No Benefit of the Doubt for Ratener

By on September 15, 2006

Check out the article in this morning’s edition of Washington’s King County Journal about Peter Ratener at Bellevue Community College (BCC). The article points out that Ratener has apologized profusely for his math question gaffe, and finally enlisted FIRE’s help after BCC caved to “some leaders of the local black community” who “urged the board to take strong action, including termination.”Ratener told the King County Journal that “There has been an organized attack on me and the school and I needed an organization fighting for me.” The article continues:

Greg Lukianoff, president of FIRE, said the discussion generated by Ratener’s question, and his subsequent apology should have resolved the incident, making the suspension unnecessary.

“But when you have a state institution policing people’s writing for being offensive, you’re on a slippery slope,” said Lukianoff, who wants BCC to drop Ratener’s suspension.

“He said it was unintentional, but the benefit of the doubt flew out the window. It happens a lot in our hyperpolarized society. Under this environment, people don’t conceive of the possibility that it may have just been a mistake.”

Schools: Bellevue Community College