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Thursday, July 21, 2005

NJ Student Convicted of "Discrimination” and “Harassment" over Personal Comment

Jihad Daniel is a student at the William Paterson University (WPU) in New Jersey. In March 2005 Daniel received an e-mail from Professor Arlene Holpp Scala, chair of the department of women's studies, about a viewing and discussion of a "lesbian relationship" film. Daniel, objecting to the homosexual solicitation, wrote an email back requesting he not receive such notices and also saying "These are perversions. The absence of God in higher education brings on confusion. That is why in these classes the Creator of the heavens and the earth is never mentioned."

Professor Scala filed a discrimination and harassment complaint against Daniel, accusing him of violating the university nondiscrimination policy. According to Scala, his message "sound[ed] threatening" and she did not want to "feel threatened at [her] place of work when [she] send[s] out announcements about events that address lesbian issues." Arnold Speert, president of WPU, sent Daniel an official letter of reprimand to be placed in Daniels permanentt record, indicating Daniel was guilty of violating state discrimination and harassment regulations. In July 2005, Peter C. Harvey, New Jersey Attorney General, also supported the position of WPU.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Education (FIRE) is supporting Daniel in appealing the decision.

William Paterson University Tramples Student's Constitutional Rights

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