There goes my opportunity to work for the State Department. Well, I must admit most former Greenpeace employees and Direct Action activists would have a pretty slim chance of working for the State Department in the first place. Anyway, as a full time student at Ellis University I pay attention to student news. I’m working on an English degree with a concentration in professional writing. And so, when this week the Office of Career Services warned students at Columbia’s University’s School of International and Public Affairs not to talk about Wikileaks on social media sites like Facebook and Tweeter, I just had to talk about the Wikileaks story on social media sites. Here is the full memo, obtained by the Huffington Post:
From: Office of Career Services
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM
Subject: Wikileaks - Advice from an alum
To: "Office of Career Services (OCS)"
We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.
The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.
Office of Career Services
This smells like Big Brother. What the hell is the government doing telling students they can’t talk about one of the biggest political stories of the week, if not the next few weeks? Let’s remember, the Wikileaks information is already out in the public. Wikileaks released its information jointly with The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and other papers around the world. Does that State Department wish to censor students from talking about the leaked information found in these papers as well?
Next semester I plan on taking an Independent Research internship with Dr. Peter Phillips at Sonoma State University. Until recently, Dr. Phillips has long been at the helm of Project Censored. Project Censored mission is to “educate about the role of an independent media in a free and democratic society.” The State Department's attempt to silence students over the recent Wikileaks revelations is astonishing.
In a truly free and democratic society, the government would not be involved in monitoring and attempting to silence students who talk about information already out in the public. This is a obvious attempt at government censoring free speech. The best antidote to this censorship is for professors and students across the country to write about the State Department's attempt to silence students over Wikileaks. Nationwide students need to write essays to their local newspapers, the mainstream media, and the State Department!
At my website deanwalker.wordpress.com, I have created a petition for students and professors objecting to the State Department's attempt to censors students. Whether you are a former student, current student or professor, please feel free to add your name to the comment field. If anyone joins me and signs up, I will send my petition to President Obama.
Thanks, Dean Walker