University of Georgia: Student Faces Charges for Complaint about Parking Services
On August 17, 2010, University of Georgia graduate student Jacob Lovell e-mailed UGA Parking Services with a joking complaint about what he perceived to be its poor job of providing parking for scooters. Parking Services reported his e-mail to UGA's judicial affairs office. On September 3, 2010, Associate Dean of Students Kimberly Ellis notified Lovell that the university had charged him with "disorderly conduct" and "disrupt[ing] parking services when he sent an email to them that was threatening." After FIRE wrote UGA President Michael F. Adams, explaining that Lovell's grievance was protected by the First Amendment and that administrators could be held personally liable by a court for such a violation of students' constitutional rights, UGA finally withdrew the charges, but Lovell had been under the threat of significant punishment for a month.
- "Scootergate!," January 13, 2011: On August 17, 2010, University of Georgia graduate student Jacob Lovell e-mailed a complaint to UGA Parking Services concerning limited scooter parking. Although Parking Services specifically asks students for both "negative & positive" comments, Lovell spent nearly a month under the threat of punishment after submitting his complaint.
- "Victory in Georgia: Student Cleared of Charges for Complaint about Campus Parking," September 22, 2010: The University of Georgia (UGA) has withdrawn charges of "disorderly conduct" and "disruption" filed against a student after he sent a mocking e-mail to UGA Parking Services to complain about the lack of parking spaces for scooters on campus. Although Parking Services specifically asks students for both "negative & positive" comments on its performance, student Jacob Lovell spent nearly a month under the threat of punishment after submitting his e-mail. UGA backed down after Lovell came to FIRE for help.
- "Letter from University of Georgia Associate Dean of Students Kimberly Ellis to Jacob Lovell, September 14, 2010," September 14, 2010
- "FIRE Letter to University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams, September 10, 2010," September 10, 2010
- "University of Georgia Letter to Jacob Lovell, September 3, 2010," September 3, 2010
- "E-mails Between Jacob Lovell and UGA Parking Services, August 17 and 18, 2010," August 17, 2010
- "UGA Professor Calls for School to Reform Speech Codes in 'Atlanta Journal-Constitution'," by Peter Bonilla, March 21, 2011
- "Free Speech Awakening at University of Georgia?," by Adam Kissel, March 1, 2011
- "FIRE Highlights UGA's 'Scootergate' in New Video," by Robert Shibley, January 13, 2011: When University of Georgia (UGA) student Jacob Lovell wrote a frustrated e-mail to the school's Parking Services about the lack of places on campus to park his scooter, he had no idea that his e-mail would lead to formal charges from the university for disruption and "conduct that causes or provokes a disturbance." Only after FIRE got involved did UGA back down from the charges, concluding there was insufficient evidence to justify them. Now, FIRE has chronicled Lovell's travails in our newest video, "Scootergate!"
- "Greg Introduces FIRE's New 'Scootergate!' Video on 'Huffington Post'," January 13, 2011
- "Victory for Free Speech Nets Victory for Scooter Users at UGA," by Peter Bonilla, October 13, 2010
- "University of Georgia in the News After Trying to Punish Student for Parking Complaint," by Peter Bonilla, September 29, 2010
- "Victory in Georgia: Student Cleared of Charges for Complaint about Campus Parking," by Adam Kissel, September 22, 2010
- "Protecting speech on college campus,"
by William E. Lee, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 15, 2011
- "Free Speech, Dangerous Speech, and Scootergate (Video),"
by Greg Lukianoff, The Huffington Post, January 13, 2011
- "Student gets in trouble for e-mail on scooter parking,"
by Valerie Strauss, The Washington Post, September 26, 2010
- "Foul e-mail nearly costs grad student,"
by Lee Shearer, Athens Banner-Herald, September 25, 2010
- "University of Georgia punishes student for parking complaint,"
by J.P. Freire, Washington Examiner, September 22, 2010