Friday, September 21, 2007

University of Colorado AAUP Condemns Adjunct Firing

The University of Colorado AAUP chapter has just issued a new report about the dismissal of Phil Mitchell, a conservative adjunct history professor fired at the University of Colorado. It's not yet up on a website, so I posted it on mine (some formatting is awkward, and many appendices are not available online.

Let's hope that the defenders of Ward Churchill's academic freedom will also defend Phil Mitchell's liberty. It should be noted that there are three threads to the Mitchell firing, only one of which is the usual story we hear of leftists firing a conservative professor. The key part to Mitchell's 2007 firing was that he embarrassed his colleagues in resisting his 2005 firing. And, of course, he is an adjunct without a union, which makes him extremely vulnerable.


Anonymous said...

Section 6 of the linked document notes that "Zeiler informs Mitchell that a complaint of proselytizing has been made against him. According to Mitchell, the complaint stems from his teaching a novel on Protestant liberalism called In His Steps by Charles Sheldon."

This REALLY rang home for me because I was recently accused of promoting homosexuality in the classroom by showing a picture of a shirtless man in an internationally well-known print advertisement.

It's shameful that spurious claims by ignorant students actually come back to haunt people. If one person complains, sure ...investigate...that's responsible. But for faculty and administration to use it as leverage when all other evidence indicates that was simply an ignorant student who misunderstood [perhaps even actively] the point of an assignment is a crime.

A frightening large proportion of contemporary college students are rampantly anti-intellectual and openly rebel when confronted with ideas that contradict their comfort level. But I think the real threat to academic freedom comes when administration and faculty use this as a means to excommunicate ideologically different colleagues.

John K. Wilson said...

Thanks for your comment. We need, for both complaints against students and faculty, a "grand jury" system to quickly dismiss frivolous complaints in order to avoid a chilling effect. I'd love to find out more about the shirtless incidents, contact me at