SDSU renames impeachment class, says focus is not President Trump

by Bella Ross, Staff Writer

San Diego State renamed a weekend course after drawing criticism that the class title implied President Donald Trump should be impeached.

Previously titled “Trump: Impeachment, Removal, or Conviction?,” the course will now be called “Impeachment, Removal, and Special Counsel.”

The purpose of the name change was to “accurately reflect this course offered now and for future offerings of this course,” according to a university press release.

“President Trump is not the focus of the course,” Kelly McEtchin, lead student services coordinator said in an email, “but after a review of history of impeachment, it is analysis of what might constitute impeachable offenses.”

McEtchin said the content of the course — taught by a lecturer named John Joseph Cleary — explores the topic of impeachment from many angles, reviewing all 19 impeachments that have occurred throughout U.S. history along with in-depth analysis of Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton’s impeachments as well as Richard Nixon’s resignation. She said coverage about the course from numerous media outlets mischaracterized the content of the course as being purely about the ways Trump could be impeached.

A press release said the course is not funded by taxpayer funds, as SDSU’s College of Extended Studies operates as a “self-support entity.” The fee to take the course is $221 and grants students one unit towards graduation, although it is not a required course to graduate.

Brandon Jones, a political science senior and president of San Diego State College Republicans pitched the story to the college news website Campus Reform, where he serves as a campus correspondent. He said the goal of the website is to expose liberal bias on college campuses, a cause he said the San Diego State College Republicans have made into a priority.

“SDSU definitely had an agenda when they were putting together this course,” Jones said. “We want to hold the university accountable because obviously there’s a clear bias between liberals and conservatives on college campuses.”

Jones said the only textbook for the course, Allan Lichtman’s “The Case for Impeachment,” was written by a “liberal nutjob.” However, he said the conversation might be different if similar courses were offered that discussed a more conservative perspective.

“This would be a different story if we had classes where we were investigating the Clinton Foundation and what happened while (Hillary Clinton) was secretary of state,” Jones said. “If classes like that were offered, it would be much different.”

With the amount of media coverage that instances like this have sparked in the past year, Jones said he worries people forget about the watchdog role of his organization and think the San Diego State College Republicans only address such issues for media attention.

“We don’t do these things to get the hits on Fox News,” Jones said. “We really do think there is a problem happening on college campuses and, for us specifically, at SDSU. We make sure we hold them accountable when the time comes.”

Correction 10:30 a.m.  March 5: An earlier version of this story said Cleary’s information was taken off the College of Extended Studies website after media coverage about his class. His information was never on the website to begin with. The Daily Aztec regrets the error.