Re: [asa] Muggings and the tenure process

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Tue May 15 2007 - 13:47:52 EDT

Pim said:* Oh my... Opposing intelligent design as science is now open and
blatant persecution?*

Get real Pim. Avalos did much more than just "oppose intelligent design as

On 5/15/07, PvM <> wrote:
> On 5/15/07, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
> > Rich said: David, perhaps you can shed some light on this but it
> appears
> > from my lay eye that a pretty solid civil rights lawsuit could result.
> > One of the odd things about this situation to my eye is that the
> university
> > must have known this decision would provoke a firestorm, including a
> > possible lawsuit. It seems that it would have been easier to just grant
> > tenure, even if his record put him "on the bubble." (I'm not suggesting
> his
> > record did put him on the bubble -- it seems to me that his record
> solidly
> > supported tenure, but I agree that it's wise to suspend judgment a bit
> on
> > that until the facts are fully known).
> <quote>Gonzalez is not the first ISU professor to be turned down for
> tenure, which essentially gives a faculty member a lifetime job at the
> university.
> About 12 people have applied for tenure in the past 10 years in the
> physics and astronomy department, and four of those were denied, said
> Eli Rosenberg, the chairman of the ISU department of physics and
> astronomy.</quote>
> 4 out of 12 denied tenure in his own department in the last 10 years.
> What do we know of his record? How much external funding? How many
> graduate students? How many classes? Other than his (inflated by some)
> publication record, there is little information.
> > Given the certainty that this decision would provoke a major public
> > reaction, my sense is that there must have been some intense internal
> > opposition in order for the university to place itself into the center
> of
> > this mess, not merely the bland "consensus" reflected in the
> University's
> > press statement (which statement, BTW, is obviously a useless bit of
> public
> > relations and defensive legal fluff, whatever the ultimate merits of the
> > case). And, my sense is that the only apparent reasons for such intense
> > opposition is Gonzales' public affiliation with the ID movement. But,
> this
> How many of the people in his department signed the petition?
> > is only my spidey sense, based on having seen this kind of thing in
> > employment cases before, and knowing from that experience that you often
> > have to dig hard in such cases to uncover the truth. I could be wrong;
> > maybe he was a difficult person as a colleague or a rotten teacher or
> > something along those lines (though I haven't heard any such
> scuttlebut), or
> > maybe his paper record looks more impressive than it is -- maybe writing
> a
> > trade press book about ID was an error of judgment pre-tenure that took
> away
> > from funded research or something. But all those excuses at this point
> seem
> > like a hard sell given the blatant and open persecution that he faced
> from
> > colleagues.
> Oh my... Opposing intelligent design as science is now open and
> blatant persecution?
> > Whether a lawsuit is viable procedurally, I don't know. Religion is a
> > protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Tenure procedures,
> > however, can have strange legal status, particularly in a public
> university,
> > because they are a matter of overlapping legal regimes -- general
> employment
> > law, education law, civil rights law, contract law, and labor law (most
> > public university faculty are unionized). You can't deny tenure to a
> > science professor because he's religious, but you probably could deny
> tenure
> > to a science prof. who teaches religion instead of science on school
> time.
> > My guess is that he would first have to exhaust other avenues of appeal,
> > such as a union grievance before a state public employee board.
> Iowa State University's handbook lays out much of the options Gonzalez
> has. In addition I believe he can apply for a non-tenured position, a
> recent change in procedures I believe.

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Received on Tue May 15 13:48:16 2007

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