College Professor: Swearing Cost Me My Job

He resigns after complaints led to discipline
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2010 6:49 PM CST
File photo illustration   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A small fight over academic freedom and blue language in Hawaii: A college philosophy professor who used phrases like "shit happens" for discussion in class has resigned after a student complained to her father, who in turn complained to school administrators at Hawaii Community College, who then urged the professor to stop swearing, reports Inside Higher Ed.

Not only did Daniel Petersen refuse, he posted the letter from the father—"Instructors, people in an authority position, with influence and power over their students, have no right to use profanity in the classroom," it reads—on a class website for further discussion. That really soured his relations with administrators, and he quit after he says they essentially ordered him to change his teaching style after 21 years. He's working on a lawsuit while former students are working on a "Save Dan" campaign. The school can't comment because it's a personnel issue.

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