SDSU to change name of impeachment course after heavy backlash

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — San Diego State University officials said Wednesday they “acknowledge” those who were offended by a new course titled “Trump: Impeachment, Removal or Conviction?” and will change the name of the class to accurately reflect its content, which they said is not focused on getting the current president out of office.

The weekend-long, one-credit class caught the attention of national conservative media outlets based on its title and description. The class will focus on the “two constitutional grounds: impeachment and removal (25th Amendment), and the possible charges of the independent counsel, the powers of the president, a history of the creation of that office and the comparison of divine right and rule of law leadership, presidential impeachments, including (President Richard) Nixon’s de facto impeachment” and more, according to the course listing.

The class is being offered in March as part of the criminal justice program in the university’s College of Extended Studies.

A story about the class first appeared on Campus Reform, a website that aims to “expose liberal bias on America’s campuses.” The article states the course is “dedicated exclusively to the topic of removing Donald Trump from office.”

University officials disputed that claim in a statement, saying the course “presents an overall framework of impeachment, removal or criminal investigation of a president and rather than focusing on President Trump, reviews all 19 impeachments in U.S. history.”

But the SDSU officials conceded the course title could lead to confusion and said the class name will be changed to “Impeachment, Removal, and Special Counsel.”

“On behalf of Joe Johnson, interim dean of the College of Extended Studies, and Joyce Gattas, dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, we would like to acknowledge those who have been offended by (the course),” the statement reads. “In retrospect, we realize the title of the course, `Trump: Impeachment, Removal, or Conviction?’, is inconsistent with the course content described.”

A spokeswoman for the university stressed that the College of Extended Studies is a self-supported entity and the course is not funded through taxpayer dollars.

Brandon Jones, one of the co-authors of the Campus Reform story, questioned the veracity of the university’s statement.

“When you challenge liberal institutions, they will break. It was inappropriate and unprofessional for university leadership to carelessly approve the naming of the course,” said Jones, who is also president of the SDSU College Republicans. “I’m sure the content of the course will still be heavily focused on the removal of President Donald Trump considering the required textbook, but this is a step in the right direction.”

The lone assigned book, Allan Lichtman’s “The Case for Impeachment,” was written following Trump’s election and, according to the description on the back cover, attempts to “lay out the reasons Congress could remove Trump from the Oval Office: his ties to Russia before and after the election, the complicated financial conflicts of interest at home and abroad, and his abuse of executive authority.” No changes to the assigned book were made with the school’s announcement to change the name of the course.

Class instructor John Joseph Cleary could not be reached for comment.

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Posted by KUSI News on Tuesday, February 27, 2018

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