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Old March 12, 2010, 06:09 AM   #1
LanceOregon
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AR-15 Incident at Portland State U Continues to Spark More Controversy on Gun Control

The division among students, teachers, and administrators at Portland State University in Portland, OR continues to grow this week, as many nervously await the results of investigations into the incident last November when a student brought a disassembled AR-15 into class, and a later incident on January 14th this year when the professor of that class publicly accused the student who had brought the rifle as being a Federal "agent provocateur", employed by the FBI to entrap students at the University into committing crimes.

The student, 30 yr old Zachary Bucharest, grew up in Portland, OR, but holds dual US and Israeli citizenship. Prior to coming to Portland State to study, he served 6 years with the Israeli Defense forces fighting in both Lebanon and Palestinian Territory as a sniper. One of the most charismatic and popular students on campus, Zachary is very involved in the student government. He has a concealed handgun permit, and is suspected of having carried handguns concealed on campus, in violation of University rules. It is also said that he encouraged other students to buy both guns and ammunition, and also obtain concealed handgun carry permits.

Here is a recent photo of Zachary:




Economics Professor John Hall is 57 years old, and has taught at Portland State University for 25 years.

Here is a photo of Professor Hall:




Now the careers and future at Portland State of both men is in jeopardy, as school officials try to get to the bottom of all of the allegations that are currently flying about each man.

Zachary claims that the disassembled AR-15 that he used in his class presentation in November had the firing pin removed from it, and was thus deactivated. Professor Hall never filed any complaint about Zachary bringing the AR-15 to class back in November, until his outburst on Jan 14th Zachary even notes that he received a B grade from Hall for his presentation with the AR-15

In his scathing public diatribe of Zachary in class on Jan 14th, professor Hall accused him of being a combat veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, carrying concealed handguns on campus, and secretly being a FBI agent, attempting to lure students into committing Federal crimes involving firearms and explosives. He said that Zachary was obsessed with his past, and even showed students scars from bullet wounds on his body.

After the January 14th incident, both Zachary and Professor Hall retained lawyers, and complained to the University. In addition, Professor Hall wrote a letter to the head FBI agent in Oregon, asking why the FBI was financing Zachary's operations on the PSU campus Here is a link to his letter to the FBI:

http://media.oregonlive.com/news_imp...20to%20FBI.pdf

In the letter, he also claimed that Zachary had illegally gained access to records at the county sheriff's office about him.

Faced with this intense controversy, Portland State administrators decided to allow Zachary to continue to attend classes while an investigation is being conducted. However, it decided to suspend Professor Hall, greatly upsetting many student and faculty supporters of Hall at the University. Both student and alumni organizations have since filed complaints with the University over the handling of this controversy.

If you think that this story is all too bizarre to be true, well, I can assure you that this all did indeed happen.

If you were the University Administrators at Portland State, how would you handle this controversy? Would you allow Zachary to continue on with his education? Or should he be expelled for bringing the disassembled AR-15 onto campus? Or what about the allegations that he has secretly carried a concealed handgun on campus?

And what do they do with Professor Hall? Should he be allowed to return to the campus to teach?

Here is a link to a comprehensive news story all about this matter.

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index...n_student.html

======================================

Confrontation between student and professor at Portland State University raises growing questions about school security and guns on campus

By The Oregonian

March 06, 2010, 6:35PM

One afternoon last November, a Portland State University economics student gave a class presentation on what he described as the U.S. military's flawed reliance on one of its key combat rifles.

As a visual aid, Zachary Bucharest hauled out a duffel bag and withdrew the disassembled parts of a Colt AR-15, a semiautomatic version of the military M-16. For the next 15 or 20 minutes, he kept professor John Hall's class engrossed as he lectured about the weapon's inferiority to the foreign-made AK-47.

bucharest.jpgView full sizeFaith Cathcart/The OregonianZachary Bucharest talks about his confrontation with professor John Hall at his attorney's office.PSU policy forbids firearms on campus by anyone except police. But no one in the economics class -- not even Hall, a tenured professor -- reported the incident to campus security or administrators.

Bucharest's presentation marked a pivotal moment in a drama that now threatens to scrub the career of a beloved professor and sully the reputation of a promising student leader.

The climactic event came in the closing moments of class Jan. 14, when Hall denounced Bucharest as a government informant and killer. He then reported to school police that he suspected Bucharest of carrying a gun on campus. The professor also sent a letter to the head of Oregon's FBI asking whether the bureau was bankrolling Bucharest as an agent provocateur.

Campus administrators responded by suspending Hall with pay (Suspension letter.pdf), saying he dishonored the university and violated Bucharest's privacy. They ordered Hall to turn in his office keys and barred him from campus while they investigated.

"Prof. Hall's conduct has created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion," Carol Mack, a vice provost at PSU, wrote (Carol Mack letter.pdf) to university President Wim Wiewel on Feb. 3, "and I believe that his presence on campus would only escalate the situation."

---

Americans have been hypervigilant about safety on college campuses since a student opened fire at Virginia Tech in April 2007, killing 32. Campus safety experts across the nation have followed news accounts of the PSU dust-up, which opened a public discourse about the nature of school security, academic freedom and the constitutional right to bear arms.

"It seems that this professor had a concern," says security consultant Steven Healy, former director of public safety at Princeton University, "and probably addressed it other than how we would want someone to address the issue."

JohnHall.jpgView full sizeProfessor John Hall's challenge to Zachary Bucharest led to suspension of his teaching duties.Some of Hall's students have stepped forward to defend him. They say Bucharest, a 30-year-old combat veteran with a permit to carry a concealed handgun, was so preoccupied by his past that he spoke often about guns, warfare, explosives, martial arts and the science of bullets penetrating flesh.

Hall's most ardent supporters have declared his public scolding of Bucharest a heroic act. They say the professor was only trying to protect students and himself from a combat veteran who seemed to be suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. And they wonder why Bucharest has been allowed to stay on campus.

PSU's correspondence on the flap obtained by The Oregonian -- along with interviews of Bucharest and his lawyer, Hall's attorneys, PSU students and teachers, campus administrators and the head of security -- offer the clearest account yet of how two outsize personalities collided on campus.

Economics professor John Battaile Hall, 57, has taught for 25 years at PSU. He's a popular lecturer in a subject that -- in less-capable hands -- is drier than summer cheatgrass. He brews homemade beer, holds patents on two wood-burning stoves and was once named teacher of the year in economics.

Zachary P. "Zaki" Bucharest shaves his head and allows a skinny beard to snake down his cheeks and chin. A 1998 graduate of Lincoln High School, he's a charming man with a staggering number of friends, a position in student government and an intriguing life story.

Bucharest holds dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship. He came to PSU in 2006 after serving much of the previous six years in the Israel Defense Forces. In an interview with The Oregonian, Bucharest said he was trained as a sniper and served in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Bucharest says he looked up to Hall, who made the study of economics fascinating. Like lots of Hall's students, he spent many hours in office sessions. It was during those sessions, Hall would later write, that Bucharest boasted of being a sniper who "killed more than a few people" and "showed me scars on his chest from bullet wounds, relics of his combat experience."

The young man talked freely about his exploits. He told classmates about police seizing weapons from his apartment on Northwest Flanders Street -- two Glock pistols and a 12-gauge pump shotgun -- when a buddy accidentally shot a hole through the ceiling. And he told friends about destroying a textbook with detonating cord -- and videotaping the episode -- after getting angry with a different professor.

Then came Bucharest's AR-15 presentation last fall in which he demonstrated the upper and lower receivers of the semiautomatic weapon.

---

Charles Merten, a lawyer representing Hall, says the professor was surprised to see Bucharest pull out the rifle parts in class and never gave him permission to bring them in. But Bucharest says Hall gave him permission on two occasions and later awarded him a B-plus for his presentation. Bucharest says the weapon was inoperable because he removed the firing pin before bringing it to class.

Fellow students say Bucharest's bravado ramped up after the AR-15 presentation, and he began to encourage classmates to buy guns and ammo.

Economics student Daniel Dreier, 26, found himself drawn into what he would later characterize as Bucharest's "paramilitary culture." He suggested to Bucharest that they buy Hall an AK-47 as a gift, and students soon talked of pooling up to $400. But Dreier says he soured on the idea when Bucharest was hesitant to buy the weapon from a gun shop.

On Dec. 4, during the economic department's annual holiday party, Bucharest talked with a classmate about how to make a firebomb using the explosive compound RDX.

The classmate, who declined to be named for this story because he fears retribution from PSU administrators, says he felt Bucharest was trying to get him to incriminate himself about radical activities.

"You're a fed," he recalls telling Bucharest.

The classmate says Bucharest later threatened to punch him, and Dreier, who was there, backs up that account. But Bucharest denies making any such threat.

In another incident in January, Bucharest and Dreier ended a night of drinking seated in a parked car just off campus. Dreier's girlfriend, 23-year-old Dana Scheider, had driven downtown to pick him up and joined them for a round or two. She was behind the wheel, waiting for the alcohol to wear off before driving.

Scheider recalled that Bucharest rested a pistol on his lap and threatened to put a bullet in the car if she drove. She thought it was Bucharest's eccentric way of keeping her from driving impaired. Bucharest denies pulling out a pistol or making any such comment.

By Jan. 12, Hall had heard reports from students that Bucharest was trying to get them to buy guns and ammo. Then that day, during an office session, he learned about Bucharest's firebomb chat.

"He felt the need was urgent to do something," Merten says.

Hall made no official complaint to PSU about Bucharest, although he spoke in confidence to a campus administrator he won't name, Merten says.

---

By the morning of Jan. 14, according to Merten, Hall was convinced that the best way to protect himself and his students was to call Bucharest out publicly. First, Merten says, he stopped at the school's public safety office and asked an officer to come frisk a student he suspected of carrying a firearm on campus.

The director of public safety, Michael D. Soto, says Hall declined to file an official report or provide any information about the student, so his office took no action.

In his comparative economics class that afternoon, Hall glanced at the clock and -- with 15 minutes left in the session -- began to accuse Bucharest of being a government snitch. The professor put a letter on an overhead projector and began reading portions of it aloud to the roughly 40 students in his class, including Bucharest.

The three-page letter (John Hall letter to FBI.pdf), addressed to Arthur Balizan, the FBI's special agent in charge for Oregon, made a series of disjointed accusations. Hall's letter accuses Bucharest of trying to draw innocent students into crimes and tells Balizan he suspects someone in the FBI office of promoting his work.

"My suspicion is that your office is seeking such manipulated and incriminating information as a way to criminalize and thereby implicate these students' future careers, as well as reduce their earning potential over the span of their working lives," Hall wrote to Balizan.

The FBI later reported that Bucharest never had any association with the bureau.

When the professor finished his excoriation that day in class, he took a photo of Bucharest and handed him a ripped manila envelope that contained a copy of the letter.

"Give this to your superiors," Hall said.

Bucharest, who sat in shocked silence during Hall's diatribe, recalls muttering three words as he walked out: "It's a pity."

Hall later told campus police he suspected Bucharest of carrying a gun. On his office door, the professor put a photo of Bucharest, along with his name and student identification number.

Bucharest lodged a formal complaint against Hall with PSU administrators and hired Elden Rosenthal, a Portland lawyer.

Five days after Hall's public accusations against Bucharest, students packed into the classroom to hear three senior PSU administrators talk about Hall's abrupt departure. Many of the students voiced outrage that Hall had been sent away while Bucharest stayed at PSU.

Hall's outburst divided the campus.

"This is a tragic misunderstanding," says Samantha Alloy, a friend of Bucharest's. "Professor Hall is a well loved and respected guy, but he made a tragic mistake, whether it was because he was having paranoid delusions or he thought it was in the best interest of students."

For now, the university finds itself hip deep in complaints. The administration is investigating Bucharest's complaints about Hall, and campus security is investigating Hall's complaint that Bucharest carried firearms on campus. This week, a handful of students and alumni met with PSU President Wiewel to complain that the administration hasn't adequately addressed their complaints.

"We take all concerns regarding safety on campus very seriously," says PSU spokesman Scott Gallagher.

-- Bryan Denson and Noelle Crombie
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Old March 12, 2010, 06:39 AM   #2
rattletrap1970
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This professor sounds like a complete whackjob.
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Old March 12, 2010, 08:26 AM   #3
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It does sound like the Professor has a screw loose, but the student also has some issues. If the rules of the University state that no guns are allowed on campus, no guns are allowed on campus. The professor had two options when the AR showed up in his classroom: 1. Tell the student to get it out of there ASAP and warn him to keep his guns off campus or 2. Report him to student affairs and/or campus police.

The likely result of University action would have been a 1-2 semester suspension of the student (although it may have escalated into expulsion) and a probable police investigation by the local PD, none of which would be out-of-line or unexpected.

I'll probably get flamed by people saying, "when you outlaw guns only the outlaws will have guns" but we live in a society of rules and laws. If you cannot follow the rules and laws, you are punished. If you want to change the laws, go ahead. But follow the ones in place. As long as the State law does not preempt the schools ability to keep guns off campus, the student was in violation of the law. If there is a State preemption in Oregon, that is a whole other kettle of fish.
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Old March 12, 2010, 10:31 AM   #4
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The professor does seem to be a nut. The key problem I see is the delay between the presentation and the accusation. There appears to be no link between the presentation and accusation and hence the presentation does not appear relevant to the claims.

The suspension of the professor for his unfounded public accusations while the investigation is ongoing seems prudent. Allowing the student to continue his education while the incident is being investigated is also appropriate.

With that said, I am curious as to the angle of comparing the M16 to the AK47 for an economics presentation.
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Old March 12, 2010, 10:44 AM   #5
LanceOregon
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Quote:
With that said, I am curious as to the angle of comparing the M16 to the AK47 for an economics presentation.

I must say that I also wondered about that as well.

Does the student perhaps have grounds to sue the University for all of the crazy things the professor said about him? Or is he limited to only suing the professor?

Things sure have changed a lot since I was young. When I was in Junior College, I took two target handguns onto campus with me when I gave a presentation on the sport of NRA Bullseye Pistol shooting. No one in the class seemed scared, either.

And I later brought my Anschutz target rifle onto the San Jose State campus many times back when I was on the rifle team there.

I now wonder if any college or university in California today has any exceptions that allow students to bring a firearm onto campus? I sort of doubt it.

.
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Old March 12, 2010, 10:49 AM   #6
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Except for the AR (school project) I see no evidence of guns being brought to the school. Except foir the profesors rants, I cant see where the student did anything.

I might have missed it, but where was the student expamined by a doctor and confirmed to be suffering from PTSD. Where is the evidence the student did anything the professor claims he did (working for the FBI, checking SO records, etc).

What I do see is the professor dosnt like the student.

What I do see is a bigger problem here. We have thousands of vets going to school and we are involved in two wars (plus past wars). I also know that many of these vets are combat vets.

I also know that we have thousands of people in this country who dont like the military or vets. Many of these are professors or are in other places of power.

We cannot let these people ruin the lives of our vets by claiming, without evidence, the vet is suffering from PTSD.

Think about it; for example, how many vets like firearms, look at this site and others, there are thousands. Or own homeland security seems to think just being a vet makes you a canidate for being a terrorist. Do we want to prevent Vets from owing firearms, or attending college because some idiot without any evidence says he/she is suffering from PTSD.

I vote, fire the teacher and let the student alone unless he is convicted of something of medicaly judged to be suffering from PTSD.

Where is the due process............where does it say Vets are exempt from due process.
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Old March 12, 2010, 10:52 AM   #7
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Sounds like everyone primarily needs to step back, take a deep breath and relax. Professor Hall, in addtition, needs a big steaming cup of STFU and an application for sabbatical. Come back when you're well rested.
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Old March 12, 2010, 10:52 AM   #8
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Being in the profession - it sounds like two 'interesting' folk came to collide in class. Seen it before.

That's why when we a student who says he want to write a paper about gun control for his liberal professor - we suggest another topic, like your summer vacation and your pony.
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Old March 12, 2010, 06:39 PM   #9
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We really don't have all that much information here beyond a bunch of unsubstantiated he-said, she-said. What we do know is this: Bucharest did indeed bring an AR-15 into the classroom as that has been stated by himself, Prof. Hall, and several other students. We also know that Hall engaged in a verbal attack of Bucharest in class as that has also been stated by Bucharest, Hall, and other students. Finally, we know that there were no official complaints or disciplinary action against Bucharest prior to the Jan. 14th incident and that Bucharest continues to attend class while Hall is on paid leave. Based on this information, I am inclined to come down on the side of Bucharest for the following reasons:

I find it very strange that Prof. Hall would not immediately take some sort of disciplinary action following Bucharest bringing the gun to class if doing so were a violation of college policy and/or law. Hall's failure to do so leads me to believe that the weapon probably was rendered inoperable beforehand as Bucharest claims or that there was at least a prior arrangement. Likewise, given that Bucharest's bringing of the weapon to class seems undisputed, I find it strange that the college would allow him to continue to attend classes were this a violation of what is typically considered to be a very serious policy. This leads me to believe that a weapon that is rendered inoperable, as Bucharest claims, probably is not a violation of school policy.

Likewise, Hall's accusations and the manner in which he brought them seem strange to say the least. After reading Hall's letter to the FBI, I can't help but think that he may be somewhat paranoid. His conviction that the local authorities have files pertaining to his past and his assertion that he lives in an "emerging police state" are probably the most telling of this. Likewise, I find it odd that Hall would choose to confront an individual whom he considered to be unstable and possibly armed in such a direct and public matter.

Bucharest's response of filing an official complaint with the college and hiring a lawyer seems much more rational to me. Likewise, I find it odd that none of the other students who now seem to find Bucharest so odd, crazy, or threatening bothered to state so in any official capacity until after Hall's suspension.

While further developments may change my leanings, Hall's erratic, dramatic, and seemingly irrational actions make Bucharest's side of the story seem more believable to me.
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Old March 13, 2010, 12:16 AM   #10
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Wonder if the Professor has his own ptsd demons?

His actions are in fact stereotypical. Absent some concrete proof (which so far had not been shown) they seem to be on the verge of clinical psychosis.

As to the time delay between the bringing the disassembled and inoperative rifle to class as a visual aid (certainly not the brightest thing in today's political climate) and the accusations, perhaps that was the time needed for the Professor's fears to reach a level he felt he had to act on?

Based on the info given, I think the University took a very correct action. They could have gone into a knee jerk reaction, but did not.

One problem with the PTSD accusation is that, depending on the mindset of the interviewer, anyone who differs even a little bit from the "norm" can be adjudged as having PTSD. And it does not have to have been combat stress. While one would hope most of those making such a medical judgement would have a degree of clinical detachment, the possibility of someone with a personal agenda being a such a position cannot and should not be overlooked. Such a person, with a personal dislike of fireasrms ownership, firearms enthusiasm, a grudge against things military, etc., could do tremendous harm to someone like the student with a basically false PTSD diagnoses. This is something to be very cautious about.

Personally, I feel it time for the good professor to retire and no longer be in a position to influcence young minds, but that's just a personal opinion. I would also recommend he be kept away from sharp objects and things that can start fires.
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Old March 13, 2010, 09:52 AM   #11
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I'm sort of with Glenn E. Meyer. It sounds like a collision of egos.

Of course I'm the flip side on papers. I caution my students against writing pro-control papers for me. Actually, I'd prefer papers about other topics than gun control, since I know the arguments so well and I think it is hard for students to do really well in that context (no matter which side they choose, they fail to address the important arguments of the other side).

Although there are lots of suggestions on the forum that the professor is just nuts, I think you have to take into account the general idiosyncrasy (and passion) of faculty. He may be nuts, but he may just be decidedly quirky, and you'll see either in a university environment. Taking the student to task in front of a full class was clearly out of line though. I'd wager that as the specific cause of the professor's suspension.
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Old March 13, 2010, 10:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
We really don't have all that much information here beyond a bunch of unsubstantiated he-said, she-said.
Except that we know that the professor is already suspended for his actions which means the University has already decided the professor has crossed the line for proper conduct or very likely has crossed the line of proper conduct and the U wants to shut him down before he might do additional damage. This is interesting because the professor was accusing the student of misconduct.
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Old March 13, 2010, 11:23 AM   #13
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The Student violated the rules by bringing a firearm on campus without prior permission. The professor failed to report or complain about this violation. Both parties have equally contributed to the current situation. The Professor further aggrivated the situation by politicizing it.

I believe the school was correct in sanctioning the professor as he is a representitive of the school, and should have at a mimimum advise the student of the school firearms policy. It was the professors responsibility to notify the police about a firearm on school property.

This entire incident is at best unfortunate. I suggest that a soloution is available. This soloution will satisfy all parties. I suggest that a steel cage be erected over a roped in canvas covered platform. And that both parties shall darn speedo's, and be smeared with axle grease, and be allowed to defend their own position in a physical debate.
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Old March 13, 2010, 04:05 PM   #14
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I think the College professor needs a swift kick in the seat of his pants. One doesn't publicly "out" someone like that without accumulating some evidence. More evidence than hearsay from other students.

And if the FBI really was using the student, does he really think they'll reply with a letter confirming it? Idiot.

I'm also bothered by a 2-month time delay between the presentation and the tirade. There's also a comment about Bucharest showing off his scars.... so frackin' what? If it was just the two of them talking and the prof was a skeptic, scars are good proof... besides, he probably earned every one of them.

This reminds me of one of my nephew's teachers. He "went off" on a student in San Diego when he learned the student had been with the Marines in Fallujah. Called the student "one of Bush's executioners" and "a murdering coward". Students took it up with the school and the prof was suddenly "on leave".
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Old March 13, 2010, 10:30 PM   #15
Webleymkv
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Originally posted by Glenn Dee
Quote:
The Student violated the rules by bringing a firearm on campus without prior permission.
Actually, that hasn't been established. While it is undisputed that Bucharest brought the rifle onto the campus, whether or not doing so was a violation of policy is not clear. Bucharest claims that he did not violate policy because the firing pin was removed rendering the weapon inoperable and because he received prior permission to bring the weapon. At most schools, violation of a no weapons policy warrants immediate expulsion, but Bucharest remains in class even though he admits to bringing the rifle to school. This along with the lack of complaints in September makes me inclined to think that Bucharest did not violate school policy because he both rendered the weapon inoperable and received prior permission from Hall.
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Old March 14, 2010, 12:38 AM   #16
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The student sounds as if he has boundary issues - recognizing when to discuss things and when not to (and with whom).

That said, he is the student. Lots of students display behavior that is either immature, sophomoric, or affectedly bizarre.

The professor had many other options to register a calm complaint via University channels, and/or to address his concerns privately - rather than writing a letter to the FBI accusing them of planting a paid informant in his economics classes, and then having a meltdown during a course.

He is the professor - ostensibly the (more) adult figure in the situation. The responsibility is his to ensure that University policy and decorum are observed.

I don't even think the gun in the classroom aspect (disassembled or not) is the primary issue for the professor - he gave the student a "B" for the presentation! The professor seems far more concerned that the student is leading fellow students 'off the path of righteousness', however he defines that politically. Someone else made the astute observation that none of this bozonity has much to do with economics.

University faculty members can hold notoriously liberal political opinions, and students who are 'military-minded' can obviously push all their buttons. Still, if civil discourse is the goal for society at large, it remains the responsibility of the faculty not only to model that behavior, but to 'teach' students when their behavior fails to meet minimum expected standards.

In this case the student is guilty of being provocative, certainly, but the professor is far more to blame for failing to respond in a measured, dignified, and professional manner...as one might expect from a university professor, liberal or not.
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Old March 14, 2010, 12:53 AM   #17
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In life, as in love, it takes two to tango. Perhaps the two of them should settle their differences with a runcible spoon fight

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PS: free gun swag to the person who explains to the class from what novel the runcible spoon reference is derived
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Old March 14, 2010, 01:24 AM   #18
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In Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow," an exhibition fight with runcible spoons is held.
Sometimes Wikipedia is good for something.
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Old March 14, 2010, 01:27 AM   #19
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PS: free gun swag to the person who explains to the class from what novel the runcible spoon reference is derived
A reference to Gravity's Rainbow perhaps?

EDIT: aw shucks, it looks like someone else was faster on the keyboard. I really wanted to know what a gun swag was.
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Old March 14, 2010, 07:42 AM   #20
RDak
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WOW - most of this just because he brought a disassembled AR-15 into the classroom for a presentation on its flaws. Then everything goes downhill after that.

My God, how times have changed.

The fact the professor is taking such an extreme stance even has the faculty and administrators at the university worried. As they should be.

When I was in college I took a military history course as an elective class. One of the presentations dealt with some students bringing in flintlocks, bolt action Springfield type rifle and semi-auto rifles (AR type and M1 Garand) to show the progression of military firearm designs, etc.

Everyone was riveted and very interested in the presentation. I would imagine the students were graded an A in this presentation. Nobody asked or cared if the firing pins were in the guns and all the guys did was show us the firearms were all unloaded before they proceeded.

My God, how times have changed.
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Old March 14, 2010, 11:08 AM   #21
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An editorial this week in the school's newspaper has defended Professor Hall's actions. Here is a link to it:

http://www.dailyvanguard.com/allegations-101-1.2189699

And here is what it says: ( NOTE: I added the highlights in RED )


Allegations 101

Professor Hall acted with real concern for his students


By Will Blackford

Vanguard staff
|

Published: Friday, March 12, 2010


Jan. 14, 2010—a day that will live in Portland State infamy, Professor John Hall accused student Zachary Bucharest of being a government informant at the end of an economics lecture. Whether or not what Hall did was the right thing at the right time, it seems he had some solid grounds for suspicion.

Professor Hall used a portion of his economics class to denounce Bucharest as an informant for the FBI, and accused him of trying to incite students to violence. Hall claims to have spoken out based largely on concerns brought to him by students.

Bucharest, a student leader in ASPSU, has since denied the allegations and hired a civil lawyer to defend him in what could easily become a heated legal battle.

The incident caused a stir of media as the story was picked up by the Vanguard, The Oregonian and the Associated Press. It has also caused a bit of controversy and a strange atmosphere of fear surrounding not only the idea of students wielding weapons at school, but also the implications—assuming there is any truth to the allegations—of having an agent provocateur at a public university.

There really is no way to know whether or not Bucharest is a government agent. Not to sound too much like a conspiracy theorist, but the FBI would never admit such a thing even if it really existed. This isn't an argument for proving that he is an informant, merely a statement proving how impossible it would be to do so. All we can do now is try and understand why Professor Hall did what he did.

The claims surrounding Bucharest's activities—the very activities that led Hall to confront him in front of his fellow students—are many and they come from many different sources. A recent Associated Press article quotes student Daniel Dreier as saying that Bucharest showed him a gun that he carried on campus on a number of occasions, though it should be noted that Dreier has since voiced concern that Bucharest has been misunderstood in the situation. Other stories, such as reported in The Oregonian, describe Bucharest bringing a disassembled AR-15 rifle to class for a presentation on its inferiority to the AK-47.

Regardless of the he-said-she-said nature of most evidence (Hall says he didn't give Bucharest permission to bring the rifle, Bucharest said he did), it seems very unlikely that Hall would have gone to such great lengths to accuse Bucharest had he not believed there was a real danger.

Professor Hall is a tenured professor who has been teaching at Portland State for almost 25 years. He has lectured in Zambia and eastern Germany, where he claims to have had similar experiences with government informants. It is unlikely that a man of Hall's experience and standing at the university would have put on the display he did without good reason.

Hall's good intentions were influenced not only by Bucharest's bringing a rifle to class, but also by the concerns of a fair number of students. According to an Associated Press article, Bucharest, a former Israeli military sniper, talked openly about his exploits with guns and explosives, including an incident in which he destroyed a textbook with detonating cord and videotaped it after getting angry with a professor.

Even forgetting for a moment the question of whether or not Bucharest is involved in government affairs, a man who takes out his aggressions by destroying books with explosives is clearly unstable. Unstable people who allegedly carry firearms around campus are certainly cause for concern.

It is also difficult not to raise a suspicious eyebrow at the way the university is handling the incident. The university has placed Professor Hall on leave until the resolution of the matter, and for that I can't blame them.

But what has the university done to the man who has brought rifles to campus, and has been accused by multiple students, not just Professor Hall, of trying to incite violence and sell guns to students? Nothing. This could be an unimportant detail or a bureaucratic matter, but it's certainly worth consideration.

Adding up the facts, little there may be, and the concerns and testimony of a number of students close to the matter, leads to a reasonable cause for alarm. Could Professor Hall have dealt with the matter differently or privately? Absolutely. But the fact remains that he acted out of a real interest in protecting his students and campus safety and integrity.

Professor Hall may have acted wrongly in bringing such a matter into class time, but he had real and compelling reasons for doing so.


.
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Old March 14, 2010, 05:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Professor Hall may have acted wrongly in bringing such a matter into class time, but he had real and compelling reasons for doing so.
The is no real and compelling reason to bring up the matter during a class. Basically, the professor slandered the student, plain and simple. Unless the class was full of administrative officials and campus police, then there is no way that the professor was acting in the interest of the students or university.
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Old March 14, 2010, 07:22 PM   #23
johnwilliamson062
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So is the professor publicly claiming to have attempted to subvert the FBI. Isn't interfering with an FBI investigation illegal.
As others stated, both might be a little off their rocker. One has a decent excuse.
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Old March 15, 2010, 09:30 AM   #24
Glenn E. Meyer
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It is unbelievable theatre. The editorial acumen of school newspapers is not that impressive - more the impulse of the young.

I still find bringing the gun to campus as amazing. Dis-assembled - baloney. Anyone can put it together in a few seconds.

The school is pooping their pants over managing these two.
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Old March 15, 2010, 06:58 PM   #25
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There is one thing that is a bit compelling about this whole charade.

If the student brought the firearm to school, without permission, and/or against school policy, then the Professor was duty bound to report this immediately. He didn't. In fact, 2 months pass before anything is said about it.

This lends a great deal of credibility to the students own account that he had permission.

This also tells me that something transpired in that time frame (between the student and the professor? possibly) that we know nothing about. It could be a culmination of many "little things" that set off the professor. However, the letter to the FBI indicates that something else is going on here, and it doesn't necessarily have to do with the student.... Other than being used as the scape goat.
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