When we think of “Department Politics” we often dwell on who got the better office or their preferred teaching schedule. However, this time of year the term can take on a different meaning in relation to national political issues. Recent flare ups at Liberty University and Georgetown have brought this issue into focus. Chico State is a public institution so our free speech rights are more robust than they would be at private colleges and universities. However, not all questions are legal ones. How do you feel about discussions of Presidential proposals for health care in a nursing class? About your officemate with the Marco Rubio bumper sticker on the door? Or your colleague who also volunteers for Bernie Sanders going door-to-door?
A situation at St. John’s earlier this month led to a threat of violence over social media. This was not the fault of the faculty member, but it does highlight the volatility and passion that are sometimes a part of election season. As faculty we need to recognize that the activities of our students and our peers are constitutionally protected. We also need to realize that we have a responsibility to create learning environments for all of our students, not just the ones we agree with.