Category Archives: Academic Freedom

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Trinity Professor Whose Comments Drew Threats Is Put on Leave

The Trinity College professor whose online comments about racial issues and the police drew national attention, including threats that led the Connecticut institution to shut down briefly, has been placed on paid leave, the college announced late Monday.

Trinity’s president, Joanne Berger-Sweeney, wrote that “a leave is in the best interest” of both the college and the faculty member, Johnny Eric Williams, an associate professor of sociology. Ms. Berger-Sweeney added that the dean of the faculty…

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Trinity College of Conn. Closes Over Threats After Conservative Website Targets Professor

Trinity College, a small, private institution in Connecticut, closed on Wednesday following threats to the campus that appear to be tied to a faculty member’s recent online comments about the police, reports the Hartford Courant.

“Given the threats to campus and upon consultation with the President’s Cabinet, the decision has been made to close the college until further notice,” says a statement on the college’s website.

Johnny Eric Williams, an associate professor of sociology, had written mess…

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Adjunct Says She Was Suspended Following Appearance on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’

An adjunct professor at Essex County College, in New Jersey, was suspended two days after her appearance as a political commentator on the Fox News program Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Lisa Durden, who is also a talk-show host and pop-culture commentator, appeared on Mr. Carlson’s show this month to discuss a Memorial Day event hosted by Black Lives Matter organizers that was open only to black attendees. Although Ms. Durden did not disclose her affiliation with Essex County College on the show, a co…

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Nashville State Is Accused of Spying on Investigation of Its Oppressive Climate

Nashville State Community College maintains such an oppressive climate for its faculty members that it sought to monitor and interfere with efforts to ask them about it, according to a report commissioned by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Nashville State’s executives sought to surreptitiously identify which faculty members were being confidentially interviewed by investigators from Middle Tennessee State University. Several administrators, including George H. Van Allen, the college’s presid…

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Texas A&M President Calls Professor’s Remarks ‘Disturbing’

Updated (5/11/2017, 5:10 p.m.) with comment from Professor Curry.

The president of Texas A&M University at College Station has rebuked a professor after a conservative commentator drew attention to four-year-old remarks in which the scholar referred to the killing of white people.

In a column in The American Conservative titled “When Is It OK to Kill Whites?,” Rod Dreher describes comments by Tommy Curry, an associate professor of philosophy at A&M, as “racist bilge.” In a second post Mr. Dreher…

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Tennessee Law Is Hailed as Offering Unprecedented Protection of Campus Speech

A new Tennessee law prohibits public colleges from disinviting speakers based on their controversial viewpoints or from charging student groups higher security fees to host speakers expected to trigger unrest.

Among its other provisions, the measure, signed on Tuesday by Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, requires colleges to adopt broad protections of free expression consistent with a landmark statement adopted in 2015 by the University of Chicago. It also bars public colleges from limiting studen…

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Duke Professor Resigns After Facing Discipline for Challenging Diversity Training

Paul Griffiths, a professor of Catholic theology at Duke University, has resigned after facing discipline for his barbed criticisms of diversity training, a fellow faculty member confirmed.

Mr. Griffiths, who did not respond to emails seeking comment, has abruptly announced his decision to resign, effective in the spring of 2018, according to Thomas Pfau, a professor of English and fellow member of the Duke Divinity School’s faculty. The resignation followed months in which Mr. Griffiths clashed…

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Judge Rules Against Marquette Professor Over Public Rebuke of TA

Marquette University was justified in disciplining a professor who had publicly rebuked a graduate teaching assistant over her handling of classroom discussions of homosexuality, a state judge ruled on Thursday.

The judge rejected the argument by John McAdams, a tenured associate professor of political science, that academic freedom had given him the right to attack the graduate teaching assistant by name in a blog post. Noting that the student subsequently received threatening emails from the b…

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Lecturer Who Tweeted ‘Trump Must Hang’ Apologizes and Deletes Account

Updated (4/12/2017, 3:02 p.m.) with statement from Fresno State’s president.

A lecturer at California State University at Fresno who tweeted that “Trump must hang” has apologized for the statement and deleted his Twitter account.

The instructor, Lars Maischak, acted after the president of Fresno State, Joseph I. Castro, condemned the tweet and said the university would participate in any federal investigation of the incident. Earlier this week Mr. Maischak said his message had been taken out of …

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Fresno State President Vows to Cooperate in Investigation of Lecturer Who Tweeted, ‘Trump Must Hang’

The president of California State University at Fresno has promised to cooperate in any resulting federal investigation following a lecturer’s tweet that appeared to call for fatal violence against President Trump.

“The university is taking this matter seriously and handling it in accordance with applicable law and policy, as well as our traditions of academic freedom and the requirements of the faculty collective-bargaining unit agreement,” Joseph I. Castro, Fresno State’s president, wrote in a…