November 16, 2016
An article was recently posted online claiming a Converse student was ejected from class after expressing a political viewpoint in opposition to her faculty member. The faculty member and student involved have asked Converse to convey that this claim is untrue and to clarify the situation. The student was not removed from class. There was a discussion in the class regarding the outcome of the election in which the faculty member and the student disagreed. The student was given the opportunity to leave class and she chose to do so. Both parties have resolved the situation to their full satisfaction, and the professor has apologized to the student as well as to the other members of the class.
Converse College strongly supports civil discussion of different perspectives among all of its community members. In any case where we discover that this principle has been violated, Converse has and will continue to take appropriate action. In an address to the full faculty and staff this week, President Newkirk reiterated the College’s policy on academic freedom and added, “I urge you to be careful about stating your personal political views in the classroom and potentially creating an environment where the students believe that there is only one right opinion, or only one right opinion on our campus or in your class. We must be open to other points of view and allow students to explore these issues in the public discourse.”