Friday, November 19, 2004

Charlotte Observer | Teacher shows 'Fahrenheit 9/11', gets rebuked

Charlotte Observer | 11/18/2004 | Teacher shows 'Fahrenheit 9/11', gets rebuked SALISBURY - The week before the Nov. 2 election, administrators pulled instructor Davis March out of his class at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College while he was showing the Michael Moore film "Fahrenheit 9/11."

College officials said showing the film contradicted two memos reminding staff members of the school's policy to remain nonpartisan during the heated election season.

But the instructor said the administration's actions are restricting freedom of thought. And a spokesman for a national professors' group called the move an affront to faculty and students and a threat to academic freedom.

March, who has taught at the college for more than 20 years, was suspended with pay for four days and was back in the classroom Nov. 2. He said he has a responsibility to present controversial material to get his students to think and take positions.

"I never campaigned for or pitched anyone's agenda in the classroom," said March, 54, who teaches English argument-based research, English composition, and introductory and advanced film classes.

Before he returned from the suspension, March agreed not to show the film again. But he said he now fears an overall "chilling effect" on freedom of thought in the classroom.

"It's not about Moore's movie anymore," he said this week.


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