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  • Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

    Yahoo news published a story about a professor who was fired after mimicking shooting (with a marker) and discussing the true effects of gun control.
    -------------------------------------------------------
    BOSTON - An adjunct professor was fired after leading a classroom discussion about the Virginia Tech shootings in which he pointed a marker at some students and said "pow."
    The five-minute demonstration at Emmanuel College on Wednesday, two days after a student killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus, included a discussion of gun control, whether to respond to violence with violence, and the public's "celebration of victimhood," said the professor, Nicholas Winset.

    During the demonstration, Winset pretended to shoot some students. Then one student pretended to shoot Winset to illustrate his point that the gunman might have been stopped had another student or faculty member been armed.

    "A classroom is supposed to be a place for academic exploration," Winset, who taught financial accounting, told the Boston Herald.

    He said administrators had asked the faculty to engage students on the issue. But on Friday, he got a letter saying he was fired and ordering him to stay off campus.

    Winset, 37, argued that the Catholic liberal arts school was stifling free discussion by firing him, and he said the move would have a "chilling effect" on open debate. He posted an 18-minute video on the online site YouTube defending his action.

    The college issued a statement saying: "Emmanuel College has clear standards of classroom and campus conduct, and does not in any way condone the use of discriminatory or obscene language."

    Student Junny Lee, 19, told The Boston Globe that most students didn't appear to find Winset's demonstration offensive.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    I can't post the link to the professor's youtube video, but you can find it under "Nicholas Winset."

    What do you guys think?

  • #2
    Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

    YouTube link

    Well...this is a private institution you're dealing with. They're within their rights to fire him, I'm sure. I don't think, however, it's in the best interest of any educational institution in America to attempt to suppress any kind of discussion like this...especially since they're the ones who were asked the teachers to promote this discussion in their classrooms.

    I think it's a bit over the top. A bit draconian. A bit 1984ish. And just a little scary.
    | | |

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    • #3
      Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

      He said administrators had asked the faculty to engage students on the issue.
      Obviously, this was a poor wording choice when talking about an incident involving a firearm.

      I also like how they wanted teachers to talk to students about this, but gave them no instructions on how to discuss it.

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      • #4
        Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

        People are too sensitive.
        ...............................








        Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

        -Benjamin Franklin

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        • #5
          Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

          That's just stupid.

          Where's Emale to relate the academic perspective on this with regards to the open-mindedness of modern universities?
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          • #6
            Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

            Originally posted by TheFeniX View Post
            Obviously, this was a poor wording choice when talking about an incident involving a firearm.

            I also like how they wanted teachers to talk to students about this, but gave them no instructions on how to discuss it.
            That's b/c it is a UNIVERSITY. Professors are supposed to use their judgement as to how best to do this, not be spoon-fed HOW to do as they're asked.

            From what I've read, it was a fair discussion. And I'm no liberal.....I'm on the exact opposite end of that. Still, this was foolish of them to do. Lucky is right: some people took offense before offense was even OFFERED.

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            • #7
              Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

              Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
              Where's Emale to relate the academic perspective on this with regards to the open-mindedness of modern universities?
              Lol. All's quiet on the western front.
              "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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              • #8
                Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

                Isn't this the second person punished for just talking about VA Tech? I don't know too much about it but apparently a student was expelled from his school for showing some understanding of the gunman's feelings. In my opinion everyone is being a little too strict about this whole situation.

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                • #9
                  Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

                  Originally posted by friedchicken321 View Post
                  "A classroom is supposed to be a place for academic exploration," Winset, who taught financial accounting, told the Boston Herald.
                  Dunno about you guys, but I'd go to my financial accounting class to learn about... financial accounting. Not sit and listen to a lecture about gun control and violence.

                  I don't think he should have been fired, and I think he would have been fine holding a discussion if the students had prompted it. I don't think he had a very good idea in apparently drawing up a very off-topic lesson plan for the day, however.

                  I'd be interested in seeing how many other profs decided to stray from their normal subject and lecture about something shooting-related. And I mean a non-student prompted discussion.
                  [squadl]
                  "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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                  • #10
                    Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

                    I gave examples of shooting people in class last week. I was teaching a unit on free will. Nobody complained.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

                      Originally posted by SmokingTarpan View Post
                      I'd be interested in seeing how many other profs decided to stray from their normal subject and lecture about something shooting-related.
                      Do you think that there's a single classroom above the 8th grade that hasn't had to discuss this? Student prompted or not, it needs to be talked about. In ALL classrooms.

                      In this case, he and his coworkers were specifically told to talk about it...

                      Ridiculous.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

                        I am IN 8th grade and we talked about it! This whole thing is getting out of hand.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

                          It wasn't even brought up in my school. I think the prominent stance here is that it's risky to have teachers speak indiscriminately about things of a political nature, and that parents can be expected to talk to their kids about them.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

                            Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
                            Do you think that there's a single classroom above the 8th grade that hasn't had to discuss this? Student prompted or not, it needs to be talked about. In ALL classrooms.

                            In this case, he and his coworkers were specifically told to talk about it...
                            I can point you to several, if not quite a few, classes here at the U of I that haven't talked about it. A friend of mine just now told me that at Purdue her classes, if the shooting was mentioned at all, was pretty much a note in passing. In her words, "I don't really want to talk about it. I don't get why we can't just pay our respects for people who died and move the f*** on." I'm sure there's more than a few people who feel the same way. There's probably a great many that would like to attempt returning to a "normal" life of classes instead of having this dragged up by every teacher they see in an 8-hour day.

                            As far as being told to talk about it, I guess I'm interpreting the term "engage" quite differently than others. Personally, I take that to mean talk with your students if they want to talk, not drop what you're teaching to have lectures about shootings.

                            In any case, I have less sympathy for the guy after just having watched the CNN interview of him. When asked if he was trying to deliver a pro-gun message, he didn't seem to have an answer. His best response was, "I was delivering a message to be open-minded about it, I think." To me, it doesn't look like he had a clue what he was attempting to do, aside from stir some controversy, which makes him look like an asshat in my opinion.

                            I still don't think he should have been fired, however.
                            [squadl]
                            "I am the prettiest african-american, vietnamese..cong..person." -SugarNCamo

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                            • #15
                              Re: Professor Fired over VA Tech Discussion

                              Originally posted by SmokingTarpan View Post
                              In her words, "I don't really want to talk about it. I don't get why we can't just pay our respects for people who died and move the f*** on." I'm sure there's more than a few people who feel the same way. There's probably a great many that would like to attempt returning to a "normal" life of classes instead of having this dragged up by every teacher they see in an 8-hour day.
                              Honestly, as someone directly affected by the event, I've been trying to forget about it, but every time I see the name I'm dragged back into it. I've been trying to move on, but it's still in the media, it's in the forums, everything is connected, and I just can't escape it.
                              The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. ~
                              I have a tendency to key out three or four things and then let them battle for supremacy while I key, so there's a lot of backspacing as potential statements are slaughtered and eaten by the victors. ~
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