The Peralta Community College District recently conducted a four-month investigation of a tenured instructor at the College of Alameda sparked by a letter he wrote to the editor of a local newspaper, the Alameda Journal. The faculty member was questioning budget priorities and the appearance of nepotism related to the College’s announced plans for a new degree in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) studies. When his letter was published, an irate co-worker confronted him and then filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment—all stemming from the letter. After investigating the instructor for four months, college officials realized they could not discipline him but warned him not to discuss the investigation with anyone but his legal counsel.
PJI President Brad Dacus noted, “At a time when our community colleges are cutting back and students are struggling to get into core classes, it is inexplicable that the College of Alameda would propose diverting resources to a program that was focused more on political activism than academic inquiry. We applaud his willingness to speak out and are committed to protecting his right to do so.”
This is not the first time the College of Alameda has come under fire for restricting free speech. Less than five years ago, PJI filed a federal lawsuit against the College on behalf of two students who were suspended and threatened with expulsion for praying on campus. After a federal judge ruled against the College in its attempts to dismiss the case, it was settled favorably to the plaintiffs.
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