LCC Reviews Canceled Class Circumstances
December 7, 2010
By Jeff Skrzypek
EUGENE, Ore. -- has released more details regarding its decision to cancel a class called "What is Islam".
LCC says regardless of the teacher's credentials, given the nature of the what happened recently at bomb scare in Portland and the mosque fire in Corvallis, the purpose of the class needed to be reviewed.
A few days ago, Barry Sommer was signed up to teach the non-credit class at LCC.
The announcement, though, sparked an outcry from a Muslim civil rights group.
The group denounced the class because of the teacher's past and what they called his well-known, anti-Muslim views.
LCC then canceled the course and said there would be a "careful review" before moving forward with it.
LCC President Mary Spilde said as much in a phone conversation Tuesday.
"Well, we are doing a process review, but once it came to our attention, and given the recent events, we thought the better thing to do was to step back and be more thoughtful," Spilde said.
Spilde says no matter what the teacher's background is or the response from the Islamic civil rights group, the primary reason for canceling the class is to explore how to handle the subject in a responsible and sensitive manner.
The way to have avoided all this would have been to say "We at LCC provide space for all voices and opinions, regardless of whether we agree or not. The basis of free speech is to vigorously uphold, even moreso, speech which some consider inappropriate. No one person or group shall stifle the expression of free speech, and we at LCC will not bend to any pressure from any quarter which takes away a teachers right to a free and open classroom. LCC is committed to the constitution and the rights of all, students and the general public, and thus will support Mr. Sommer and his right to speak, although we do not agree with his personal views or opinions."
Does the constitution provide for free speech or not? Does LCC hold sacrosanct the constitution or not?