In today’s round-up of news bytes, Inside Higher Ed picked up FIRE’s press release announcing that Professor Walter Kehowski has settled his case with the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). Yesterday MCCCD put up its statement officially announcing that the settlement has been reached:
An agreement has been reached between the Maricopa Community Colleges and Glendale Community College math professor Walter Kehowski that allows the professor to return to the classroom this fall.As part of the agreement, Kehowski’s use of the district e-mail system will be restricted.Both parties agree that no further comment will be made regarding the agreement or past actions that led to the proceedings or settlement.
The settlement is welcome news to Professor Kehowski, who faced imminent unemployment on account of his Thanksgiving e-mail.
The settlement is due in no small part to the public outrage that rained down upon MCCCD. The public caught hold of Kehowski’s case as soon as FIRE issued our first press release explaining that MCCCD planned to fire Kehowski for sending an e-mail to the college community that contained George Washington’s “Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1789.” In the weeks following that press release, stories about Kehowski appeared in Inside Higher Ed, the Arizona Republic, Frontpage Magazine, the Tucson Citizen, Phi Beta Cons, Pat Buchanan’s blog, and the New York Post. Kehowski and FIRE staffers also appeared on the Sytman & Boze Morning show on KTTH-AM Seattle, the nationally syndicated Greg Knapp Experience, and most memorably on FOX News’ Hannity and Colmes. In addition to this media attention, people from across the country wrote in to MCCCD Chancellor Rufus Glasper, calling on him to drop the charges against Kehowski. Kansas State Representative Benjamin Hodge even petitioned MCCCD to drop the case against Kehowski.
The successful resolution of this case not only vindicates Professor Kehowski, but shows that an increasingly indignant and vociferous public will not sit quietly by as universities blatantly abuse harassment policies, ruining the lives of professors and students in the process.