Two Tenured Professors Fired Over Differences With Administration

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Thought I'd share this with you all.

On Friday, the new president of my alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi, suspended (pending outright dismissal) two tenured professors who had apparently made themselves his political enemies by investigating whether or not a Vice President lied on her CV about a job she claimed to have held.

The two professors--Gary Stringer (who I had) and Frank Glamser--apparently spoke publicly about their frustration with the Administration and the Administration, led by president Shelby Thames, responded by calling both men in for a meeting where they were informed that they were being suspended without pay. While they were in this meeting, Thames had the locks on their office doors changed and the computers locked.

To make matters worse, students carrying banners protesting Thames's actions were ejected from televised sporting events.

You can read all about it here

I'll keep digging up what I can on this. The USM faculty senate is apparently meeting today to address the president's actions, which will most like result in a series of a sanctions being leveled against the university from more than a few organizations. The Chronicle of Higher Education will no doubt be covering the story shortly.

Update: The Student Printz is covering the story. It is from them that I learned one of my old landlords is representing both professors.

Any thoughts?




  • Reply 1 of 5
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    I tend to favor decisive action once it's time to act. Swift and deadly. This doesn't seem to be a very competent manager though. I don't know that anything you've posted is accurate, nor what I 'm going to read in your links, but I would imagine that the professors have some recourse regardless of whether their voiced concerns were justified. If she did lie on her CV, then she has more to answer for than they do.


    Where does this all leave the question of tenure? If they perhaps slandered her, again, I don't know yet, tenure shouldn't protect them in that case, nor any specific activity not related to academic freedom of freedom of speech, really.

    I have always wondered about tenure, how is it really enshrined except in the traditions of an institution? Is it really a protection?
  • Reply 2 of 5
    billybobskybillybobsky Posts: 1,914member
    It is a public school (yes?), why can't they sue for due process?
  • Reply 3 of 5
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member

    Originally posted by Matsu

    [BI have always wondered about tenure, how is it really enshrined except in the traditions of an institution? Is it really a protection? [/B]

    It should be . . . however . .

    My wife went to Bennington in the 80s . . . . (same class as all those writers . . . something like six or seven very famous writers in one graduating class) . . anyway, just a few years back soenthing like thirty tenured professors, several of my wife's favorite teachers, were summarily fired. And teh school had prepared by amassing an incredibly huge legal defense fund so that the profs had no realistic recourse; they simply could not afford to battle it out over time. . .

    But the idea of tenure is a good thing when you consider how it allows for real academic research not at the mercy of fear and political job pressures.

    and Yet, we all have had tired professors who have stopped caring . . . and some of us have taught in whole departments of 'old-boys' that would rather be hunting . ..or worse, 'ice-fishing' . . . than doing research related to their teaching practice.

    As far as this case that you mentioned, Midwinter, I don't think that it will stick . . . unless the rest of the faculty simply caves in completely. You should check deeply into the relationship of the President to the VP before either were hired . . . smells like skeletons to me.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    There was a time when universities suscribed to an entirely different legal jurisdiction, more like an embassy or church than a "school"

    Some remnants survive: "campus police", constitutions, dons, and other archaic heirarcies, but what is the legal status of a university (grounds) these days?

    Who follows what?

    Not so long ago, the police couldn't arrest someone without the permission of the school's president ('75 in Canada)

    It's all an aside except to say that maybe a culture has been allowed to exist for too long wherein too much trust falls to tradition (like a common law) without the structures and recourse to enforce that trust. Once an administrator decides to act unilaterally a lot of faculty and staff may find themselves naked.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Seems like there's more to the story than we can know. I wonder if these two prof's were up to more than just making public complaints.
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