Deborah MacLatchy fire professors Rambukkana and Pimlott and drop your plan to censor TAs
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Professors Nathan Rambukkana and Herbert Pimlott recently subjected Teacher Assistant (TA) Lindsay Shepherd to a closed-door disciplinary meeting, without allowing counsel or representation, and without disclosing the student complaint made against the TA.
A recording of the meeting was made public, which proves the despicable nature of the browbeating session, concocted on remarkable allegations such as having "created a toxic environment" in her class by showing a relevant public broadcast clip without prior denunciation of views expressed in the said clip.
The two professors thereby (1) applied unwarranted and disproportionate discipline, (2) violated the TA's natural justice rights and (3) violated the very principle of academic freedom, whereby every scholar has professional independence to select the methods and materials for teaching his or her own class, in following the collegially determined curriculum.
Furthermore, it violates the academic freedom of the students themselves if study material is prefaced or qualified by the instructor prior to individual critical analysis; as advocated by Rambukkana and Pimlott.
The two professors should be put on leave immediately, until the matter of their behaviour is entirely resolved, so that they cannot continue to put students and employees at risk of being treated unjustly and contrary to the principle of academic freedom.
Given the foundational importance of the principle of academic freedom at a university, and given that the two professors together felt justified in their actions in front of both the TA and a university staff member, and do not appear to recognize the gravity of their actions -- even as the matter has become one of public and national importance -- they should be fired, subject to their procedural rights of course.
Also, you have publicly stated that your institutional response is to develop a policy that will "balance freedom of expression" in such a way as to disallow "threatening conversations". This is a censorship policy. Do not develop or implement such a policy.
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