U. of Colorado Scholar Will Return to Teach ‘Deviance’ Course

A sociology professor who accused the University of Colorado at Boulder of pressuring her to retire over concerns about a classroom skit on prostitution will return next week to resume teaching the course in which the skit took place, The Daily Camera reported.

Faculty leaders criticized the university’s handling of Patricia A. Adler’s case, saying that her academic freedom had been violated and asserting that the university had been inconsistent in justifying its actions. Later a committee of Ms. Adler’s peers in the sociology department cleared her to resume teaching the course, and the department’s executive committee signed off on that recommendation.

In a written statement on Thursday, Ms. Adler asserted that the university had “backed down” from its initial position. She said the fact that the course had to undergo intense scrutiny to reverse the university’s “jump to judgment” was “a sad statement on what is occurring in universities.”

She added that universities and schools were “increasingly sacrificing academic freedom as they become more concerned with risk and liability than with creating an environment in which creativity and ideas can flourish and students can be challenged to expand their horizons.”

Bronson Hilliard, a Boulder spokesman, told the newspaper that the university stood by the statements it had made in the case, saying they were not meant to attack Ms. Adler. He said the administration would work with faculty members to determine how in the future the professor could obtain informed consent from students in the skit.

“What’s important is that students understand they won’t be penalized in any way if they choose not to participate in the skit and that they give their official consent for participation,” he said.

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