After being barred from the classroom during the past three months
while the independent investigation occurred, the Costa Mesa resident
will resume teaching when the spring semester begins Jan. 28.
The Muslim students who lodged the complaints against Hearlson have
maintained their silence since the announcement. Before the results were
disclosed, they agreed not to comment on the case, said student C.C.
Abdel Muti, who did not provide a reason for the decision.
Meanwhile, the teachers union is planning to file three grievances
against the administration, including one that charges Hearlson's
academic freedom was violated.
Already, some teachers say they are worried about the future of
academic freedom on campus.
Math teacher Eduardo Arismendi-Pardi said he is concerned about rights
he has come to take for granted after moving from Venezuela to the United
"I pride myself on freedom of speech and the fact that I'mentitled to
due process and fair and equitable treatment -- those are the pillars of
democracy," Arismendi-Pardi said. "But [the situation] raises concern
that maybe I should document what I say to protect myself."
Arismendi-Pardi said he may tape record classes in addition to keeping
a journal to document his lectures.
English teacher Jay Zimmerman said he worries that the Hearlson case
has created a cloud of paranoia that hovers over the campus.
"I'm afraid that it intimidates new teachers," Zimmerman said. "How do
we say to them that this is a campus that respects due process?"
Students, meanwhile, say they don't want their professors to feel as
if they have to censor themselves.
"There obviously are some restraints that [teachers] have to exercise
to some degree, but as a political science professor, you're supposed to
question what's going on in the world," student Jessica Fraser said.
Student Shelly Ebias said the burden of responsibility should be on
the students to discern what is fact and what is opinion.
"Teachers will state their opinions, and the students should realize
it is only their opinion," Ebias said. "They are free to state that in
any way, shape or form."
* Deirdre Newman covers education. She may be reached at (949)
574-4221 or by e-mail at o7 firstname.lastname@example.org .