Academic twilight zone

May 11, 2007

More than forty years ago, writer Rod Serling introduced “The Twilight Zone” to American television. The show became a classic and the phrase entered the American lexicon.
Mr. Serling’s view was fiction but, in 2007, it appears we’re living in the twilight zone. In 1962, when the show was introduced, could anyone have believed that a college professor would be fired for wishing his colleagues a “Happy Thanksgiving” and sending out George Washington’s “Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1789?”
Yet in the twilight zone of political correctness, that is exactly what happened to Walter Kehowski, professor of mathematics at Maricopa County Community College in Glendale, Ariz.
For his Thanksgiving greeting, Professor Kehowski has been placed on administrative leave and is facing termination.
Last Thanksgiving, Professor Kehowski wished his colleagues well and linked to the 1789 proclamation, which he had found on columnist and author Pat Buchanan’s Web site. Five MCCC employees filed harassment complaints against the professor because Mr. Buchanan’s Web site also contained criticisms of illegal immigration.
MCCC Chancellor Rufus Glasper was so upset that he has recommended Professor Kehowski’s dismissal to the governing board.
The professor is now being defended by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. A FIRE spokesman said the incident represents “a dark day for free speech and common sense in Arizona.”
Whenever such an incident occurs, there is a question of whether it’s merely an isolated, bizarre event or symbolic of the corruption of higher education. Alas, the Arizona dark day is probably not a mere isolated incident.
If this script had been presented to Rod Serling—who created all types of bizarre, ironic and chilling tales—he’d reject it as being too ludicrous to be believed.
Welcome to the Twilight Zone, circa 2007.
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Schools: Glendale Community College Cases: Glendale Community College: Professor Sanctioned for Sending E-Mail