Denver doctor’s firing for her racist comment on Facebook
“The high cost of free speech,” Dec. 3 editorial.
Contrary to your editorial, I believe it was appropriate for the University of Colorado School of Medicine to terminate the employment of a doctor for making racist remarks on Facebook. While political speech rightly deserves First Amendment protection, racist speech should not be afforded the same protection, particularly when it may serve to undermine confidence in the ability of a doctor to provide the highest level of care to all patients, regardless of skin color or ethnicity.
The argument for an expectation of privacy on Facebook is flimsy at best, and is clearly outweighed by the serious questions raised by racist speech. There is no way to know for sure whether the doctor in question is unable to provide equal care to all patients, but this is beside the point. The fact that she has even allowed the question to arise, through her reckless and highly unprofessional remarks, is good cause for termination of employment.
BBB While I agree with most of this editorial, there is one point I feel I must make. Public employees must, not should, fall under the more stringent rules of exercising free speech when that speech is highly racist. While Dr. Michelle Herren was exercising her right to free speech, and no one should be denied that right, her profession as a doctor at a major hospital automatically puts her in the category of “undermining the mission of the public employer.” Would a racist doctor actually be able to give people of color her best medical performance?
BBB While I agree with the premise regarding free speech in your editorial on Dr. Michelle Herren, I disagree that the execution of her duties would not have a major impact on the valuable services she provides to Children’s Hospital Colorado and Denver Health: How many AfricanAmerican families would want a physician with her views to be in the operating room with their child? Her credentials lead me to believe she made a serious error of judgment, especially against a woman who has worked hard to make America a better nation.
The University of Colorado fired a pediatric doctor who made a racist remark about first lady Michell Obabma on Facebook. The Associated Press