Ethel F. Borel-Donohue Lettter to Judge Brigner, December 29, 2010


December 29, 2010

The Honorable Michael Brigner, Judge and Esq.
Chairman,  Paralegal Studies Dept.
Sinclair Community College
444 West Third Street
Dayton, OH 45402

Dear Judge Brigner:

On Monday, November 1, 2010, I received a call from the Secretary of the Paralegal Studies Dept. of Sinclair Community College, Ms. Jan Moix, informing me that you wanted to schedule an appointment with me for the next day. When I asked why you wanted to meet, no reason was given except that you wished to meet with me. I scheduled an appointment for the next day at 11:30 a.m.  I arrived at your office at the agreed upon time and once I was seated in your office, you reached into your briefcase and pulled out two brochures and said that these were the reason you had called me into your office. One of the brochures was on the link between abortion and breast cancer and the other on the link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer.  You said that a student (whose name you kept anonymous) had come to you to complain that I had given the brochures to her and that she told you she had had an abortion and was offended by the material in the brochures.  I informed you that indeed I had handed some of those brochures out to some of my classmates after class one day during Breast Cancer Awareness Month(October), for which there was even a handmade poster on the wall of the classroom made by students in the Paralegal Club.  You told me that the student had told you that I had left the brochure on her desk and so she was not able to tell me in person that she did not want the brochure. You then told me that I had no right to hand out any materials to students in the classroom.  You told me that the classroom belonged to the professor, not the students. You told me I could have handed the materials out to students in the hallways, but not in the classroom – not even after or before class when I would obviously not be disrupting any class.  I told you I had read the rules of the College and saw that students are not allowed to put materials on people’s cars in the college parking lot, but nowhere did I read that students could not give to their classmates materials after or before class in the classroom and that I did not want to just give up my right to do so if I indeed do have that right. You told me I should talk with someone at Student Activities (or Student Affairs) and they would verify that I do not have the right to give to other students any materials within classroom walls. When I informed you that one of my paralegal professors had, while in the classroom during a previous quarter, put in a plug for one of her pet clubs which could easily be construed as controversial or offensive to some students and I asked if that was alright for teachers to do, you said,”No, it was not alright for the teacher to have done this, but” you continued, “if you want to complain, you would need to make a formal written complaint.” You did not tell me what consequences you would take if I were to give out any materials within the classroom walls to classmates after or before class again.

Please respond within three business days to tell me if my account is correct and to correct any errors. If I do not hear from you within three business days, I will presume my account of our discussion is correct.

Ethel F. Borel-Donohue
Paralegal Studies Student

Schools: Sinclair Community College Cases: Sinclair Community College: Unconstitutional Ban on Distributing Literature After Class