Harassed Professor Files Suit Against Univ. of Oklahoma

December 10, 2004

 

(AgapePress) – Administrators at the University of Oklahoma are being accused of conspiring to punish an outspoken professor for his political views.

 

Tenured geology professor David Deming has filed a lawsuit against OU for stripping him of his office and most of this courses. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has advocated on his behalf, claims OU administrators plotted to ostracize Deming for his outspoken political views and attempts at whistle blowing.

 

FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff notes that four years ago, Deming was charged with sexual harassment for mocking a columnist’s pro-gun control arguments. Since that time, Lukianoff maintains administrators at the school have gone through “extensive efforts to marginalize and punish Professor Deming for his speech and for bringing up very legitimate concerns about potential double-dealing of the university.”

 

Deming has raised concerns about a possible conflict of interest between the OU School of Geology and Geophysics and a private company called Fusion Geophysical, which is owned by one of the professors.

 

According to the FIRE spokesman, Deming was removed from the department after questioning the ethical judgment of some department officials.

 

“They created … a whole new situation where he responds to just one dean, not the dean of the geology department,” he explains. And there was more, Lukianoff says. “They moved his office to a converted basement lab — he’s literally been moved into the dungeon. He’s lost most of his classes. And all the while university administrators are claiming to respect freedom of speech and academic freedom.”

 

According to FIRE president David French, university e-mails and documents illustrate a conspiracy to silence Deming. The school’s conduct, he says, “has been shameful” and constitutes a “naked attempt to subvert academic freedom.”

 

Lukianoff adds that extensive documentation of the case is available on the FIRE website.

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Schools: University of Oklahoma Cases: University of Oklahoma: Plot to Punish Professor for Political Beliefs, Whistleblowing