Retaliation against Professor for disagreeing



I want to talk some more about this tenured philosophy professor who was fired, because it isn’t just the firing, it’s the overkill that is truly amazing here. While in the “normal” world a pink slip is usually enough, the rulers in higher education revel in displays of power over their underlings.

There’s a powerful culture of fear on campus now, especially when it comes to dealing with admin. These guys are, all too often, nuts, mad with power, and with no respect for any rules of decency or common sense.

Seriously, even tenured faculty find themselves keeping their mouths shut now. This poor fool spoke up, and the petulant rage flowed:

“Further, because of your conduct and its impact on the university, you have been designated persona non grata,” the letter continued. “As such, you are not welcome to visit the university’s campus or to attend any university activities or sporting events on the university’s property. Failure to comply with this directive will result in legal proceedings.”

Persona non grata? Seriously? For disagreeing with the Poo Bah? Much as ancient Egyptian pharaohs would obliterate all traces of their enemies, to the point of scraping faces off of statues, the same fate awaits those who dare resist the Poo Bah’s authoritah:

Their profile pages had been scrubbed from the university’s website by Monday afternoon.

It’s not over, of course, as the Poo Bah (justifiably) sees enemies everywhere:

“…found incontrovertible evidence of the existence of an organized, small group of faculty and recent alums working to undermine and ultimately cause the exit of President Newman.” He added that the university would “hold those individuals accountable for these actions.”

Seriously, faculty have been working in the culture of fear in higher education for many years now…if we’re going to change things, we know we need to work clandestinely. What other possible result could come of severe punishments for those that speak publicly?

For what it’s worth, I really doubt the Poo Bah is pushing this new plan out of integrity. The bottom line is our schools have been focused on growth to an obscene level, to the point that graduation rates are ridiculously low. Up until now, a school with a 0.6% graduation rate would be rewarded for having good growth (even if much of that growth was through fraud), but it’s possible these days are finally coming to an end, and the new definition of “retention” is just focusing on future measures of school success besides growth.

But perhaps I’m being cynical here, and the Poo Bah is honestly a decent person trying to help students. Are the actions of the Poo Bah so far, namely petty and vicious retaliation, those of an honest and upright man? No, they are not. Thus I conclude this plan has nothing to do with integrity, nor a belief in education, because our leaders in higher education care and know nothing of such things…the Poo Bah has his marching orders, and he’s just executing anyone who won’t follow along what is, coincidentally, a more honorable plan than taking advantage of our kids as they stumble out of high school.

The executions include getting rid of tenured faculty, “job for life” rubbish be damned.

So, I again maintain tenure is nowhere near as great as people outside of academia think. In theory, you can only be fired from tenure after a due process is followed. Time and again, of course, I’ve seen administration casually disregard due process…you have to fight, and fight hard, to get admin to follow the rules, because they’re so untouchable that they see no need to follow the rules.

The fired tenured professor lacks my experience (probably because he hasn’t spent time at a questionable community college), and is stunned at the blatant misbehavior of the Poo Bah and admin. He at least was spared more gravedancing by the Poo Bah, who wanted to call him back to campus (despite the persona non grata designation) for some extra browbeating:

“…the letter, obtained by The Chronicle, also said that as a tenured faculty member, he had the right to attend “an initial in-person meeting to advise you of the reasons behind the decision” and to invoke a “notice and appeal” process. It then asserted that Mr. Naberhaus had declined to participate in such a meeting on Monday, an accusation that he disputes.

“The due process is supposed to occur before someone is terminated” if they have tenure, he said. “You’re going to fire me first and then have talks about whether the firing was justified or not? That is crazy.”

–you can see the referenced letter here; I have similar documentation of how pinheaded confused admin at a community college is regarding the concept of due process.

At first I thought this the old “you missed the secret meeting nobody told you about, so we’ll hold that against you too” ploy…admin has a large playbook of dirty moves, but I’ve had the displeasure of seeing most of them firsthand. Actually, there was a different reason the professor didn’t go to the meeting:

He also challenged the administration’s claim that he had refused to attend the meeting this week to discuss his firing. He said he had decided not to attend after he was told that he could not record the meeting, nor could he have legal counsel present.

So many of our “leaders” in higher education act like criminals, it’s reasonable to conjecture that they may well be criminals. It’s a safe bet the Poo Bah had legal counsel available, and would have had such at the meeting…why wouldn’t he want the (formerly) tenured professor to have the same? Knowing that administrators lie so readily, I can understand why the admin didn’t want the meeting recorded, at least…

Luckily, the fired faculty is at a school with a tradition of honor and integrity. Thus, he’s not alone, and other faculty are willing to speak up at this inappropriate treatment of one of their own. I’m glad to see there are still some schools with faculty like this:

“They also passed a resolution with near-unanimous support calling for Mr. Naberhaus and Mr. Egan to be reinstated.

Mr. Naberhaus said he was pleased to see such a movement growing among the faculty. The local AAUP chapter, created just last week,…”

–note: “near-unanimous” support from the faculty. The gentle reader should consider the treatment this tenured philosopher received, and weigh it against my claim that there are sycophants in the faculty. When the kangaroo court is set up, wonder who will be on the committee? If the gentle reader cannot guess, allow me to remind the reader that administrators get to pick who is on committees…

I’ve mentioned the AAUP before, a union of faculty. I have some qualms about unions, but considered them all the same (and received much smackdown at my community college for even mentioning them). I still feel they can only make a real difference if accreditation mandates institutions to allow unions, but until then, the fired faculty is getting what should happen at every institution: the faculty standing together for integrity, instead of fracturing into factions representing the standards of integrity, sycophancy, and incompetence…integrity being the smallest faction by far at too many campuses.

I wish him luck. I grant that having tenure does give him some protections: he gets fired first, and then gets to talk about the firing with the Poo Bah who fired him. Even if he gets his job back, other tenured faculty are definitely taking notice here, and dropping their heads even lower. Tenure doesn’t mean much against an overnight declaration of persona non grata and having one’s face scrubbed off, after all…