The abuse of campus sexual harassment policies to punish dissenting professors has hit a new low at East Georgia College (EGC). Professor Thomas Thibeault made the mistake of pointing out — at a sexual harassment training seminar — that the school’s sexual harassment policy contained no protection for the falsely accused. Two days later, in a Kafkaesque irony, Thibeault was fired by the college president for sexual harassment without notice, without knowing his accuser or the charges against him, and without a hearing. . . .
Thibeault’s ordeal started shortly after August 5, 2009 when, during a faculty training session regarding the college’s sexual harassment policy, he presented a scenario regarding a different professor and asked, “[W]hat provision is there in the Sexual Harassment policy to protect the accused against complaints which are malicious or, in this case[,] ridiculous[?]” Vice President for Legal Affairs Mary Smith, who was conducting the session, replied that there was no such provision to protect the accused, so Thibeault responded that “the policy itself is flawed.”
Two days later, Thibeault was summoned to EGC President John Bryant Black’s office. . . . Black told Thibeault that he “was a divisive force in the college at a time when the college needed unity” and that Thibeault must resign by 11:30 a.m. or be fired and have his “long history of sexual harassment . . . made public.”
As of today, the college has still not provided any evidence to support its sexual-harassment charge. Sadly, this case extends into the faculty realm the distressing new trend of essentially requiring vocal support for ideologically charged university policies (or at least prohibiting any expression of displeasure). With no evidence presented so far of actual harassment, all that remains is a rather mild expression of dissent in a nonpublic university training session. And for that he’s escorted off campus? Amazing.