anonymously. Only one of them, Emma Cotter, has had her name printed in a public forum, an online edition of the Shephred Express:
[Lisa Keiser] spoke with Emma Cotter, who said that if any academic organizations censured Marquette it would be “really damaging.”
“If any of the academic associations agree to censure it would be a huge black mark on the university,” Cotter said. “It would limit our ability to post jobs, to host a lot of speakers. It would be really damaging. We would really like to not go through with this. But at the same time if Fr. Wild doesn’t take ownership and responsibility for his decision then we are left with Marquette taking the brunt of it. So this is an attempt to pressure Fr. Wild to take responsibility to help Marquette’s name.”
But the other organizers still remain silent and nameless. This strikes me as inescapably illiberal. If people are engaging in a widely publicized activity that could have catastrophic consequences on the reputation of the university we have so much invested in, it is the bare minimum decent thing that they make themselves open to redress, criticism, and questioning. Moreover, public naming is in their own interest. Commenter April Schniften explains:
The “May 6th” group has no institutional affiliation with Marquette University, and it is not a recognized student organization within the university. As such, any legal or academic claim to represent Marquette to outside organizations is nil. It is akin to 15 undergrads whose disappointment with the performance of the basketball team leads them to write a formal letter of complaint to the NCAA.
As such, any basis for their complaint comes from their status as individual students enrolled at Marquette. These outside organizations can only consider their complaints on this ground. In this regard, it is interesting that the one student willing to go on record with her name in the Express story is a senior, who will — one would guess — be graduating soon. Is this because she figures she is beyond disciplinary action for these activities?
Given that their effort is an attempt to do real damage to the interior academic and intellectual life of the university (again, please refer to the article to see the *intentions* of this group), they have an obligation to make their names known to their fellow students …whose lives will be affected by this effort.
Of course, all of this presumes that this is serious, which it is not. When is the last time a dozen or so unnamed undergraduate and graduate students had their university censured by the AAUP, APA, or APSA? If this could occur, every university in the US would be operating under some cloud of censure. One can always find a dozen people at a college with a problem of one kind or another with their administration.
MUProtestMay6, you have protested Wild’s decision, in part, for its lack of transparency. Now, you yourselves have errected an even more opaque wall around yourselves. At least with Wild, people knew whose phone to call, what address to write to. But you present yourselves as a shadowy cabal refusing to openly face the students and faculty whose lives and livlihoods you are, by your own admission, trying to affect for the worse.
Name yourselves now.