Carolina teacher Elizabeth Ito has appealed her firing
from Forsyth Technical Community College, which came after she made remarks
critical of the conduct of the war in Iraq. Her firing, which has been
widely criticized by local anti-war activists and free speech advocates, is
seen as part of a larger crack-down on dissent and academic freedom. "It is
clear that Elizabeth didn't lose her job because she expressed a personal
opinion in the classroom," said Liz Seymour, a member of the Ito Defense
Coalition. "She lost her job because of the opinion she expressed."
On Friday, March 28, 2003 Elizabeth, a first-year English teacher at Forsyth
Tech, spent ten minutes at the beginning of her business writing class
voicing her concerns about the war in Iraq. During this time the US military
was encountering much unanticipated resistance in its push toward Baghdad
and the previous night's news had reported that 30,000 more troops were
being called up, a figure that by the next morning had risen to 120,000.
Elizabeth wrote these numbers on the board and asked the students what they
would do if the government had to start drafting. After class had ended two
students complained to Elizabeth's supervisor Susie Keener, Chair of the
Department of Humanities/Communication, that Elizabeth had criticized the
war in class.
The following Monday morning Susie Keener and John Slade, Dean of the
College of Arts and Sciences, met with Elizabeth for over two hours to
discuss the incident. At the end of the meeting Dean Slade asked Elizabeth
to promise not to raise the topic of the war again in class. Elizabeth said
that she had no intention of revisiting the subject but that she was
unwilling to bind herself to a promise. Later that week Dean Slade presented
Elizabeth with a disciplinary letter that concluded with the statement "this
matter is resolved."
Elizabeth, who had been commended for her teaching in a series of official
reviews throughout the year did not, in fact, discuss the war again in
class. Nonetheless, on May 15 she received a certified letter at her home
informing her that Forsyth Tech no longer needed her services. In the weeks
following her dismissal Elizabeth's students spoke out on her behalf-even
one of the students who originally complained to the Forsyth Tech
administration told Michelle Johnson a reporter for the Winston-Salem
Journal, that he did not think Elizabeth should have been fired for her
Ito's firing has received widespread press attention in North Carolina
including articles in the Winston-Salem Journa, the Durham Herald-Sun. the
Greensboro News & Record, and the Carolina Peacemaker. A story was also
broadcast on the local NPR affiliate. "This is not just about me or about my
job," said Ito. "It's about something very disturbing that is happening all
over the country. I want people to understand that if it could happen hee it
could happen anywhere."
StriderCabal, you are sadly deluded if you think that North Carolina
community college administrations are a hotbed of Jewish influence.
And since your only for reason opposing the Iraq war was because you
wanted to preserve the brutal despotic totalitarian regime of Sodom
Hussein intact, so that it could commit further atrocities against the
Iraqi people, that means that you're the biggest Fascist of all!