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.