Appalachian State University: Professor Suspended for Classroom Speech

Category: Cases, Due Process, Free Speech
Schools: Appalachian State University

In March 2012, tenured professor Jammie Price was placed on administrative leave after students alleged that she had created a hostile environment and strayed from the syllabus in her introductory sociology class. The allegations included making negative comments about the university and its student athletes and showing a documentary on pornography. Although what is known about her pedagogy is likely protected under the canons of academic freedom and does not appear to constitute actionable harassment, App State found her guilty and sentenced her to a development plan featuring “corrective actions” that encroached on her academic freedom, such as unique requirements for teaching “sensitive topics” and “controversial materials.” Both the Faculty Due Process Committee and the Faculty Grievance Committee have issued reports raising objections to Price’s punishment, including allegations that App State violated Price’s due process by suspending her without a due process hearing. Despite these reviews, Chancellor Kenneth E. Peacock has rejected the committee recommendations and announced that the sanctions against Price will move forward. On December 22, 2012, Price appealed her case to App State’s Board of Trustees.















    • Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Pens Letter to ASU Board of Trustees in Support of Prof. Jamie Price

      March 28, 2013

      March 28, 2013. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has written to the ASU Board of Trustees in support of sociology professor Jammie Price. Last year, Price was suspended from teaching without a hearing on the basis of in-class comments and the screening of a documentary that critically examines the adult film industry. You can find FIRE’s latest recap of the case at this link. FIRE letter to Appalachian State University Board of Trustees Chair Michael A. Steinback, March 19, 2013 March 19, 2013  Michael A. SteinbackChair, Board of TrusteesAppalachian State University54 Cedar Hill DriveAsheville, North Carolina 28803  Sent Via U.S. Mail and […]

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    • FIRE’s Robert Shibley Speaking at Appalachian State University This Evening

      March 3, 2014

      Students and FIRE supporters in the Boone, North Carolina, area are invited to hear FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley speak at Appalachian State University (ASU) tonight at 7 p.m. in the Beacon Heights of Plemmons Student Union.

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    • The End to My ‘Sexy’ Academic Career

      July 26, 2013

      Madeline Gootman is a FIRE summer intern. As most of my friends will tell you, I am an outspoken young woman when it comes to matters of sexuality and sexual health. I recently joined the Vanderbilt Peer Sex Educators, an organization of students formed to increase the campus dialogue surrounding sexual health. In addition to my extracurriculars surrounding sexuality (I also work at the Women’s Center on campus), I am majoring in Women and Gender Studies. After hearing about my very feminist list of extracurriculars, a reasonable person might assume that I would not have a problem with the May […]

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    • Please Explain Why Putting University Administrators in Charge of Judging Speech Is a Good Idea

      July 9, 2013

      Architect Rolls and Plans – Shutterstock My colleagues have done a thorough job of explaining why defenders of the Department of Education’s “blueprint” for preventing campus sexual harassment are on very shaky legal and logical ground. They have pointed out that some of ED’s allies have misquoted the findings letter and mocked Senator John McCain’s serious questions about the threat to free speech and about OCR’s authority to impose this blueprint. Other defenders of the blueprint have brushed away concerns by portraying its definition of sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” as simply a way of encouraging reporting. […]

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    • Bell Tolls for Appalachian State Chancellor, Not the Liberty Bell!

      April 23, 2013

      There’s an old saying FIRE recycles on occasion to mark the end of a university president’s tenure when that tenure has been marred by a disregard for campus free speech: The bell tolls for [insert name of president here]—not the Liberty Bell! It’s been a long time since we dusted off that FIRE favorite, but the time is ripe to break it out again to commemorate the resignation of Appalachian State University Chancellor Kenneth Peacock (who will stay on until a successor is named). The academic freedom case of sociology professor Jammie Price explains why. As we’ve chronicled, Price was […]

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    • App State Faculty Senate Votes ‘No Confidence’ In Two Top Academic Administrators

      March 26, 2013

      Appalachian State University Sign – Photo via Appstate.edu The Appalachian, the student paper at Appalachian State University, reports that yesterday the university’s Faculty Senate passed motions voting “no confidence” in Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Gonzalez and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Anthony Carey. According to The Appalachian, “[t]he motions were brought about by a petition received by the Faculty Senate Executive Board March 4, according to the agenda summary of the March 25 Faculty Senate meeting.” Gonzalez and Carey both figured prominently in App State’s wrongful sanctions against tenured sociology professor Jammie Price, who was removed from teaching without […]

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    • FIRE Supports Appeal of Unjustly Punished Appalachian State Professor

      March 25, 2013

      Appalachian State University Campus. Wikimedia Commons.  Last week, FIRE sent a letter to Appalachian State University’s (App State’s) Board of Trustees supporting the grievance of tenured sociology professor Jammie Price, who in 2012 was wrongly suspended without due process and ordered to complete a “professional development plan” that violated her academic freedom. FIRE has followed Price’s case since it became public and first expressed our concerns over Price’s treatment to App State Chancellor Kenneth A. Peacock in May 2012.   Media attention for Price’s case has been widespread. The Chronicle of Higher Education has covered it repeatedly. So has Inside Higher […]

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    • ‘Daily Tar Heel’ on Jammie Price Case at Appalachian State

      December 3, 2012

      Last week, The Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill covered a case of interest both locally to North Carolina residents and to those around the country who care about academic freedom: that of tenured professor Jammie Price at Appalachian State University (ASU).  Price was placed on administrative leave last spring after students alleged that she created a hostile environment and strayed from the syllabus while teaching her introductory sociology class. Despite the fact that her pedagogy seems to be protected under the canons of academic freedom and does not appear to constitute actionable harassment, […]

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