and politician Jose Joaquin de Olmedo
once said, “Public opinion
and free speech are the sword that protects
the tree that is liberty.” Hello and welcome
toCase Closed.These words are
so relevant nowadays, especially in our country. Let’s see what
our first case is about. Please bring out
the litigants. As a teacher,
my duty is to teach. It’d be hypocritical of me
not to teach my students how to live
in the real world. There’s a big difference between teaching
and manipulating. Everyone’s free to decide. -Good afternoon and welcome.
-Good afternoon. -Zulema, you’re suing Itzel.
-Yes. Tell me who she is,
why you’re suing her, and what you’re requesting
to settle this case. I’m suing her
for defamation. I’m a Communication Sciences
teacher at a university. I assigned my students
a project but she took my words
and twisted them. I lost my job,
got in a world of trouble. -I have to watch my back…
-Hold on. -Don’t interrupt.
-Sorry. You’re moving very fast
and I’m missing the main idea. You’re a Communications
professor? Communication Sciences. You teach at a university.
Is she a student? -Former student.
-Former student? Understood. You organized a debate
in one of your classes. What was it about? It was an exercise. I brought a picture
of Trump and asked them to voice
their opinion about him and our community. Some came up to the podium
and expressed themselves freely. It was a private event. This young lady here
recorded everything. Please wait.
You’ll have your chance to talk. Now pay attention
to the suit. So…
She… What happened?
She recorded you? Exactly.
I didn’t know she was recording. The problem was that
the debate got so heated… Some of them got into it.
I supported them. I said I agreed
and supported them. I also supported the ones
that support Trump. I voiced my understanding. I asked them not to let
themselves be manipulated. “Be smart.
Have your own opinions. You have the right
to vote. Don’t be afraid
to express yourselves. Talk without fear.”
That was it. She took that video… This university has a website
called Rate my Teacher, where you can say
if you liked the class or not. Rate my Teacher.
The name says it all. I understand.
Teachers can be rated. She posted a link
to her video on the site. She completely twisted
the message I tried to convey. She showed me as an extremist,
a communist. -She said I was exaggerating…
-A liberal. That I manipulated others… According to her, I was telling people
the president was no good, etc. -It’s your right.
-I voiced my opinion. I asked the students to not
be manipulated and be smart. They don’t have to agree
with me, though. They can say
whatever they want. Now, tell me. Are people allowed to record
classes in this university? Some don’t allow for classes
to be recorded. It’s allowed for personal use,
for study purposes. If she’s struggling in class,
she’s allowed to record it… It’s a tool.
She can’t post… She never asked
for my permission to post it. I posted it on Rate my Teacher,
not to social media. Hey!
Settle down. You need to calm down. Above all else,
you need to calm down. What happened after
she posted the video? I lost my job.
Now I have to watch my back… I’m being harassed
by some of my former students. They vandalized my car
in the school parking lot. -They wrote messages…
-Trump supporters? Yes.
I assume. They’re getting back at you
for speaking up. -Because you’re against him.
-Yes. -You lost your job?
-I lost everything. My reputation as a teacher
has been ruined. I’ve been blacklisted. The school
won’t give me references. I was fired
because of her. What about her?
Was she suspended? I was suspended
for two weeks… She got suspended
while they investigated it. She got back to class,
I didn’t. Now,
I’m home alone… What do you demand? For her to pay for what she did.
I demand $20,000… Where do I get
that money? Tell me, what was she like
as a student? Average at best.
She wasn’t… -So-so?
-Exactly. Here’s another thing.
She showed up… My students knew I liked
to quiz them on Fridays.. We’d study during the week,
and on Fridays I’d pick one… I asked her several questions
and she couldn’t answer them. You asked stuff from
the beginning of the term. I asked her questions
I’d ask any other student. They can vouch for that. I could tell she wasn’t
getting it, so I failed her. She posted that video
to get back at me. She said I was a terrible and that I manipulated others
into thinking like me. So you don’t think
she had political motivations. You think she was getting back
at you for failing her. I confronted her about it. When I heard she’d posted
the video, I went to her job. I know where she works. I didn’t show up as her teacher.
This was personal. She did this to hurt me,
not because of the debate. I asked her
what her problem was. I never insulted her.
Never. We got along.
This was a general exercise. Did she talk to you? She said she’d remove the video
in exchange for a better grade. -I never said that.
-Did she really? Did you record her response? No, no…
Of course not. I believe you have to fight
fire with fire. An eye for an eye,
a tooth for a tooth. That’s what
we’re reverting into. Okay.
how do you respond? Good afternoon,
ma’am. You know what?
She’s driving me crazy. I’ve had it with her.
I demand a restraining order. She keeps showing up
at my job… Please let me talk.
She blames me for being fired. -That because…
-Because it’s true. In all honesty, I think
she did something unethical. She showed up with a picture of
Trump, started badmouthing him and she was manipulating
everyone. Hold on. What does the word manipulating
means to you? To me, teaching is nothing
more than manipulating the student’s minds
into learning something. Manipulation isn’t always
a bad thing. It all depends
on what’s being manipulated, how, and to what purpose. The problem nowadays is
that people take your words and twist them
into something bad. She voiced her opinion. We weren’t the only ones
talking. What’d she say
that seemed so inappropriate? She compared our president
to a Nazi, to Hitler. She even…
I recorder her. You can clearly hear her say
we’re about to go to war. -She’s exaggerating.
-It’s on video. And you don’t agree… -Did you bring me the video?
Let’s take a short break. When we return,
we’ll I’m going crazy here.
I don’t even know what to do. Let’s watch that video of yours.
Let’s watch it, please.I want you to express
yourselves.Voice your opinions.How do you feel about
President Donald Trump?He’s not my president!She doing nothing
but spreading fear!Her teaching methods
are extremely aggressive.What’s that? -That’s not what happened.
-No? -So the video’s wrong?
-I was supportive of them. That’s not what I said. -So that’s not you?
-This is wrong.-Pardon?
-I don’t agree with you.Listen, I told her
I respected her opinion. You heard it.
I agreed with them. Why’d you do that?
Why bring a picture? She stood up,
but I respected that.What’s wrong with you?Why are you spreading panic
amongst us?Listen.-You’re calling to war.
-We can say what we think.-You shouldn’t…
-No, no…Open your eyes.There you have it.
I told them I supported them. Universities have always
been this way. It’s their job
to help us think. To openly criticize people when
we disagree with their ideals, their political views
and style. -There are other ways to do it.
-Other ways? Not necessarily attacking…
Or being so… Are you saying she offended you?
You’re Ms. Sensitive. You think Trump
needs your help? I think not! I’m not a racist and
I don’t support Donald Trump. Okay. I know criminals
are being deported. No one’s being deported,
only undocumented people who shouldn’t have been
here in the first place. Not much is happening,
you know. Which is why… She’s within her rights
as a teacher. As a student,
I have rights too. Not to post a video on social
media without her consent. I did no such thing. -Where did you post it?
-On the school website, on “Rate my Teacher.” I just can’t agree
with her teaching methods. So you just record stuff you
don’t like to hurt people? -Exactly.
-I didn’t mean to hurt her. Then why’d you do it? To show people the type of
teacher she really is. -They should learn on their own!
-I have the right… She flunked my class
because she never studied. Now she’s trying
to blackmail me. -Do you have witnesses?
-Yes, ma’am. Please bring the plaintiff’s
witness out. Here’s the scary thing
about this case. It’s not the witness
but what I’m about to say. We’re scared
to express ourselves. Our thoughts. We’re scared. We’re starting to think,
“I shouldn’t say this. I wouldn’t want
to offend anyone.” These people are taking action
and it’s starting to hurt us. This is serious.
What’s your name? Hello, ma’am.
I’m Oscar. I’m here on behalf
of Professor Zulema. -She manipulated you.
-What’s your testimony? She didn’t.
I was there the day of the test. When it was Itzel’s turn,
she started talking nonsense. She’s a spoiled brat who goes to school
to do absolutely nothing. How do you know? When she realized
she was failing, she said she’d post the video. She did,
and as you can see, the video leaves Mrs. Zulema
in a really bad light. I asked her to stop
and to take it down. She said she’d do it when
she received a passing grade, See? So you think
she did all this to get back at her teacher
for failing her? That and because
she’s spiteful. -To get back at her.
-Yes. -She wasn’t prepared.
-She’s a spoiled brat. -Do you have witnesses?
-Yes, ma’am. It’s actually more
of a testimony. She’s someone I know.
After this happened… People are talking about Donald
Trump and deportations because of people like her
who spread panic. -She’s scared.
-That’s her opinion. She’s a teacher!
What’s wrong with you? -Get informed.
-Nothing’s wrong with me. There must be because you
refuse to see things clearly. Okay. Let’s go talk
to our witness. She’s an immigrant
and doesn’t want to… We’ll protect her identity.
I know. -Hi.
-Good afternoon, ma’am. -How are you?
-Not too good. Ma’am, I came to this country
years ago undocumented. I crossed the border looking
for a better life. I have no living relatives
in my native land. I have a three-year-old baby. -Born here?
-Yes, he’s a citizen. He goes to school and…
I’m really, really scared. With everything that’s going on,
I honestly… I’m very anxious.
I don’t feel like going out. I can’t go
to the supermarket. I can’t even take my son
to school. Itzel’s my neighbor. Sometimes I ask her
to drop him off… because I’m scared
Immigration will find me. I’m scared they’ll be
at my son’s school when I’m dropping him off
and that they’ll deport me. I’m scared I’ll never
see my son again. It’s hard, ma’am. Listen to me. Take my advice. Act the way
you’ve always done. You’ll be drawing attention
to yourself if you don’t. Not a lot is going to happen. People talk a lot,
but nothing’s happening yet. These immigration raids are not being ordered
by this administration. They’d been ordered
prior to that. The immigration problem
in this country is nothing new. It’s been years since we had a comprehensive
immigration reform. Right now,
you need to calm down. If you start acting differently and start paying attention
to everyone, you’ll go crazy. Act like you always did.
You’re a good person. -You’re not a criminal.
-I’m not. You take care of your son. Don’t change. Be free. Don’t believe
everything you hear. Most of it is nonsense. -Okay?
-Okay. Thanks. Let’s take a short break.
We’ll be right b Let’s bring out Dr. Madeline
Hernandez, psychologist, which might come in handy
right about now, since we’re all
going through this. Professor Daniel Alvarez,
Theology professor at FIU and journalist Jose Benegas. -Good afternoon, ma’am.
-Good afternoon. Are the public’s fears
justified? Should they feel censored and unable to talk
and express themselves? Should they fear deportation? Most of them lived
without a care… Are their fears justified
psychologically? Yes, they are, ma’am.
We’re social beings. We depend on the information
we get from other people for our own good. To determine our future,
our financial well-being and our society’s political
is in our nature. We need to keep ourselves
well informed, especially now that social media
allows us to do so. Even if sometimes things
are out of proportion… -And distorted.
-Absolutely. Things get twisted, distorted,
they’re not always… clear. Okay. Is this affecting
our universities? Yes, very much. From personal experience… I speak on local and nation
TV channels and radio stations. I use that to vent my worries
and reservations. And believe me, I have my
reservations about Mr. Trump. I don’t express my opinion
in my classes, though. Why not? I don’t want to find
myself here, being sued by a student
who claims I’m using a state university
to voice my opinion. Listen,
as a teacher, FIU gives me the freedom
to express myself. However, it won’t allow me to…
For example, campaign stuff. Or use its grounds to campaign
for a specific candidate. I get that.
I do. -Lately, the mood …
-She’s spreading panic. Shut it with the panic stuff!
This is a free country! We’re free
to express ourselves! It’s out biggest right and one
we must protect at all cost! Am I right,
Mr. Benegas? The worst conspiracy
is silence. People should be allowed
to speak their minds both in school grounds
and on social media. What’s so important
about voicing our opinions and spreading
our knowledge? It’s not about being right,
but about having evidence. It’s not about being part
of the winning team… Which is what
we’re discussing. It’s about having concrete
evidence to what we’re saying, why we’re saying it, and letting the students
make their own minds after they realize that there
are different points of view. Whenever there’s
a terrorist attack, we tend to think everyone in
that city is in grave danger. That’s not the case. And not because
it’s what’s on the news, but because what caught our
attention was that one story. -That one story.
-Hold on. -I disagree.
-Why? There’s a reason
to be alarmed. On January 25th
an executive order was signed, giving immigration
agents the power to deport whoever they
might consider a criminal. They feel free now. Their hands were tied under
the Obama administration. Now they’re free to deport
anyone they want. The memorandums released from
the Office of Homeland Security are extremely worrisome
for any immigrant. This president is not only
anti-immigration. He is, above all,
-I’ll never forgive him! I hold him responsible
for spreading fear amongst Hispanics
in this country! Nicely said.
I agree. We can’t act like that,
though. We can’t,
Professor Alvarez. As communicators,
we have to spread the word. We can’t be afraid. Being afraid draws attention
to ourselves. We need to be cautious,
we need to be careful. We need to talk,
we need to march. She said Trump
was spreading fear, that people should stop coming.
That’s not right. We need to talk
with one another. As a Hispanic woman, you should
support others like you. That’s right.
Inform yourself. Okay? My ruling. I believe you were
wrongfully terminated. The university didn’t
have your back because… I don’t know why.
No one told me. I think they should be mentioned
in this lawsuit. They should’ve been here along
with the defendant, trying to justify your
termination. Unless there was
a specific policy that forbade you
from doing this. Since no one mentioned it… They should be here,
facing you too. You want $20,000?
You deserve it. However, I think you should
receive half from her and half from the university. I grant you $10,000
to be paid in 30 days because you maliciously
posted that video online. -I don’t have it.
-That’s my ruling. Case closed!
Ask Trump for it. -Justice!
-Ask Trump for it.