Mount St. Mary’s University (MSMU) President Simon Newman announced at a faculty meeting this afternoon that professors Ed Egan and Thane Naberhaus have been reinstated, FIRE has independently confirmed.
FIRE sent a letter demanding the professors’ reinstatement to President Newman yesterday.
On Monday, Newman took the extraordinary step of firing Naberhaus, a tenured professor, and Egan, the faculty advisor to the student newspaper, following their criticism of Newman’s plan to oust low-performing freshmen. The plan became national news last month after the student newspaper reported that Newman told a concerned faculty member, “This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.”
The reinstatement announcement was made during a meeting where faculty members were expected to discuss a no-confidence vote regarding Newman’s presidency in the wake of the scandal that has rocked the small, Maryland campus.
Although Newman’s reversal is a welcome development, MSMU’s acts have caused lasting damage to the community’s confidence in MSMU to uphold its policies and protect student and faculty speech in the future. Inside Higher Ed reports:
Whether the tensions will be resolved remains unclear. Inside Higher Ed reached Thane Naberhaus, one of the faculty members who was fired this week, despite having tenure, and asked him if he was planning to return. His email response: “Hell no.”
Naberhaus told FIRE yesterday he would not return to MSMU if Newman remained president.
FIRE will have more on this story as it develops and will continue to monitor developments to ensure that MSMU remains committed to its promises of free speech and due process.