Tuesday, November 3, 2009

FIRE's letter to Chopra

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) announced today that it has “intervened” in the “Southwestern College suspended faculty” case. (See FIRE intervenes)

It asserts that:
FIRE has written a letter to the Superintendent/President of California's Southwestern College (SWC), Raj K. Chopra, regarding SWC's suspension of three faculty members who were with a group of students who strayed beyond SWC's "free speech area" in order to speak with Chopra after their scheduled protest of various SWC actions. The letter draws attention to the several violations of the speech, assembly, and due process rights of the professors, who were banned from campus and ordered not to use campus e-mail or other campus resources. 

The letter also analyzes the unconstitutional provisions of SWC's speech policy. Free speech at SWC is restricted to a single "free speech patio" that occupies a very small percentage of the campus. 
The controversy, which already has received national press coverage, has generated significant outrage on campus. One student even made the following T-shirt, which sold out almost instantly [see above].
Read the letter here.

Mad as Hell tells us that this is her favorite part:
A public liberal arts college such as SWC should be seeking at all times to expand open discourse, to develop intellectual inquiry, and to engage and challenge the way people think. Contrastingly, a college that is intolerant of the often messy reality of a free society—for example, the need to make painful funding decisions that will affect college students and faculty members—is incapable of teaching students to live in freedom. SWC's actions send the message that speech that is unpopular with the authorities is to be feared, restrained, and monitored. This message is completely incompatible with a free society and stands in stark opposition to the ideals of higher education.
 Yes, indeed.

Matt Coker posted this hilarious video from YouTube that's about the current crop of noisy right-wing Republicans. It  mimics those iPhone commercials:



Out at Peters Lake, 2008

Peters Lake (near Irvine Park), 1949. Evidently, in January of that year, it snowed! (Got this from the OC Public Library archive.)

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