Location: Ashland, Ohio
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit
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March 5, 2007
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.» Read More
Red Light Policies
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementUnwelcome sexual harassing or offensive conduct is prohibited. This policy applies to students, faculty, staff, and others on or off University property. Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to:
1. Sexual flirtations, touching, advances, or propositions;
2. Sexually explicit language or gestures;
3. Sexually graphic or suggestive comments about an individual's dress or body;
4. Contributing to an offensive overall environment, including the use of vulgar or sexist language, the presence of sexually explicit photographs or other materials, and the telling of sexual or sexist jokes or stories.
5. Explicit or implicit threats or comments that an individual may be affected in a tangible way in exchange for engaging (or not engaging) in sexually-related conduct (quid pro quo).
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementHarassment: Threatening to do harm, intentionally harassing, hazing, stalking, coercing, intimidating or seriously embarrassing any person through conduct which would offend a reasonable person.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, StatementUnauthorized uses of the University information technology facilities include: ... Utilization involving communications, materials, information, data, or images prohibited by legal authority as obscene, pornographic, threatening, abusive, harassing, discriminatory, anti-social, or in violation of any other University policies.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementIn pursuing its mission, Ashland University: ... Supports free, open and critical inquiry as central to academic freedom and necessary for intellectual
and professional development.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementAshland University also prohibits the use of racial or ethnic slurs and statements directed toward a person's religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or national origin that are intended to demean or diminish that person and that have the effect of creating a hostile environment.
July 19, 2007
Our recent involvement at Ashland University continues to gain attention on the web with a post on the widely read Volokh Conspiracy blog by David Bernstein. Torch readers will recall that Ashland denied Professor John Lewis tenure for engaging in Objectivist scholarship that did not comport with the school’s “Judeo-Christian tradition.” This was after Ashland accepted $100,000 from a private foundation that granted the money expressly for the purpose of funding Lewis’ Objectivist research. Ashland ultimately granted Lewis tenure in exchange for his resignation, after FIRE wrote to the university that Ashland was contractually obligated to uphold Lewis’ academic freedom […]» Read More
July 13, 2007
FIRE’s recent case at Ashland University has caught the attention of several blogs. As we revealed yesterday, John Lewis, a professor of classical history at Ashland, was hired with the understanding that he would devote part of his time to the study of Objectivism. In contract with the university, the Anthem Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship paid part of Prof. Lewis’ salary. Ashland University subsequently denied John Lewis tenure on the grounds that his Objectivist scholarship was in conflict with the university’s values. The incident has received insightful coverage from several outlets: The Chronicle of Higher Education covered the story last […]» Read More
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 political […]» Read More