SPC student claims professor banned class from writing about same-sex marriage

in Uncategorized by

A St. Petersburg College student is flaming mad that he can’t write a college paper on same-sex marriage.

Erik Hahmann is a student at the school currently enrolled in an American National Government class taught by Professor William Klein. According to Hahmann’s blog, Klein instructed students to write a paper on anything they wanted as long as it was relevant to the class. But there was one caveat, “if you write your paper on it, I won’t grade it.”

According to Hahmann, Klein then went on to point out that, one, he’s not a homophobe and, two, he doesn’t agree with gun-control either, but that topic is A-OK.

Hahmann points out, with a sprinkling of profanity, that he hadn’t even wanted to write about the topic, but is less than amused the topic was forbidden.

“Professors are supposed to be unbiased information vehicles, there to educate without injecting their personal beliefs or agendas on the student,” Hahmann wrote.

He added, the topic should be a top pick considering it is “one of the most debated topics in the country, and especially so in Florida where a federal judge recently ruled the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.”

According to the SPC website, Klein teaches four American National Government classes at the St. Pete/Gibbs campus. He also teaches an Honors International Relations class.

Both of these classes involve teaching issues where politics are essential. If he is so set in his ways on the issue of same-sex marriage, whose to say his educational curriculum isn’t skewed to meet his, I’m assuming, conservative political agenda?

This is a public school – a community college. It gets state funding. That means keep your brand of politics out of the classroom.

I once had an economics professor who was quite obviously left leaning, but she taught everything, including economic principles with which she disagreed. We even had numerous debates in classes between conservative and liberal students. Not once, not even for a second, did this professor ever silence opinions she obviously thought were bullocks. That’s the way it’s supposed to go.

SPC has not responded to an inquiry regarding its policy on censoring students’ academic work.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.