An instructor who was fired for enrolling in his own classes at Bishop State Community College, in Mobile, Ala., should be reinstated and given back pay, an arbitrator has ruled, according to a report in the Press Register, a local newspaper.
Henry Douglas, an instructor in Bishop State’s culinary department, was terminated by the college when a state audit revealed that he had enrolled in 10 courses that he himself was teaching, and was listed as taking six other courses at times when he was scheduled to teach. The Press Register reported in 2007 that he received six A grades and one B in seven courses.
Mr. Douglas argued that he had taken the courses at the behest of administrators at the college, who thought that his associate degree needed augmentation. The instructor and his lawyer contended that the courses were taken as independent-study courses, and that Mr. Douglas was not in fact teaching himself.
Herman Packer, the Bishop State employee who had supervised and advised Mr. Douglas, was also fired after the situation came to the attention of state officials. Mr. Packer was also reinstated earlier this summer in a separate arbitration procedure. He will serve a seven-day suspension.
James Odom Jr., the arbitrator in the case, decided that a reprimand issued to Mr. Douglas by the college was sufficient, and that taking any other action against the instructor was unfair. —Richard Byrne