There are growing complaints that the faculty is using classes for crude advocacy or political diatribes. The most recent such complaint came at Cypress College, where an instructor beat up a student, Braden Ellis, after calling the police a “hero”. The nameless associate professor insisted that policemen were created in the south to track down runaway slaves and pose a threat to them and others. It is particularly ironic that the presentation was about a culture of demolition.
The most striking thing about the following video is that the student appears more balanced and sensible than the professor. He states that he believes some officials deserve to be punished, but that most are good and honorable people – that’s what people like President Joe Biden have said.
The professor’s comment seems not only strikingly moderate, but also imprecise. The professor insists (wrongly) that the police were created to track down runaway slaves. There may be places where the first official law enforcement agencies were created for such a purpose, but apparently most police departments were not created for such a purpose.
The discussion centered on the Nickelodeon show Paw Patrol, which has been criticized for showing the police in a positive light. In the video, a student agrees that the police may not be included as heroes on a children’s show – a view that is clearly endorsed by the professor, who said she would never call the police if she was in trouble, because “my life in their peril is presence … I wouldn’t call anyone. “
This discussion shows why it is increasingly uncomfortable for students to speak freely at our locations. We previously discussed a Gallup poll that found ninety percent of Pomona students said they didn’t feel free to speak openly or freely. It’s an indictment not just against Pomona, but against many of our colleges. This is not a problem for many students, but an ever decreasing percentage of self-identified conservatives. A recent poll shows that the already small number of Conservative and Republican students has been reduced by about half. The Crimson poll included over 76 percent of the Harvard College class by 2024 and found that the class had 72.4 percent who identified themselves as either “very liberal” or “somewhat liberal”. Only 7.4 percent identify themselves as “very conservative” or “somewhat conservative”. Another Harvard study showed that 35 percent of Conservatives felt they could share their views on campus.
The shame is that the professor could make this discussion much thought-provoking by discussing the police’s opposite view not as a fact but as an alternate perspective. Many fear the police and we should be able to discuss the source of these feelings. Conversely, Ellis made a valid argument that abuses by some officials should not lead to blanket convictions of the entire profession. However, the professor did not want to discuss the student so much as if her view were based on unassailable facts.
Cypress College issued the following statement:
Cypress College takes great pride in creating a learning environment for students where ideas and opinions are shared as an integral part of the educational journey.
Our church fully embraces this culture. Students often defend each other’s right to express themselves freely, even when opinions differ.
Efforts to suppress free and respectful expression on our campus will not be tolerated.
The associate professor will be on leave for the duration of her assignment at Cypress College. This was her first class at Cypress and she had previously announced her intention not to return in the fall.
We are reviewing the full record of the exchange between the associate professor and the student and will be covering it in full in the coming days.