For those unaware, a few months ago Syracuse University officials began investigating a law student, Len Audaer, and his blog, SUCOLitis. The blog featured Onion-like stories about Syracuse life, which is, in legal terms, “really fucked up.” Who would dare to make up stories about SU? (Hi, Syracuse officials! Please don’t sue us!)
Audaer, whose blog has since been made private, has yet to find out what exactly the charges are against him, though sources say he will be charged with three counts of hilarity and two counts of “hurting the law school’s feelings.”
We at Campus Basement don’t really wish to take sides here. After all, some of us working on this site recently received diplomas from Syracuse University, and we haven’t exactly steered clear of law-enforcers either (Hi, Mayor Miner and DPS officers! What’s happening with MayFest this year?). Still, we can’t help pointing out how both sides screwed up. Namely, how the law school screwed up, since we’re siding with Audaer.
First, though, let’s point out what Audaer could [read: should] have done differently. The reason he’s under scrutiny to begin with is because he used real students’ names and then made up quotes for the students. Probably because it’s so difficult to change a few letters here or there in order to make up a fake student’s name. Said Ben Lauder “I simply didn’t have the time to make up fake names and I didn’t want to damage the integrity of the blog.”
Blogs don’t have integrity. That’s why they’re blogs. And yes, I’m responding here to a quote I just made up. So sue me! (Please don’t sue me.)
Aside from attributing quotes to real people and remaining anonymous (Seriously? You had to remain anonymous?), Audaer really didn’t do much wrong (in our opinion). And yes, we’re saying that based on no evidence whatsoever. But since when has evidence ever played a role in guilt or innocence? Perhaps that’s the lesson the law school is trying to convey to Audaer: whether or not you did anything wrong, people can still sue you and win. Because people or corporations with money always win.
Still, we can’t help but find fault with the law school’s actions. For one thing, it’s satire. It’s not like South Park ever got sued for making fun of someone! Don’t be ridiculous.
For another thing, blogs aren’t exactly pulling in millions of viewers. They’re blogs. It’s the equivalent of vomiting on a keyboard because you’re bored. However, once there’s the David v. Goliath factor, wherein Goliath tries to silence David with a gag order (that’s how it happened in the Bible too, right?), people start to become interested in that vomit. All of a sudden, Audaer is on The Daily Show pleading his case about a blog that no one would have ever found without the law school’s help.
So we say, “Kudos,” law school. You managed to increase Audaer’s popularity and support and enrage students nation-wide who now view Syracuse University as The Land of Big Brother. And we can’t help but wonder: where is our publicity-increasing lawsuit?! We’ve been around for a while and we want to go on The Daily Show, too! Help us out!
(Note: As Audaer’s comment below states, this article operates on the assumption that Audaer was the author of the blog, which was never confirmed. But the article doesn’t sound as cool if I just keep referring to “the blogger,” so we’ll say it was Ben Lauder’s blog.)