Give Social Justice in Film and Literature its Due

As two students that currently sit in Tom and Bo classes (one in the class to be mentioned, one who was planning on taking) we are deeply frustrated with the decision to rescind the class “Social Justice In Film and Literature” taught by Dr. Tom Roche and Bo Smith from the spring 2020 course catalog.  While we are not sure where this decision ultimately came from, there is not a single defensible reason for the choice. One argument that has been given is the fear that the class would fill up at the expense of other, tenured English professor’s classes. Thus, the Carroll community is about to lose out on an exceptional class only offered once because of the feelings of faculty. 

Why should Tom and Bo be punished for offering an exceptional class, while serviceable classes are protected?  Where is the concern for the students who will lose out on an impactful academic opportunity to encounter social justice, a notion that John Carroll rightly embraces?  One notion the class encourages is to speak up about injustices we notice and experience in our lives. To not speak up about this would be going against the spirit of the class. If you had the privilege to take a class with Tom and Bo or know students who have, you certainly understand the passion they exude and instill for the subject matter.  They are special people, recipients of JCU’s Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Award, and if this decision is not reversed they will only offer one course in the spring. We hope as many students as possible have the opportunity to interact with Tom and Bo in the classroom.

This class, which students who are currently enrolled in rave about, was constructed by the professors this past summer at the request of the department.  As disheartened and disappointed as we are, we can only imagine the confusion and disappointment felt by Tom and Bo once the class was unceremoniously removed from the catalog after only one semester.  We sincerely hope whoever is responsible will reverse this decision for the good of the John Carroll community.  




Joseph McCarron ’20 and Ronie Rafael Altejar ‘20