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Priceless:

From the University of Maine student newspaper (Sept. 16, 2002):

Over the summer a policy was created concerning parental notification of students found in violation of alcohol and drug laws at UMaine. Parents and guardians will be notified of their student's behavior if it is determined that the student has committed a violation regarding alcohol or any other controlled substance and is under the age of 21....

"A student involved in and found in violating conditions of the [conduct] code as far as alcohol or drugs is subject to parental notification if they are under 21," David Fiacco, director of Judicial Affairs said Wednesday....

On the other hand, in 2005, when a fraternity upset with Fiacco because they were being disciplined for various offenses publicized, among other things, a "set of court documents and two newspaper articles discuss Fiacco's conviction of Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI), where he had a blood alcohol content of .089 percent," Fiacco sued it for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

So let's see if I understand this: When a legally adult student is found through university administrative processes to have violated alcohol laws, his parents not only may but should be notified. But when someone discovers that a university administrator has pled guilty in court to violating drunk driving laws, notifying the public of this is supposedly tortious, and in Mr. Fiacco's view ought to lead to substantial damages liability (including punitive damages).

I realize that it's possible that Mr. Fiacco, despite his fairly high position within the university disciplinary system, was simply following orders back in 2002, and wasn't involved in actually creating the parent notification rule, or opposed it internally. Maybe. But is it too much to ask that a university administrator in charge of enforcing a system such as this tolerate student revelations of his alcohol infractions, just as students are supposed to tolerate his revelations of their alcohol infractions?

(Yes, I realize that the students tried to convey Fiacco's past to the public, and Fiacco's office has a policy of conveying it to the parents. But surely conveying something to parents can be highly embarrassing, and intrusive into the student's lives, especially given that the infractions may involve little threat to others, while Fiacco's infraction involved not just illegal possession of alcohol but drunk driving; and conveying the information to the public has the benefit of informing the public about the character of its public servants. I also realize that the university's motive is the students' own good and the fraternity's motive may have been retaliation, though it might also have been exposing someone who they thought was unfit for his job. But whatever the motive, the means strike me as pretty similar; and it seems particularly improper that an administrator who uses such means against students would try to use the legal system to punish students who use similar means against him.)

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