Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What is Wrong with University Administrators? Why So Bullheaded? Why So Thin-Skinned? Why Take Such Drastic and Final Action Based on Complaints from Two Students?


Today Lawrence Connell, the professor who was suspended from teaching at the Widener University law school after two students complained about the examples he used in his first-year criminal law course, filed suit for defamation against the law school dean, Linda Ammons.

On February 24, 2011, Dean Ammons submitted a Statement of Reasons for Dismissal for Cause for Professor Connell. The allegations accused him of exhibiting racism and sexism in his teaching, among other charges. On March 7, a committee set up to investigate these charges determined that the University should withdraw the Dismissal for Cause action. On March 16, Connell’s lawyer Thomas Neuberger issued a press release stating that Dean Ammons had chosen to disregard the recommendation and had ordered the two students to re-file their complaints against Connell. (The university issued its own release declaring its commitment to due process and a fair trial.)

According to Neuberger, the case will now go to a university hearing in which the panel is composed almost entirely of administrators, not faculty members, and where the lawyer will not be allowed to cross-examine witnesses. It is in light of this impending hearing and Professor Connell’s view that he will inevitably be fired that he is bringing this lawsuit today. He believes Dean Ammons is seeking to remove him because he is a conservative, a belief he explains in his interview with NAS.

Read more. For another story on the issue read here.

2 comments:

Jim said...

When Mr. Connell defends himself, he says "No man who fights without pay to save the life of a Black man is a racist." He could not be more wrong. One act, positive or negative, does not define a person.

In addition, if I'm not mistaken, the allegation is that he said racist and sexist things, not that he is a racist or a sexist. Too often, when people are held accountable for doing or saying something racist, they run to the "I'm not a racist!" argument which is such a copout. It's a deflection and a refusal to accept responsibility for what they did. Be a man and apologize for the racist thing you said or did. No one said you are a racist, you just did something racist. There is a difference between the two and just because you can "prove" you aren't a racist doesn't mean you didn't say or do something racist.

A. B. Caneday said...

Jim,

But in our world, when someone accuses another of saying racist or sexist things, it is a charge that smears the person as a racist or sexist. Those who hurl the accusations know the potency of the charges. Furthermore, those who make the accusations are extremely thin-skinned.