In Defense of the Accused

Twenty-four years ago I was in my junior year at the University of Pennsylvania where I was an associate editor of the award-winning Daily Pennsylvanian, the entirely student-run (with an independent corporation) newspaper at the University of Pennsylvania.

The experience was fantastic.  In my time, I knew Harold Ford, Matt Selman, the infamous Stephen Glass, and Kenny Baer.  Then-professor, now-pollster Frank Luntz came by the DP offices, affectionately known as the Pink Palace near 40th and Walnut streets in Philadlephia.

But my proudest moment was my defense of a student unfairly targeted by Penn’s speech police – in the guise of Catherine Schifter, a petty bureaucratic tyrant who later earned a PhD in something called “educational leadership” – for some columns he had written that offended some students.  I recently located the column I wrote in March 1993 about the incident.

Ultimately, the column was read by Eden Jacobowitz, a student who was an early survivor of the political correctness craze that infected American campuses in the 1980s and 1990s.

I like to think of this as an early fight in my career defending people under attack from judicial authorities.

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Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.