Professor Fired Over VA Tech Discussion

  1. Yahoo news published an article about a professor who was fired after a discussion (about the VA Tech shooting), in which he used a marker to mimick the firing of a gun.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070423/ap_on_re_us/professor_fired


    Here's a link to his youtube video:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=X-cBKXyRvyM

    How do you feel about this?
     
  2. I think people should be allowed to discuss this.

    That professor shouldn't have been fired. (Maybe he should have the students that have a problem with that they could be excused.)


    The drama teacher that had her seventh and eighth grade students act out the actual shooting was a bit much. I could see her getting fired.
     
  3. In a private school atmosphere teachers can be fired much more easily. If the administration and even one student was offended they had grounds for firing. The key word here is private vs. public institution. And why was the finance prof. teaching about gun control? Maybe parents/admin. saw him as having a political agenda that does not belong in that particular class room...it is not a debate class.
     
  4. In both public and private institutions, politics is always in the classroom, it just tends to lean to the left (opp. of this case). I think the case is that people are extremely nervous and sensitive, and his enactment may have rubbed raw feelings.
     
  5. The thing that bugs me is that the professors were told to talk about Virginia Tech. And he did.
     
  6. I agree politics in always in the class room and, depending on the class, it may or may not be appropriate. My point is in a private institution complaints tend to get the administration nervous pretty quickly and in public arenas they seem to take the side of the teacher more often. Maybe I am wrong but I have seen teachers fired for lesser things in my children's school. That being said, I believe what he did and how he did it was inappropriate given the fact he is a finance prof. and given the highly sensitive time due to the tragedy.
     
  7. ^^^Caitlin, it was probably the manner in which he discussed it, not that he discussed it at all. One needs to be sensitive at times like these.
     
  8. I'd have to agree that a private entity, whether it's a school, or a home, or even an internet forum, has the prerogative to say what subjects may or may not be discussed, by whom, how and when.

    For example, if the management here buys bandwidth from a company, and that company tells them that they do not want to sell their bandwidth to anybody who permits criticism of Chanel products, then the management would have the freedom to buy their bandwidth from a different company!

    And the same goes for students of private educational institutions and their parents, (if the parents are paying the bill! :smile:

    If they disagree with any of the institution's policies, rules or regulations, they all have the freedom to choose an educational institution with a different policy.

    In the case of any US entity that receives public funding, the question of constitutionally protected freedom of expression could come into play, but owners of private property, whether campus or living room or AOL chat room, have the right to say what goes, as long as no laws are broken.

    What would be interesting, and maybe our legal eagles can speak to this, in the case of a private educational institution, might be if a student or group of students were to claim that rules regarding discussion of whatever subject constituted a defect in the product they were purchasing, that they believed that product to include a free exchange of ideas, and based on the principle that such free exchange would be a necessary and key element of education - the product! :smile:
     
  9. Shimma, if I remember correctly, almost all educational institutions, even private ones, are subject to the same Constitutional restrictions. This is because these institutions DO accept public funding, i.e. federal student loans or NSF research grants, etc, putting them under the govt's thumb.

    I also agree with the person earlier who pointed out that this guy is a Financial Accounting professor... so what on earth does a gun control debate have to do with his class? Even considering that the school encouraged profs to dialogue with the students on this incident, it should remain pertinent to the subject matter of the course, IMHO. Plus, he's just an adjunct.
     
  10. They probably wanted to fire him for other reasons and jumped at the first excuse to fire him. I completely disagree with the school, and the school's action right before the May 1st deadline of college decisions by HS seniors is kinda dumb.
     
  11. Thanks Ligatrix! If they get public funding in any form, then there is an argument there of freedom of expression issues!

    So from there it would be possible to make the additional arguments that you mention, and for him to rebut that he has that freedom of expression even with respect to topics outside the curriculum of his course!
     
  12. We had a situation in my kids school this year as a computer teacher decided to take on Global Warming as a theme for a contest for i-movies. This evolved into his own personal agenda that is very anti current administration and extremely left. He was making comments regarding presidential candidates and really forcing his own view on a bunch of 11 year olds. Parents were not happy, nor was administration and while he was not fired he was reprimanded and now has the chair of the dept. sit in on his classes. I do not expect to see him next year. Although this does not have the tragedy/sensitive issue as our subject it is still about a teacher expressing his own views/agenda inapproriately to kids when it really has nothing to do with that specific class. Should parents/students have been upset? Who is to say...but being a parent paying for private education I expect and usually see the parents getting their way in these cases. Would it happen in a public venue? Probably not but maybe I am wrong. It seems to me that so many people hold themselves and their opinions in such high esteem...professors, hollywood celebs, etc...everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no? Isn't that democracy? Sorry to ramble on...I guess we are all still trying to come to terms with this horrific crime that took place only one week ago. Thanks for letting me vent.
     
  13. fact aside that I am devastated by the whole VT thing, I agree with the schools decision to fire this guy. It was acceptable to talk about it in class, probably a good idea to discuss it, but acting it out is not good, I am sure many students were upset by it.
     
  14. oh so is this another way for the system to show that they wont tolerate violence in schools?? (abiet, even mimicking)...I think they dropped the ball on this along time ago.

    I think firing the guy was excessive.
     
  15. Well certainly anybody in any capacity in the US who has views opposed to government policies needs to think carefully before sharing those views with anybody else!

    Global warming is a good example, I have heard some very popular clerics express the view that it does not exist, and express that as a religious view.

    There are many people for whom the subject of government policies, and some political figures, are connected to their religious beliefs.

    This is not to say that there are not people who publicly express opinions that are critical of government policies, but we can assume that they do so having carefully considered the implications and possible consequences of doing so, and schoolteachers in particular will want to consider the religious teachings that some students may receive in the home, and also simply parents whose support for and loyalty to, government policies and political figures alike, to be of an intensity comparable to religious faith!

    From time to time, we hear of parenst who are upset because their children are taught everything from basic information about the world's religions (which would include those other than that of the parents) to basic biology.

    It's a challenging time for educators, as curricula need to be developed that will not jeopardize the students' chances for higher education, but at the same time do not go beyond the bounds of what some parents want their kids taught!

    It reminds me of the old saying, "the hardest secret to keep is your own opinion!" :smile: