Jenelle Gewell | News Editor
I have always thought the college classroom was a place to learn from a professor who went through years of school to be a master in a subject.
I never expected the classroom to be a place where I would be bombarded with opinions about political, religious and sensitive social issues from the professor.
I expect debates between students about these issues maybe in a political science class or a class about society but not in any other class.
Another thing I never expected was to be made to feel like a social outcast by my professor. It came as a shock to me while sitting in a lower level communications class to hear my professor begin to make snide comments about a certain political party.
I began to feel uncomfortable; even though I am considered a political fence-sitter, I tend to lean more to the side the professor was criticizing.
If this were a class where the students were supposed to debate or argue their political opinions, I would have spoken up, but because this was a lower level communications class I did not think it was appropriate and did not want to steer the professor off of the lecture.
Even though I showed this restraint, other students did not and began to chime in their own snide comments and jokes. We got off topic and instead of learning about stating sources correctly in a speech, the class ended up discussing why certain political leaders were idiots.
I am paying $262.20 per credit hour to learn about how to give a speech, not about my professor’s political opinion and certainly not to have the classroom turn into a peanut gallery for malicious political statements.
I felt the professor was completely out of line bringing this topic into a class that had nothing to do with politics and not controlling it once it got out of hand.
This is an issue I have continued to experience and I have discovered I am not the only one who has experienced this. APSU and many other universities endorse academic freedom.
APSU, in fact, has a specific policy for academic freedom, policy 5:063. Tristan Denley, APSU provost, explains, “The faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his or her subject, being careful not to introduce into the teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.”
My public speaking professor was exercising his right with academic freedom but did not show caution when introducing controversial matter or restraint.
The political comments had nothing to do with the subject and the class was not brought back on subject. The time was not used for lecture, but rather for expressing political opinions.
Professors and students, I am asking to please keep this expensive education on track. Show restraint when opinions are expressed in class where the opinion has nothing to do with the subject. I want the education that I am paying for. TAS