APA Member Perspective: Professor Fired for Allegedly Violating Duty
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APA Member Perspective: Professor Fired for Allegedly Violating Duty

by John Schwenkler

From 2010–2013, I had the pleasure to teach at Mount St. Mary’s University, a small Catholic college in rural Maryland that’s home to a number of excellent philosophers.

Unfortunately, as of yesterday afternoon, it is home to one fewer of these, as Thane Naberhaus, a Husserl scholar who held a tenured position as an associate professor at the university, was abruptly fired and escorted from campus by security. Also fired was Edward Egan, an alumnus and former trustee of the Mount, who taught Political Science and advised the school’s student newspaper.

The apparent cause of their firing is detailed by Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Education: Naberhaus and Egan both worked to oppose a plan by Mount St. Mary’s President Simon Newman to dismiss underperforming freshmen in order to improve the university’s retention statistics, and the newspaper Egan advised was responsible for making this plan public in the first place. (Ominously, Naberhaus’s letter of termination spoke of violating his “duty of loyalty” to the Mount.)

This decision, especially in regard to a tenured professor like Naberhaus, is a gross violation of academic freedom. Nor were these faculty given any academic due process as required under AAUP guidelines.

This morning I made available a statement of protest, to be signed by members of the academy, against the firing of these faculty members. At the time I write this post, the statement has over 1,000 signatories. Please take a moment to add your name to the statement as a gesture of solidarity with our colleagues.

John Schwenkler is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. His research is in the philosophy of mind. His academic homepage can be found here.  

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