Prof. in center of first amendment issue

Ward L. Churchill, a University of Colorado professor and former ethnic studies chairman, is under scrutiny for controversial comments he made in a paper that he backed up in a speech Tuesday.

During the speech, Churchill spoke in admiration of the “combat teams” who hijacked the planes and killed nearly 3,000 men, women and children in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks at the World Trade Center in New York. He also attacked America for economic sanctions against Iraq that Churchill said killed 500,000 Iraqi children.

According to a story in the Los Angles Times, Churchill also said more 9/11s would be necessary for this country to behave by the rule of law.

The First Amendment gives people the right of free speech.

So,when it comes to free speech in the classroom, are there restrictions on what a professor can and cannot say?

Willie L. Butler, a six-year political science professor acknowledged Churchill’s comments.

“There’s no such thing as free speech in America. You all (students) can be really cruel, especially when you don’t get the grade you want,” Butler said. “So I stick to the agenda and the curriculum. Professors try to be versatile and cover what the students want to talk about, when students show interest (and) petition me to cover issues, I do.”

William Proctor, a political science professor, said he believes one cannot approach issues like 9/11 with insensitivity.

“People have been affected and experienced a loss, you have to be sensitive,” Proctor said.

Students in Proctor’s class are very involved in his discussions.

“I talk to my students, my job is to provoke thought into the minds of the grandchildren of former slaves by any means necessary,” Proctor said. “When my body leaves, they continue.”

Valerie Walker, a senior education student in Proctor’s state and local government class said, “We’re able to voice our opinion a little more (in college)”

Butler said there is a war going on, a new kind of war. This new kind of war includes the job market, a topic many students are concerned with.

“I had a job that was outsourced, were worse off than ever,” said Tamy Ferrell, a criminal Justice student.

Others are taking notice of what is going on in the American job market.

“People are scared to lose their job, they work twice as hard to keep their job,” Butler said. “People don’t control the government, major corporations do.”

Some students expressed their views about the current situation America is in, an issue often talked about in Proctor’s class.

If something does not happen quick “America is bound to fall” said RaShaun Kelly, a history major.

Butler also shared his views on the war in Iraq.

“We have been living a lie, we’re in Iraq for oil and military supremacy, their not concerned at all about the Iraqi people” Butler said

Some student’s do not believe black people can ever unite and come together to create change.

“Were destroying ourselves,” Walker said. “We’re in bad shape, we can’t seem to stick together” said Ferrell

Bulter said he believes America is not the dominant nation in the world, anymore.

“The Republic of China owns America quite as it’s kept, everything you get says made in China” Butler said.

Butler also said on FAMU’s campus the professors teaching advanced mathematical classes like physical science, calculus, and engineering courses aren’t native born Americans.

Kelly offered a philosophy for a brighter future. He said the only way people can effect change is to ” be in decision making roles in major corporations, don’t allow yourself to be pimped by major corporations.”

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