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Kent State's Facebook Ban for Athletes 248

Posted by timothy
Most commenting readers scoffed at Kent State University's new policy (noted on Slashdot yesterday) forbidding athletes from using profiles on Facebook. The arguments offered (legal, moral, and practical) mostly berated the school for limiting their students to no good end, but some thought-provoking comments exposed at least some complexities which make the issue less clear-cut than a straightforward case either of censorship or contractual freedom. Read on for a sampling of the comments which typified the conversation.

Like many readers, NMerriam was critical of the Kent State policy, but skeptical of the argument that KSU's action violated the First Amendment right to free speech, writing "Not true. U.S. courts have repeatedly ruled that, as participation in extracurricular activities is not a required part of the educational mission, it can be subject to restrictions that would otherwise be unconstitutional. That's why drug tests for Algebra II are not allowed, but drug tests for Basketball are. ...The major advantage they have at the university level is that athletic scholarships are tied to eligibility (and sometimes even performance), so getting kicked off the team also takes away the money you're using to pay for school."

Along the same lines, one reader notes that "plenty of religiously-affiliated, image-conscious schools require their athletes sign a code of conduct, like no drinking in public, etc, as a condition of receiving the scholarship. Apparently Kent State believes these sorts of ties between conduct and finance aren't enough to prevent it from being known that their athletes aren't infallible supermen who excel in athletic, academic and moral standing, and wishes to add what is essentially an NDA to their contract," and argues that "Something here is broken. Maybe it's that Universities, institutes of higher education, are resorting to sporting events as a recruiting campaign. Maybe it's the number of schools pitting athletes against each other such that success requires dedication to the exclusion of personal growth. Maybe it's students, for being so vain as to photograph themselves in compromising situations, and think that the public Internet is a suitable place to distribute these to close friends and strangers alike. Maybe it's you and me for watching the whole thing. But let's face it — there's no Rose Bowl for the most wholesome two teams in the nation. The Final Four aren't the four people left at the party who refused to hook up with drunken coeds."

Along similar lines, one reader argued "Adults can also choose to enter into contracts. Since these are students receiving athletic scholarships, my guess is that it's legal to say 'If you want this free money, you can't use facebook.' It's the same way that NFL teams can write contracts that forbid things like skydiving or riding motorcycles."

In answer to these and similar arguments that the student athletes are only facing obligations in their scholarship agreements that they might in any other contract, though, another reader bites back:

"[T]here are a lot of protected rights you can't sign away, no matter how hard you try. The majority of contract signed in this country probably have at least some unenforceable terms as a result. Second, this is a public university, is it not? That means it gets a lot of federal funding and has to follow all sorts of rules that apply to government entities, but not to private businesses. Third, retroactively changing the terms of a contract is always one of those unenforceable terms."

"... [I]f the terms of this policy are really what the article would have us believe then they are begging for a lawsuit. Banning students from participating in some type of social networking site is one thing, but banning only a specific site is something else entirely."

Only a few readers seemed to chalk up KSU's limitation on athletes to motives other than the University's own self interest, including one who described the change as a move "away from the internet as a network for data exchange, and towards the internet as a one-way pipe by which to push content your way."

TexasDex voiced a more common-sense argument for the University's desire to patrol the social-networking world, however justified or misguided that patrolling might be, writing "I can attest to the fact that lots of students post drinking photos, even joining groups like 'I was drunk when my facebook profile photo was taken.' Kent state is worried about this. While I'm guessing they're wringing their hands at such open bragging about underage drinking,that sort of thing is a fact of life, from long before facebook existed."

A touch more cynically, reader revery calls it "fairly obvious" that "the school is less concerned with preventing students from engaging in illegal activity and undesirable behavior than it is with preventing it from becoming public knowledge that students are engaging in illegal activity and undesirable behavior."

At least a handful of readers suggested that the University was better off with such a policy, and that no fundamental rights were compromised by such a rider, one of them writing "College athletes on scholarship are entertainers, and getting well paid for it. Part of their value as employees of the college is their public image. If they don't like the rules they are free to leave for greener pastures.

Another comment, from a Kent State student, was similarly blunt, calling the restriction "Good, if not good enough," and continuing "No, I don't have sympathy. Stop showing off your drinking skills and go to class. I'd be happier if they'd prevent them from drinking and tell them to stop using the team as an excuse to ditch classwork when they apparently have plenty of time for parties. Considering very few of them are going to be able to rely on sports as a career, I'd be happier if the University was less concerned with image and more concerned with the fact that the images are often of underaged students drinking alcohol."

On a pragmatic level, as several readers pointed out, colleges are using information on social networking sites to find campus rule-breakers anyhow; one reader commented "At my own college, security uses facebook to find out about parties and underage drinking on campus. Chances are, someone put stupid info up and has ruined it for everyone. Do I feel bad for them? Not at all."

Responding to the idea that a third party might create a fake identity for a Kent State player, a handful of readers elaborated on Facebook's focus on users at educational institutions. Reader Gothic_Walrus provided a useful capsule description:
Simple. There's no possible way to hide the e-mail address that you signed up for the account with. Regardless of any other privacy settings, if someone can see your profile on Facebook, they can see the address that the account is linked to.

Now, this isn't entirely foolproof from fake profiles. At my college, anyone with an account can log into the directory and create groups of e-mail addresses. If you can come up with a group e-mail address that's both believable and not already taken and add yourself as the group's only member, you're set to create that fake profile.

But on the other side of the coin, it's incredibly easy to log into the directory to see who an e-mail address is registered to. And if that's not good enough, there are printed directories that, if memory serves, list the person's e-mail in their contact information.

The point I'm trying to make, I guess, is that it's easy to make a fake profile, but it's usually just as easy to figure out who it belongs to.

The school has an even easier time of it. Since there's only one e-mail address per person and since the school has that e-mail address in their records, it simply boils down to looking at the profile and seeing if they match.

A comment from reader finkployd (who describes himself as "a Fight The Power, Go EFF, Die MPAA kinda guy") wryly suggests that Facebook isn't really the greatest subject for an argument about Internet freedom in academia. Finkployd supplies the rhetorical question raised in the original story ("Makes you wonder why they even bother providing internet connections on college campuses.") with a possibly unpopular answer:
"Oh you know, research, email, that sort of thing. This may surprise you but the original intent of providing internet access was not to pass around mp3's, pictures of yourself drunk, and porn (well, that last one is debatable).

You would think students over the years would have gotten better about using the internet but it seems it has regressed quite a bit. I am reminded of reports of students at the university where I work getting busted selling drugs on facebook and posting pictures of themselves doing illegal things. In the papers they always seem quoted as indignantly saying "I didn't know the police could monitor that stuff, that is really scary" as though cops looking at facebook was on par with warrant-less wiretapping.

... [Y]ou can look at it as preparing these student athletes for the future. If they make it to the pros and become the typical corporate whore, they will have to get used to being told how to act, what to say, and what to do. College is actually preparing them for the real world ;)"


Thanks to the readers whose comments helped inform this discussion, especially those quoted above:
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Kent State's Facebook Ban for Athletes

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  • by BMonger (68213)
    Don't we have a moderation system in place to highlight the best comments? Why the "mega"-moderation?
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:17AM (#15620755) Journal
      Why the "mega"-moderation?

      For the same alleged reason that /. used to dupe stories: because the editors think that there's more to discuss and/or they want to take the discussion in a different direction.
      • Hey, I'm just happy that now at least they've got a category for dupes, so that nobody has to complain about it in the comments anymore!

        (But I know they're going to anyway, because they're too stupid or lazy to just turn off the category.)

    • by dourk (60585) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:22AM (#15620799) Homepage
      Tim was bored, and wanted to play blogger.
    • I can see it now, Unreal Slashdot 2006
      "Double Moderation!!"
      "Mega Moderation!!"
      "M-M-M-M-MONSTER MODERATION!!"
    • That's a very good question. I'm happy to see that it was quickly modded up to +5, Insightful. I hope to see it included in tomorrow's "More about 'More about Ken State's Facebook Ban for Athletes.' "
    • Because moderators don't look past the first, say, 150-200 points.

      I'll admit it, I'm guilty of it too. I actually rather like this idea of condensing a day's discussion into one article. It gives those who may have new insight into the topic a chance to join the discussion.

      Thumbs up!

    • I think slashbacks are good in general, but this topic was discussed... yesterday. A few days (at least) to ruminate might be more useful in terms of generating new useful discussion. I think there will be lots of articles relevant to this topic submitted in the next few weeks, why not refer back to the KSU/Facebook discussion then? Is this just a way to keep the topic on the main page (for people using the default view)?

      Also, Offtopic (ironically): Comments discussing the nature of this type of article
    • Remember all the threads with arguments about whether Slashdot is outdated and will be replaced by Digg (latest example being the story on The Top 10 Tech People Who Don't Matter [slashdot.org]?

      Notice how the common defense of Slashdot for complaints about the quantity, quality or timeliness of news is "I come here for the comments, not for the articles"?

      Well, there you have it.

      That's my theory, anyway.
    • Why the "mega"-moderation?

      To show that the editors actually read the discussions.
    • by probityrules (971026) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @12:19PM (#15621784) Homepage
      Now for a quick recap:

      Like many readers, BMonger was critical of the almost dupe: "Don't we have a moderation system in place to highlight the best comments? Why the "mega"-moderation?"

      Along the same lines, one reader notes that "For the same alleged reason that /. used to dupe stories: because the editors think that there's more to discuss and/or they want to take the discussion in a different direction."

      Along similar lines, one reader argued "Tim was bored, and wanted to play blogger."

      Thanks to the readers whose comments helped inform this discussion, especially those quoted above:
  • Consistent? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RunFatBoy.net (960072) * on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:08AM (#15620673)
    I just don't understand why the concern would start and end with Facebook. If you're going to ban such online actvities, why not go to the extreme, and ban any sort of social networking site.

    Jim http://www.runfatboy.net/ [runfatboy.net] -- Exercise for the rest of us.
    • Re:Consistent? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:20AM (#15620785) Homepage
      If you're going to ban such online actvities, why not go to the extreme, and ban any sort of social networking site.

      Yeah, it's almost as if the ones making the decision have no understanding of the internet at all.
    • Re:Consistent? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:25AM (#15620823) Journal
      Because, as the summary quotes from Gothic_Walrus, Facebook is the only social networking site where your profile = your e-mail address

      The University's problem isn't that drunk pictures of their players are showing up on the web, it's that the players are putting them there in a way that cannot be denied.

      I can go on MySpace and pretend to be someone who I know well.
      Not so on Facebook.
      • Re:Consistent? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fermion (181285) *
        Which of course means that the school can no longer protect the students. Anyone with an axe to grind can prosecute the kids for underage drinking, and force the school to crack down on the student body.

        In the end, this just ruins it for everyone that is not abusing the alcohol, all so that some guy can say to his friends 'look at me, I'm a badass, I breakin' the law, and no one can do anything to me!"

        I am not saying that 18-20 year olds drinking and carousing is a good thing. But when these pictures

      • Re:Consistent? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JimBobJoe (2758)
        Facebook is the only social networking site where your profile = your e-mail address

        It's Facebook's main advantage (sorting people into nifty hierarchies) but I suspect it'll bring Facebook down (this KSU situation is just a beginning.)

        Facebook made sense as a little website for Harvard, but aggregating this much information on people all sorted by college email address I just can't see working out in the long run (privacy issues, school identity issues, etc.)

        Facebook will likely have to adopt Myspace's ope
    • by Douglas Simmons (628988) * on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:26AM (#15620829) Homepage
      When I was attending Skidmore College up in Saratoga Springs, and I shit you not, they had a "hook-up" server where students could log in with their regular college ID and type in the IDs of everyone they'd be willing to get freaky with. Whenever two people entered each other, the server would match them up and nature would take its course. It would tell you how many girls were willing to hook up with you (I had a few...), but it wouldn't tell you who. Very frustrating. Now normally in that case I would enter every girl in the whole college, but the catch was you could only enter 20 names. Anyway, it was eventually shut down by The Man.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Is the software for that server open-source? Er... not that I'd want it or anything. I'm just, ahem, curious.
      • That is freaking GENIUS!

        So it is basically like Myspace, but without pretending to be about music, friendship, clubs, etc.

        There used to be general public websites like that, but I suspected they were used solely to get lists of valid email addresses for spamming purposes.

        Finkployd
    • Because Facebook is specifically geared towards college students/alumni and has a closer tie to schools. Not to mention it is hard to police a athlete student for every possible website out there. They will probably, eventually, say "for all sites". But it is a place to start as facebook is growing as one of the bigger and more reputable sites out there.

      Personally I do not have a great problem with this. Those sites do represent the school, and do you really want some college kid responsible for the
    • The bruhaha over this is a tad unwarranted.

      Schools, Colleges and Universities the world over have always had guidelines on social conduct.

      For example, a university may ban its students from going to a particular pub (bar) as a result of violent incidents. For a year or two, this is rigourously enforced, then the rule gets ignored when it isn't really a problem any more. If the problems kick off again, the rule gets hauled out and enforced.

      The same thing goes with internal computing policies. At my uni

  • Brilliant (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geddes (533463) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:16AM (#15620746)
    Great write up. Yes, we already have a moderation system, but even moderating at +5 you often have to wade through repeats, jokes, etc. Thank you Timothy.
    • Re:Brilliant (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by neonprimetime (528653)
      Great write up

      ?? This was more like an AP article ... copy & paste.
      • Re:Brilliant (Score:3, Insightful)

        Yeah, the talent is in what you choose to copy and paste. And that's why timothy did a good job on.

        -stormin
        • Re:Brilliant (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Dan D. (10998)
          There's a short-hand for this "copy and paste" based approach to writing... I believe some people call it "editing" :) ... /. whiners are funny.
  • If you don't like their policy, just leave the school. Eventually they will see the error in their ways. This is just a growing trend and is going to get worse. Social networking sites are a rather new addition and once the hype dies down, so will stupid stories like this.

    http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
  • by revery (456516) * <.charles. .at. .cac2.net.> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:16AM (#15620751) Homepage
    So what is this, some kind of new meta-discussion feature where Slashdot editors dig through some story and haul out lame comments that they think highlight the story. Whatever. Sounds stupid to me...

    [Reads through some of the comments...]

    A touch more cynically...revery...
    Wait a second... I got featured?!?! On Slashdot!?! Hey that is so cool! Hi mom! Hi Cornelia! Check out my cynical self... I'm on Slashdot's new BackSlash feature.... Did I say it was stupid? I meant stupendous!!! and uh... lamerrific... or soemthing like that.
    And Timothy, what an editor. Such insight, such wisdom. You're not gonna regret this... no sir. I'm gonna come up with some great comments for your next backslash. Something understated, but profound. Email me and let me know what the topic will be so I can do some research, ok? We'll do lunch.

    --
    This is a joke. I am joking. You have been joked with.
    • Re:new feature... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nerftoe (74385)
      So what is this, some kind of new meta-discussion feature where Slashdot editors dig through some story and haul out lame comments that they think highlight the story. Whatever. Sounds stupid to me...

      I know your joking a bit.. but if you hadn't noticed, there's an unofficial digg vs. slashdot thing that has been going on for some time now. This is /.'s response to digg. /. says "we have intelligent conversation here.. look at these great comments that make your /. visit worhtwhile".

      Isn't competition grand
  • Infuriated (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DeanFox (729620) *

    My first reaction was anger when I read TFA. Then I considered what it meant in a way I could relate to my life.

    What if my bank agreed to waive my mortgage in exchange for me keeping the grounds? Their motivation was to make money off my work in exchange. Perhaps to showcase the house to prospective clients.

    After accepting their offer, what if I decided I'd work in the garden nude. Or, post signs in the yard complaining about the bank. If they came back and said that this was not part of the deal a
    • After accepting their offer, what if I decided I'd work in the garden nude. Or, post signs in the yard complaining about the bank. If they came back and said that this was not part of the deal and either to stop or I'd have to start paying my mortgage again I think they'd have a point.

      1. We're talking about a public university, which is a government institution. It doesn't follow the same rules as a private organization.
      2. They can't add terms to the contract retroactively. If the original text didn't prohibit
    • > If this were to extend to the general population of the student body not receiving a free education in exchange then that's when I will think
      > they've gone too far.

      But that implies that athletes get an education.....
  • Can you blame them? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:26AM (#15620839) Homepage
    Combine the fact that many student athletes are notorious for bad behavior like their pro-counterparts (where do you think it starts?) with the fact that many students are unabashed about posting about their bad behavior and the fact that they are affiliated with the university and you have an informal expose' on the team. Schools really do have a reason to be concerned. It's hard enough as it is to police their behavior offline to keep them out of trouble. The last thing they need is to have it all recorded for posterity online.

    I'm a militant libertarian as a general rule. Much more so than your average slashdotter. Yet even I can sympathize with the school here. Until they take this over into punishing regular students, it's fine by me. If you wear the school uniform, your behavior reflects on the school the way that wearing a police uniform reflects on your department. Don't like it? Don't wear the uniform. It's not like there are a dearth of ways to pay for your way through college or jobs out there that lack these restrictions.

    If it's really so important to them, they should be beyond reproach. No underage or heavy drinking. No womanizing, nothing. Be model students and athletes.
    • Combine the fact that many student athletes are notorious for bad behavior ... Schools really do have a reason to be concerned.

      Wouldn't it be more direct (and ethical) to deal with the problem behavior, rather than coming up with ways of hiding it, and thereby protect the university image?

      I think your comment really picks up on what I don't like about this whole thing. It's not illegal, but it seems somehow dishonest for a school to try to 'hide' the behavior of their "star students." If the students a

      • Wouldn't it be more direct (and ethical) to deal with the problem behavior, rather than coming up with ways of hiding it, and thereby protect the university image?

        Lack of discretion is the problem behavior. Web content that celebrates the exhibition of underage drinking suggests that the author considers that display to be symbolic of their world view. Having a beer next to a topless woman and telling the world that you think doing so is a idealization of the school's ethos are very different things.

        F
        • Lack of discretion is the problem behavior.

          That's a good point, although I would say "Lack of discretion is part of the problem behavior."

          Web content that celebrates the exhibition of underage drinking...

          In a case like that (if the drinking is truly "underage" in the illegal sense) then I think the problem is not just the exhibition, but the illegal/bad action iteself.

          Perhaps one way would be to discourage the public celebration of not acting better, and thus reducing the peer pressure to beha
      • Up next on ESPN:

        Private U's "Fighting Ethicists" vs. State U's "Bad Behaviorists" Hmmm, who do I bet on?
    • I'm a militant libertarian as a general rule. Much more so than your average slashdotter. Yet even I can sympathize with the school here. Until they take this over into punishing regular students, it's fine by me.

      A militant libertarian shouldn't have a problem with any rules the school establishes, or any actions students choose to take (whether against the rules or not). Students are free to transfer out if they don't like the rules, and the school should be free to offer scholarships to whomever it pleas

    • The answer is rather simple. Don't ban the blogs, networking, etc sites... do ban the activity or have expulsion rules for illegal activities. When student X is dumb enough to post pictures of him and his friends drinking underage and doing stupid shit that's enough evidence to kick 'em out... but don't ban the students who just have a normal page up without said activities.
  • by coyote-san (38515) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:34AM (#15620929)
    Something that's overlooked is that the major collegiate sports are entertainment, not sports-for-the-sake-of-athletics. Harsh, but true. Viewed in that context, the athletes with scholarships are entertainers, and like all entertainers ALL of their actions reflect back on their employer/university.

    Think I'm exaggerating? Ask the University of Colorado. How many scandals has it been involved with recently? How many were related to things that happened on the football field, and how many were related to things that happened off-campus? Guess which ones made the local, even national, news. Guess which ones resulted in ominous warnings that they would affect fundraising activities. (Which is somewhat circular since the money raised for sports rarely covers the actual costs of those sports -- the difference is treated as an advertising cost to promote the school to potential students.)

    Actually the recent years have been unique since there was a legitimate athletics-related controversy -- the NCAA's ridiculous refusal to let Jeremy Bloom play football since he got compensation for his activities as a skier. The latter didn't bother the USOC, but it did bother the NCAA. Meanwhile there continue to be serious, but ignored, abuses by "boosters" nationwide....

    So while I am worried that this case will set a bad precedence, much like the way "drug test HS athletes" (who do run the risk of injuring themselves on the field) got morphed into the "drug test for any extracurricular activity", I'm also aware of the unusual nature of the big sports programs. I don't know whether it's a good policy, but I think it's a defensible one.
  • For those curious, it is against Facebook's Terms of Use [facebook.com] (Member Conduct section, last bullet) to allow anyone to use your account but yourself. On top of that, employees of an institution who pose as students on Facebook violate it, as well (same section, second bullet).

    How well would an argument of "You accessed my profile illegally to bring charges against me!" work?
    • It wouldn't because violating the terms of use isn't illegal, it's merely grounds for having your account cancelled.

    • by Rinisari (521266) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:43AM (#15620994) Homepage Journal
      I put this in my profile a couple of days ago:

      -=[ README ]=-
      If you're reading this profile while considering me for a job, internship, or other opportunity-to-succeed, please note that you are, or the person whose account you are using is, probably in violation of Facebook's terms of use and my personal privacy. This is a private profile and you have been granted permission to view it only if you are following Facebook's terms of use and thus respecting my privacy. Thank you. Please read the terms of use at http://www.facebook.com/terms.php [facebook.com] if you haven't already, and read the Member Conduct section closely.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Yeah but if I'm an employer and I'm checking up on you that isn't going to stop me from not hiring you. Thats about as effective as the "If you are 21 or older click here" that they put on porn sites to keep underage kinds out.
        • Can you argue that you weren't hired because of your private profile that was obtained through violation of the terms and through an invasion of privacy? In other words, in our overly litigious society, you could pursue the person who allowed access to your profile in violation of those terms. Not saying its right, but I can see it.

          ^x^s^x^c

          • I would have to say... no. But they'd be welcome to try it in court. Think of it this way... a person gets murdered, the police has suspects, do their usual checks, come across a Facebook entry from one of them detailing things about the crime that only the perp would know as the information wasn't made public. Would that person get to claim "Oi! The police weren't acting in accordange with the terms of service of Facebook - and as such, the evidence collected was done by (the analogy of) an illegal sear
            • Yeah, definitely not in a crime sort of situation. some *-parent was referring to the privacy clauses of the not-read-by-me terms of service for facebook. My point was that if your prospective employer asked one of their employees to use their facebook account to get information about you and then subsequently didn't hire you, that might be grounds for a civil suit. I'm sure some ambulance chaser in the US would love to try it for $300/hour...

      • That's really going to impress a potential employer. Sorry, but if a person's behaviour were any of my business (as a potential employer) I would consider using Facebook etc to check you out. If you really don't want people to see what you post on the web - well, don't post it there!
    • There's this thing called hacking you know.....
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:59AM (#15621148)
    I'm sorry but am I the only one who sees a lot of conservative bias in this piece?

    There were plenty of good points made that this violated people's rights.. and yet this writeup seems to focus very strongly on the straw man that private activites can be curtailed on the idea that the students are being graciously allowed athletic scholarships.

    The state also gives out medicare and a number of other social benefits to people.. maybe washington should be allowed to selectively deny us those benefits in the same way?
    • by ScentCone (795499) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:43AM (#15621529)
      I'm sorry but am I the only one who sees a lot of conservative bias in this piece?

      First, aren't you even a little embarassed to pretend that the general editorial and commentary orientation on slashdot isn't demonstrably left-leaning on many subjects? I don't care that it is, it just is, and that's part of the atmosphere. But don't pretend that it's normally straight-down-the-middle objective or equally deferential to every point of view.

      There were plenty of good points made that this violated people's rights.. and yet this writeup seems to focus very strongly on the straw man that private activites can be curtailed on the idea that the students are being graciously allowed athletic scholarships.

      I don't always subscribe to Timothy-think, but he's actually providing a valuable service, here. He's pointing out that, contrary to the foregone conclusions that people like you have made, that some very thoughtful people are seeing the larger picture here, and bothering to make those thougts clear to this audience. In essence, it's worth the posting space because it's unusual for slashdot. Oh, and just because identifying "straw man" arguments is a favorite junior varsity sport here doesn't mean that simply calling something one makes that true. These students are graciously receiving scholarships, and countless court rulings have affirmed that participating in extra-curricular activities (to say nothing of being given money) can sure as hell be dependent on a code of conduct that extends outside of the classroom.

      The state also gives out medicare and a number of other social benefits to people.. maybe washington should be allowed to selectively deny us those benefits in the same way?

      You mean like means testing? Already done. Do you mean like, certain types of criminals and fraud artists don't get to have the benefits? Already done. Other than that, your merit as an athlete isn't what gets you government entitlements - but it is what gets you a selective, qualified, and behavior-dependent athletic scholarship. Scholarship students with bad grades lose the scholarship. Medicare patients with crappy eating habits and drinking problems still get medical care.
      • First, aren't you even a little embarassed to pretend that the general editorial and commentary orientation on slashdot isn't demonstrably left-leaning on many subjects? I don't care that it is, it just is, and that's part of the atmosphere. But don't pretend that it's normally straight-down-the-middle objective or equally deferential to every point of view.

        i'm sorry but this assertion just is not true. The media is generally very right leaning and those with conservative points of view hold a greater pow
        • i'm sorry but this assertion just is not true. The media is generally very right leaning and those with conservative points of view hold a greater power and voice than those with a liberal point of view.. they get more exposure. The truth is that 70% of the US and an even greater percent of the world is "left leaning".. this means that the center is further "left" than you care to admit.

          Wow, that's rich. Heh.

          First, the editorial stances of almost every major newspaper, of ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, CNN... a
          • here are actually many more factors in play (thus, a larger picture).

            factors? HAH!

            we're talking about free speech here. if an academic institution is allowed to control where you speak then you no longer have it. it's a fundamental right.. I don't care how "big" the picture goes.. you don't mess with that right.

            that's like saying.. "so hesbollah killed people.. you don't see the bigger picture!"

            First, the editorial stances of almost every major newspaper, of ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, CNN... all of those could
            • if an academic institution is allowed to control where you speak then you no longer have it. it's a fundamental right

              How are they controlling it? Putting conditions on getting tens of thousands of dollars of services for free as long as you participate in representing the school's sports program in a particular way is not controlling expression. It's stating the terms under which a very select bunch of students gets something the rest of the students don't get, and which they (the rest of the students) i
              • I'm ignoring nothing, I'm asserting that it doesn't matter

                the school previously had a code of conduct which prohibited the activities that the irresponsible put on myspace (underage drinking,etc..)

                They should penalize people when they break that code of conduct.. instead they are stifling all uses of myspace rather than those which violate the code of conduct. That crosses the line.

                Why not dictate the stores theyre allowed to shop in as well? how about forcing them to buy a specific make and model car? h
                • Why not dictate the stores theyre allowed to shop in as well?

                  Because it's pretty hard to come up with a way in which choosing a store would reflect badly on the school's standards and reputation, or showcase the students acting illegally. Of course, many schools have dont things like refuse to do business with certain stores because of student-body or faculty votes/policies dictating interaction with companies that, say, used to do business in South Africa, etc. Careful what you wish for.

                  how about for
                  • Because it's pretty hard to come up with a way in which choosing a store would reflect badly on the school's standards and reputation, or showcase the students acting illegally

                    and myspace is not a "showcase for the students acting illegally".. it is a social networking site and has no bearing on weather or not students break codes of conduct.

                    They have no rationale for blanket banning myspace, as the illegal activity in question is already a violation of the code of conduct.

                    Don't give me that free market bab
                    • They're not banning the use of MySpace by their students. They're deciding not to put the campus bandwidth to use in that way. That's a policy decision that in no way infringes on anyone's free speech since those students can still make use of that non-school service over their own non-school (or free, elsewhere) bandwidth all they want - and also deal with the consequences if in doing so that happens to break their agreed-to code of conduct, which most probably do not.

                      Just like the students can't simply
    • But you're assuming that higher education is an entitlement, which it is not.

      The reality is that in signing a contract, the government can restrict your freedoms in exchange for a number of things. This does not mean that you can't have those rights, but you will lose the benefits. Members of the military are constantly restricted in what they can and cannot do (hence when the media report that no one in the military is objecting to the President's actions, it's a worthless argument, because to do so publi

    • and yet this writeup seems to focus very strongly on the straw man that private activites can be curtailed on the idea that the students are being graciously allowed athletic scholarships.

      Expanding on ScentCone's point, a strawman argument is an argument imputed [www.m-w.com] to the opposition, which is then the focus of the rebuttal.

      If people are actually arguming that "private activites can be curtailed on the idea that the students are being graciously allowed athletic scholarships" then by definition it can't be a st
      • Expanding on ScentCone's point, a strawman argument is an argument imputed to the opposition, which is then the focus of the rebuttal....This actually is a strawman.

        imputed implies unjust application.. I do not impute that argument on them.. they state it themselves.. it is not a strawman.. you simply declare it so.

        The point of the athletic argument is the right of the athletes to voluntarily enter in to some sort of contract that has real effects.

        i'm sorry but giving people the choice between massive debt
  • I'm a student at Kent State in (obviously) the Technology Division. While I've not been prohibited from using social networking sites, we (students) have received multiple warnings about the dangers of using such sites from the college security and network admin folks. Far as I know, (dont quote me on this) they have totally banned access to it from the campus networks (so we cant get on there from the lab, etc), and I thought the reasoning was bandwidth issues. Once again, I'd have to check on this to be
    • If they're citing "bandwidth issues" as the reason for blocking Facebook/Myspace/etc... then they're just outright lying to you. Neither of those sites are going to generate the kind of bandwidth that requires administrator intervention.
  • by rwgeorge (845267)
    Anyone who is still taking algebra in college _should_ be drug tested ;)
  • Often adults who dont understand a new technology seek to ban it outright rather than correct it. Guideline, moderation from both the public and facebook itself can go a long way to correcting a few flaws, yet preserve this new avenue of youthful communication and identity expression.
  • Drinking Age (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EnglishTim (9662) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:14AM (#15621268)
    All of this would be so much easier if the drinking age was lowered to something a little more sensible, like 18. It seems odd to me that adults should not be allowed to drink at an age when they can drive, smoke, get married, have sex, have children, buy a gun, start a career as a porn star etc.

  • You want to have a profile that makes you appear fun and interesting, yet not cross the line to appear be a total goof off or reveal too much personal detail to crooks. I believe its possible to meet both these goals, but inexperienced kids might need some coaching to find the proper boundary.
  • A story about the comments of another story. But it's not a dupe. . .

    [Brain explodes]

  • I see Slashdot now has a new mechnism for rehashing posts in essentially dupe articles. Will there be another Backslash about these comments tomorrow?
  • Ok so you were bored and wanted to rehash a DEAD HORSE! PLEASE don't do this crap! If I wanted to see this on the damn frontpage again I would have just searched for it. Other then the comments is there anything new with this story? NO! At LEAST you could have looked at the frickin title....and made the title different some how....

    It's bad enough when dupes are posted (by a sight that has fulltime editors no less!) but now you have to manufacture stories that look like dupes but really are not??
  • Finkployd supplies the rhetorical question raised in the original story with a possibly unpopular answer

    So here I am, typical /. demographic (white, male, geek) posting to a site where I can finally belong. A place to meet and interact with other white male geeks who don't necessarily fit in.

    And now I'm being set up to be picked on and bullied by YOU GUYS TOO!!?? WTF? I can't get a break anywhere.

    I kid, I kid.

    I actually have some pretty mixed feelings about all of this. On one hand there is the crowd that s
  • by NevarMore (248971) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @12:36PM (#15621935) Homepage Journal
    The university is doing this so it does not have to enforce behavioral clauses in its athletic agreement. I estimate KSU would lose at least two atheletes a year from each sport if it was reported to the university that there was evidence of a breach of contract on Facebook/MySpace.

    Many of these photos and entries are timestamped and certain events in Kent only happen once a year Thus it would be easy enough to demonstrate that the breach occured within the time specified in the contract.

    According to university policy if a breach is reported they have to investigate it and if the reporting person is agitated enough the university then faces another legal issue. A large enough wager/bribe on an important game and a few well placed free-beers and digital cameras would make a good payday for someone.

    If it matters, I'm a KSU student. Graduating (escaping) in August. I suspect this might have something to do with Kents new president, but don't give a shit so long as they give me my diploma.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @12:43PM (#15621988) Homepage

    OK. So don't donate to Kent State's athletic scholarship program [kentstatesports.com]. Put a note on your website and blog encouraging others not to do so. Write to Tim Hall, Associate Athletic Director for Development at Kent State [mailto] and tell him what you did. Starve the beast.

    If you're in Ohio, write to your state legislator and complain about the "arrogant state employees at Kent State" who think they have the right to muzzle their students.

    If you're at Kent State, step one is to register to vote, and get as many other students as you can to register. You know what to do after that.

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