Commissioner calls for investigation into classroom politicking - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Commissioner calls for investigation into classroom politicking

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Chairman Barfield said instructors pushing political beliefs onto students is inexcusable. Chairman Barfield said instructors pushing political beliefs onto students is inexcusable.

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – One leader in New Hanover County does not agree with what he's heard about a specific lesson at Cape Fear Community College.

Jonathan Barfield, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said Monday that someone alerted him about an instructor sharing political beliefs before the upcoming election. From what he was told, Barfield said the instructor was discussing local politics and telling students who to vote for and why they should not support him.

"This type of culture cannot be tolerated within a public institution that the county and the state use tax payer dollars to fund," he said.

When the current board of commissioners (including Barfield) approved the county's budget this year, they committed $7.2 million to the college's operations account. That is $1 million more than the previous year's effort, but $1.5 million short of the request by then president Dr. Eric McKeithan. Commissioners also increased the amount of money for debt service to the school by $1.5 million, making for a total contribution of $19.1 million for fiscal year 2012-2013.

Barfield asked CFCC President Dr. Ted Spring for an investigation into the incident. He said Monday night that what happened is inexcusable.

"If you're on the public's dime you need to keep your opinions to yourself in terms of who students should vote for," said Barfield.

Cape Fear Community College does not endorse political candidates, according to the school's spokesperson. He said there is no policy in place regarding instructors and "political commentary", but administrators are looking into what happened.

Barfield added that he would like to see some sort of policy implemented, along with an apology.

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