On Tuesday, the American Association of University Professors wrote to Erskine College, expressing worry about the treatment of William Crenshaw, an English professor who has been among the most outspoken critics of the role of religious conservatives in shaping the direction of the institution. While the AAUP didn't weigh in on the disputes over Erskine, it said that Crenshaw never should have been suspended and barred from teaching -- as he recently had been -- unless he met the college handbook's requirement of causing "immediate harm" by his presence.
On Wednesday, Erskine fired Crenshaw, who had taught at the college for 35 years, earning tenure, an endowed chair and teaching awards, and attracting devoted students and alumni. Religious traditionalists have been pushing for years for Crenshaw's ouster. Some of the documents about the case suggest that officials at the college argue that Crenshaw -- with his criticisms of the college -- discouraged potential students from enrolling at Erskine. He says this is inaccurate.
The firing is the latest escalation in an increasingly intense fight over the future of the college. The disputes have led to court battles. And in contrast to the fights of the last two years, Crenshaw won't be on campus anymore to participate. According to various letters between Crenshaw and college officials, he was willing to negotiate a retirement deal, but balked at any arrangement that would have required him to stop speaking out about the college.
Erskine, in South Carolina, is part of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, a small denomination that describes itself as conservative and evangelical...
Sunday, September 11, 2011
A Dissenter Is Fired
This from Inside Higher Ed: