Tuesday, February 28, 2006

And sometimes smoke is just smoke 

About a year ago I reported on a faculty member fired at Southern Utah, and the work David Tufte had done in getting the story straight on the nature of his dismissal. One year later, it appears Tufte is still right.
SUU administration asserted that this was a confidential personnel matter and revealed nothing. They still haven't. The scuttlebutt was that this was a case of extreme inability to get along with colleagues and students.

Roberds repeatedly threatened legal action. None was ever taken. Free speech advocacy groups reported that he was uncooperative. His supporters rallied a bit; this fizzled as the story took a bizarre twist.

This blog was instrumental in getting out the information - suppressed by the local and school papers - that Roberds had been fired from the University of North Alabama under almost identical circumstances several years before. Even worse, the same pattern of free student labor and student contributions (!!!) was used to smear the university. A few thousand hits later, and the issue was quickly and quietly removed from everyone's radar screen. The students website in support of Roberds stopped paying its bills several months ago, and was shut down.
Sounds like it was much ado about nothing. Tufte thinks Roberds should get another post somewhere, since "he's a really inspring professor that many students were deeply attached to, and from whom they learned a great deal." If this guy has had problems like this at two universities, I'm not sure I'd want to be the administrator that gives him a third chance.