Wednesday, December 22, 2004
...the president of the SUU Faculty Senate has said that his institution fired its 2003 Professor of the Year because he was uncollegial to the students who voted him their professor of the year; because he criticized a new Faculty Senate constitution coincidentally written by the same Faculty Senate president who now deems him uncollegial; and because SUU has a process in which all tenure candidacies are considered by multiple committees in a gentlemanly fashion. A piece of unsolicited advice to Professor Rees: the next time the idea of penning an op-ed crosses your mind, sleep on it for a day or two.
Update, 2.24pm: It turns out that the student who crossed swords with Roberds at the anti-gay marriage event was none other than Professor Rees' son. Funny how that doesn't get mentioned in his article.
While I think Johnson has blown Rees out of the water, I do not think he's found enough evidence to suggest why the heck SUU would do something which on the surface looks so foolish. Luckily, David Tufte, an economist there, is also blogging with a good bit of the rumors that are running around the campus. He says he knows more than what is in public but "I'm not dumb enough to spread the rumor further." He says,
- Roberds has been involved in well documented outbursts on other occassions. (There is even videotape of this behavior taken at a public function).
- That there has been concern for a few years that Roberds was a potential troublespot for faculty in his own department (I have that from two sources). One of those sources was relieved that Roberds former department had been split, and that Roberds and his colleagues were now in a different department.
- That the widely reported "Professor of the Year" award that Roberds won is a popularity contest that only students can vote for. I do know that the faculty and students jointly make other awards that Roberds has not won.
- The "distinguished lecture" that Roberds recently presented is one in which faculty are invited to make nominations, and that self-nominations are common. I heard from one student that the presentation bordered on incoherent.
Prof. Tufte goes on to note that while he doesn't know Prof. Roberds well, he's known both as a liberal and a hothead. To which I think, big deal. We got a few of those around here and nobody is sacking them. Tufte ranks his administration quite highly, and then speculates on the motivations of the case, concluding
I wouldn't have voted against him based upon the facts that I know. But that's just me. But I can read between the lines and I know how I would've voted if the rumors I'm hearing are even half true.
Which is right where the rest of us should be. We don't know enough yet.
(Hat tip for Tufte reference: Newmark's Door. See also Erin O'Connor for why FIRE won't get into this case.)