DePaul University: Professor Suspended for Expression Without Due Process

Category: Due Process, Free Speech
Schools: DePaul University

DePaul University administrators suspended Professor Thomas Klocek without a hearing after he engaged in an out-of-class argument with pro-Palestinian students at a student activities fair. When the students complained that they were offended by Klocek, he was denied the rights that DePaul guarantees to professors accused of wrongdoing and immediately suspended. Statements from DePaul administrators indicate that Klocek was disciplined because of his harsh criticism of the students’ viewpoint, despite DePaul’s stated commitments to free speech and academic freedom. Klocek received a letter confirming his punishment of suspension with pay and further stating that he would be able to teach only one class the following semester, which would be subject to observation.

  • University presidents battle for honors in spinelessness

    May 1, 2006

    It’s time for this column to announce its Sheldon Award, given annually to the university president who does the most to look the other way when free speech is under assault on campus. As all Sheldon fans know, the prize is a statuette that looks something like the Oscar, except that the Oscar shows a man with no face looking straight ahead, whereas the Sheldon shows a man with no spine looking the other way. The award is named for Sheldon Hackney, former president of the University of Pennsylvania and a modern legend in looking the other way. College presidents, […]

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  • DePaul U Confronts Amerikan ‘Empire’

    January 3, 2006

    [...] A few months ago, a speaker of honor hosted at DePaul was none other than Ward Churchill, speaking with open endorsement and support from the DePaul administration. In fact, the administration prohibited the holding of a protest against the Churchill visit by DePaul students. [...] DePaul has some bizarre notions about free speech. Its President, Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, publicly defends the employment of Finkelstein as a professor, and defends the operation on campus of a Bash-Israel propaganda show dressed up as an art exhibit. Holtschneider has also publicly celebrated the performance on this Catholic university campus of the […]

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  • ‘I’m not the ideal poster boy’

    December 20, 2005

    Before he became an unlikely cause celebre, Thomas Klocek was an anonymous foot soldier in the bookish garrison of the ivory tower. The job title may be “adjunct,” but their myriad ranks are a bulwark of higher education. They teach the introductory courses the permanent faculty disdains. That frees tenured professors to do research and work with graduate students. It also helps balance the budget. Adjuncts are paid by the course, at academia’s equivalent of Wal-Mart wages. At DePaul University, where Klocek long taught, he reached a high of $34,000, one year. Other years, his earnings were $16,000. But he […]

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  • Letter to the Editor

    December 5, 2005

    John J. Miller’s “Pariahs, Martyrs — and Fighters Back” (Oct. 24) casts some much-needed rays of sunlight on the double standards currently running rampant on our nation’s campuses. The academic establishment jealously protects the free speech and academic freedom of the likes of Ward Churchill, but time after time violates the rights of those who don’t toe the party line. Prof. Thomas Klocek, a conservative, Kerry-supporting Democrat whose situation Miller examined in detail, was fired from DePaul University for engaging students in a heated discussion about Israel and the Palestinian territories. (He was butting heads with students who compared Israel […]

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  • Pariahs, Martyrs — and Fighters Back

    October 24, 2005

    At the start of the last school year, activists at DePaul University set up a pair of tables along a student thoroughfare and distributed literature to passers-by. They caught the eye of faculty member Thomas Klocek, who took one of their handouts and read about Israel’s “brutal and murderous occupation” of “Palestine” as well as its “apartheid violence” in the West Bank and Gaza. This was provocative stuff — but nothing out of the ordinary for the two groups behind it all, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and United Muslims Moving Ahead (UMMA). Engaging the students in a discussion […]

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  • How Did DePaul University Get on FIRE’s ‘Worst 12′ List?

    January 28, 2011

    Hopefully by now you’ve seen FIRE’s picks for “The 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” at The Huffington Post. Six of them were relatively obvious choices—those being the six schools currently on FIRE’s Red Alert list, the “worst of the worst,” as we often say. Given the hundreds of other schools out there, many with one or more red-light speech codes as rated in FIRE’s Spotlight database, what went into deciding which others made our “dirty dozen”? Well, repeat run-ins with FIRE, repeated free speech offenses over the years, and having incredibly bad speech codes that violate clear promises of free […]

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  • Illinois Supreme Court Ends Professor Klocek’s Free Speech Case at DePaul

    December 13, 2010

    The Illinois Supreme Court recently decided not to hear the appeal of former DePaul University professor Thomas Klocek, who has been fighting for justice ever since he lost his job simply for arguing with students. Here is what Greg said about DePaul University back in 2006: Professor Klocek lost his job at DePaul University in Chicago without any due process after he argued with several students about issues in the Middle East at a student activities fair. … Klocek’s case was FIRE’s first major clash with DePaul, but it would not be our last. As loyal Torch readers know, we have since battled with DePaul over its […]

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  • DePaul Professor Suspended Without a Hearing After Arguing with Students on Middle East Issues

    May 18, 2005

    CHICAGO, May 18, 2005—DePaul University administrators have suspended Professor Thomas Klocek without a hearing after he engaged in an out-of-class argument with pro-Palestinian students at a student activities fair. When the students complained to administrators, Klocek was denied the rights that DePaul guarantees to professors accused of wrongdoing and immediately suspended. Statements from DePaul administrators indicate that Klocek was disciplined because of his harsh criticism of the students’ viewpoint, despite DePaul’s stated commitments to free speech and academic freedom. “DePaul has unquestionably violated Professor Klocek’s due process rights, and the university did so because his statements were allegedly offensive,” commented […]

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