Sep 18, 2008 6:02 pm US/Mountain
Metro State Prof Investigated For Palin Assignment

DENVER (CBS4) ― Metro State College is investigating a professor who asked students to write an essay critical of Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin. One student said the instructor singled out Republican students in the class and allowed others to ridicule them.

"I was shocked, I was holy cow, this is just an open door for him to discuss politics with us," said Jana Barber, a student in the class. Barber shared the first class assignment with CBS4 Wednesday. Instructor Andrew Hallam asked students to write an essay to contradict what he called the 'fairy tale image of Palin' presented at the Republican National Convention.

"What the faculty's responsibility is to provide opportunity for critical thinking and civic engagement so bringing something of relevancy into the classroom was the faculty's goal," said Cathy Lucas, spokeswoman for Metro State. "Should he have broadened it and included all the political figures, yes."

Metro State officials are investigating claims of bias, harassment and bullying. Barber and another student appeared on KOA's Mike Rosen talk show Thursday to discuss the issue. Metro State College Professor Norm Provizer said Thursday the issue has moved well behind whether or not the assignment was appropriate. Provizer calls it a political firestorm now.