March 08, 2004

This Is Appalling

Not only has Penn State-Altoona fired a theater professor, apparently for criticizing her colleagues, but Southern Miss is firing two professors for aiding an AAUP investigation against an administrator.

These cases are EXACTLY what academic freedom is supposed to protect. The whole point is for faculty to feel free to say controversial things--and that includes controversial statements that might annoy the administration.

Yet another reason why faculty need better organization. These schools should be unable to hire anyone for any position. I suppose this post may ensure that they won't be hiring me, but I'd rather not work somewhere where I have to be always looking over my shoulder.

Via Kieran Healy and Ralph Luker, among others (follow their links).

(Declaration: The PSU-Altoona professor, Nona Gerard, is known on the Pittsburgh theater scene; she directed plays for Unseam'd Shakespeare, on whose board my mother sat, and I saw her reverse-sex production of The Importance of Being Earnest--in fact, I used my pull to buy tickets a bit before the box office opened. So this one is personal.)

Posted by Matt Weiner at March 8, 2004 09:15 PM

Indeed. What makes all of this so appalling is that the two USM profs were simply an annoyance. There will be activity on campus tomorrow, however, and I hope that the faculty senate's unanimous vote of no confidence means that this goes to the board of regents quickly. I hardly think that keeping Thames in his position is worth the national attention this is getting.

Posted by: Scott at March 8, 2004 09:23 PM