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Jul 1, 2005 2:54 pm

Latest from IU

Marian College professor Pierre Atlas has an impressive analysis of the continuing controversy over IU-Indianapolis law school's personnel standards. Untenured associate professor William Bradford, you might recall, had an"excellent" rating in scholarship, teaching, and service; a publication record that exceeded that of some of his long-time senior colleagues; and yet received 5 negative votes (of a total of 15) on his reappointment.

To explain the outcome, Bradford has cited complaints about his" collegiality" coming from two leftist professors, complaints that seem to have increased after he publicly defended Bush's preemptive war doctrine and refused to sign a petition defending Colorado's Ward Churchill. Atlas received extensive comments from one of Bradford's key critics, Professor Florence Wagman Roisman, who dismissed Bradford's claims as"ridiculous." Indeed, Roisman continues, there could be no repercussions for Bradford's political positions, since"most of the faculty here are fairly conservative." To Roisman,"it is deeply offensive and outrageous that anyone would suggest that either Mary Mitchell [another left-wing Bradford opponent who has published next to nothing in 25 years as an IU faculty member] or I would base any decision about a colleague on their politics. We are devoted to the principle of academic freedom."

OK, let's take Roisman at her word. The vote, again, was on reappointment--which has a lower threshold than does tenure. I presume that IU does not normally deny reappointment to untenured faculty who are rated excellent in scholarship, teaching, and service. Roisman, Mitchell, and their three allies say that they did not take into account their disagreement with Bradford's political positions in voting against his reappointment. So, then, what criteria did they use? Perhaps they have very high standards, and believe that for a professor to be reappointed after his third year, he should have at least 30 law review articles or book chapters, rather than, as in Bradford's case, only 20. Or perhaps the Law School dean should require them to recuse themselves from future votes regarding Bradford.

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william c. bradford - 7/3/2005

Thanks, Raph--I look forward to the extended conversation. And David, I really hope not to have to sue to vindicate my rights, particularly since I'd like to have a long academic career--but if I have to I certainly will.

Ralph E. Luker - 7/2/2005

I have meant to say "Welcome to Cliopatria" to Professor Bradford. We're delighted that you've joined us for this conversation.

David Silbey - 7/2/2005

[i] That is something that will be discovered in pre-trial discovery[/i]

Pre-trial discovery? Are you suing someone?

william c. bradford - 7/2/2005

That is something that will be discovered in pre-trial discovery. Anecdotally, it is our understanding that there was no more than 1 vote against reappointment in any case going back over the past fifteen years.

David Silbey - 7/2/2005

What votes did other, non-tenured professors get on their reappointments?

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