FIRE Cases Figure Prominently at This Year’s AAUP Conference

June 11, 2013

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be in Washington, D.C., attending this year’s national conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Scanning through the conference’s schedule, I’m pleased to say that not one but two professors with past FIRE cases will be giving presentations inspired by their experiences.  

Tomorrow afternoon at 3:45 p.m., attendees will hear from University of Wisconsin-Stout professor James Miller, the professor at the center of FIRE’s famous Firefly case, set into motion when he was ordered to remove a poster image of the sci-fi show’s lead character, along with a well-known quote from the show. Here’s how Miller’s presentation appears on the schedule:

Free Speech Under Fire: The Firefly Poster Affair When the University of Wisconsin-Stout police chief removed a television show poster from James Miller’s office door and threatened him with criminal charges, an international outcry from advocates of academic freedom as well as fans of the beloved Joss Whedon space saga Firefly was sparked. James Miller (University of Wisconsin-Stout)

You can watch FIRE’s award-winning short video on Miller’s case below: 

On Thursday at 2:00 p.m., University of Denver (DU) professor Arthur Gilbert will share with attendees the story of his deplorable treatment at the hands of the DU administration, which suspended him from teaching on the basis of protected classroom expression, consistently refusing to recognize his academic freedom in doing so. Gilbert’s presentation appears on the schedule as:

Fighting Back: When Your College Is No Longer Your Friend As Benjamin Ginsberg writes in The Fall of the Faculty, "Universities are filled with armies of functionaries—the vice presidents, associate vice presidents, assistant vice presidents, provosts, associate provosts, assistant provosts, deans, deanlets, deanlings . . . who more and more direct the operations of every school." This paper, based on personal experience and discussions with other academics, is designed to prepare faculty members to fight back when their college turns against them. It discusses ten strategies and tactics to consider, including recruiting students and alumni, faculty governance, and outside organizations like the AAUP and FIRE as well as seeking legal help. It focuses on what you need to know about higher education today and how to prepare for conflict from the day you enter the halls of ivy.

You can read more about Miller’s case here, and more about Gilbert’s case here. The AAUP’s conference runs tomorrow though June 16; you can view the conference schedule (PDF) here, and visit here for more general information.