Orange Coast College Professors’ “Petition against Freedom

By December 21, 2001

A Note from FIRE:

Orange Coast College continues to try to spin its way out of the disgraceful
conduct of its administrators. Now, OCC’s Community Relations Office releases
to the media a “petition” signed by 24 professors. It speaks volumes that OCC
sends out a media release about two dozen professors, but did not release an
earlier petition signed by more than 340 of Hearlson’s students calling for
his vindication. Note well, the claim that Hearlson “entered into an agreement
with the administration to be removed from the classroom” is profoundly misleading.
Hearlson agreed to leave the college for a day when the administration told
him that his life was in danger.


Jim Carnett, Director

Community Relations Office

(714) 432-5725

(714) 432-5609 (fax)

jcarnett@mail.occ.cccd.edu


For immediate release to all media:

Many of us, the undersigned faculty at Orange Coast College, are disturbed by recent negative characterizations of the academic environment at Orange Coast College.

We do not believe the decision for Ken Hearlson to leave the classroom for the semester created what our union president called a “chilling effect” on instruction or curtailed a provocative approach to teaching. Academic freedom is alive and well under our current administration.

We believe there is a strong possibility that Ken Hearlson exercised poor judgment in class, going beyond “shock teaching” to create a hostile environment in class.

Ken Hearlson entered into an agreement with the administration to be removed from the classroom, throwing doubt on whether his due process was violated.

We regard Ken Hearlson’s recent disparaging remarks to be an attempt to smear Orange Coast College’s reputation for his own personal benefit.

Faculty members signing the letter:

Cherryl Baker
Anatomy and Physiology

Donna Barnard
English

Barbara Bullard
Speech

Susan Coleman
Interior Design

Christopher Evans
English/Honors Program

Donavan Gaytan
English

Pam Gressier
English

Laird Hayes
Physical Education and Athletics

Valerie Hayward
Mathematics

Gary Hoffman
English

Glynis Hoffman
English

Darla E. Kelly
Biology

Dennis L. Kelly
Marine Biology

Peggy Langhans
English

Michael Leigh
Speech

Elizabeth Netoliczka
Spanish

Kevin Parker
English
Academic Senate Vice President

Irini Vallera-Rickerson
Art

Susana Salessi
Spanish/Italian

Sarah Sarkissian
English as a Second Language

Vinta Shumway
Librarian

Dana Wheaton
Music

Leigh Ann Weatherford
English

Judith A. Wolfe
English

The signatory in charge of circulating the petition beyond the College is Professor Dennis L. Kelly. He can be reached at dkelly@occ.cccd.edu.