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Denver: Metro State clears teacher in Palin essay flap

Tillie Fong
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado “-A special investigation of part-time Metropolitan State College instructor Andrew Hallam has determined that he had not violated any of the Denver, Colorado college’s policies in assigning an essay on Republican vice president nominee Sarah Palin to one of his English classes.

“The investigation concluded that Hallam must learn to curb the use of vulgar language in class, and that the introduction of controversal topics must have a substantial relationship with the subject of the class,” according to a news bulletin released by the college Tuesday.

“While discipline is not warranted, appropriate mentoring is recommended.”



The findings of the investigation was announced by Metro State College president Stephen Jordan on Tuesday.

Hallam, 36, will be assigned a faculty member to serve as his mentor for the rest of this semester, according to Cathy Lucas, spokeswoman for the college. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.



Lucas said the college will also add an all-day session on how to maintain political balance in classes to orientations given to part-time as well as tenure track faculty members.

Hallam, who started teaching at Metro State College this semester, came under fire in September, after he gave a controversial assignment to one of his English classes.

He allegedly told them to write an essay that would contradict “the fairy tale image of Palin” as presented at the Republican National Convention.



Lucas said three students objected to the assignment, with two of them talking to the news media about it. They were identified in news reports as Jana Barber and Jared Keele.

Barber also filed a formal complaint with the college, which triggered a special investigation by the college. A third student, who was not identified, also joined in the complaint, said Lucas.

Since the incident last month, Hallam has continued teaching, but has been mentored by the head of the English department, she said.

“We conducted a very fair and balanced investigation and we’re pleased to have closure on it,” said Lucas.

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