Apr 172005
Authors: Cari Merrill

Controversy involving two CSU-Pueblo professors has thrust the Fort Collins campus' sister school into the spotlight.

On March 3, Dan Forsyth, an anthropology professor at CSU-Pueblo, allegedly made comments about Mexicans being lazy during his Forensics of Bones class. The allegations were investigated and a report was issued that found Forsyth had engaged in inappropriate classroom behavior but had not created a racially hostile learning environment, according to the CSU-Pueblo Web site.

An e-mail sent out by CSU-Pueblo President Ron Applbaum detailed how the situation was handled, and Forsyth received a warning from the president.

However, the president's words sparked a reaction by David A. Sandoval, a Chicano studies professor, who hit the "reply-to-all" button and sent back his two cents to the student body, faculty, staff and anyone who received the president's original message.

Sandoval included a warning at the beginning of his reply that the content may be offensive to some people. The warning said, "I believe it is important for everyone who got the president's message get my reaction to it. If you don't want to read an opinionated, heated response to the president's call for respect, DELETE this message."

Recipients of the message were given a chance to delete it without reading the contents, Sandoval said.

"I didn't want to impose my values, beliefs and ideas on others," Sandoval said.

The main concern over the e-mail, however, was not Sandoval expressing his opinion; it was one of the final comments in the message that sparked the controversy. Sandoval wrote that violence on CSU-Pueblo's campus was imminent.

"My prediction is that before it is over there is going to be physical violence on this campus," Sandoval wrote in his e-mail reply.

Forsyth did not respond to e-mail and phone requests for an interview, but his attorney said Forsyth immediately felt threatened by Sandoval's comment.

"Given the tone of the e-mail, (Sandoval) is inciting violence," said Robert J. Corry, Forsyth's attorney.

After Sandoval's e-mail, Forsyth and his wife, also a university employee, received threatening phone calls.

"Dr. Forsyth is doing everything he can to be safe and careful," Corry said.

Sandoval said the issue is about what Forsyth did in his classroom and does not feel the attention should be placed on him.

"He (Forsyth) can express his racism to me but he can't do it in a forensic bones class," Sandoval said.

Students in Pueblo have mixed feelings about the events. Some student groups did not like what Applbaum wrote in his e-mail. Others were upset about Sandoval's e-mail, citing it as misleading and uncalled for, said Tyson Valenzuela, President of Associated Students' Government at CSU-Pueblo.

"Some student groups were disappointed because the president's response was not to their satisfaction," Valenzuela said. "More students were concerned with professor Sandoval's comments than what started this issue."

The series of events has been handled well by the students.

"I honestly think we're past the issue at our campus," Valenzuela said. "We're ready to move on, move forward."

The campus and the students are not the only ones looking to bring this matter to a close.

"We hope Sandoval can show some self-restraint and stop his irresponsible conduct," Corry said. "We want to restore Dr. Forsyth's reputation as a professor and a scholar."

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.