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May 18, 2005 [feather]
Some questionable personnel decisions

De Paul University has suspended a professor for engaging in a heated debate with some students outside of class. Last September, Thomas Klocek got into an argument with some pro-Palestinian students at a student activities fair. When they complained to administrators, he was suspended without ever seeing copies of the complaints or having an opportunity to face his accusers; in other words, he was suspended while being denied the due process rights that Du Paul claims to guarantee to professors. De Paul was at first astonishingly open about the fact that it is engaging in viewpoint discrimination; administrators there initially said that Klocek is being punished because he criticized the students' viewpoint and thereby offended them, though they are now more cagily arguing that Klocek is being disciplined for unprofessional behavior. FIRE is defending Klocek.

Meanwhile, Yale University appears to have fired a popular but untenured anthropology professor for having unpopular views--David Graeber is both an anarchist and an outspoken advocate of graduate student unionization. InsideHigherEd has the story.

posted on May 18, 2005 5:07 PM


Can an anarchist believe in unionization?

Posted by: Winston Smith at May 18, 2005 6:01 PM

I find it hilarious how "anarchist" and "advocate for graduate student unionization" are both mentioned in the article light a shocking and filthy thing.

Hilarious AND terrifying. Two sensations I have felt together almost incessantly since 2000.

Posted by: Lynda Hinkle at May 18, 2005 8:54 PM

Isn't it illegal to retaliate against employees for supporting unionization? Is there language in the law specifically excluding universities from the requirement to comply with it?

Posted by: David Foster at May 18, 2005 11:12 PM

In the absence of any real facts on the Yale situation, I'll venture a completely blind guess: this has little to do with David Graeber's leftism and rioting (what would an anthropology department care?), a lot to do with supporting grad student unionization and even more with backing a student against his colleagues.

Incidentally, has one of these aggrieved professors ever not been "popular"? Every professor has some enthusiastic supporters, and the crazier they are, the more rabid their fans are. It seems minimally informative to declare them all "popular", as though someone took a survey of their overall support.

Posted by: JSinger at May 19, 2005 11:35 AM

Simply amazing. Another example of Political Correctism run amok...

Posted by: EdWonk at May 19, 2005 2:27 PM

The stories circulating around Chicago seemed to make it look like an anti-Semitic (anti-Israel) hit on a professor and a move to placate the Muslim students.

Posted by: krm at May 19, 2005 6:21 PM

Who are these panty-waist students who get offended every time someone disagrees with them? HOw do they expect to function in the real world? Why must their complaints be tolerated or acted upon? I hope FAIR drags DuPaul through an expensive and vry public legal battle. One more place my kid won't be attending.

Posted by: Kate at May 21, 2005 11:34 AM