All it takes these days for a college to turn a venerable member of the faculty into an unperson is some allegation of racism. Seldom will the administration stand up for the accused. It’s so much easier and safer for them to appease the social-justice warriors who have decided that the professor must go.
A recent case at Berea College in Kentucky is illustrative. It involves Dave Porter, an Air Force veteran who began a second career at Berea after his retirement. In today’s Martin Center article, he writes about his unhappy, career-ending experience at the school.
Porter’s offense was to have done a survey of attitudes on campus. One student claimed that the survey was a retaliation against her for having filed a Title IX complaint. Writes Porter, “The campus was quickly polarized, and the administration saw a crisis looming. Apparently, the dean had received information from a former student that current students were fearful of attending my classes. There was no investigation and suggestions of mediation or compromise were squelched by the dean’s claim that I was ‘unrepentant and unapologetic.’”
Once Porter was in the school’s cross-hairs, he was subjected to a blatantly unfair procedures that were inconsistent with AAUP standards. But rather than defending Porter, the AAUP piled on against him. Only the National Association of Scholars, after examining the case, rose to defend Porter against Berea’s unjust actions.
Porter has filed suit against Berea for its treatment of him. It won’t go to trial until next year, but I sense another Oberlin.