Thursday, September 14, 2006

So what would be the right punishment? 

A professor writes an exam question that appears to at least one student to have a racist connotation. The professor, chagrined, apologizes; the university, wishing to perhaps reinforce the lesson learned, wishes to dock the professor one week's pay. A campus free speech organization says that's too much: the professor should get the "benefit of the doubt", but that's a plea for mercy, not an argument for individual rights.
BCC�s decision to suspend Ratener for one week without pay is extreme and unfair, especially since BCC has both already publicly shamed Ratener and acknowledged that any offense caused by the question was unintentional.
I don't know. The professor admits he picked the name because he found it "fascinating" and that race and politics had nothing to do with the choice. Given that "Condoleezza" throws a "watermelon" from the "Federal Building", I am a little taxed to believe he didn't think the implication that the thrower is Condoleezza Rice would be obvious to students. Sorry, but the professor is a bit foolish here. So, can a university dock someone a week's pay for being foolish? I'm not as willing as FIRE to say foolishness shouldn't have a price, even when it's done by someone who's worked 26 years in a university.