The assistant professor of communication at the University of Missouri was just doing what other professors and administrators were doing there, too, she says. So why did she lose her job?Oy. Ashe Schow rolls her eyes. Robby Soave isn't impressed, either.
She has one idea. Under pressure from state legislators, she says, Missouri’s Board of Curators fired her to send a message that the university and the state wouldn’t tolerate black people standing up to white people. "This is all about racial politics," she says. "I’m a white lady. I’m an easy target."
But Ms Click has forgotten nothing and learned nothing.
"I do not understand the widespread impulse to shame those whose best intentions unfortunately result in imperfect actions," she wrote in The Washington Post last month. "What would our world be like if no one ever took a chance?"I am heartily tired of hearing about good intentions as an excuse for bad behavior or worse policy. At The Chronicle, nobody even blinks. Let the self-congratulation continue.
"I believed at some point, somebody would care about the truth of what I was doing," she says. "I am a woman who made some mistakes trying to do what she thought was right." That, she says, could have been anyone.That could be the easiest way to make Twitchy.
It gets better. "What was right" is another opportunity for Chronicle writers to make the gentry comfortable with their own prejudices.
The transition from Amherst to the Midwest was difficult. But eventually, Ms. Click found a farmers’ market, she says, became a visiting instructor at the university, and befriended other East Coast transplants.Yes. Bringing Enlightenment to the Rubes is the way the Smug see the role of the graduates of the coastal universities. The horror. No antique stores. No artisanal cheeses. Never out of radio range of Sean Hannity. Students push back against indoctrination.
Still, she didn’t quite fit, even in the communication department, where she got a tenure-track job in 2008. A common textbook used at UMass, Media/Society: Industries, Images and Audiences (SAGE Publications, 1999), featured a Marxist critique of the media. "I came here and used it, too," she says, "and students’ heads nearly popped off."
The article also notes faculty governance rights are at stake. Apparently Ms Click had submitted a portfolio her department had seen as meriting continuing tenure, and her case was about to move to the more pro forma parts of the review when she crossed the line from annoyingly self-righteous to intolerant ideologue.
Ben Trachtenberg, chair of Missouri’s faculty council, says the curators uncharacteristically took a faculty personnel decision into their own hands — skirting the campus’s formal procedures designed to weigh charges against professors while preserving their rights to due process. "It’s pretty clear our rules weren’t followed, and that’s bad for faculty morale," says Mr. Trachtenberg, an associate professor of law. The American Association of University Professors is investigating Ms. Click’s firing and may censure the university. Hans-Joerg Tiede, senior program officer for the group’s department of academic freedom, tenure, and governance, calls the episode "fundamentally at odds with basic standards of academic due process."I agree, administrative usurpations are not good.
Perhaps, though, one sign that universities are no longer playpens for really stupid people will be when faculty hirings are not so obviously skewed toward annoyingly self-righteous ideologues.