December 13, 2001
Deirdre Newman OCC CAMPUS -- Now that a professor here has been cleared of wrongdoing by the administration after being accused of harassing Muslim students, some professors and students say they are concerned that officials' knee-jerk reaction has chilled the climate of academic freedom on campus. Hearlson, 57, was exonerated Tuesday night when administrators made public a report showing that the main allegations against Hearlson were unsubstantiated.
March 15, 2002
Deirdre Newman OCC CAMPUS -- Two professors will share the honor of Faculty Member of the Year at the college. Neither is the professor nominated in honor of academic freedom. Mathematics professor Valerie Hayward and Fine Arts professor Karen Mortillaro split the vote of their fellow faculty members Wednesday night. "It's a great honor and you feel so pleased that your faculty members think so highly of you," Hayward said. Not selected was political science professor Ken Hearlson, whose nomination was an attempt to continue the conversation of academic freedom that started last semester when he was accused of harassing Muslim students.
February 17, 2002
Deirdre Newman OCC CAMPUS -- Some professors at the college are taking issue with language the Coastline Community College District is proposing regarding academic freedom, calling it vague and a threat to their constitutional right to freedom of speech. The topic is a touchy one in the wake of the administration's handling of political science professor Kenneth Hearlson after he was charged with harassing Muslim students during one of his lectures.
March 2, 2002
Deirdre Newman OCC CAMPUS -- Political science professor Kenneth Hearlson continues to be a lightning rod for the debate over academic freedom, with his nomination this week for Faculty Member of the Year now polarizing the campus. Hearlson was nominated by history professor Susan Smith, who said the way Hearlson was treated by the administration when he was accused of harassing a group of Muslim students opened an important conversation on the issue of academic freedom.
April 20, 2002
Deirdre Newman NEWPORT BEACH -- Ken Hearlson, a political science professor at OCC, brought his conservative views and torch for academic freedom to a gathering of Republican women in Newport Beach on Friday. The Newport Harbor Republican Women invited Hearlson to speak at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club to champion the freedom of speech rights of conservatives, said Sally DeBrun, program chairwoman. Hearlson mainly focused on his fundamental belief that conservatives should be entitled to the same degree of academic freedom as liberals.
February 3, 2002
This is regarding the Bell Curve -- "A lost chance to debate academic freedom" (Dec. 27). I've been a professor of speech-communication at Orange Coast College for 25 years and am the immediate past president of the Academic Senate. I also coached our speech and debate team to its first national championships, so I'm not unfamiliar with issues of argument in an educational setting. During the days of the Vietnam War, which Bell mentioned in the context of his teaching at UC Irvine, I was organizing the local activities of Sam Brown's Vietnam Moratorium during my undergraduate days at the University of Redlands.
December 27, 2001
I have followed the suspension and recent reinstatement of Orange Coast College professor Kenneth Hearlson with special interest because of my own teaching background. Several things strike me about this affair, which was drawn out much too long. First, it was mishandled by the administration, which should have included the department faculty in an immediate hearing and thus avoided the charges of abuse of power when Hearlson was suspended. Second, the academic freedom question was a no-brainer from the beginning, and allowing it to become an issue alienated groups that might have been sympathetic to the administration on other grounds.
March 6, 2002
Deirdre Newman OCC CAMPUS -- After six years of adding faculty and establishing new positions, Orange Coast College President Margaret Gratton will retire at the end of the school year. The Laguna Beach resident said she is leaving to pursue personal interests and other professional goals. The district's board of trustees will soon start the search for her successor. "I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at Orange Coast College. I've never loved an institution like I love OCC. I won't forget this place or its people," Gratton said in a press release.
January 22, 2002
OCC teachers must continue classroom debate Regarding Orange Coast College instructor Ken Hearlson's discriminatory remarks against his Muslim students in class Sept. 18, Joseph Bell (The Bell Curve -- "A lost chance to debate academic freedom," Dec. 27) gets close to the main issue when he says that for a college instructor, "the line between provocation and bullying is amorphous." However, Bell falls short when he says it is "the ultimate responsibility of the teacher to decide if he is crossing that line."
March 10, 2002
If you haven't taken much notice of the Orange Coast College Faculty of the Year award before, don't feel too badly. Few others have either. This year it's a different story, however, for among the nominees is political science professor Ken Hearlson, who certainly is now the most famous OCC teacher given last fall's controversy that swirled around him after Muslim students in one of his classes accused him of verbally attacking them. Hearlson, who was removed from the classroom during an investigation into the accusations, was cleared of the charges and is back teaching.