The Committee on Open Expression has concluded that the April 15 theft of nearly 14,000 copies of The Daily Pennsylvanian violated the University's open expression guidelines, according to a letter from the committee chairperson to Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson. Morrisson had asked the committee to make a determination "for the benefit of the Judicial Inquiry Officer and as a guidance for future action of members of the University community." Morrisson said Monday night that the JIO will investigate the April 15 incident, using the committee's interpretations as a guide. In the letter, which is printed in the May 10 Almanac, Committee Chairperson Ann Matter said her committee would begin working in the fall to incorporate a section prohibiting the confiscation of campus publications into the open expression guidelines. The committee found that the theft of DPs violated the guidelines, as long as the act was "done with the intent to impede the circulation of ideas" by members of the University community, according to the letter. In a subsequent letter to Morrisson -- also printed in this week's Almanac -- Religious Studies Professor Matter clarified what the committee meant, saying there must be intent "to stop a voice from being heard" for an open expression violation to occur. Matter noted, for example, that if publications are "inadvertently" thrown away, that would not, "strictly speaking," be a violation of the open expression guidelines. Morrisson said publications could be "inadvertently" thrown away if, for example, "somebody . . . might be cleaning the area and throw some [publications] away." In the second letter, Matter said the committee's wording in the earlier letter had been "deliberately vague" to allow the JIO "maximum freedom of interpretation" in determining specific cases.Comments powered by Disqus
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