Professor who sent controversial links via e-mails will keep his job
June 23, 2007
The Arizona Republic
A Maricopa Community Colleges math professor who was threatened with termination for sending college employees an e-mail linking to a conservative Web site will keep his job.
College officials Friday announced Friday a settlement with Walter Kehowski, who made national headlines this year after he was placed on administrative leave for sending the e-mail linking to politician Pat Buchanan’s Web site and a transcript of a Thanksgiving proclamation by George Washington.
Under the terms of the agreement, the college will allow Kehowski to return to the classroom in the fall. His use of the district e-mail system will be restricted.
The two sides agreed not to talk about the settlement, said a statement from district spokeswoman Chris Chesrown.
Kehowski, who has sent controversial e-mails in the past, was placed on paid leave from his job at Glendale Community College after five employees complained that the November e-mail expressed anti-immigration sentiments.
Kehowski was suspended without pay for five days in September 2005 for sending out similar messages.
In 2003, Kehowski e-mailed employees several Internet links that contained statements about Hispanics.
Titles on the Web sites included, “Mexicans Think U.S. Belongs to Them!” and “Mexican Double Standard.”
As a result, a Latino civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit against the colleges over what they described as Kehowski’s racially charged messages being allowed to go out unchecked on the college computer system.
College administrators said at the time that Kehowski had not violated any school rules and that his right to use the computer was protected.
Chancellor Rufus Glasper notified Kehowski in March that he was going to recommend his dismissal to the college governing board.
He said the e-mail links to Pat Buchanan’s site and the 1789 Thanksgiving proclamation violated the district’s electronic communications policy, which prohibits using district e-mail for private or personal matters.
Glasper's letter said Kehowski continued to disregard district policies despite previous sanctions and directives.
A national free-speech group, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which took up Kehowski’s cause, demanded that the college exonerate him.
“This case would be almost funny if it wasn’t having such serious implications for the professor’s life and livelihood,” foundation president Greg Lukianoff said in an earlier interview.
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