FrontPageMagazine | Gregory Gethard | Feb. 27, 2009
On many campuses across the country freedom of speech only extends to people who have politically correct viewpoints. The most recent example occurred on the campus of the Los Angeles City College. Jonathan Lopez, a student in a public speaking class, gave a speech opposing against gay marriage, an opinion shared by many Christians. It’s also shared by most Californians, as Lopez’ remarks came just weeks after California voted to narrow the definition of marriage to be between a man and a woman.
However, Lopez was not allowed to complete his speech. Professor John Matteson interrupted his remarks, labeling him as a “fascist bastard” in the process. After class, Lopez approached Matteson to ask him about his grade. Matteson responded to Lopez by saying, “Why don’t you ask God what your grade is?”
It wasn’t the first time Matteson made such disparaging remarks. Earlier in the semester, before Californian voters determined the fate of Proposition 8, Matteson said that anyone who supported the measure was a “fascist bastard.”
What’s most shocking is that this happened in a public speaking course. Courses such as this should be where students should feel most at home speaking about their viewpoints. It’s absolutely the last place where a professor should interject his opinions on a subject onto the rest of the classroom. But Matteson went beyond expressing his own opinion; he actively abused and punished a student with whom he disagreed. Fascist bastard, indeed.
This incident occurred at a state-run, public college which is part of the Los Angeles Community College District umbrella. The District’s website touts the “diversity” of its student body as one of its strengths, and claims to educate three times as many Latino students and nearly four times as many African-American students as all of the University of California campuses combined.
But diversity means more than just placing the pictures of minority students on a website. It also includes allowing for a free exchange of ideas, which also includes the viewpoints of those who have conservative and/or religious leanings. Too often, those “disagreeable” views are silenced on college campuses. For all its professed admiration of “diversity,” one can only hope that one day Los Angeles City College will embrace the true meaning of the word.
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