The Morning Report
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A couple of weeks back, I wrote this story about the San Diego Minutemen.
One part of my story looked at a defamation lawsuit that has been brought against San Diego Minutemen founder Jeff Schwilk and Fallbrook activist Ray Carney by Joanne Yoon, a former student of SDSU and an ex-activist for the American Civil Liberties Union.
The suit contends that Schwilk and Carney “defamed Yoon by publishing on the internet unprivileged false statements that imputed to Yoon a want of chastity, and tended to expose her to hatred, contempt, ridicule, obloquy, and cause her to be shunned or avoided.”
According to the suit, Schwilk and Carney were trying to establish the name of an ACLU activist through e-mails who had been showing up at some of their rallies. They know her first name, but are trying to establish her last name. In one alleged e-mail, Carney writes “I can do nothing without her last name.”
Soon after, according to the lawsuit, Carney received an e-mail from Stuart Hurlbert, an SDSU professor who is not named in the lawsuit. Hurlbert, using his SDSU e-mail account, forwarded to Schwilk an extract from a Union-Tribune article naming Joanne Yoon. Schwilk and Carney now had Yoon’s last name, where previously they had just referred to her as the “Korean Commie Girl.”
Hurlbert was asked by the SDSU administration last October to stop using his university e-mail for Minuteman-related activities. He refused. Here’s an extract from an October 13 story in the Union-Tribune:
Hurlbert, who recently retired after 36 years teaching biology, says the university is persecuting him for his ideological beliefs.
He said the SDSU administration never stopped his colleagues from soliciting him via university e-mail for any number of nonwork-related causes, including the Gay Pride Festival and Girl Scout cookies.
“It’s routine (to use e-mail); that’s what makes this whole thing so silly,” said Hurlbert, 67, who maintains a campus office and has e-mail privileges.
When I saw that Hurlbert had used his e-mail in the alleged incident central to the suite, I tried to contact him.
Hurlbert’s been in South America for a few weeks, but I finally spoke to him today.
He said he didn’t know Yoon was an SDSU student at the time he sent the e-mail. In addition, he said he wasn’t passing on any information that wasn’t already in the public realm. I asked him if, considering the language and tone contained in the e-mails from Schwilk and Carney, he considered that Yoon was in any danger from the Minutemen.
He said he did not, and Yoon was regularly turning up at Minuteman rallies in her own car, so the Minutemen would eventually have found out who she was.
He said he doesn’t see any problem with passing on information about SDSU students, and that if he was asked to provide similar information about other SDSU-based activists, he’d be happy to pass on any information he has to the Minutemen.