Bowdoin College: Professor Investigated Because Article Embarrasses the College

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Bowdoin College

Economics professor Jonathan Goldstein was investigated after he distributed copies of a research paper that embarrassed the college in front of prospective students. Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd instigated an investigation “in the realm of harassment and hostile work environment, as well as for possible violation of other College policies.” Judd also suggested that “issues” with Goldstein’s “research methods … may need to be considered by the appropriate faculty committee and my office.” Judd also added further charges questioning whether Goldstein failed to follow “the protocols outlined by the Research Oversight Committee” and whether he had revealed confidential information. Two weeks after that, Judd formally referred the research misconduct aspect of the investigation to an inquiry committee. Judd’s allegations for the inquiry committee were described as “[f]ailure to cite sources” and “[p]lagiarism.” Almost all of these allegations were found to be meritless. After employing an attorney and with the help of FIRE’s publicity, all charges were dropped with the exception of a single failure to cite sources charge which was acknowledged as unintentional. University president Barry Mills denied Goldstein’s appeal and stated that Goldstein had erred as he looked for outside assistance and publicity in his case.