Professor Brozovich meeting with administration
College professors are always challenging their students to think critically. By using examples from their own experience along with an approved lesson plan, the ideas learned can influence a student for the rest of their lives. But can a professor go too far?
Fox 40 news, along with various TV and radio news outlets, questioned if one American River College art professor did just that on December 12, 2012.
In an alleged recording of one of professor Tom Brozovich’s lectures, provided by a student to Fox 40, the professor can be heard making comments ranging from September 11 conspiracies to anti-veteran rants.
Due to these comments, a number of ARC students, including Shilo David Helman, walked out of Brozovich’s class.
“Members of the Administration and representatives of the union and I will be meeting to thoroughly discuss the matter,” Brozovich said in an email to The Current, when contacted regarding the incident. “I think it best that I not make any public statements until then.”
A professor’s first amendment right does not end when they enter a classroom, neither does a student’s. It is the responsibility of the professor to challenge a student to think for themselves, but when a professor’s comments offend a student’s beliefs, it can finish in unforeseen consequences.
“The collective bargaining contract between the Los Rios Community College District and the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers recognizes that ‘academic freedom is essential for the fulfillment of the educational mission of the District and for the ability of faculty members to perform their professional duties,'” Dr. David Viar, ARC Campus President, said in an email to The Current regarding a professor’s first amendment rights.
“With that recognition, the contract includes a provision that protects faculty members from ‘censorship, restraint, or dismissal in their ability to study, investigate, present, interpret, or discuss the relevant facts and ideas within the assigned curriculum and outline.'”
If students have concerns with professors on campus, there are resources available to them. The names and numbers of the appropriate people to contact are listed on the ARC website.
One such resource is Jeffrey Stephenson, ARC’s student grievance officer. Information about the grievance process can be found in the “Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook,” also on the ARC website.
The website states that “as an Institution of Higher Education, American River College is committed to the free exchange of ideas, respect for the contributions and dignity of every person, and to a learning environment in which academic achievement and personal responsibility is fostered and celebrated.”