The Human Chord

For Dr. Chopra sorry seems to be the hardest word

By Albert H. Fulcher

 Published: Thursday, February 25, 2010

A t any given time, on any day you can hear the loud noise of Southwestern’s life throughout the campus. Anything can be heard from mariachi to hard rock playing outside of the Student Center to Mayan Hall as students, staff and faculty celebrate different cultures, hold job fairs, stress relief days, root beer chugs and the diverse variety of activity in which we can all participate in and grow. It is part of the higher educational experience, a vital part. These are just some of the things that bring us together as a community.

P erhaps someone out there can answer this question. When the college is visited by VIPs such as Congressman Bob Filner, ACLU and FIRE representatives, Governing Board Member Nick Aguilar and experts in collegiate education to support free speech on our campus why does the administration refuse to provide a microphone? Administration was more than willing to “use” more than ample campus police. Lucky ones might have spotted an administrator or two peering from the outskirts. However, they did not nor do they serve the voice of this, their community.

O n the day of SWC’s infamous protest when the “Faculty Four” were banned from campus and put under investigation for “inciting the students to leave the free speech area,” our community was rocketed from those too afraid to speak to a mighty force put into motion. Its path is moving quickly, straight to the top of this college’s elected and hired leaders. Poor excuses, intimidation and apathy towards the community and welfare of this college are tolerated no more.

L ooking at an article from Nov. 20, 2009 Superintendent Raj K. Chopra was quoted in a San Diego Union-Tribune article saying “then there was a faculty member who went on the microphone and said they should march with the students and incited them.” This is simply not the truth and is an incomprehensible statement from someone who did not even attend or see the event and then immediately left for an extended vacation in India.

O n Oct. 22, 2009 every aspect of the demonstration, march and conflict was covered by the majority of The Sun’s staff. Writers, photographers, editors and our advisor watched the event unfold. Armed with tape recorders, pens and pads, cameras and multiple sets of ears and eyes, journalists covered every aspect of the rally and the following events and saw no evidence that any of the accused created, began or participated in any such actions. It was a few very excited, motivated and fed up students who began the march on their own accord. Just a few voices in the crowd grew into the voice of many.

G iving an unbiased look at all of the evidence, eyewitness interviews, participants, photographs and SWC’s investigation in this matter the story is quite the opposite. These faculty members did their jobs by placing themselves between the students and the campus police. Taking charge in their roles as leaders on our campus, they aided in diffusing the marching protest from becoming an incident. Instead of letters of excellence, they have permanent letters of reprimand in their personnel files.

Y ellow t-shirts have quickly replaced the “scarlet letters” and with the current actions of the administration, these victims of this witch-hunt have become free speech martyrs. Simply said, this is just wrong. Southwestern’s community has every right to speak freely and loudly about their concerns about it’s administration and governments’ interference with our education and livelihoods. It has a voice to be heard, whether it be by shouting, assembling, protesting and marching. A voice that is much larger than the free speech patio or the sidewalks on the edge of campus, and has already spread through every blade of grass, into the classes and offices of this campus. It is amazing what power a sincere apology can have. Try it.

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