Jefferson Downing, an attorney with Keating O’Gara Law Firm, has submitted an open records request to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln demanding to see the email and web searching/browsing history related to the white nationalist organization Turning Point USA of all University employees involved with this blog. Some of the people targeted by the legal request are not faculty or teaching in any capacity.
Downing has a history of representing far right social causes. In the 90s he represented militant anti-choice activists who protested in front of an abortion doctor’s office while under a protective order. Later he represented a freshman student who wanted a religious exemption from a University of Nebraska-Kearney rule that freshmen live in the dorms, because of the prevalence of “alcohol, premarital sex, and profanity” in the dormitories. He also represented the city of Plattsmouth when they wanted to keep a religious monument in a public park. Now Downing wants to see a record of what web pages related to Turning Point USA we have viewed using the University’s wireless network.
Remember that state legislators and party officials, who literally run the government of the state, are exempt from open records requests. Open records laws were created to allow the everyday person to keep an eye on people in power. Instead, they are being used by people in power to police and intimidate everyday people who work for the state. Sorry, we aren’t so easily intimidated.