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Robert Winner

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Professor Sharon Sweet

"Professor" Sharon Sweet of Brevard Community College, Cocoa, Fl USA has been put on leave for: "She required her students to sign a pledge promising to vote for President Barack Obama and Democrats up and down the ticket. "

After reading the article I have concerns:

1. "Professor" Sweets' professional background. I searched her credentials ... she has a 2 year degree in math and art from Bard College and a 2 year degree in advertising design also from Bard. There is no evidence that I can find that she even has a BA in anything. The school Brevard Community College does list her as "Professor".

2. The obvious question of professional conduct when "requiring" students to sign the pledge is this also a threat of academic grading if you do not sign.

3. violation of a Florida law, which prohibits an employee of the state from using his or her authority for the purpose of influencing another person’s vote.

4. Since the election was in November 2012 and this took place prior to the election and was reported ... why is this just making backdoor news and not reported by main stream news?

To be honest I was not shocked at the classroom support as I am about her being declared a "Professor" by the school. One site posts her ratings and she never exceeded a 3 in the ratings. We have problems in education and schools like this contribute to the problem.

If you google Sharon Sweet you will find many articles.

The debate should center on if any violations occured ... and her title Professor.

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    Feb 20 2013: Community colleges (two year colleges) seem to use that label for their teaching staff, I have noticed, regardless of specific credentials.

    At a four year college or university it is uncommon to see the formal title of professor without a PhD, though in some fields it can happen. More often, the person's formal title is actually "lecturer" but people call the person professor.
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      Feb 20 2013: Fritzie, I think you are right ... I would much prefer that the title Associate or Assistant Professor be used which is correct and not a indicator of academic standing or credential.

      Any thought on the integrity of the act? In the teaching profession would this be ethical? Is it illegal to influence a vote if a state employee in most states?

      Thanks for the reply.
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        Feb 20 2013: It is not ethical for a teacher in her capacity as a teacher to influence people's votes. I think many jurisdictions prohibit government employees from participating in or promoting electoral campaigns on the job or in a way that uses their status as government employees.

        This does not mean people in these positions cannot attend political rallies or urge their friends to do whatever they like.

        What you described for this instructor is far outside the bounds of what is acceptable for a teacher or public employee in my opinion or in what the ethics codes for such organizations typically allow.

        I have worked for public schools as well as for federal, state, and local government. There is no way in any of these roles I would have been permitted to promote candidates.

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