Classes reportedly cancelled following 'Paw Patrol' police dispute
Cypress College in California is facing backlash for an incident in which an adjunct professor berated a student who argued that it is acceptable to show police characters in children's shows.
The instructor has been placed on leave, but the faculty union issued an open letter to the college saying that it did not do enough to protect the instructor.
A local faculty union in southern California is speaking out against Cypress College after it placed an instructor on leave for antagonizing a student in class over his pro-police views. In order to emphasize the severity of the situation, the union noted that classes were cancelled following the incident.
Campus Reform reported on the original incident, which began when a student gave a presentation on cancel culture which mentioned the attempted cancellation of Paw Patrol, a children's show whose main character is a dog police officer.
The instructor refocused the communications class on the student's opinion of the police, launching into a rant captured on video. She added, "A lot of police officers have committed atrocious crimes and have gotten away with it and have never been convicted of any of it."
The student defended his position calmly, saying, "This is what I believe…This is not popular to say, but I do support our police. And we have bad people, and the people that do bad things should be brought to justice, I agree with that.”
The United Faculty of Orange County Community College District issued a statement alleging that the college did not go far enough to protect faculty from harassment in the wake of the viral video.
Cypress College's public statement reads:
"Cypress College takes great pride in fostering a learning environment for students where ideas and opinions are exchanged as a vital piece of the educational journey. Our community fully embraces this culture; students often defend one another’s rights to express themselves freely, even when opinions differ. Any efforts to suppress free and respectful expression on our campus will not be tolerated."
The faculty union writes that professors are "fearful of retaliation from either the District or other individuals," and it claims that professors have been subjected to harassment and doxxing due to their affiliation with the college. The letter alleges that the threats have been so severe that Cypress College cancelled classes on the morning of May 3 due to safety concerns. The union writes:
"This harm, undoubtedly, has a disproportionate impact on BIPOC faculty and other minorities, as they are more likely to become targets of White supremacist organizations, news outlets, and individuals. The failure to issue a clear and strong statement of support for faculty under the existing circumstances is a failure to be anti-racist. It is a failure to protect our most vulnerable faculty."
Following the incident, the Cypress College Academic Senate held an "Academic Freedom Discussion" on May 6.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up for the professor who antagonized the student, raising $4,460 so far.
Cypress College did not respond to a request for comment on the union letter or about the safety concerns alleged by the union.
The student who unintentionally ignited this controversy is standing firm in his opposition to cancel culture: He told Campus Reform earlier that conservatives should stand up for themselves with "gentleness and respect. Don't do it the way they do it," he said, "because nothing makes a Democrat or a liberal more mad than when you give them facts....and you don't raise your voice."
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito