News reports indicate that blogger Roger Shuler was fired
from his job at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) because he had written critically about the Bush Justice Department.
What does it say about the leadership of a major research university that such a thing could happen? It certainly poses troubling questions, particularly considering that UAB receives more than $400 million a year in federal research funding.
Shuler raises some of those questions himself at his blog, Legal Schnauzer. And he encourages readers to pose these questions, or some of their own, to UAB President Carol Garrison and her public-relations director Gary Mans. They can be reached at:
First, Shuler notes that Garrison, through Mans, had responded to public concerns by issuing a statement that Shuler's dismissal was based solely on work performance. Shuler, however, points out that Garrison's statement contradicts
the actions of a UAB employee grievance committee and the words of the university's human-resources director.
Finally, Shuler notes the irony of UAB having an "Ethics and Civic Responsibility" requirement for its students while itself behaving in highly unethical ways
. UAB's own IT expert testified at a grievance hearing that Shuler had never worked on his personal blog while on university time. And the whole point of the blog Legal Schnauzer
is to promote honest government by shining a light on public officials who act dishonestly. UAB has a problem with that subject matter? Evidently it does, particularly when it appears that subjects of some of Shuler's critical reports apply pressure to the university.
Do the folks who run UAB see incongruity in their promotion of ethics for their students while behaving like Karl Rove--a man hardly known for ethics and civic responsibility?
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...