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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
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5.10.2007

The "Tolerance" Brigade Strikes Again

The Lamplighter's on the case:

Why is it that colleges and universities who have so many highly educated employees cannot seem to comprehend the First Amendment of the United States Constitution? Or is it that these enlightened beings believe that their education is such that they can deny lessor beings their constitutional rights because they know what is best? The Foundation for Individual Rights In Education (FIRE) is representing Professor Walter Kehowski, a tenured professor at Glendale Community College, who has been placed on forced administrative leave and recommended for termination because he sent an e-mail containing George Washington's "Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1789" and a link to Pat Buchanan's web page - the page where he found it.

The reasons given by the "college" (and I use that term very loosely) for its action against Professor Kehowski is that he violated Maricopa County Community College District's (MCCCD) Equal Opportunity Policy and e-mail policy limiting use of the "college's" system to e-mails that “support education, research, scholarly communication, administration, and other MCCCD business.” Both are nonsensical reasons that do not withstand even the most cursory review.

Common sense, something that seems to be uncommon at MCCCD, dictates that the Professor's e-mail was far from harassment. Further, the Supreme Court has clearly ruled that in order to constitute harassment the communication must be so “severe or pervasive enough to create an objectively hostile or abusive work environment.” Harris v. Forklift Systems, 510 U.S. 17 (1993). An e-mail with President Washington's Thanksgiving Day Address and a link does not rise to that level. Finally, under the most expansive reading possible, you could not stretch MCCCD's EEO policy far enough to claim that the Professor's email constituted harassment.

MCCCD's claim that it is firing the Professor because he violated the "college's" email policy is also foolish. Though the professor does appear to have violated the email policy, the facts show that the "college" is enforcing this policy selectively in order to suppress speech they do not agree with. For example, others have used the same list serve to email (1) an announcement about Arizona’s 20th Annual “Sisters in Crime” mystery novel celebration; (2) quotes about Women’s History Month; (3) ads on how to purchase goats for orphans in Uganda; and (4) reminders about the health benefits of bananas. None of these authors have been disciplined, let alone recommended for termination. The "college's" selective enforcement of this policy constitutes "content discrimination," which is illegal, in order to suppress the free speech of one they disagree with.


Well, I'm sure there are plenty of examples of liberal professors being fired for circulating e-mails quoting Samuel Gompers on academic servers---just because I can't find any doesn't mean there aren't. There is, of course, at least one case where nasty, unprofessional, political e-mails made public HELPED a liberal professor's career.

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