As reported, Central Connecticut State University student John Wahlberg took the Communications 140 class, in which he was required to give an oral presentation on a “relevant issue in the media.” For the topic of his presentation, he chose the the benefits of concealed carry when it comes to stopping school shooters. The presentation was non-threatening and did not involved any real or fake guns. The professor, Paula Anderson, apparently felt that there was some “perceived risk” and went to the campus police, saying that the presentation made students feel “scared and uncomfortable.” The campus police summoned John and began listing the guns that were registered in his name, which he lawfully owned. Seeing as how Wahlberg did nothing wrong, he was not arrested or disciplined by the school, although he did voluntarily choose to not attend several of the professor’s classes due to his understandable discomfort with the professor. The Professor Paula Anderson has declined to offer any comment or answer what exactly about the presentation she believes warranted her actions.
I find this situation to be deplorable. A university is supposed to be the setting in which ideas and information can be exchanged, debated, and freely discussed without fear of reprisal. That should be all the more true in a communications class, where students are not only permitted but required to give a presentation which reflects their reasoned viewpoints. It is a sad thing when a professor who should be fostering debate and learning instead chooses to take action that leads to the intimidation of a peaceful and law abiding student who did nothing wrong. I can only attribute this situation to a severe case of hoplophobia.
I would encourage those who find this to be as troubling as I do to politely and respectfully voice their concerns to the professor and the university:
Professor Paula Anderson
Address: R C Vance Acad Ctr 317, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, CT 06050.
University President’s Office
Address: 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, CT 06050.