UIUC ‘Suspends Decision’ against Adjunct Professor, Fails to Resolve Rights Violation

July 20, 2010

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has just reported that UIUC has suspended its decision not to rehire adjunct associate professor Kenneth Howell because of an e-mail about Catholicism that he sent his students in a class about Catholicism. However, UIUC’s partial response has not resolved the issue of the violation of his constitutional rights. As Heather Gebelin Hacker, ADF Litigation Staff Counsel, writes:

Late Thursday, we received a letter from the University stating that they are "suspending" the decision of his department chair pending review by the committee.  While this is a nice step, this does not resolve the issue.  It is meaningless for Professor Howell to retain his status as an adjunct professor without being able to teach any classes, and the committee’s review of the situation does not change the fact that Professor Howell was relieved of his previously scheduled teaching responsibilities because his instruction to students was deemed not to meet standards of "inclusivity."  Save for that email, Professor Howell would still be teaching Introduction to Catholicism in the approaching semester.  That is a violation of his constitutional rights, and we have indicated as much to the University in our response letter, sent today.

Read the letters and the whole post, and stay tuned for FIRE’s analysis tomorrow.

Schools:  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign