by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Dave Porter writes for the Martin Center about a recent case involving the dismissal of a tenured college professor.
I am a 72 year old Air Force veteran. After 30 years of service, I was ready to retire when I heard about an opening at a small Christian college in Kentucky, I applied for the position of academic vice president and was hired.
Berea College was founded in 1855 by an abolitionist; it was the first school south of the Mason Dixon Line to educate black and white, men and women together. It offers every student a full tuition scholarship and requires 10 or more hours of weekly campus work.
I served for over four years as the academic vice president before stepping down from administration and returning to the classroom as a tenured professor of psychology. …
… In 2018, the college was struggling to integrate an effective Title IX program with institutional promises to protect academic freedom. Defining hostile workplace environments was a particular problem.
I had expressed my concerns to the college administration about a recent Title IX case that seemingly violated due process safeguards, but I was ignored. …
… Being exiled from campus and being prohibited from communicating with students was a distinct disadvantage. I was prohibited initially from talking to potential student witnesses or using my survey to defend myself.
I was not allowed to cross-examine the actual grievants nor given the opportunity to pose interrogatories to them concerning their false and exaggerated claims. In contrast to the AAUP’s Guidelines to use “clear and convincing” evidence to support the removal of tenured faculty members, the dean asserted the “preponderance of the evidence” standard used in Title IX cases was sufficient. In addition, he assumed the role of proxy grievant, investigator, and prosecutor. Given his institutional role as the supervisor of all panel members and faculty witnesses, this was a clear violation of due process.