Do Liberals Control Higher Education? Not Hardly
One of the great canards of modern conservatism is that liberals rule higher education. Having just been wrongfully terminated from my job at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), I can tell you it just ain't so.
The professorate at many colleges and universities might lean to the left. But professors don't wield much power on college campuses. The halls of academia are ruled by administrators. And by definition, administrators are interested primarily in two things--power and money, not necessarily in that order.
A third interest of college administrators is covering up mistakes, wrongdoing, and other peccadillos that occur on campuses.
Let's see . . . power, greed, coverups. That sounds like the territory usually occupied by conservatives.
Even when college administrators self-identify as progressives, as some of the ones at UAB probably do, they have enough conservative tendencies to ask, "How high?" when a certain monied constituency says, "Jump."
If nothing else, my termination at UAB proves that Alabama Republicans have the ear of those who run the University of Alabama System. Evidence overwhelmingly suggests that I was fired, not because of any misconduct or policy violation, but because I write a blog that is critical of the Bush Justice Department. And I strongly suspect that pressure to fire me either came from, or was approved by, the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama.
Interestingly, I'm not the first progressive UAB employee to get in trouble for writing a blog. In fact, I'm not even the first progressive in my former department to get in trouble for writing a blog:
Doug Gillett, my former colleague, apparently was writing his blog and engaging in other political activities at work--a pretty clear violation of university policy and possibly state law.
UAB's own investigation showed I had never written on my blog at work, and I did not engage in political activity--per the university's own defintion of such.
So why does Doug--who I consider a good friend and an all-around fine fellow--still work at UAB and I do not?
Several theories come to mind:
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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...