Impeachment class at SDSU sparks controversy

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego State University course titled “Trump: Impeachment, Removal or Conviction?” has caught the attention of national conservative media outlets, but SDSU officials said the class isn’t actually focused on getting President Donald Trump out of office.

The weekend-long, one-credit class will be offered in March as part of the criminal justice program in the university’s College of Extended Studies.

According to the course description, the class will focus on the “two constitutional grounds: impeachment and removal (25th Amendment), and the possible charges of the independent counsel, the powers of the president, a history of the creation of that office and the comparison of divine right and rule of law leadership, presidential impeachments, including (President Richard) Nixon’s de facto impeachment” and more.

A story about the class first appeared on Campus Reform, a website that aims to “expose liberal bias on America’s campuses.” The article states the course is “dedicated exclusively to the topic of removing Donald Trump from office.”

But university officials disputed that claim.

“The course presents an overall framework of impeachment, removal or criminal investigation of a president and rather than focusing on President Trump, reviews all 19 impeachments in U.S. history,” according to the university.

The spokeswoman stressed that the College of Extended Studies is a self-supported entity and the course is not funded through taxpayer dollars.

One of the co-authors of the Campus Reform story questioned the veracity of the university’s statement.

Brandon Jones, who is also president of the SDSU College Republicans, pointed to the course’s required reading as proof of its anti-Trump agenda.

The lone assigned book, Allan Lichtman’s “The Case for Impeachment,” was written following Trump’s election and attempts to “lay out the reasons Congress could remove Trump from the Oval Office: his ties to Russia before and after the election, the complicated financial conflicts of interest at home and abroad, and his abuse of executive authority,” the back cover reads.

“The bottom line is they’re offering a course with a clear agenda,” Jones said. “As far as not being funded by the taxpayers I’m not going to take their word for it.”

Class instructor John Joseph Cleary could not be reached for comment.