CC loses free speech suit

Three years after firing an adjunct professor for discussing whether sexual orientation is inherited in her Human Heredity class, San Jose-Evergreen Valley Community College District has paid June Sheldon $100,000 to drop her First Amendment lawsuit, reports the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

In the summer of 2007,  a student asked Sheldon to comment on the nature/nurture debate regarding sexual orientation. “Sheldon noted the complexity of the issue, citing examples from the textbook as well as relevant research findings,” FIRE reports. Later, another student complained the discusson was “offensive and unscientific.”  Sheldon, who’d been ased to teach more courses, was terminated.

While San Jose-Evergreen Valley will pay Sheldon for lost wages and legal fee and remove the termination from her file, the district hasn’t admitted that the instructor’s academic freedom or speech rights were violated.

In Mississippi, Hinds Community College has reversed the punishment of a student accused of  “flagrant disrespect” for using a profane word in an after-class discussion.  Isaac Rosenbloom will be able to resume paramedic training.


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