DFO: Did you feel roughed up in any way when you spoke to the Pachyderm Club earlier this spring?
PB: No. There were some pointed questions. There were people who made long statements that didn’t require a response. Meeting with groups that have concerns are part of the job. I see folks in the Pachyderm Club in a lot of other settings.
DFO: Does the Republican dominance in Kootenai County bother a person like you who is from Democratic western Washington?
PB: It sounds like you’re assuming I’m a registered Democrat. I come from a family of Republicans, I grew up in Texas. I’ve lived in upstate New York that’s predominantly Republican. I’m flexible. People are good. I don’t think politics defines the person or value and worth of community.
DFO: How far is too far re: academic freedom and political speech?
PB: The faculty enjoys right of academic freedom in classroom. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to inject political expression in classroom. No litmus test re: how much is too much.
DFO: Do you think it was appropriate for the college to refund Linda Cook’s money?
PB: In the circumstances, I think it was appropriate. I would not say it set a precedent.
Complete interview here