Brevard CC Professor Caught Soliciting Students for Obama
So, what do you do with a community college professor caught soliciting votes for a candidate? Particularly a presidential candidate in a red-hot swing state like Florida? You grant her request for a leave of absence without pay, effective immediately.
That's what happened to Assistant Professor Sharon Sweet of Brevard Community College in Melbourne after a student reported that she handed out bookmarks advertising the website gottavote.org, an online product of Obama For America, the president’s re-election campaign organization.
The bookmarks asked students to “pledge that I will vote for President Obama and Democrats up and down the ticket.”
The conservative Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity surfaced the claim on its blog Sunday, along with the suggestion that Sweet violated the community college’s policy on harassment.
That policy protects students, employees and job applicants from undue pressure related to a long list of personal traits including race, religion, age, gender, marital status and political affiliation.
In a statement left as a comment on the Franklin Center’s blog, Brevard Community College Vice President for Academic Affairs Linda Miedema wrote that the college has “specific procedures related to the political activity of faculty and staff. The expectation is that no employee of the College shall solicit support of any political candidate during regular work hours or on College property.
“The college is taking appropriate actions,” Miedema added. “We do not want any student to feel coerced.”
College spokesman John Glisch said there had been more than one complaint about Sweet. “College officials learned of the allegations Thursday afternoon, Sept. 13, following a call from a concerned parent and immediately began an investigation,” Glisch said.