Teacher's Rights Section of the MCC Faculty
Describing teachers' classroom freedoms, authority, and behavior.
The College's 1993 policy re: sex harassment
and offensive speech
Warning to general faculty from administration regarding classroom language
Journalism class "news sheet" story on Bonnell-
preceded President Lorenzo's statement to assembled faculty, " There is no place for perverts on this campus".
"Semester Overview" Bonnell's First day class
Letter from former student discussing Bonnell's class
Parent's complaint of "Semester
Reaction to depiction of classroom speech as described in letter above.
Human Resource's MacQueen to Bonnell re:
parental complaint, 2-19-1998
Bonnell is summoned to a disciplinary meeting re: parental complaint.
Bonnell's response to MacQueen's summons,
Bonnell questions procedure and complaint basis.
MacQueen clarifies basis of investigation,2-24-1998
MacQueen reiterates meeting's verbal warning,
and states that use of language outside of "appropriate textual materials" may be sexual harassment.
Bonnell responds to MacQueen's warning, 3-9-1998
denies sexual harassment and discontinues use of "first day" handout.
Student's complaint of Sexual Harassment, 11-
The letter that intensified the controversy.
"Yes, Virginia, There is a Sanity
A satirical essay by Bonnell defending free speech in the classroom while lampooning the College's foray into censorship,
Dean Demas' Memo to Professor Bonnell, 1-5-1999
A list of "findings" culminating in Bonnell's suspension for three days.
Bonnell's response to Demas Memo
MacQueen directs Bonnell to not discuss,
post or distribute any statements to students regarding complaints or disciplinary against Bonnell.
MCCFO'S Attorney's letter to MCCFO, 2-3-99.
A description of the issues of academic freedom, free speech and employer's rights.
MCCFO's letter to Bonnell and Bonnell's Reply,
The faculty union lays out its version of the facts and refuses to pursue Bonnell's grievance: Bonnell objects.
MCCFO's Letter to the Faculty, 3-2-1999
Objecting to the distribution of materials, including the above exchange.
MCCFO's Letter to the Faculty March, 3-31-1999
Informing the faculty of Bonnell's law suit and the union's position regarding it.
Union president insists that the Union has given "fair representation" to Bonnell.
Bonnell Sues, 3-99
The deposition to Judge Borman's District Court.
MCCFO's Letter to Membership, 5-10-1999
Faculty union's view of court proceedings and Bonnell's options.
Students' account of Bonnell's behavior regarding disruption of their education, 5-1999
MCC Provost's Memo of Disciplinary Suspension,
The college's list of findings culminating in Bonnell's suspension for a semester without pay.
Bonnell's Attorneys' Respond to the Provost.
Attorney's attempt to refute the Provost's findings.
Borman's decision for Bonnell, 8-27-99
Federal judge halts suspension of Bonnell.
text of Cincinnati Court of Appeal's Opinion against Bonnell, 3-1-2001
Court overrules Borman, returning Bonnell's fate to the College and his Union.
Bonnell Petitions for en banc (full court) rehearing,
Despite having a request for more time to respond denied, Bonnell's attorneys meet the deadline.
The College's response to Bonnell's rehearing
The college attempts to rebut all of Bonnell's arguments.
Bonnell's account of MCCFO meeting denying
support for his grievance, 5-11-01
Bonnell futilely asks that the Union consider that the punishment of a full semester suspension without pay is too severe for alleged breach of confidentiality and retaliation.
Official Notification of Suspension
for Fall 2001 Semester plus 2 weeks.
A memo from Provost Bellanca to Bonnell.
Commentary and Opinion
(will be posted as received.)
Prof. Bonnell in class. (photo courtesy of Macomb Daily
Former student's critique of Bonnell's class.
"a safe place to discuss things....wonderful...room to breath"
"Student Voice" article re: investigation
Bonnell is unnamed in journalism class project.
Students speak out at Trustee's meeting, 1-19-99
Again students speak out at trustee meeting, 2-16-99
Debra Duffy: "My daughter will be attending this college
in the Fall and I know who each of you are and I voted for most of you
and I'm trusting you, I'm counting on you, to hear my voice, my voice and
the voice of all the people who spoke at the last meeting. "
Jeff LaButte:"... I found him to be one of the most dynamic, thought-provoking teachers that I ever had and probably ever will have."
Michele Kazyak:"...I am a certified religious education instructor for the Roman Catholic Church, and I do not find Professor Bonnell to be offensive. What I do find to be offensive are the actions of the administration at Macomb Community College. "
Students Protest Suspension by Calling for
"adult language in front of adult students"
MCC Board of Trustees call for Student Free
oppose discipline on any student exercising free speech
Dean of Students threatens disciplinary action
against a demonstrating student
for depriving "others of an orderly atmosphere for study."
WDIV-TV's Alan Frank's Editorials
SHE IS ATTENDING COLLEGE, A PLACE WHERE IDEAS AND LANGUAGE ARE SUPPOSED TO CHALLENGE, EXCITE, INFORM AND EVEN OFFEND,....IF THE COMPLAINING STUDENT, AND OFFICIALS AT MACOMB COMMUNITY COLLEGE, DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT, WE THINK THEY DON'T BELONG IN COLLEGE.
Lou Kitchenmaster's Letter - 3-5-1999
MetroTimes Article March 10-16, 1999
"He totally opened the doorway to the critical analysis of Iiterature," says Michele
Kazyak, a former student of Bonnell's. "Unfortunately for the administration of
Macomb Community College, literature is rife with sexual and adult themes.
Apparently, they have a problem with that."
Frank DeFrank Editorial in the Macomb Daily,
"...a college campus should shine as a beacon of free thinking and free
speech. But at MCC, the beacon is extinguished."
MCC Prof. Ralph L. Schmitt's reaction
to DeFrank, 3-21-1999
"Is he aware that his edict for "all of us" to be outraged, because of Bonnell's
"unfair" treatment, is itself an outrage to all who want to live, work, play and,
yes, learn in an environment conducive to those pursuits? "
Former Student Jim Pruss' letter to President Lorenzo, 8-20-1999
President Lorenzo's Response
"...State and Federal laws and recent Supreme Court decisions have set new requirements for educational institutions and the type of environment that students have the right to expect when on campus. The College must keep pace with these changes or risk legal liability.... "
Heather Rohlfing's letter to The Macomb Daily.
"I am a twenty-three year old practicing Catholic female engineering student, who attended Catholic school for twelve years..... The best teachers are the ones who relate to the students and make them think for themselves. Professor Bonnell is that kind of teacher."
MCC Trustee's Ad in the Macomb Daily, 7-22-1999
"The College does not believe that the classroom setting is the appropriate forum
to discuss personal sexual practices, techniques, experiences, or fantasies unless
germane to course content."
Nancy Bonnell's Reaction to Ad
"....the Open Letter is a list of lies and distortions. This is why the College paid $1400.00 to run the "ad." Their method eliminates the possibility of a competent reporter, one who has actually read and comprehends the district court ruling, from exposing their deceit. "
MetroTimes Article, September 1, 1999 (after
Judges Borman's ruling)
"(Bonnell) says, 'A lot of people ask me, 'Are you going to be careful about what you say?'... I will not willingly give aid and comfort to those who favor censorship and oppression.... I will do everything I can to resist that.' "
MCC Prof. David Barr's letter to MCCFO,9-30-1999
"Are we now catering to the repressive, anti-enlightenment, anti-intellectual, anti-educational forces of our time? Historically it has been academia that has led the fight against such blind and narrow cruelty."
FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION, INC. ("F.I.R.E.") files amicus curiae
brief in Bonnell case with Sixth Circuit Court
"The teaching of college English requires the communication of thoughts and ideas by reading and writing, and the use of the entire English language. When a college gags the professor or censors the students, the free expression of ideas and thoughts as supported by the First Amendment is impinged upon."
R. Scmitt-Bonnell et al in MCCFO Meeting,
Bonnell, having been elected to the union's board, expresses opinions re: handling of grievances. Others object. .
Legal Cost to MCCFO to defend against Bonnell-4-
$55,391. (Excerpt from union's treasurer's report)
Memo to Free Speech Advocates
University of Wisconsin-Madison
The bottom-line question is: Are the faculty and students ....capable of living with the Bill of Rights? One hopes the answer is yes.
Deming of the University of Oklahoma- 1-25-2001
Professor relates his experience with "free speech" and "sexual harassment"
Rebecca M. Ellis Letter - 1-25-2001
Daily Bonnell article, 2-11-2001
The college claims these punishments are not about free speech, but involve academic disruption, retaliation against a student in a harassment case and breaching the student's confidentiality.
Chronicle of Higher Ed. article,3-5-2001
"This case was very important to the college because the lower court ruling undermined our ability to provide and protect a nonhostile academic setting in which free expression and the exchange of ideas thrives for both students and faculty," said Rose B. Bellanca, provost of Macomb Community College.
Student Christine Christel's letter to Bonnell,3-5-2001
"I hope that you know that I am very proud to be a student of yours and consider myself so very lucky to have crossed paths with you."
Student M. Komendera's letter to the editor,3-16-2001
"He's a dedicated, passionate teacher with a dramatic flare and one of the most gentle persons I've ever had the good fortune to know."
Daily's April 9, 2001 article update
Appeals court ponders rehearing.
Palermino and Christel address the Board-4-23-2001
Letter from Wendy Wojtas- 5-7-01
"I have been so inspired by your teachings that I have changed my major to English Literature and hope to teach one day. I would love to teach in the same manner you do, but how effective will this be coming from a woman? Or will teaching such as yours be silenced? Being a middle- aged student I am quite impressed by the life lessons you are attempting to give students, both young and
Kenneth Farhat's Letter to Macomb Daily- 7-13-2001
Bonnell's Reply to Farhat's Letter
"In effect, he is correct again. MCC tweaked the usual mendacity by absurdly claiming that I "retaliated" against the woman who wanted me censored; and that, without ever identifying her, I violated some supposed "right to confidentiality." "
Matt Fletcher's Letter - 8-14-2001
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April 17, 1999