Sunday, November 20, 2005

A community college in northwestern New Jersey is investigating a part-time instructor who vowed to intimidate students who host conservative speakers at the school. The teacher also called for U.S. soldiers in Iraq to kill their superiors.

At issue is a personal e-mail written by John Daly, adjunct instructor in writing and developmental English at Warren County Community College in Washington, N.J. He sent it to a student after she asked him and other faculty members to announce that a veteran of the war in Iraq would appear at the school.

The student who made the request, freshman Rebecca Beach, is a member of Young America’s Foundation, which describes itself as the principal campus outreach group for the conservative movement. The foundation sponsored the appearance by Army Lt. Col. Scott Rutter, a Medal of Honor recipient, at the college Thursday night.

Miss Beach said she was “very shocked” at the message she received from Mr. Daly. He told her he would ask students and others to boycott the event. He also charged that signs her group had posted about Col. Rutter’s appearance “looked like fascist propaganda.”

Mr. Daly also charged that “capitalism has killed many more people” than communism and that the “poor and working-class people” are recruited to “fight and die for Exxon and other corporations.”

“I will continue to expose your right-wing, anti-people politics until groups like yours won’t dare show their face on college campuses,” Mr. Daly wrote.

He added: “Real freedom will come when [U.S.] soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors.”

Miss Beach said she was appalled by the e-mail.

“His message was very hostile. I don’t think his hostility and harassment are protected by the First Amendment.”

On Friday, the local newspaper the Express-Times reported that Mr. Daly did not believe the college could investigate an e-mail he sent as a private communication.

Once again, he stood by his statements on the war in Iraq.

According to the newspaper, Mr. Daly said: “A lot of people are really upset about this main comment, my belief, and the belief of others, and the historical evidence that the war will end when soldiers turn around and fight for social justice here at home.”

College officials said they are treating the matter “as a personnel issue and will be addressing it according to the policies and procedures of the college.”

“The viewpoints of this professor in no way depict the views of Warren County Community College, its administration or the Board of Trustees. The college does, however, support the Constitution, the First Amendment and the right to free speech,” WCCC said.

The public institution pointed out that the instructor’s message “was sent as a one-to-one” correspondence.

If it were Mr. Daly’s intent to limit turnout at the event, he failed.

“There were about 60 people there. It was very successful. [Col. Rutter] was very well-received,” said Laura Domanico, college spokeswoman.

Miss Beach put the attendance figure higher. “We set up 75 chairs, but needed more.”

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