December 02, 2007

Constructive Insubordination

This blog was set up out of frustration with certain events at the University of Lethbridge [Canada]. Some of the senior admnistrators seem bent on eliminating criticism and they take harsh action when openly challenged. Student concerns are sometimes dismissed out of hand. It is getting increasingly difficult to understand how the faculty association (ULFA) is offering protection for faculty caught up in this.

Faculty members’ relationship with the administration and university as a whole are governed by the
Faculty Handbook. The handbook also outlines the procedure for promotion and tenure, for filing grievances and so forth. It is this handbook that a number of faculty members accuse ULFA of abandoning or selectively applying, leaving the members to fend for themselves... October 2007, Prof. Robinson was so frustrated by all of this that he posted all of his documentation on the issue on a website he provocatively called “
One Banana Short of a Republic” and wrote an open letter to the University administration in the student newspaper in which he advertised the site. The university administration was outraged and the Dean of A&S gave Prof. Robinson 5 days to remove the site (which is hosted on a private webhosting service) and to have the student newspaper publish a full apology or face unspecified disciplinary action.

At the advice of his lawyer, Robinson refused, and instead scanned and posted the dean’s letter on what is now called by many at the U of L “The Banana”. In turn, the dean wrote to Robinson informing him that he has recommended to President Cade that Robinson be suspended for two months without pay for “Gross Professional Misconduct”. He cited certain portions of the ULFA Handbook (that Robinson alleges do not really apply) and what is called FOIP (the “Freedom of Information and Privacy” laws in Alberta). This letter has also found its way to the Banana



Anonymous said...

Hey Doc Jim.
What happened man? All of a sudden you take down your blog.

Did the University force you to do this?

Anonymous said...

Nope. Just decided it was not the way I want to handle things. I think it stirred up enough dust as it is so I cancelled it.