Brevard Community College (BBC) professor Sharon Sweet has been placed on leave because she allegedly required her students to sign a pledge promising to vote for President Barack Obama and “Democrats up and down the ticket.” The pledge allegedly circulated around the classroom by the educator came from a GottaVote.org Obama campaign website, Campus Reform reports. The website’s focus appears to be to urge residents to register to vote and is perhaps geared to appeal to younger voters.
Administrators at the Florida college were informed about the alleged political pledge incident from a concerned parent. After discussing the allegations with Professor Sweet, she asked for and was granted a leave of absence without pay.
Brevard Community College Associate Vice President for Communications John Glisch had this to say about the pledge of support for Obama and other Democrats running for office:
“The college will continue its investigation into the matter, which will include interviews with all students in her class.”
Watch Dog Wire reports that an individual with a nephew at BBC brought home a bookmark pledging to vote for Democrats. The student claimed that the item was handed out by Sweet during her algebra class. A tear away attached to the GottaVote.org pledge bookmark required a stated party affiliation. According to the Watch Dog Wire source, the Florida educator often voiced her personal political views in class.
Whether or not Sharon Sweet’s leave turns into a termination for engaging in activities the BBC would consider inappropriate for the classroom, the professor could also face legal problems. If there is proof she required students to sign the political pledge, she could be in violation of a Florida law, which prohibits an employee of the state from using his or her authority for the purpose of influencing another person’s vote.