Florida professor investigated for urging students to vote for Obama

A complaint from the parents of a student has launched an investigation of Associate Professor Sharon Sweet, a math instructor at Brevard Community College in Florida.  According to the complaint, Sweet has been using class time to urge students to vote for Barack Obama, and even handed out campaign materials that included a “pledge to vote for President Obama and Democrats up and down the ticket.”

The college, naturally, has “specific policies that address the political activities of faculty and staff, which state that no College employee shall solicit support for a political candidate during regular College work hours or on College property,” as they affirmed in a statement.

According to a report at Florida Today, Sweet has been granted an unpaid leave of absence while the matter is investigated.  Following the initial complaint, dozens of emails and phone calls “expressing concern” were received by college officials.

The BCC statement promises interviews with the roughly one hundred students in Sweet’s classes, and says the college is “taking steps to reiterate its policy on political activity to all faculty and staff.”  According to Florida Today, Sweet has been working for the college for five years.  It seems amazing that she would not be familiar with these policies on political activity – as if common sense would not dictate that teachers shouldn’t be using class time for partisan political activities.  How did she handle the 2008 and 2010 elections?

At least we can savor the irony of a math teacher urging votes for a President whose hatred of budgetary arithmetic is the stuff of legend.