Kansas State Representative on Glendale Case
By Emily Guidry May 18, 2007
As the public’s outrage over Glendale Community College Professor Walter Kehowski’s plight continues, Kansas State Representative Benjamin Hodge joins the call for the school district to reinstate Kehowski in a statement released yesterday.
Hodge, a trustee of Kansas’s Johnson County Community College, wrote:
As the Daily News Record indicated, this is not an isolated incident. It is no secret that one of the least diverse places in Western culture, and that one of the places least tolerant to a diversity of ideas, is the American government college campus. Under the guise of ‘speech codes,’ faculty members have created environments that are intolerant to ‘unacceptable’ speech. College board members and college presidents allow ‘positive feedback’ to occur on campuses, but criticisms can quickly become ‘unacceptable behavior.’
The first amendment should apply equally to “unpopular” speech as it does to “popular” speech. I have witnessed enough of this personally at JCCC, in a “red state” like Kansas, that I can only imagine the climates created by college administrators in other states. I applaud FIRE for providing assistance to Professor Kehowski.
Academic freedom is a meaningless concept without the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of conscience guaranteed under the first amendment. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have not died fighting for our freedoms, so that leftist government faculty can use the taxpayer’s money to create their own Utopias where our nation’s laws are ignored, and where “contrary opinions” are censored. I fully support the concept of tenure—but what is the point of tenure if PhDs do not respond to one thought with another thought, but rather engage in prior restraint of the unwelcomed speaker?
Unless there are additional details about which I am unaware and that are highly significant, with regard to Professor Kehowski’s situation, I ask Maricopa to immediately re-instate Professor Kehowski as a tenured professor. Furthermore, if Kehowski does not regain his job, I will object to any working relationship that Johnson County Community College has with MCCCD, and I will object to JCCC belonging to any larger educational group that recognizes MCCCD as a credible academic institution.
We applaud you, Representative Hodge. As we advocate for the rights of students and faculty all over the country, we are always excited to hear from others who enthusiastically support individual rights on campus. Even more commendable is an individual who is willing to publicly denounce a school system and refuse professional affiliation with an institution that fails to adequately fulfill its constitutional obligations to its students and faculty.