College professors across the country have been facing controversy recently over their right to academic freedom, which includes the right to teach, pursue and discuss topics without restriction or interference by school or public officials.
Academic freedom is essential on a college campus, but that freedom brings with it a large responsibility,
The latest abuse of this freedom of speech happened at our sister school, CSU-Pueblo, by a university professor who allegedly made comments about Mexicans being lazy. After a month-long investigation of the incident, university officials concluded that professor Dan Forsyth did engage in inappropriate classroom behavior, however, he did not create a racially hostile learning environment, according to the CSU-Pueblo Web site.
The incident spurred a response from Chicano studies professor David A. Sandoval, who sent an e-mail out to university students, faculty and staff saying that violence was bound to occur because of Forsyth's comments.
In both situations, these professors took liberties they shouldn't have. They used the idea of academic freedom to make discriminatory and threatening comments. Despite university officials' ruling that Forsyth did not create a racially hostile environment, the fact that this issue again came up illustrates that professors need to watch what they say in the classroom.
The situation at CSU-Pueblo is similar to that of Ward Churchill at the University of Colorado-Boulder. While professors are given an outlet to speak their mind on most topics, that does not mean they always should. Some opinions should be kept private and out of the classroom.