Skip to comments.Term paper about 'God' earns student failing grade
Posted on 06/28/2005 7:23:53 AM PDT by zlala
Term paper about 'God' earns student failing grade 'He told me you might as well write about the Easter Bunny. He wanted to censor the word God.'
VICTORVILLE For using the "G" word 41 times in a term paper, Bethany Hauf was given an "F" by her Victor Valley Community College instructor.
Hauf's teacher approved her term paper topic Religion and its Place within the Government on one condition: Don't use the word God. Instead of complying with VVCC adjunct instructor Michael Shefchik's condition Hauf wrote a 10-page report for her English 101 class entitled "In God We Trust."
"He said it would offend others in class," Hauf, a 34-year-old mother of four, said. "I didn't realize God was taboo."
Hauf has received legal assistance from the American Center for Law and Justice. The ACLJ is a conservative Christian legal foundation founded by Dr. M.G. "Pat" Robertson, who is also the founder, chairman and face of the Christian Broadcasting Network.
"I don't loose my First Amendment rights when I walk into that college," Hauf said. She is demanding an apology from the teacher and that the paper be re-graded.
The college says the issue over Hauf's paper, written during the spring semester, has been satisfactorily resolved. "We settled this matter during the course of this class," said Judy Solis, chair of VVC's English department. "She was treated fairly and she knew what the options were."
Shefchik could not be reached for this report.
Hauf took her concerns about not being able to use "God" in her report to her teacher, then to the department chair. During a joint meeting between all three the options were laid out: Hand in the report with the "G" word or revise, edit or re-write the paper, Solis said.
"She continued to write her paper," Solis said. "She knew what the consequences were."
Hauf acknowledges she knew her teacher's condition for writing the paper, but argued it would be impossible to write about the affect of Christianity on the development of the United States without using the word God. "He told me you might as well write about the Easter Bunny," Hauf said. "He wanted to censor the word God."
Hauf first approached her teacher about writing her paper in an April 12 e-mail, according to a 12-page ACLJ paper sent to the college offering legal opinions in favor of Hauf.
Shefchik wrote her back an e-mail approving her topic choice, but at the same time cautioning her to be objective in her reporting. "I have one limiting factor," Shefchik wrote, according to the ACLJ. "No mention of big 'G' gods, i.e., one, true god argumentation."
The ACLJ said his actions are unconstitutional. "A student's constitutional free speech rights to express religious views are fully protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments," the ACLJ wrote.
In addition to an apology and a re-grading of Hauf's paper, the ACLJ demands Shefchik "receive some kind of training to sensitize him to the constitutional dimensions of his employment in a public educational institution, including his duty to respect constitutional freedoms of expression."
Hauf's husband supports his wife's position. "She has to pursue this. Not only has her civil rights been violated this is an English class she took, not a political science course," Fritz Hauf said. "She should be graded on the composition not the 'G' word."
Though getting an "F" on the research paper Hauf got a "C" for the class.
LeRoy Standish may be reached at 951-6277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
> And how does it override the right of your student?
Which right would that be?
Since this is a public, community college, the teacher's actions are illegal.
It is well-known that a student has the right to discuss religion in papers without censorship.
Of course, the student has to follow the course guidelines, but this teacher's demand that she censor her word choice is so blatantly illegal it is not even debatable.
Here is the adjunct instructor's address: email@example.com
This whole thing sounds very odd. I can't understand the logic of such a requirement. If her paper essentially took a proselytizing tone (i.e. "God must have a place in government because there is only one God and he is the true God of all, regardless of what other religions say, and that attitude should be required in government") then I can see why the paper might have been graded with an F.
But simply making objective use of the word "God"? I can't understand any objection that would be reasonable.
sci-fi paper rather than Civil War paper as requested?
Yes, you're right. But, again, it's hard to write about religion and not use the word "God."
LOL! IQ: 88. Education: BA in Education from University of Massachusetts, Eastern Montana State, or other leading light of liberal illiteracy. Politics: thinks Ted Kennedy is a conservative. Career prospects: adjunct instructor at community college. Marital Status: Single, has lots of socks. Religion: "That's for the stupid, unwashed masses." Military experience: Helped burn ROTC building in 1972.
"Would it have been ok if I'd turned in a sci-fi story instead of a term paper on the Civil War?"
Apples and oranges. You are showing a bias. Try it this way: Do a paper on the Civil War, but don't mention Lincoln, or Davis.
where is her creativity? this was a writing class wasn't it?
Almighty, Supreme Being, Creater, Father, Holy One, Deity, ...
many of our founding fathers used words other than "God", jewish people hyphenate it out of reverence (G-d).
i'm not disagreeing that the professer is off his rocker but that is a given going into college today. she could have met the technical requirement and kept the spirit of what she wanted to say.
i'll admit not knowing the whole story though, maybe she only used the word God in quotes from sources -- if that is the case then she should probably fight it.
LOL good one
It is blatantly illegal to censor the word God in a paper from a publicly-supported community college.
Unlike a private college, her First Amendment rights apply.
elementary thinking on God and Christianity. Nothing complica´d about it. 8+)
An "adjunct instructor" in a community college is at the bottom of the feeding chain. However, this guy has to reach up to touch bottom.
In other news, the teacher demanded that a paper about the American revolution not mention Washington, and that a paper about the Civil War not mention Lincoln, Grant, Lee, Davis or Sherman.
The professor's requirement is illegal.
She stood her ground and did what was within her rights.
This was a term paper. Not much room for elaborate creativity in a research paper.
I thought academia was all about controversy and forcing people to think "out of the box".
""He said it would offend others in class,""
Is it possible that the paper doesn't address the question? Might it also be possible that the paper just plain sucks? It's a little hard to sympathize with a grade-grubber when we don't even know what the question was for the term paper and we can't see the paper itself.
"Hauf's teacher approved her term paper topic Religion and its Place within the Government on one condition: Don't use the word God. Instead of complying with VVCC adjunct instructor Michael Shefchik's condition Hauf wrote a 10-page report for her English 101 class entitled "In God We Trust.""
It's more like you having to write a paper on the Civil War and never use the words "South", "Confederacy", "Confederate", etc.