Friday, February 27, 2009

This is What Passes for Freedom of Thought.


Leave a comment! It is unconscionable that a professor has this much power and might possibly destroy a young man's life. I hope the NRA is looking into this. I'm sending an email, Y'all should do the same!

It's a good damn thing that I wasn't in that class. I would have disabused that "teacher" of her foolish ideas.

For CCSU student John Wahlberg, a class presentation on campus violence turned into a confrontation with the campus police due to a complaint by the professor.

On October 3, 2008, Wahlberg and two other classmates prepared to give an oral presentation for a Communication 140 class that was required to discuss a “relevant issue in the media”. Wahlberg and his group chose to discuss school violence due to recent events such as the Virginia Tech shootings that occurred in 2007.

Shortly after his professor, Paula Anderson, filed a complaint with the CCSU Police against her student.

That night at work, Wahlberg received a message stating that the campus police “requested his presence”. Upon entering the police station, the officers began to list off firearms that were registered under his name, and questioned him about where he kept them.

The whole article is here.

Albert A Rasch


Jim said...

This professer should be the one up on charges for fileing a unsubstanceated complaint .if theres ANY thing I can do to help let me know .

MeadowLark said...

We're totally hosed.
SIGH.... I'm going to go have a drink.

Isaac said...

I'm the Conflict Resolution Specialist at a local university and work closely with the Judicial Affairs office, the office that most likely handled the complaint from the university's side. I understand where you're coming from but I also understand how the professor may have felt. After Virginia Tech complaints shot through the roof, the attitude being "better safe than sorry". It doesn't sound like the student was arrested, it doesn't sound like he was charged with anything, the police just investigated a complaint. If the professor felt threatened in any way (even if it was entirely unfounded), she did what she was required to do. I unfortunately don't see this as that big of a deal...but maybe its because I deal with this sort of thing everyday.

Hope I'm still welcome here after that comment! :-)

Deer Passion said...

Honestly, I find this story kind of infuriating. While I understand the concept of being "better safe than sorry," I don't feel that we can use that as an excuse for a lack of common sense.

Isaac said...

Again, my apologies for going against the grain here but I don't see a lack of "common sense" here. The professor had a student talking about bringing guns on campus. It concerned her so she notified the police. The police investigated. No threat, end of story.

I don't think the young man's life is going to be adversely affected. If this event had happened on our campus the Judicial Officer would file the complaint away in some deep dark corner never to be seen again and the young man would go about his college career none the worse for wear. The professor even excused the boy's absence from class (that's where we'd probably run in to problems on our campus...). All in all, I think the situation was handled admirable by all parties except the young man who ran to the press making a mountain out of a mole hill.

According to the article nothing happened to him other than having to chat with the police, who didn't charge him with anything anyway!

Conversely, the prof feels threatened, doesn't say anything and spends the rest of the semester thinking she could have a Virgina Tech situation happen any minute...Not the best teaching or learning environment. Best just clear the air and be done with it. No harm, no foul.

*Ducks for cover*

MeadowLark said...

Isaac, I don't really agree with you (but not for anything I can really put my finger on) but am impressed with your courage for speaking out ;)

Peace brother.

Albert A Rasch said...


Thanks for weighing in.

I think that what aggrieves me the most is that had I been the student, the campus cops could call me all they want. They know where I am, come and get me if you want to talk to me. Then they would have gotten only one answer from me, and one question. The answer would have been yes to, "Is your name Albert Rasch?" and my question, "Are you accusing me of something, and or am I under arrest?" Then the real dancing would start.

Of course, at almost 50, I don't expect anyone without my experiences to give me any grief. Especially some academic that has likely never had to defend anything, including herself, from anything. In other words, until you've lived the life I have, put yourself in danger to protect others, don't open your mouth, especially if you are going to spew unfounded accusations.

And again, in my opinion, regardless how she may have felt, they were unfounded concerns.

Believe you me, had that been me in that class, there would be HELL to pay the following day. Remember with age comes wisdom, and the smarts to make everyone's lives so miserable, that they would wish it had never happened.

I have to say that when we become so concerned with what someone is saying that we are going to try to intimidate or stop people from speaking out, then we are truly at the end of the American Experience.

And Issac, of course you are always welcome! Your opinion is a s valuable and important as that of anyone else. You see things through a different perspective. I'm a recalcitrant curmudgeon, prone to fits of anger over matters of honor. You see things through a diplomat's percpective. Both views are right!


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Gonna contradict myself a little here, but as ever I reserve the right to be wrong.

i've got one foot in the Isaac camp
Yes she was doing her job, if someone talks about weapons and then runs amok after you've laughed it off, your in it, way over your head. and rightly so as you would have failed in your duty of care.

On the other side
I agree with you Albert.
'Yep that's me, you're either gonna need courtesy or a warrant, if you have neither - do one.'


Albert A Rasch said...

One last thing.

If the professor is so concerned, she could just as easily called the student aside after class, asked him to meet with her and the dean, and relieved herself of any concerns.

If she is too afraid, lacks backbone, or is a coward, then she has no business teaching. If you can't stand up for what you believe, you are so afraid that you need the gendarmes to enforce your view, then go find something where you won't harm young adults with your lack of moral fortitude.

In a pique,

NorCal Cazadora said...

Being a professor, a gun owner and a hunter, I have to comment.

On the one hand, it's pathetic that a professor would be intimidated by a presentation on the Second Amendment - particularly given that the issue, and the guns-on-campus movement in particular - has been in the news.

On the other hand, as far as I can tell, none of us commenting here was in the classroom, so we don't know how that presentation went. Did the kid make a nice lawyerly presentation? Or was there something about his behavior that made the prof and other students think he might be a little nuts?

I had a student come up to me one day asking for advice about a presentation she was going to do in another class. It was going to be about the Virginia Tech shootings. She asked me what I thought of the idea of her dressing up like the shooter.

Honestly, this chick had always struck me as being a little "off." Actually, a lot off. I told her I thought that was a really bad idea. What I didn't tell her was that if a student who seemed a little off started dressing like a well-known killer, it would make me sit and think about whether I needed to notify someone. I'm 100 percent sure I would've had a conversation with my department chair, and probably with a few other people.

I see why everyone here is upset. If I got called by my campus police for talking about guns (which I do with students all the time), I'd be pissed, and I'd be outraged, and I'd write about it, and I'd probably get written about.

But truly, if this kid did something that seemed genuinely scary in that presentation and the prof didn't alert anyone and he killed a bunch of people in a classroom later, think about how many people would be lining up to excoriate her for not doing anything.

NorCal Cazadora said...


Albert, if I thought a student was dangerous and the particular danger I perceived involved him carrying concealed weapons, I might be hesitant to take him aside.

Just last week, literally, a student was angry with one of my female colleagues and he followed her after class all the way to her office, yelling at her, threatening her and threatening to follow her home. She was pretty freaked out about it.

I don't think you fully understand how threatening a male can be to a female, because you're obviously a gentlemen who treats women with great respect. But I'll tell you this: Even in the absence of a gun, even with my black belt, probably any man could overpower me because I'm just not as strong as a man. Therefore, I don't put myself in a situation where I'm alone with a man I find threatening. Period.

Albert A Rasch said...


As always, your perspicacity cuts right through my prejudices and emotional responses. I appreciate your clear and thoughtful responses.

Maybe you are right, the way I think occasionally clouds my judgment. In your illustration: a student yelling and threatening a teacher(!), I would have yanked his ass up short regardless of size. The admin can do with me what they want after that, but I won't abide that kind of rudeness.

I understand what you are saying. Perhaps something was taken out of context or misconstrued.


NorCal Cazadora said...

Perhaps. But perhaps not. We just don't know.

I have also, for the record, defended a student who was accused by a colleague of sexual harassment for something that was clearly not sexual harassment, so I'm really not averse to calling B.S. on professors who overreact.

OK, are you confused yet? ;-)