La Crosse Professor “Annoyed” by Partial Shutdown

La Crosse Geography and Earth Sciences Professor Rachel Slocum says an email she sent to her students regarding the government shutdown “was not meant to be partisan, but it may have come across that way.”

Slocum told her class on October 1st the partial government shutdown was caused by the “Republican/ tea party controlled House of Representatives.” 

Media Trackers contacted University of Wisconsin La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow for comment. Gow immediately dispatched the Dean of the College Professor Slocum teaches in to investigate the email.

Gow wrote, “I share your concerns about the inappropriate use of the overly partisan phrase “Republican tea party controlled House of Representatives” in a message purported to have been sent by a UW-L instructor to a class of students.”

By late afternoon, Gow told Media Trackers, “I have just spoken to the College Dean, who has now called the professor, verified the authenticity of the note, pointed out the inappropriateness of the politically partisan language, and obtained the professor’s commitment to writing a follow-up apology to the class.”

Slocum never “apologizes” in her email. Instead, her email “is a more thorough, less annoyed version of shutdown events.”

The professor claims her analysis is a synopsis of “conservative columnist David Brooks.” Slocum’s problem is many conservatives consider Brooks to be a moderate at best.  Her email can be read in its entirety here.

In 2007, Brooks wrote “Goldwater and Reagan were important leaders, but they’re not models for the future.” Brooks called the Republican Party’s shift toward more limited Reaganesque models of government a “folly.”

The pro-choice Brooks wrote in 2006 a piece calling for Barack Obama to run for President.

Slocum’s partisan bias doesn’t stop with her class wide email. On the Geography 110 course’s blog, Slocum links to liberal website after liberal website.

Writes Slocum:

Some organizations I look to for inspiration and information include: Global Exchange, Oxfam America, Partners in Health (works in Haiti), Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Occupy, US Social Forum, Applied Research Center, Greenpeace, and Democracy Now. All of these organizations have links on their websites for things you can do. There’s also lots of student activism on things like foodsweatshops, and climate change.

More interesting is Slocum’s seemingly attack on Sarah Palin.

or if that ‘hopey changey’ thing (to quote Sarah Palin) isn’t what you’re interested in.

b. post here about something from class that might stick with you. No need to say that you liked the class, just write about something that got your attention, made sense or stood out. It’s always interesting to me to know what resonates with students.

For Gow and the Dean’s part they will “counsel the professor about the inappropriateness of using politically partisan language in classroom communications and discuss ways of ensuring that the students in this particular class do not feel uncomfortable holding and expressing political views that are different from their instructor’s.”