After denying tenure to a history professor because he engaged in Objectivist scholarship, Ohio’s Ashland University has struck a deal with John Lewis, granting him tenure but only if he resigns from the university. FIRE wrote to Ashland in March advocating for Lewis’ tenure bid, citing the fact that the university had accepted $100,000 from a private foundation to fund Lewis’ Objectivist research. FIRE also argued that Ashland was contractually obligated to uphold professors’ full academic freedom and free speech rights. Lewis will be on leave until May 2008, when he will resign from Ashland.
July 12, 2007
As common as tenure disputes may be within academic circles, rarely do institutions penalize professors for pursuing research outlined in their faculty contracts and expressly approved by top administrators. That’s what makes FIRE’s case at Ashland University so unique—and outrageous. John Lewis is a classical historian whose work on Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism constitutes only a small portion of his academic research. Ashland hired Lewis as an assistant professor in 2001, and in 2002 accepted a three-year gift commitment of $100,000 from the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship “to establish a fellowship in the department of history and […]» Read More