Update on CU Boulder incident: faculty review could clear Adler to teach “Deviance” course

Updates are coming in on the threat to academic freedom at the University of Colorado Boulder. According to the Daily Camera (via the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s Ticker blog), CU professor Patricia Adler might still have a chance to teach her “Deviance in U.S. Society” course as early as the Spring 2014 semester–if the class clears a review of Sociology faculty, with the possible participation of faculty from other departments.

The sociology department came to that agreement on Tuesday, and the Faculty Assembly convened an emergency meeting this morning with the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to discuss the incident and the university’s treatment of Adler.

A few other points to note:

  • This is a rollback from the university provost’s earlier statement that “Steven Leigh, the College of Arts and Sciences dean, and sociology chairwoman Joanne Belknap ‘determined that Professor Adler would not teach the class in the spring semester (2014).'”
  • Adler has to request the review, but once she does so it will be “fast-tracked”.
  • The Camera reported that CU Spokesman Mark Miller appeared to confirm “retirement incentives” for “select faculty” that match a description of the buyout package Adler claims she was offered in an ultimatum. Miller characterized the incentives as an ongoing budget-saving measure.
  • The Change.org petition in support of Alder is approaching 3000 signatures, and CU professor of Environmental Studies Roger Pielke Jr. blogged concerns about the future of academic freedom at the Boulder campus:

next semester I am teaching a course in which issues of gender, sex, discrimination, race and other potentially sensitive topics appear throughout the syllabus. Will I be at risk of losing my job if university officials don’t like how I teach these issues? What if a student is “uncomfortable” because of the material or exercises in the class?

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Blogging Censorship is where National Coalition Against Censorship staff weigh in on the censorship issues on their minds.
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