Saturday, March 04, 2006

Letter to Dr. Moses

Dear Dr. Moses,

I understand the initial negative reaction to Mr. Bennish's comments, as I had them myself. The reason for the suspension given in the media is that it appears Mr. Bennish did not give an opportunity for balance of controversial and sensitive subjects. But how can that be known if only a twenty minute excerpt of a 50 minute class that included neither the beginning nor the end of the discussion was provided as evidence?

And despite the unfairness of relying on an excerpt of a class in which the subject matter was obviously taken out of context from a larger discussion, it was clear that the students in the class were engaged, participating, and given ample opportunity to challenge Mr. Bennish on any point, which Sean Allen did readily, repeatedly, and without fear of retribution.

Further, from Mr. Bennish's lawyer's statements in the press, and from the course syllabus which I can only assume was approved by the school, such discussions of current events, politics, history, and economics were a normal part of the course curriculum, were expected to be researched and challenged, and were for extra credit.

It seems clear that, rather than challenging Mr. Bennish in any intelligent manner and as proscribed by the classroom's syllabus and the teacher's instructions, Mr. Allen simply chose to punish his teacher by releasing the recording to the media in an attempt to shame and suppress speech he disagrees with and doesn't like.

It also seems clear that Mr. Bennish's suspension was unwarranted, especially given the fact that the school has no way of knowing whether Mr. Bennish's comments were balanced by other parts of the discussion which were either not recorded or edited out.

Sincerely,

Julie O.

Progressive Women's Blog Ring
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