December 1, 2007

Brandeis faculty defend academic freedom and common sense

Kudos to the Brandeis University Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, whose report on allegations of discrimination by Donald Hindley essentially ripped the administration from head to toe on procedural and substantive violations of academic freedom (hat tip). To wit:

  • Brandeis's investigation failed to engage in a bona fide investigation of how more than the complaining student responded to the alleged comments of Professor Hindley.
  • Brandeis's investigation failed the sniff test when it came to giving Professor Hindley a chance to respond to alelgations: Hindley was the last person interviewed in month-long process, he was not provided an opportunity to have a colleague present, and the report was submitted one day after his interview.
  • Brandeis's investigation failed to respect the 2003 guiding letter of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, a document that stipulates that discriminatory environment "must include something beyond the mere expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that some person finds offensive."

I think I'm going to repeat this until I retire and afterwards: Ad hoc investigations of teaching are inevitably flawed. Congratulations to the Brandeis faculty on standing up to the provost on this.

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Posted in Academic freedom on December 1, 2007 9:48 PM |