AAUP not kidding, will investigate LSU pres for firing cussing prof

7/12/2015 update: AAUP press release here:

The hearing committee, reporting on March 20, was unanimous in its
findings. It found that removal with cause should not be considered. As to the ADA, it
found that the charge was not substantiated by testimony. As to sexual harassment as
defined at LSU, it noted use of profanity, poorly worded jokes, and occasionally sexually
explicit jokes in her teaching methodologies. It found no evidence, however, that this
behavior was directed against any particular individual, only that some individuals who
observed the behavior were disturbed by it.

7/1/2015: “But swear words as a terminable offense? You have got to be fucking kidding.”

Wait – before you report me to Penny Daugherty, UO’s famously incompetent Title IX investigator, that’s a direct quote from columnist Rebecca Schuman in Slate:

What is going to happen when these fragile beings, who probably saw their first pornographic image on the Internet on the hdpornvideo website when their ages were still in the single digits, enter the workforce? What if they want to work in finance? Entertainment? Media? Sailing? Literally anything? I would love to be a proverbial fly on the wall of the Goldman Sachs HR office, as some wet-eared little pipsqueak complains about his boss’s foul language.

One of my worries coming back to college after a few years working on oil exploration crews was that my professors would kick me out for being unable to speak a sentences without swear words. Should I still be worried? Naah, UO has a very robust free speech policy, thanks to Richard Lariviere – a man who could channel a little LBJ when necessary:

Free speech is central to the academic mission and is the central tenet of a free and democratic society. The University encourages and supports open, vigorous, and challenging debate across the full spectrum of human issues as they present themselves to this community. Further, as a public institution, the University will sustain a higher and more open standard for freedom of inquiry and free speech than may be expected or preferred in private settings.

Free inquiry and free speech are the cornerstones of an academic institution committed to the creation and transfer of knowledge. Expression of diverse points of view is of the highest importance, not solely for those who present and defend some view but for those who would hear, disagree, and pass judgment on those views. The belief that an opinion is pernicious, false, and in any other way despicable, detestable, offensive or “just plain wrong” cannot be grounds for its suppression.

The University supports free speech with vigor, including the right of presenters to offer opinion, the right of the audience to hear what is presented, and the right of protesters to engage with speakers in order to challenge ideas, so long as the protest does not disrupt or stifle the free exchange of ideas. It is the responsibility of speakers, listeners and all members of our community to respect others and to promote a culture of mutual inquiry throughout the University community.

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18 Responses to AAUP not kidding, will investigate LSU pres for firing cussing prof

  1. unknown says:

    How interesting that you quote RL: “It is the responsibility of speakers, listeners and all members of our community to respect others and to promote a culture of mutual inquiry throughout the University community” when you start the post by slamming a colleague.

  2. unknown2 says:

    Respect: “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements “

    • unknown says:

      Richard said it was our responsibility to respect one another. I am merely pointing out how UOM is not taking that responsibility. That’s his choice, of course.

      • unknown2 says:

        Well, maybe Richard was wrong too. Respect is earned.

        • unknown2 says:

          Of course, let’s be clear that Richard’s comments about respect are being taken out of context when he’s actually being quoted here about respecting free speech.

  3. Anon Staff says:

    It is worth pausing to note what the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says about UO:

    “University of Oregon has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”

    Additional details here: https://www.thefire.org/schools/university-of-oregon/

  4. that effing Canis again says:

    yes indeed, my only substantial contribution as an academic over these mean and many years was to get a student to properly use the term “clusterfuck” when she was describing the way that a particular government agency had responded to an environmental crises.

    Its really the only descriptor that was valid for that case.

  5. Good sir, I object VOCIFEROUSLY to my inaccurate characterization as mere “columnist Rebecca Schuman.” It should be “*Eugene’s own* Rebecca Schuman.” :) :) :) Seriously, though, thanks for the mention; I am always tickled to be represented in the hometown media. Look for my upcoming elegy for Civic Stadium.
    -RS

    • uomatters says:

      Media? You’re characterizing me as media? I have a PhD in Economics! I demand a retraction!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Ha! Duly noted. Carry on, muckraker extraordinaire.

  7. 4nik8er says:

    As a tenured (but for how long?) professor and aging *ucker (that’s the avian mascot, for those with dirty minds), I have to recall my freshman (as we were called way back then; there were “frosh” and “frosh dollies” — oh, how far we have come) class in literature or English or something or other.

    Our teacher (surely a TA/GTF, not a real prof? or maybe just a youngish prof?) referred to students “not fornicating on the lawn.” I was shocked. SHOCKED, I tell you. Even today, I cannot remember the context, so deeply buried is that experience (except for the phrase, which often resurfaces as I stroll across UO’s green campus).

    Shocked, I said? Well, not right away. I had to go back to my dorm room, pull out my dictionary, try to figure out the spelling, and then finally find the definition.

    Would UO fire a professor for referring to something like “fornicating on the lawn”?

    Duck no!

  8. Dr. Funkenstein says:

    Guess I’m old fashioned, but I don’t care. I don’t allow students to use profanity in their papers, as they are formal exercises and they should approach them with respect. Sorry, can’t see that as a free speech issue. I don’t care what they say when they’re talking to each other, but I shouldn’t have to wade through their nonsense in a paper.

  9. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Well fuck! There have been ex-provost and ex-president types at UO who have been know to use the f-word with faculty and administrator types!

    And as for

    “She also made an off-color joke to students, that their partners might become less supportive as the sexual intensity of their relationships waned (an offense that deserves a talking-to).”

    Well, it’s no joke, it’s just plain effing true, at least a lot of the time, as anyone is likely to learn who lives past a certain age — like maybe 22.

    I hope I haven’t exceeded my allotment of bad language, but I just couldn’t effing let this one pass.

  10. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a link to an article about teachers at college, high school, and grade school level getting fired for saying and doing (dissing the flag) the wrong thing. The article makes the important point that some — much — of this is being instigated by the federal government (that’s the Obama administration for more than 6 years now, in case you think I’m talking about someone else):

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/08/how-bureaucrats-are-ruining-school.html

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