More on Academic Freedom
Erin O’Connor has the latest on Penn State professor Nona Gerard, who is in the process of being fired as a tenured professor by Penn State-Altoona.
Penn State’s case against Gerard is embarrassingly thin: she spoke out—vociferously and bluntly—against an experimental new degree program and she staged a play with frank talk about sexuality that drew the ire of a major donor. For that, she went through the Star Chamber of university “judicial” committees, which rendered a split verdict that dismissed part of the university’s case but nonetheless upheld the decision to dismiss Gerard.
Gerard’s is the second case of a violation of academic freedom within the Penn State system. Perhaps it’s time to spend less time firing professors and more asking what sort of institutional culture the administration is sponsoring. I am certainly going to take up Erin’s suggestion of communicating with PSU president John Spanier to urge him to uphold, rather than suppress, academic freedom.
Josh Kaderlan - 2/23/2004
PSU's president is Graham Spanier, not John.