Rowan-Cabarrus Community College administrators ventured into dangerous territory when they pulled the plug on an instructor's showing of "Fahrenheit 9/11" in class during the week before Nov. 2. They probably didn't know what wire they were tripping over.
RCCC's administration should apologize for suspending Davis March, an instructor at the college for more than 20 years. March acted within the acceptable limits of an academic setting - he should not have been censored in his approach.
The Charlotte Observer reported that RCCC President Richard Brownell had issued an Oct. 25 memo stating that using "the classroom or college environment as a platform to promote (an employee's) own personal, religious or political views or to advocate for specific political candidates," is impermissible. Brownell had a point - nonpartisanship on the part of professors is beneficial to the academic development of students and to the overall quality of the institution.
But the warning shouldn't have served to ban discussion regarding political candidates and the election. In punishing March, RCCC administrators neglected to recognize that the presentation of strong opinions is necessary for a vibrant academic environment.
Prompting an exchange of those viewpoints is commendable - and there's little indication that March intended to do otherwise. "I make it abundantly clear that their opinion, whether it agrees with 'Dad' or not, it's not going to cost them either way," he told The Observer.