Alert #31

University of Delaware arrests Green Delaware activist:
Lawful free speech deemed "criminal trespass"

Port Penn, DE. November 1, 1998. Saturday, October 31st, at a University of Delaware home football game: Gathered in front of the stadium entrance were people taking advantage of the crowd to promote causes. Auditor Tom Wagner, Attorney General M. Jane Brady, and Recorder of Deeds Mike Battaglia handed out materials, trying to get re-elected. Other candidates such as Jack Markell, candidate for state Treasurer, were trying to get elected for the first time. Two Green Delaware reps were there too, chatting with the pols and offering their message: "Stop Dumping of Raw Sewage by City of Wilmington...." The atmosphere was pleasant. A worker for long-time U.S. Rep. Mike Castle stuck a "Castle for Congress" sticker on our "Wilmington Poops in River" sign (we took it off).

Gary R. Summerville, Associate Dir. of "Public Safety" for the University of Delaware, approached Green Delaware coordinator Alan Muller in a loud and hostile manner, demanded he leave, and then had him searched and arrested for Criminal Trespass. Attorney General Jane Brady, Delaware's chief legal officer, watching as a citizen was arrested for doing what she and her people were doing. Tom Wagner, Auditor, later said "If I can stand there and hand out material, why can't you?" "I don't understand their logic." Univ. of Del. Vice President for Administration Maxine Colm said the University Athletics Dept. "works with" politicians, who are given blanket permission to campaign at the stadium. In defense of the action against Green Delaware, she cited an instance in which a union wanting to distribute materials was driven away. This made us feel better. Asked for details, Colm hung up. (Delaware's media has so far not reported on this event.) 

An old story: University of Delaware v. the Constitution

On April 30, 1998, during a "public forum" at the U. of D. Clayton Hall conference center, Muller was followed around by University Police Officer Michael Hertzfeld, who demanded to search his bag and threatened him with "jail." Hertzfeld said he acting at the request of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, the conference center's client for the "forum." (The Univ. pretended to be the sponsor of the "forum," actually organized by the Solid Waste Authority's PR firm, Shipley Assoc. Community representatives were excluded. The Solid Waste Authority promotes building a giant garbage incinerator. We have so far prevented it.) Green Delaware members have been bothered by U. of D. police at other events. Our attempts to discuss our concerns with Univ. officials have been futile. The Univ. claims its campus is "private" property, although it's supported by public funds. (All Univ. vehicles carry a license plate saying "state owned.") The Univ. has a long history of civil rights, freedom of expression, and labor law violations against students, faculty, employees, and visitors. Its tentacles are so pervasive among Delaware's bar, judiciary, and political establishment that it often seems above the law. 

ACTION: Call David Roselle, President of the University of Delaware, 302.831.2111, or send email to roselle@udel.edu. Tell him how you feel about a university that suppresses free speech, and how much financial support such a university deserves. Call Governor Carper of Delaware (302.577.3210) or send an email to ssnyder@state.de.us: "No free speech...no public funds!"

Look for more details in upcoming Green Delaware News. (C) Alan Muller


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Alan J. Muller, Coordinator
P.O. Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731
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This page was last updated on June 2, 1999.