Our View: Lawsuit over professor email is an overreaction
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 22:10
The Cal State University system warned faculty not to get involved in promoting the passage of Proposition 30 this year, but some professors just can’t keep their voices down.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has filed a lawsuit against Cal State Monterey Bay for a professor’s allegedly sending an email to students, advocating for Prop. 30’s passage. If Prop 30. passes it will raise the sales tax in California as well as the income tax on people making more than $250,000 a year.
The accused, Ernest Stromberg, a professor of humanities and communication at CSUMB, is cited for breaking Government Code section 8314, which makes it illegal for a state employee to use “public resources for a campaign activity.”
We do not believe politics should be mixed with a college classroom, unless it is a political science class of course. Faculty and professors should be encouraging students to get out and vote, but they should not be pushing their own political views at the same time. Even as detrimental as the $250 million trigger cut to the CSU system would be, CSU faculty needs to stay out of this.
It cannot be said that there was not fair warning.
The CSU was quick to alert professors and faculty to not advocate for Prop. 30 to students once the problem started getting out of hand.
The email sent by Stromberg was clearly pro Prop. 30, with statements blatantly urging students to “work together to pass Prop. 30.” The email also entices students by mentioning a reimbursement of $498 for the most recent raise in tuition, which Prop. 30’s passage would guarantee.
Even though Stromberg’s email does break the law, it can be said that by suing CSUMB, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association looks more like a bully than anything. Why don’t you just put some gum in the Stromberg’s hair or a tack on his seat?
With less than two weeks left until we find out Prop. 30’s fate, why do they insist upon dragging this thing out with a lengthy lawsuit that will not be finished until way past the election is over?
At that point, it will no longer matter. Prop. 30 will have either passed or not.
A cease and desist letter is all that should be needed to clear this situation up. Stromberg should apologize in an email and also explain both sides of Prop. 30 so the students who were affected can make their own educated guess.
By getting “sue happy” and attacking a school within the CSU system that is already hurting financially, this would hurt the system even more should this damn proposition not pass.
It really seems like a low blow.
But what can you expect? That’s politics, and no one is going to take the high road in this case.
So congratulations, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association for suing CSUMB. Not only are you against a proposition that would fund education, but you are also trying to take a little bit more from a struggling school system.
Want to take our lunch money too?