25 April 2007

KingCast watches First Amendment fallout from Virginia Tech smote Professor Nicholas Winset in the head.

I warned you in my first entry about how establishment types might use this tragedy to unlawfully or unreasonably restrict liberties.


Well sure enough Emmanuel College fired Nicholas Winset after a spirited classroom discussion on the shootings.

At first I thought this Salem News link hit the nail on the head because unless a professor is wildly tastless, i.e. misogynist, racist, homophobic -- and without intellectual purpose or counterpoint -- that professor should be permitted to stay in his or her position unless or until the students raise an issue. It is an issue for the marketplace of ideas to sort, rather than fodder for knee-jerk reactionary dismissal.

But on further review, the details in this Boston Herald editorial shed substantial light on the matter because there were student complaints and his commentary about "rich white kids" seems out of place here. As I noted in this post about the Innocence Project finally clearing poor black men of rape charges, if he had said "the rich students at Duke prevailed in the rape case," that seems to be on safer ground to me because it doesn't really point the finger at them as much as it does the legal system. I dunno.

Mr. Winset was leaving already, but this remains a compelling issue for others in a private instution because if they wanted to sue, they've probably got no State Action: Even though Emmanuel likely receives government monies, it's for students. So all one has is a Good Faith/Public Policy/Breach of Contract argument. Seems like a professor we trust with young minds should have more protection than that, doesn't it?

But we'll have to craft it on a case-by-case basis.

Meanwhile, read the comment to my recent post about violence in the Columbus Public Schools.

Related KingCast and Justiceforkids movies: All of them.

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