Speaking of Inappropriate Behavior
For example, I know what it means if a college expels me. I also know what it means if I'm such a weird, creepy, dangerous sort of guy that someone gets a judge to issue a restraining order, prohibiting me from coming within 60 yards of Cher, for example. [OK, so maybe that's not a completely random example.]
But consider the situation of Michelle Mufich. That's Michelle, over on the right. A fine-looking young woman. There can't be too large a number of girls named "Michelle Mufich," even in the whole United States, but we're not sure if THIS is her, or THIS (scroll down to where they list about a half-dozen scholarships awarded), but you can Google for yourself and decide who exactly she is. But one thing of which we are certain is that she is "persona non grata" at the University of Northern Colorado. And we have no idea on God's Green Earth what that means.
The University, located in beautiful Greeley, not only declares folks to be "persona non grata," but maintains a public web site listing their names and posting their photographs. The "University of Northern Colorado Police Department," (are no college rent-a-cops simply the "Campus Patrol" any longer?) explains:
We have a longstanding practice of issuing persona non grata (sometimes called PNG or no trespass) orders to people whose behavior is not appropriate for our campus community. The orders can be issued for offenses ranging from violation of the student code of conduct, to theft, to felonies. A person who is issued a PNG order may or may not have been affiliated with our campus at some time.Where to begin? Apparently one can make it onto this list even if they're not dangerous, have never committed a crime, and have never had any "affiliation" with the college. That means that they apparently think that they can list me -- and post my picture for the world to see -- this afternoon. And keep in mind when pondering "violation of the student code of conduct" that on today's enlightened college campus, "inappropriate flatulence" can be punished as a hate crime.
The individuals listed below were issued PNG orders this academic year. They aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they are unwelcome anywhere on campus.
If you see any of these people on campus, please call UNC Police at 351-2245. Although someone subject to a PNG order is not necessarily dangerous, we ask you to let our professional law enforcement officials handle any apparent violation of a PNG order. They will confirm the person’s identity and take appropriate action.
We leave to your imagination the possible applications for "PNG Orders." That annoying fellow down the hall who walks by your office engaging in questionable scratching? Issue him a PNG Order. Telemarketers pretending to be taking a survey? PNG. The guy on the corner who keeps handing you the Scientology pamphlet? PNG the bastard.
Of course, not all of the mug shots maintained by the Campi Patrol (they must have more than one campus, no?) present the same wholly non-threatening visage as Michelle. But we're at a loss to understand the legal basis for a public institution, without resort to the courts, not only classifying an individual in this way, but at the same time holding them up to public ridicule, without even explaining whether the alleged offense was cocaine distribution, or being impolite to a rent-a-cop.
Imagine the uproar if students at the University of Northern Colorado decided to maintain a web site on which they posted the pictures of patrolmen and college administrators and faculty who they'd decided to declare "Odious and Obnoxious."
Just so you know I'm not making this up, the website is HERE.
[UPDATE] An anonymous commenter has provided us with a link to this story, in which Brittany Bethel (that's her on the left) alleges that her name made the list of shame because she collapsed as a consequence of an eating disorder. As being a danger to oneself is a violation of the University's "Honor Code of Conduct," and since being afflicted with an eating disorder is dangerous, having such a condition violates the Code. Recall that mere violation of that Code can earn you a spot on the list.
While we're not sure we take Ms. Bethel's explanation at face value (but, then again, see this story, from February), what's more alarming is the explanation by the University that the web site is "a response to the shootings at Virginia Tech." How exactly does that fit with the University's statement that those on the list are "not necessarily dangerous."