Faculty uneasy with recording


Photo by Brad Dress

Professors are uneasy with students recording lectures that involve politically fueled discussions.

Roxanne Ready, Reporter

AACC has clarified a long-standing policy that prohibits students from making audio or video recordings of their classes.

The Academic Forum, which oversees the college’s academic programs, convened a special committee in February to reconsider the issue of recording in class. The committee found that professors support the no-recording policy because they are concerned about protecting student privacy.

A committee document clarified students must receive written permission from their instructors and tell the class when they are recording.

Some professors are uncomfortable with students recording controversial political discussions in their class, history professor Dr. David Tengwall said.

“A number of faculty members have raised the concern about students audiotaping their classes,” Tengwall said.

Tengwall suggested their worries are for both themselves and their students and are related to the “contentious” politics of the 2016 presidential election.

In an interview with Campus Current, Tengwall said some faculty are concerned their teaching contracts may not be renewed if their views are seen as too controversial, so they do not want their students recording what they say in class.

Political science professor Dr. Dan Nataf said it is “hypothetically possible” political opinions could affect re-hire decisions “subconsciously,” but called it “a leap.”

“Nobody I know has ever felt specifically threatened for their views,” Nataf said. “Faculty and students should have a sense of complete freedom to say whatever they are thinking.”

Tengwall noted that critical thinking is one of the “core” objectives of all AACC courses.

Arjun Cheema, a business major, said it didn’t bother him when his classmate recorded a math class he attended.

“[If] we got, like, really heated about … [something] political then yeah, I guess it would bother me a little if somebody brought it out of context,” Cheema said.

“I wouldn’t be bothered,” said pre-med student Nick Stroup. “It’s my opinion; I’m entitled to it.”

Students with disabilities who want to record their lectures have different rules under AACC’s Disability Support Services.

According to the AACC Student Code of Conduct, students are not allowed to make “unauthorized” recordings in the classroom or to post them online.

Plus, the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy says student personal information, including political beliefs, is considered confidential, so anyone making a recording should stop on request.