[linux-elitists] Your name could be CENSORED

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Mon Sep 18 23:31:18 PDT 2000

begin  Aaron Lehmann quotation:

> I was speechless when I read this. The school that I attend has
> NOTHING whatsoever to do with what I do on my own time, with my own
> resources.

They rationalise it as follows:

1.  We're "in loco parentis".  (So they claim.)
2.  Because we can.

Watch out for this attitude persisting even in college administrations,
e.g., the fellow in the Midwest whose Linux box was "confiscated" from
his dorm room for hosting DeCSS (or something) by campus police,
recently.  I choked on the word "confiscated", in the coverage, which
was quoted with nary a raised eyebrow, as if it were not an unbelievable
affront to the student in question.

When in high school, as you are, you'll find that you have limited
leverage, even with parental support.  In _college_, especially after
you turn 18, you will have a chance to assert your legal rights.  The
main thing to avoid is the usual situation where the college is your
landlord, your contracted food service, your provider of teaching
services, a vendor of goods to you (e.g., on-campus stores), your
employer (in some cases), your lender (student loans), your Internet
connectivity provider, _and_ management of a local set of peace
officers, simultaneously.  The fewer of those roles the college
simultaneously fulfills for you, the less ability they will have to run
your life.

E.g., if you value your adult autonomy, live off-campus, get your
student loans elsewhere, don't sign a school-cafeteria contract, and
don't sign on for some piddling self-type student job.

When I was at Princeton as an undergrad, they abused the hell out of
their multiple roles, using various of them to push you around in each
of the other areas.  I had my fill of that, first year.  For my
sophomore year, I declined to sign a room & meals contract.  They told 
me I _had_ to.  I replied that they could go stick it, and found a room
in town, a situation where I could negotiate a fair contract without
being bullied.

Even at that, and even though I paid 100% of my tuition out of my own
personal funds, the fsckers insisted on sending all my business
communications and academic records to my mother.  I informed them was a
breach of contract, but they persisted.  So, now when they ask for
donations, I explain to them why my charity dollars go elsewhere,

> Any contradiction of this would be a major violation of privacy and
> would be completely inappropriate.

When you reach the age of majority, you'll find that the best way to 
prevent violations of your privacy is to make them impossible.  E.g.,
if I had it to do again, I would give Princeton U. only _my_ name and
address as a business contact, and write "declines to state" on any 
requests for other contact info.  Likewise with any other information 
capable of being abused.  If you don't want information abused by 
academic bureaucracies, your best bet is to politely decline to provide

They're bigger than you are, and have vast resources for wearing down
malcontents.  You don't want to have to win conflicts; you want to make
them impossible to occur in the first place.

Cheers,                   "Teach a man to make fire, and he will be warm 
Rick Moen                 for a day.  Set a man on fire, and he will be warm
rick@linuxmafia.com       for the rest of his life."   -- John A. Hrastar

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