Former Dem mayor prof assigns essay about 'offensive' character, 'Donald Rump'
- UC Santa Cruz professor and former Democrat mayor Ryan Coonerty assigned his constitutional law students an essay prompt on “Donald Rump,” who “has been known to target women, minorities, and the disabled.”
- “Rump’s show undoubtedly include [sic] offensive material and has been known to target women, minorities, and the disabled," the essay prompt says.
A California professor required college students to complete an essay prompt featuring a character named “Donald Rump,” who “has been known to target women, minorities, and the disabled,” for 30 percent of their final grade.
Constitutional law students at the University of California Santa Cruz received the prompt from Professor Ryan Coonerty, who is also the former Democrat mayor of Santa Cruz, as part of Coonerty’s course, titled, “Problems in Constitutional Law: Free Expression.”
Thirty percent of each student’s final grade will depend on their analysis of a hypothetical scenario in which a fictitious student group, “Students for Offensive Speech,” invite “controversial reality TV star” “Donald Rump” to UCSC.
Rump’s show “will feature music with offensive lyrics, strippers, and anti-immigrant speakers,” Coonerty’s prompt reads. “Rump’s show undoubtedly include [sic] offensive material and has been known to target women, minorities, and the disabled. It is rumored that he will be handing out the names, photos, and addresses of student leaders and faculty who are outspoken in their support for transgender, Muslim, and undocumented communities.”
The professor notes that some students and members of the community wish to protest Rump’s event and block entry to it. Coonerty instructs students to assume the role of UCSC’s general counsel and advise the chancellor on the situation by citing case law in a paper up to seven pages long.
One student, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of her grade being compromised, told Campus Reform that she was initially surprised by the assignment.
“My teacher has stayed pretty neutral despite his political background, and I showed my friends, who also thought it was a joke of an assignment, but it’s understandable since he was once mayor of Santa Cruz, and UCSC was just named #1 liberal school in the U.S., I think,” she said.
Niche.com did recently dub UCSC the most liberal school in America. The University of California, Berkeley came in at a close second.
"The paper assignment is meant to be a fun fact pattern for the students to apply what they've learned about campus speech codes, incitement, hate speech, and obscenity,” Coonerty told Campus Reform.
"As a course on free expression, I encourage debate and all viewpoints,” the professor added. "The students start by reading The Coddling of the American Mind and many articles about the free speech crisis on campuses (as well as arguments that there is a not a crisis).”
Coonerty, who currently serves as the Third District Supervisor for Santa Cruz County, offered examples of representations of conservative viewpoints in his class, noting that he assigns "readings from National Review and conservative commentators,” as well as articles regarding a 2017 report by Campus Reform detailing the organized shut down of a College Republicans meeting by student protestors who claimed that the group’s presence was a “threat to the library” and that “dialogue is violence."
"We spent last class arguing about the constitutionality of banning video games and pornography,” he said. “It is probably worth noting that even though I'm a Democratic politician in my day job, my course is very popular with conservative students on campus because I try to argue all sides."
Editor's note: Campus Reform encourages civil discourse and acknowledges professors' First Amendment right to free speech. The purpose of this article, like any other, is to present the facts and allow our readers to form their own opinions.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan