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Save Dan

Suspended lecturer should be reinstated

Published: Friday, November 12, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 11:11

The community college administration needs to exonerate lecturer Daniel Petersen. Too often the feud between faculty and administration can be compared to a bad hostage movie. You know the one where the FBI walks in and tells the local police that this is their jurisdiction, and the battle ensues. Petersen's use of profanity was taken out of context. When Timmothy Jahraus complained, the community college should not have ducked, turned tail, and run—they should have stood their ground and supported veteran lecturer Daniel Petersen.

Chancellor Designee Karen C. Lee stated that Petersen's posting of the Timothy Jahraus letter on his website "violates multiple university policies on use of information technology resources, protection of sensitive information, and campus and system ethics codes for faculty." Well, it looks like she found a damn loophole.

All of this policy circles back around to the bigger picture. The community college fears that Petersen violated the Family Education and Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA). They have failed to prove in court that his actions actually violate FERPA.

FERPA was enacted to require educational institutions to provide academic records to students and their guardians. It also stipulates that educational records should be kept confidential. By identifying the posting of the doctor's letter for public scrutiny on a university-maintained website as a violation of FERPA is a gross interpretation of the law. Hell, it's downright abuse of the law.

Daniel Petersen is one of the most engaging lecturers the community college has. His suspension next semester makes it a little bit colder and bleaker for students to return to classes. It looks like the rainy season is going to continue all the way through May.

-From Ke Kalahea's Editoral Board

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12 comments

Anonymous
Sat Jul 16 2011 23:14
I will always respect Daniel Peterson and think of him as a brilliant highly educated man. I took all of the courses he offered because although they may have been rigorous and difficult they were highly rewarding, taught me to think critically, and I always felt a high sense of accomplishment upon getting my final grade. There are endless amounts of information he taught me that I reflect upon when remembering his classes and the knowledge I learned because of Daniel Peterson did indeed make me a better student academically. Freedom of speech is our right and the suspension of Daniel Peterson definitely violates his first amendment rights and academic freedom. The girl that reported Mr.Peterson should have changed classes if she did not agree with what was being said in the philosophy class she signed up for. College is not supposed to be a place that supresses freedom of speech but rather an institution that supports freedom of speech. I can't believe that one of the most brilliant professors I have ever known has been suspended and I do hope that he goes to court and wins... not only to bring justice for himself but also to stop this from ever happening again. It is disheartening to know that the college I attend does not support free thinking and freedom of speech and expression.... especially when those are the principals that this nation was built upon. Daniel Peterson is a veteran who helped to protect our nation and always spoke highly of America during class to his students. He always spoke of getting the best grades and motivated his students to be the best they could be and I just dont understand how a professor of his caliber could be disrespected in such a way, especially over saying a bad word. Philosophy is about thinking critically and Daniel Peterson discussed ideas and events during his lectures that were relevent to his teachings and were meant to get us to think critically about the world.
the word was 'arrr'
Fri Dec 17 2010 06:24
Poor girl? sexist! She's a strong adult woman who can accomplish anything if she put her mind to it!

I'm not afraid of my professors or administrators, if I have a complaint I say it to their faces! but even if she can't complain to the professor's face she should at least have the courage to publicly stand on her convictions. I don't get why people live in fear all the time. And what gives Virtuous One the right to judge me or my convictions, or to suggest that they have the moral high ground because they use 'higher' language by not swearing; fukcing aristocracy! See profanity is useful.

Maybe the father should have raised her to be a strong and independent woman, instead of being a sexist. See how it feels when YOU get accused of immorality for no reason!

Anonymous
Thu Dec 16 2010 21:21
Greetings from the frozen Midwest USA. I saw this story in Inside Higher Ed and was appalled at the immaturity of the student, her parents (yes, her mother was surely involved in this too), but most of all, the immaturity and poor judgment of the administrators there. Those women need to either be fired or at the very least compelled to take some professional training re. faculty and student's rights, etc. I wouldn't let them babysit my cats, let alone manage a college campus.

Take note, the entire country is watching and from back here on the continent the only people who look good in all this is professor Peterson and his students. The rest of the crew present as spoiled, immature twits.

You guys have a *real* problem with the administrators on campus that would do this to Peterson.
Heaven help you all if those chicks are allowed to stay on as 'leaders' of your campus. Welcome to the Big Sister thought and speech police. Also, where the h*ll are the rest of the faculty, i.e, Peterson's peers? Don't tell me the admins have them cowed too? What on earth is going on there in Hilo? I was there in 1975 and back then it was a great place.

Anonymous
Thu Dec 16 2010 13:48
Save Dan!!!
Flyonthewall
Sat Nov 20 2010 17:08
Throwing out one's morals and beliefs huh?! oh so you mean your morals and beliefs...everyone may not share your morals and beliefs. DEAL WITH IT! This is America, not Iran. Just because you may feel uncomfortable doesnt mean everyone has to pamper to your morals and beliefs. Where do you get off deciding what is moral?

And let me get this right? Did a student complain or did a PARENT complain? I hope this does scare off PARENTS from complaining. This is college not high school. Hopefully this whole ordeal will make people think twice about having their parents or even themselves file frivolous complaints about profanity use. Profanity use that was probably taken out of context and not directed towards anyone. The doctor made this a public affair as soon as he sent a letter to Dan Petersen's home. Wanna make this a private matter?? file a formal complaint through the appropriate channels...and have it done by the student.
It looks to me like the paper wrote an editorial...look at any paper across the US and you'll see an editorial by the paper's staff...Duhhhh.
i hope this girl has been traumatized because it seems like she has been protected her whole life. One day daddy isn't gonna be there! I think the family needs to draw a line between the daddy and the daughter (student).
Where do you get off telling those students what good journalism is? Again you are trying to make everyone accommodate YOU. Get over yourself...

VIRTUOUS ONE 808
Sat Nov 20 2010 05:01
sorry about those typos... time to turn in... goodnight everyone..
VIRTUOUS ONE 808
Sat Nov 20 2010 04:59
'Opening ones minds to learn' (as that previous comment stated) does not have to go hand in hand with throwing out ones morals, and belief system. Ppl have a right to talk, and ppl have a right to be offended. Teachers: If you dish it out , you'd better be able to TAKE IT. Also this whole incident will only serve to scare off students who want to report any/all kinds of inappropriate behavior/acts committed by faculty members. Why would a student come forward with a really serious problem and risk a potential LEAK of information that would be blown sky high and wide across campus? Complaint issues are supposed to be private affairs not front page scandals that will only serve to harm the complainant further. Also I guess ppl who work on the paper staff have the right to voice their opinions but I hope that they remember that they are showing a unified front by taking a side, and by inserting yourself and your paper into the equasion you have knowingly/unknowingly (i think it is the latter) drawn a line in the sand in a type of face off. A face off which will inevitably leave the other side (the complainant & more importantly the complainants child=student) feeling abandoned and attacked which yet again would serve to traumatize the poor girl a second time.

What you are doing is smearing the complaint process. You should run an article telling students how to report a problem with faculty, where to go and how to do it. That would be good journalism, you are here to serve the public we are your public. Inform us on the policy and not so much your views... fair & balanced.. that is what it should be.. investigative journalism is ALWAYS neutral... not even an undertone of a opinion should be stated. & if you do want to take a side yo dont do it in the same issue.. because when u read a story on one side of a page and then turn it and find the newspapers viewpoints on the story it takes away from what the reader just read... allow ppl to form their own opionions first...plz mahalo...

Anonymous
Wed Nov 17 2010 22:00
That fact remains that Professor Peterson's 1st amendment rights were violated. We're adults here on campus, if you're not comfortable, transfer out of the class. Easy as that. We're here to open our minds and learn, not reinforce old ideals from childhood.
Anonymous
Wed Nov 17 2010 20:49
That's complete BS! Dan is an amazing instructor and an outstanding man. Timothy Jahraus should put some big girl panties on; cry a river, build a bridge and GET OVER IT! HawCC is losing an exceptional professor.
Flyonthewall
Tue Nov 16 2010 20:53
what was 'anti-organized religion rhetoric' about it? he meant it in the context of what religious fanatics believe. I question the personal conviction of someone like you who can't sit back and actually critically analyze a situation.
Anonymous
Mon Nov 15 2010 06:17
I concor.
Virtuous One 808
Mon Nov 15 2010 05:20
Timmothy Jahraus has a right to privacy. D. Petersen had no right to do what he did. If obscene language and hateful anti-organized religion rhetoric constitute being 'engaging', then I question the IQ level and lack of personal convictions of those who are 'engaged' by him.




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