Friday, January 28, 2005

A stopped tenure is wrong twice a career? 

I agree with Craig Newmark: This story just gets weirder by the moment. We reported twice on Prof. Steven Roberds last month, when his denial of tenure at Southern Utah University sparked a student protest. David Tufte has uncovered that it's deja vu all over again.

The student protest website says it all: Only in Utah - that reddest of red states - can a popular liberal professor be fired. And only in Utah - a state viewed as a theocracy by much of the country - can "they" get away with this.

But here's the scoop. This has happened before - different university, different year, same professor, and a similar pattern of protest by students.

Yes, you read that correctly. Seven years ago, Stephen Roberds was let go by the University of North Alabama in the midst of his tenure process, and student protests broke out to support him without visible support from other faculty.
Tufte uses the campus paper at UNA to show the similarities, which are remarkable. I think Tufte has been very careful and exhaustive with the documentation, and while he doesn't draw a strong conclusion he does say
I'm going to make the claim that this list of similarities is long enough that it did not occur by chance. Read what you like into that.
I said when the story broke that we didn't have the whole story. Tufte has gotten us closer.