Maine College Republicans Demand Immediate Action on Flag-Burning Extra Credit Offered by Maine Prof · 09 November 2007

By Maine College Republicans
Filed under: Maine

Release No. 07-23
Contact: Ralph Kettell (207) 660-5062

ORONO – The Maine College Republicans are demanding immediate action in response to the offer by Professor Paul Grosswiler to provide students extra credit if they burned the American flag or the U.S. Constitution, and/or were arrested for exhibiting free speech. This story, which has been reported by major news outlets across the country since it was first exposed last week, has cast a great deal of negative attention on the University of Maine.

Nathaniel Walton (Bates ’08), State Chairman of the Maine College Republicans, demanded that Grosswiler issue a statement of apology for his controversial extra credit offer:

“Maine College Republicans, like many others from Maine and across the country, are deeply troubled by the offer made by Professor Grosswiler to provide students extra credit if they burned the American flag or the U.S. Constitution, and/or were arrested for exhibiting free speech. Unfortunately, college students across Maine experience this type of classroom political bias on an all too regular basis, which is almost always ignored by college/university administrators. Grosswiler’s actions, however, just like the lack of academic freedom on Maine college/university campuses, can no longer be ignored – and require immediate action. This being the case, I call on Professor Grosswiler to issue a statement of apology for his highly inappropriate extra credit offer. Furthermore, I implore the University of Maine to begin taking substantive measures to ensure all of its students enjoy an academic experience free of classroom political bias by supporting the Academic Bill of Rights.”

The offer made by Professor Paul Grosswiler to provide students in his “History of Communications” class extra credit if they burned the American flag or the U.S. Constitution, and/or were arrested for exhibiting free speech has received national news coverage over the last week. When Grosswiler offered the extra credit, Rebekah McDade (University of Maine ’10), a student in the class who was offended by Grosswiler’s actions, decided to drop the course because she was concerned that her class grades would suffer if she chose to speak out. McDade, who serves as Treasurer of the University of Maine College Republicans, reported that Grosswiler claimed the controversial extra credit offer was necessary because free speech didn’t exist in America anymore as “the Republican administration has made it all but illegal.”

Danielle Palmer (University of Maine ’08), Chairman of the University of Maine College Republicans, offered the following statement on the incident:

“The University of Maine’s response to this incident has been equally as unfortunate as Professor Grosswiler’s extra credit offer itself. University administrators have refused to condemn Professor Grosswiler’s actions, have failed to demand that he apologize, and have neglected to support substantive policy changes to end classroom political bias such as the Academic Bill of Rights. In doing so, the University of Maine has allowed itself to be publicly embarrassed across the nation. Unfortunately, the concerns that our club treasurer Rebekah McDade has raised in light of this incident have been completely ignored, and she has even had hate-laden comments directed to her, which University administrators have also refused to condemn. I strongly urge the University of Maine to do the right thing by encouraging Professor Grosswiler to heed Chairman Walton’s demand for a statement of apology. Furthermore, I urge University administrators to support the Academic Bill of Rights, and, most importantly, ensure that Rebekah McDade no longer receives hateful comments just for exposing the lack of academic freedom at the University of Maine.”

Chairman Walton is available for interviews/further comments about the offer by University of Maine Professor Paul Grosswiler to provide students extra credit if they burned the American flag or the U.S. Constitution, and/or were arrested for exhibiting free speech. Chairman Walton can be reached by cellular telephone at (207) 240-4549 or by e-mail at nwalton@bates.edu.

For more information on the Maine College Republicans, please visit the statewide organization’s website at http://www.mainecr.org.