Friday, July 11, 2003
A political science instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College is being investigated by the Secret Service for telling his students to compose an e- mail to an elected official that included the words "kill the president, kill the president," a school administrator said Wednesday.See, it was "an experiential exercise that would instill a sense of fear." It scared Mr. Ballou from explaining his assignment.
Michael Ballou, a part-time lecturer who teaches an "Introduction to U.S. Government" course at the college's Petaluma campus, intended the assignment to be an "experiential exercise that would instill a sense of fear so they would have a better sense of why more people don't participate in the political process," said Doug Garrison, the vice president and executive dean of the Petaluma campus.
However, it "clearly is a violation of our board policies," said Garrison, who learned of the incident on Monday from campus police officials and immediately summoned Ballou to his office for an explanation. He said Ballou was continuing to teach his classes while the matter was under investigation by the Secret Service.
Ballou did not respond to requests for an interview.
"Whether the intention was there or not, he created an environment where he was jeopardizing students," Garrison said.Note that there's no discussion of the silliness of the message, or its slant. Were it not for the illegality of making lethal threats against the president, would Santa Rosa JC's administration even taken notice?