Poli sci lecturer refusing to wear mask will no longer teach class

An announcement to PSC 1387 informs students that Goniprow will no longer be teaching their class.

By Ana Ruiz Brictson | Staff Writer

Political science lecturer Stephen Goniprow will no longer be teaching “U.S Constitution, its Interpretation and American Politics” starting Oct. 18. Earlier today, students received a series of emails informing them of the change after the class had been set to go back in person.

Goniprow’s class was initially moved online Sept. 8 after he refused to wear a mask, and it was scheduled to return to the classroom today. Baylor did not release any information regarding disciplinary actions or its decision-making process.

When students arrived to Bennett Auditorium in Draper 130 for class, they found a note on the door that read, “PSC 1387.04 and 1387.17 with Mr. Goniprow will not meet today, October 15, 2021.”

Students in his classes also received an announcement from Goniprow himself through Canvas that said, “Dear all: We’re going to have class today, over Zoom, starting at 11:30. Attend the lecture if you can. Best, Professor Goniprow.”

Following that, students in the 11:15 a.m. class never received a Zoom link to enter the lecture; instead, they received an email at 11:55 a.m. from their teacher’s assistant that said, “Hello all, There will be no class today, either in person or online. Please be sure to complete the assigned reading for today. Best, Mr. Natali.”

At 12:46 p.m., students received another announcement from Goniprow.

“Today’s class is canceled. The following message from the administration explains why: ‘Professor Goniprow, I have had a conversation with representatives of the Dean’s and the Provost’s Offices, and the consensus is that your classes today should not meet at all, either in person or online. Because of the most recent developments, the future of your association with your classes is uncertain, and you should not communicate with your students for the time being.'”

Goniprow then said in his email that he knows many students will be frustrated with the turn of events and angered by the deprivation of the education they had paid for.

“Please bear in mind that the administration is intensely concerned for your safety. From cutting off you’re WI-FI in the middle of the night, to implementing a system of medical apartheid on campus, the administration has demonstrated time and again that every measure it has imposed on you to flatten the curve has come from a deep place of love and concern for your well-being. Make no mistake: this is all about your safety. It has been my great pleasure to teach this class, and I wish you all the best.”

At 6:17 p.m., students received an email from office manager Janice Langston announcing Goniprow will not be teaching this course the rest of the semester.

“Students, This is an update to PSC 1387.04 and 1387.17. These classes will resume as scheduled in person on Monday, October 18, 2021. Professor Rebecca Flavin will be teaching the course on Monday and perhaps on Wednesday, pending the identification of a new instructor who will complete the semester. These courses will not be canceled. Masks will be required.

Houston junior Catherine Elrod, a student in Goniprow’s class, said she wishes the situation would have turned out differently.

“I’m a little sad,” Elrod said. “I wish we could’ve continued online instead [of returning] to in-person.”

Elrod said she believes Goniprow made the situation worse after he emailed the class with what administration had to say. She said many of the students in the class, however, were on Goniprow’s side.

“The level of abuse that students experienced for speaking out against him was impressive,” Elrod said about the Zoom chat, which students were asked by Goniprow to stop using.

Elrod said it was hypocritical for Goniprow to tell students to stand up for what they believe in yet silence them once they did, as seen in the video published in the last update.

Goniprow’s employment status remains unknown. The Lariat will follow up with this story as new information is released.