Paul L. Caron
Dean



Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Faculty Joined A Day Of Action To Protest Racial Inequality. Now 2 Are In Hot Water.

Following up on my previous post, State Auditor Tries To Fire Tenured Professor Who Participated In #ScholarStrike:

Chronicle of Higher Education, Faculty Members Joined a Day of Action to Protest Racial Inequality. Now 2 Are in Hot Water.:

ScholarStrikeTwo tenured professors at different universities are in hot water after participating in the Scholar Strike, a national action meant to call awareness to police brutality against Black people.

At the University of Mississippi, the state auditor, Shad White, told the university to pursue terminating James M. Thomas after the associate professor of sociology engaged, according to White, in an illegal work stoppage. White’s targeting of Thomas — first reported by the Clarion Ledger — has been criticized by other scholars as intimidation and an attempt to score political points in a red state. (White did not respond to a request for comment but said on Twitter that people want him to “give this professor a pass” because they agree with the professor’s politics. “No,” he concluded.)

And at Texas A&M University, the dean reported Wendy Leo Moore, an associate professor of sociology, to the provost after Moore indicated she would participate in a work stoppage. For several days, Moore told The Chronicle, she thought she was going to lose her job.

Both Moore and Thomas say their decisions were well within their rights under academic freedom, and believe they shouldn’t face professional consequences for what were pedagogical decisions. And they fear the moves will intimidate their colleagues, including those who don’t have the security of tenure.

Two scholars, Kevin Gannon and Anthea Butler, came up with the Scholar Strike in the wake of this summer’s protests against racism and police brutality.

Inside Higher Ed, Professor Suspended for Scholar Strike Participation

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2020/10/faculty-joined-a-day-of-action-to-protest-racial-inequality-now-2-are-in-hot-water.html

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Comments

The fact that tenured professors (or any other professors) face disciplinary action for participating in this activity provides just one more proof of systemic racism in America.

Posted by: Gerald Scorse | Oct 27, 2020 10:19:05 AM

Regardless of whether you believe disciplinary action in this situation is justified and, if it is, whether it is wise, how does it constitute proof of racism (prof. Thomas is white) and, moreover, racism that is systemic?

Posted by: Robert F van Brederode | Oct 27, 2020 2:50:16 PM

Gerald: "just one more proof of systemic racism in America."

Leaving aside the fact that the vast, vast, vast majority of activist faculty never face consequences for their conduct, advocating violence for example, I'll just point this out to our not-so-intrepid race-obsessed regular:

Both of these individuals are white. Not even biracial. Not even close:

https://liberalarts.tamu.edu/sociology/profile/wendy-moore/

https://socanth.olemiss.edu/james-thomas/

And that is the end of that pseudoscientific rubbish...

Posted by: MM Classic | Oct 27, 2020 7:58:02 PM

Gerald Scorse,

The decision to terminate is based upon an illegal work stoppage, the same thing that would get MOST people fired. It was not for "participating in this activity." Moreover, for those of us who do not presume racist motives behind everything and anything, could you please explain your statement that this is "just one more proof of systemic racism" where the race of the professor was pretty clearly not a factor?

Posted by: Nicholas Haley | Oct 28, 2020 10:33:59 AM

The fact that students paid the university to attend the class, and the professor unilaterally abrogated the student's contractual rights, provides just one more proof of systemic idiocy in our universities.

Posted by: Pillage Idiot | Oct 28, 2020 11:04:15 AM

Gerald Scorse said, "The fact that tenured professors (or any other professors) face disciplinary action for participating in this activity provides just one more proof of systemic racism in America."

No. The fact that tenured professors (or any other professors) believe that they are above reasonable, albeit uncomfortable, criticisms and related interpretations of their employment contracts provides just one more proof of elitist, classist privilege in academia.

Posted by: Biff | Oct 28, 2020 11:08:55 AM

The fact that tens of millions of people in this country think that 'systematic racism' is a valid excuse for all kinds of illegal activity, from not fulfilling a work contract to rioting, looting, and assault, points in the opposite direction. 'Systematic racism' is a bogeyman to excuse bad behavior.

BTW: these millions of people are people with actual power, from professors and university administrators to mayors and national politicians. These people aren't marginalized or oppressed by any stretch of the imagination.

Posted by: Worder | Oct 28, 2020 11:30:14 AM

I laughed when I read the lede, and laughed harder when I read the sanctimonious "You can't do that to me!"

Finally, our nasty betters are getting a bit of their own back.

Posted by: Kathy Leicester | Oct 28, 2020 11:42:49 AM

Systemic stupidity being promoted by universities.

Posted by: Mongo | Oct 28, 2020 11:48:07 AM

Yes, the auditor's effort to gut the entire definition of tenure by excluding the right to be paid for not doing your job is obviously racist. Makes perfect sense.

Posted by: Mike Petrik | Oct 28, 2020 12:03:37 PM

"participating in this activity"

Not working and still expecting to be paid/employed?

"call awareness"

Please. It has been impossible to miss the issue for the last six months.

Posted by: cas127 | Oct 28, 2020 12:24:51 PM

This has nothing to do with academic freedom and everything to do with one's obligation toward one's employer and employment. Seems to me this depends on whether or not the professors arranged for someone to cover any classes or other professional obligation that was occurring at the same time. If neither had done so, I agree with the idea that they ought to be disciplined, although not as harshly as suggested. Academic freedom does not and cannot serve as an excuse for failing in a job obligation to which one agreed when hired.

Posted by: Aggravationicangetatwork | Oct 28, 2020 1:48:01 PM

Fire them. They are paid to work, take leave if they want to protest. Students and taxpayers are under no obligation to fund their virtue signalling.

Posted by: Matthew A Carberry | Oct 28, 2020 3:39:54 PM

When virtue signaling deliciously backfires.

I hope they hire a minority so the profs will feel better about the situation.

Come to think about... they should be resigning to make room for minority hires. I wonder why they aren't...

Posted by: Anon | Oct 28, 2020 5:30:27 PM

Maybe Gerald is right, now that I think about it. Consider these folks: Shaun King, Rachel Dolezal, Jessica Krug, Kelly Sharp, the list keeps growing...

We must live a society so systematically racist that these *white* college-educated individuals had to pass themselves of as black or hispanic in order to know what it feels like to be discriminated against.

Oh, wait, turns out they changed their appearances and skin tones for career advancement!

Posted by: MM Classic | Oct 29, 2020 8:23:01 PM

To several other commenters:

It seems not to have occurred to any of you that the race of the two professors facing disciplinary action has nothing to do with the (pretty obvious) point I was making. They faced these actions *because* they were supporting the black community.

(My oh my: what a furious reaction; I wonder why.)

Posted by: Gerald Scorse | Oct 30, 2020 6:20:47 AM

Gerald: "They faced these actions *because* they were supporting the black community."

By violating their work contracts, they were letting down their students, including their black students. You do sound confused, though: Virtue signaling like this doesn't actually help any community. And mockery isn't the same as fury. It's pretty obvious to everyone with a brain that you assumed these individuals were black when you cried "systemic racism". There's nothing systematic or racist about a boss, who may or may not even be white, from disciplining their *white* employees who violate their work contracts.

Am I wrong? Or do you want to continue to redefine words in the English language just to dig out of a hole you dug for yourself?

Good gried, such rubbish from the left these days...

Posted by: MM Classic | Oct 30, 2020 7:56:37 PM

"what a furious reaction; I wonder why."

Pretty reasoned reactions, actually, since I see absolutely no evidence provided on your part that these two *white* individuals were actually disciminated against due to their race, which is the original and only real definition of racism that most Americans accept.

If I didn't show up for work for any reason other than sick leave or vacation, I'd be disciplined by my employer, too. Of course, I'm just a working man who has bills to pay. I don't live in an ivory tower on campus where I can cry academic freedom for violating my work contact...

Posted by: MM Classic | Oct 30, 2020 8:10:39 PM

P.S. Just thought it was worth pointing out, that I have never seen Gerald react to professors who have been disciplined or even fired for criticizing BLM and affirmative action, some of whom have been Black and Asian, as evidence of "systematic racism" in academia.

Indeed, we will NEVER see Gerald do such a thing, which would require some intellectual honesty.

Posted by: MM Classic | Nov 1, 2020 10:12:40 AM

MM: "It's pretty obvious to everyone with a brain that you assumed these individuals were black when you cried 'systemic racism'" Sorry, but your assumption (and anybody else's) was incorrect. I knew the professors were white. Never assume.

Posted by: Gerald Scorse | Nov 1, 2020 10:16:52 AM

Gerald: "I knew the professors were white."

Yeah, right, because you pointed that out and didn't need to have me do that for you.

Look, if you're going to respond, at least defend your position. You've shown zero evidence of any systematic or racist intent in these disciplinary actions. I've been hearing from leftists for years, literally, that white people cannot be descriminated against.

And you answer to that? Redefine the meaning of racism.

What crap...

Posted by: MM Classic | Nov 4, 2020 7:39:46 PM