Judge: Web Site Must ID University Critics

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(AP) A Web hosting company must reveal the anonymous people behind an Internet site that has called the administration at the University of Louisiana-Monroe incompetent and accused top officials of lying, a magistrate ordered.

The information must be provided to Richard Baxter, the university’s vice president for external affairs, who wants to file a defamation lawsuit. The magistrate also ordered Homestead Technologies Inc. to provide computer logs of all people who have posted, published, or provided any content to the site.

An unopposed motion asking for the information was filed last week in federal court. The order, which was signed Thursday, was made public Monday.

Baxter declined comment about the court order, as did Michael Rymes, who represents the people behind the Web site.

In his petition asking for the order, Baxter cited examples of what he called “extreme, outrageous, and malicious content” on the site:

* That outgoing university president Lawson Swearingen has converted funds from the university’s athletic foundation to a slush fund.

* That Swearingen has lied to university boosters who have been “conned, stiffed, and lied to by a dishonorable man.”

* That “Baxter’s job is to make sure that Swearingen’s incompetence and the university’s state of decline under Swearingen are kept undercover.”

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