Tags: Pat | Buchanan | Terms | Professor | Firing | 'Orwellian'

Pat Buchanan Terms Professor Firing 'Orwellian'

Thursday, 07 June 2007 12:00 AM

A tenured professor who is set to be fired for citing a George Washington speech mentioning God hopes to be reinstated after a faculty board concludes its hearing on his appeal on Wednesday.

Mathematics professor Dr. Walter Kehowski e-mailed a link to the speech, which was posted on the Web site of conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan, to colleagues.

Buchanan tells NewsMax he is "astonished" that the professor could lose his job for circulating a speech by the "father of our country." "This is '1984,'" Buchanan says. "This is Orwellian."

Kehowski has been placed on forced administrative leave, and the school's chief has recommended his termination.

Kehowski's problems began when, just before last Thanksgiving, he e-mailed colleagues a Web link to George Washington's Thanksgiving Day proclamation of 1789.

Washington's brief proclamation contains numerous references to God: "Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protections and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many single favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the Service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or will be . . . ."

Kehowski sent the e-mail via a list established by the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) for announcements.

Within a few weeks of the e-mail's distribution, the District received complaints from five employees that the message was "hostile" and "derogatory." They also complained that the link was posted on Buchanan's Web site.

The Maricopa district says Kehowski violated a policy forbidding unsolicited e-mails perceived as harassment.

Dr. Velvie Green, the president of Arizona's Glendale Community College, is defending her recommendation to fire Kehowski because his e-mail citing the speech violated certain policies.

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), however, MCCCD employees commonly use the distribution list to distribute unsolicited information. FIRE has sent a letter protesting Kehowski's punishment to college district Chancellor Dr. Rufus Glasper.

The faculty board is scheduled to conclude its hearing Wednesday. The final decision on Kehowski's fate is expected to be made by the college district Governing Board, based upon the recommendation of the faculty board and the input of Glasper.

Glasper declines comment to NewsMax, according to his spokesperson, Chris Chesrown.

"Since Dr. Glasper must remain objective as a part of the due process proceedings that Dr. Kehowski has requested, it would not be appropriate for him to participate in an interview at this time," Chesrown says.

Green maintains that "the statements that have come out in the media thus far are not complete or accurate." She declined NewsMax's request for further comment.

Kehowski also has not responded to several requests for an interview. Buchanan, however, is speaking out.

"(Kehowski)) is being singled out for his patriotic views and linking to my Web site," he tells NewsMax, "That's disgraceful in this day and age. . . . It's preposterous that he'd be hauled up before a tribunal like this."

"Academia has become an island of totalitarianism in a sea of freedom," Buchanan adds. "These people went to my Web site and had a nervous breakdown."

Buchanan calls the district's action "an embarrassment." He predicts that the case will become a huge national controversy should Kehowski be fired.

Greg Lukianoff of FIRE tells NewsMax that Kehowski is being persecuted simply because he has "a long-term pattern for being a conservative gadfly."

"This situation is an embarrassment to (the Maricopa County district)," Lukianoff says, "and would be laughable if a professor's most basic rights and very livelihood weren't on the line."

It's not the first time Kehowski has provoked activists.

In 2004, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund filed suit against the school district alleging that a "hostile work environment" was created when Kehowski posted links to pages highly critical of current immigration policy.

The links were reportedly posted on a Web site featuring Kehowski that is maintained by the school.

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A tenured professor who is set to be fired for citing a George Washington speech mentioning God hopes to be reinstated after a faculty board concludes its hearing on his appeal on Wednesday. Mathematics professor Dr. Walter Kehowski e-mailed a link to the speech, which was...
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Thursday, 07 June 2007 12:00 AM
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