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Chalk One Up for the Little Guy
FIRE intern Acton Gorton, who gained fame earlier this year for being fired as editor-in-chief of the Daily Illini after printing the Danish Mohammed cartoons, has written the following blog entry describing the latest goings-on in the never-ending saga of fired DePaul Professor Thomas Klocek:
Earlier this month, Thomas Klocek was given the green light to sue DePaul University for summarily firing him after he debated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with pro-Palestinian students at a student fair last year. As reported in the June 2, 2006, Chicago Tribune (story is now in pay-only archive), Judge Stuart Nudelman dismissed DePaul’s attempt to have the case thrown out. According to a press release from Klocek’s press representatives, Judge Nudelman had a few choice words for DePaul on the hazards of restricting free speech:
“[Nudelman] noted that DePaul exhibited destructive political correctness when it gave way to its fear of students’ reactions to Prof. Klocek’s challenges to the student groups’ literature and perspective on the Middle East conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. [He] also commented that if such limited debate took place when he was a student, it would have resulted in having an inferior educational experience.”
In recent developments, the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East posted an online petition to have Klocek reinstated without “penalty or prejudice.” When National Review reported on the petition on June 21, it had almost 500 signatures. Currently, the petition has almost 1,200 signatures by professors, thoughtful citizens, and DePaul alumni.
If Judge Nudelman’s comments are any indication of how the impending litigation will sway, DePaul University will rue the day it punished a professor for engaging students in an academic debate.
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