Monday, March 10, 2003

P.C. runs amok at Miami U.



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Since he was canned as the only conservative columnist for the Miami Student, Aaron Sanders is getting more ink than the basketball team.

The story of how he was fired for a column that criticized an obscene movie in a French class was picked up by Fox News.

His op-ed ran in the Washington Times. He was interviewed for articles in various newspapers and the Student Press Law Center.

And the Miami faculty members who got him fired have tiresomely exercised their First Amendment rights to trash him.

Who's `irresponsible'?

Jonathan Strauss, chairman of the French and Italian department, whose protests caused Sanders to be fired, used his department Web site for a "Response to the Cincinnati Enquirer" (my columns about Sanders).

Strauss called Sanders "irresponsible'' and defended the movie. But he missed the point by a French mile. The issue is not the artistic merit of a movie showing one man urinating on another. The issue was how Sanders was fired for objecting to it in an opinion column.

"I don't know the reasoning behind the decision to fire the columnist and cannot, therefore, say that I approve or disapprove,'' Strauss wrote. What a cop out. This is the same guy who adamantly defended freedom of expression - for faculty.

"The French department is now using their university Web page to attack a student (me),'' Sanders said. "I never thought my tuition money would pay for that.''

Journalism teacher and Miami Student adviser Cheryl Heckler, who told the student editor to fire Sanders, wrote a column attacking Sanders in the Miami Report.

Economics Professor Rich Hart says Heckler chose the faculty-only Report so she can slam Sanders and he can't reply.

"It seems to me that she is engaging in the very `irresponsible journalism' she claims as the reason for terminating Sanders,'' Hart said.

I asked Heckler about it. She told me to "get a life.''

Student paper MIA

Jill Inkrott, the former student editor who fired Sanders, e-mailed the Miami Student staff - crudely trashing Sanders and calling him "slimy.''

The administration refused to get involved - but attacked Sanders and defended French movies. Even the adults at Miami need adult supervision.

"The faculty and administrators aware of Sanders' plight are cowards,'' wrote Brandon Turner in the Miami Review, an alternative campus paper.

Heckler and Strauss should be put on double-secret probation, at least. Where's Dean Wormer of Animal House when you need him?

And where's the Miami Student?

"Since Sanders' firing, the Miami Student has not published a single story or letter to the editor on the Sanders controversy (and letters have been written!),'' Hart said. "Indeed, students reading The Miami Student would not even know that Sanders was fired.''

I think that's the way the faculty wants it. Free speech for French movies? Oui, oui. But free speech for politically incorrect students? Non!

E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call 768-8301.




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