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Tim McGettigan: deactivating email has violated freedoms and assassinated character

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Photo courtesy of http://blogs.westword.com
McGettigan was unable to access the school system beginning Friday, Jan. 17, so he could not use teaching materials such as Blackboard, or other course materials. Photo courtesy of http://blogs.westword.com

Colorado State University-Pueblo professor Tim McGettigan’s school computer access was deactivated after he sent an email to students, faculty and staff comparing the proposed 50 job cuts at CSU-Pueblo to the 1914 Ludlow Massacre in which the National Guard fired upon men, women and children.

McGettigan was unable to access the school system beginning Friday, Jan. 17, so he could not use teaching materials such as Blackboard, or other course materials.

McGettigan was informed his access to the university computer system was deactivated through a letter from Deputy General Counsel Johnna Doyle. The letter said that the email McGettigan sent with the subject title “Children of Ludlow,” was in violation of CSU-Pueblo’s Electronic Communications Policy.

According to the policy, McGettigan’s email violated the section of the policy, which bans “Use of electronic communications to intimidate, threaten, or harass other individuals, or to interfere with the ability of others to conduct university business.”

On Monday evening, his access the university computer system was partially restored, but McGettigan is still blocked from sending emails to large groups of university faculty, students and staff.

CSU-Pueblo publicly defended its disciplinary action against McGettigan in a statement released to “Inside Higher Ed.”

“CSU-Pueblo is facing some budget challenges right now, which has sparked impassioned criticism and debate across our campus community,” said CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare in the statement. “Considering the lessons we’ve all learned from Columbine, Virginia Tech, and more recently Arapahoe High School, I can only say that the security of our students, faculty and staff are our top priority.”

“If she really thinks I was a threat, then deactivating my email would not have stopped anything such as a school shooting,” said McGettigan.

McGettigan said he requested due process with the school’s administration, but is being denied that right.

“This has violated my academic freedom, my freedom of speech and has assassinated my character,” McGettigan said.

After the statement was released by the CSU-Pueblo administration, numerous groups have come to the defense of McGettigan.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education responded to the deactivation of McGettigan’s email account by sending a letter to President Di Mare on Jan. 21, 2014.

The opening statement of the letter to Di Mare said “FIRE is deeply concerned by the threat to freedom of expression at Colorado State University-Pueblo in light of the university’s deactivation of Professor Tim McGettigan’s email account after he sent an email to students and faculty criticizing system’s leadership.”

“If you actually read my message, I want to prevent harm against our people,” McGettigan said.

McGettigan says he has been ready to work with administration about the problem ever since he sent the original email, which caused the stir.

McGettigan also says he is 100 percent committed to see CSU-Pueblo thrive.