A course that generated controversy last year when it was initially named to suggest it centered around the impeachment of President Donald Trump has returned for summer 2019, and it continues to include discussions of the current administration in at least half of its curriculum.
The course, a one-unit class offered by the College of Extended Studies, is titled “Impeachment, Removal and Special Counsel” and teaches the history of the American government with seven sections, two of which include specific mentions on Trump and one that includes discussion of the “indictment of a sitting president.”
SDSU College Republicans President Madison Marks-Noble said she believes the syllabus displays a clear political bias.
“I don’t think it should be so President Trump focused,” Marks-Noble said. “If you’re going to have an impeachment class, teach people about impeachment proceedings but you should focus it on impeachments that actually happened.”
When the course was created, it was originally titled “Trump: Impeachment, Removal, or Conviction?” A university press release sent out after the course received significant media attention said the title was changed to “accurately reflect this course offered now and for future offerings of this course.”
SDSU’s Turning Point USA Vice President and political science sophomore David Pomeranz said he sees no reason why the course needs to focus on Trump when there are other, more tangible, cases the university could teach.
“If the content was really about impeachment and removal of special counsel, we have nearly 300 years of history to go over, so i’m not sure why half the class has to be about Trump,” Pomeranz said.
Despite her perception of bias in the course’s material, Marks-Noble said there is value in learning about these processes.
“I think it is important to know how impeachment processes happen because we do have that right to prevent a tyrannical government, so I do think it is important to learn about it,” Marks-Noble said.
While the syllabus does make specific references to Trump, some students said they feel the course isn’t as Trump-centered as some have made it out to seem.
“The way I perceive it is is as a class that focuses more on the impeachment process and the removal of leaders throughout history,” journalism sophomore Nicholas Brown said.
Brown said he thinks the nature of the Trump administration’s actions makes him relevant to the course material.
“If the crime administration” — the name Brown used to refer to the Trump administration — “had not carried out these impeachable offense then there would be no reason to tie in present day politics,” Brown said.
Brown said, despite what others might believe, the changing of the title of the course and its content should have been enough to put this issue to sleep.
“I believe changing the title and the content solves the problem and makes it less of a partisan issue and more of a United States policy issue,” Brown said.
Sustainability senior Marcus Li said he sees no issue with courses having a political agenda.
“I think it is important to push the political agenda, obviously you shouldn’t sway people to any side, but it is important to educate people about it,” Li said.
Li said, as long as the class is based on facts, he believes the course content is necessary for students to understand as they head into their futures.