The case is about overuse of the “R” card.
Via Inside Higher Ed
Is calling a colleague a racist in public grounds for termination? A tenured professor of music at Cameron University says he’s on the verge of being fired for just that. A lawsuit he’s filed in a federal court says Cameron is violating his First Amendment rights in punishing him for insisting that the university apply its diversity policies in faculty searches. The university says the professor went beyond protected speech in creating a racially hostile work environment.
While a university investigation includes some evidence to support its claim, details of Alfred Duckett’s appeals process have raised concerns among faculty and free speech advocates.
By all accounts, what little interaction Duckett had with his fellow music faculty members leading up to the events of April 17, 2012, was poor. Duckett was brought to the university five years earlier as a tenured department chair, but was removed from that position within months, after a faculty vote of no confidence. His colleagues maintain that was because he was incompetent, and Duckett, who had previously served as a chair at Saint Augustine’s University, says it’s because the department was overbearingly close-knit and the university offered him little to nothing in the way of orientation or resources.
Duckett says that the department included three married couples who were presumed to vote in pairs. That, combined with the fact that he was the only black professor, was professionally and personally alienating. He says that he was consistently denied the opportunity to teach summer courses, in contrast to a white colleague who also was a relative newcomer. And institutional racism was evidence elsewhere on the Lawton, Okla., campus, he said, noting that he’d been stopped four times on campus for questioning by university police (a claim that could not be independently confirmed).
His colleagues, on the other hand, deny race was a factor in their dealings with Duckett, whom they say displayed erratic behavior, such as leaving department meetings mid-agenda. They also allege he was singularly focused on issues of race.