Thursday, December 31, 2015

It is How You Say It.

I will post comments that are opposed to my views but your comments must be civil and not derogatory. There was a court case in New Mexico about the First Amendment that illustrates my point.
Free speech lawsuit against UNM tossed
Albuquerque Journal
By Maggie Shepard / Journal Staff Writer
Published: Friday, December 25th, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A University of New Mexico student has lost her lawsuit against the school in which she claimed her professor violated her free speech rights by kicking her out of class for criticizing lesbianism in an essay.

Monica Pompeo and her attorney, Bob Gorence, have filed an appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Her First Amendment violation lawsuit received national attention when she filed in it 2013.

Based on initial court documents filed in the case, civil rights and free speech advocates slammed UNM’s treatment of the student.
But the judge found that the school didn’t object with her point but in the way she said it.
Armijo wrote that the further investigation into the case showed Pompeo’s professors offered her numerous opportunities to rewrite her essay to adhere to academic standards or to take alternative academic routes to achieve her class grade.
[…]
And Hinkley asked Pompeo to back up her statements about homosexuality, writing on the margin on Pompeo’s paper: “Why is attraction to the same sex perverse? This is a strong statement that needs critical backup. Otherwise it’s just inflammatory.”

At one point, Hinkley told Pompeo that some of her language in the paper could be considered hate speech, according to court documents. And Pompeo told Hinkley that some of the films in the class were “unendurable,” to which Hinkley replied there would likely be more such films. Pompeo reported this made her feel she was being pressured out of the class.
So if you want to comment on my post, just make sure that you do not use “hate speech.”

1 comment:

Justine Valinotti said...

I have to admit that I avoid assigning certain essay topics for my students because I have experienced scenarios like the one you presented in this post. The student expresses an opinion poorly, or is so incoherent that I can't tell what he or she is trying to say. Or, if it's a research paper, the student has used quotes out of context or poorly, or hasn't included citations. Worse yet, the student's paper is completely off-topic. No matter how I explain the low grade, the student thinks it's because his or her opinions are in opposition to mine. Once I nearly lost a job because a student believed I was being racist when I asked her to support some assertions she made of a "Jewish conspiracy" against African-Americans. Only a letter from a senior Caribbean black professor who observed one of my classes--and was friendly with the president of the college--"saved the day" for me.

I really don't care what opinions people express, and I abhor censorship in any form. All I ask is that people back up their claims. I might continue to disagree, but at least I can respect respect anyone who has an informed opinion. Finally, it might sound harsh, but I believe that if your feelings aren't ever hurt, you're not getting an education. If everything you read or hear confirms our previously-held beliefs (even if you've won the Nobel Peace Prize), you can't call yourself an educated person.