On September 8th, at approximately 7:00AM at Saddleback College, a professor named Margot Lovett removed 6 posters part of an activism activity done by Young Americas Foundation to remember thousands of lives lost during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While holding the removed posters, the professor stated that students needed approval from student government before posting anything on the BGS building. She went on to trash the posters which were the property of the campus YAF chapter. Lovett was most likely acting in reference to the controversial SOCCD Administrative Regulation 8000 (AR 8000), which prevents students from posting material on “Campus controlled building or structure”.
While posters on the BGS building may have been in violation of a school policy, it should be noted that Saddleback College lost a lawsuit in 2002 which asserted that some campus policies violated first amendment rights. Students from YAF claimed to be expressing their right to free speech through the postings. While the content of the posters themselves could be debated, their right to expression should not.
According to the ruling in 2002 pursuant to Khademi V, South Orange County Community College District, the conclusion of the case was as follows.
“For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds that a number of provisions in Board Policy 8000 violate Plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights. Because many of the unconstitutional provisions are not functionally or volitionally severable from the rest of the policy, all provisions in BP 8000 applicable to students must be struck down in their entirety. With the exception of section XIII.L.1(h) and the words “without limitation” in section XIII.L.1, which are struck and severed, the provisions applicable to the general public and Civic Center Act users remain in effect. Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Adjudication is hereby GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.”
Lovett has endorsed statements from the “Black Radical Congress”. Following the events of 9/11, Lovett came to the School District with a press release. According to OC Weekly the statement she endorsed initially showed condolences for the lives lost in 9/11, but later went on to state that the United States was responsible for “Genocidal levels of death and destruction”. The Black Radical Congress’s (BRC) press statement can be read in its entirety here. The BRC has been
Beyond endorsing radical statements from organizations such as the BRC, Lovett has also faced criticism by students who have taken some of her courses. According to Rate My Professor, a website for students to review professors, several showed low scores. One anonymous review posted on January 31st, 2016 stated the following
“I got a B in this class and went to both her and Ray’s office hours at least once a week. If you care about your GPA AVOID. The discussions in class are only about her opinion. So if you say anything else you’re wrong. You don’t learn different views only hers. Dr. Ray basically has no voice.”
Another stated that classroom discussions were more like “Verbal Worksheets”. One could infer that Lovett is not a fan of diversity of thought, and that her teaching methods may not be in compliance with the schools neutrality clause. Saddleback students should be able to express their opinions in the classroom and on campus, professors should never dictate and control what is good or bad expression.
Faculty like Lovett may be blatantly marginalizing students on campus. All students should have a voice in the classroom, and objectivism plays a key role in critical thinking. A marketplace of ideas is the best kind of learning environment.