The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Today's Twin Cities Pioneer Press (Josh Verges) reports:
Hamline University's full-time faculty on Tuesday asked President Fayneese Miller to resign over her administration's handling of a Muslim student's complaint about an adjunct professor who showed ancient art in class that depicted the Prophet Muhammad.
Various Hamline administrators have said that what took place in an October art history class was "undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful and Islamophobic" and "an act of intolerance." And Hamline rescinded its offer to have the adjunct professor, Erika Lopez Prater, teach again in the spring.
But after a wave of criticism from across the country, Miller conceded last week that she mishandled the episode….
The article quotes the faculty statement (passed 71-12, with 9 abstentions) as saying, in part:
We are distressed that members of the administration have mishandled this issue and great harm has been done to the reputation of Minnesota's oldest university.… As we no longer have faith in President Miller's ability to lead the university forward, we call upon her to immediately tender her resignation to the Hamline University Board of Trustees.
The article also notes that the American Association of University Professors is investigating the matter (and indeed sending people in person to the campus to do so), and notes that the Council on American-Islamic Relations came to the professor's defense a week and a half ago, overruling its local chapter leader's contrary statement.
UPDATE: Here is the full faculty statement:
Statement from Full Time Faculty of Hamline University
January 24, 2023
In response to the current events and crisis facing the Hamline community concerning academic freedom, the faculty of Hamline University stand by these statements:
We are distressed that members of the administration have mishandled this issue and great harm has been done to the reputation of Minnesota's oldest university.
We, the faculty of Hamline University, stand for both academic freedom and the education of all students. We affirm both academic freedom and our responsibility to foster an inclusive learning community. Importantly, these values neither contradict nor supersede each other.
We respect the diverse voices, backgrounds, and experiences of the entire Hamline community (students, faculty, staff, and administrators), and support the right of all to have their voices heard.
We believe our diversity of knowledge and experience makes us a stronger, richer community. Without this diversity, we would incompletely represent the community we strive to be.
We defend the right to academic freedom for the purpose of a strong liberal arts education and to uphold the principles of democracy.
We reject unfounded accusations of Islamophobia.
We condemn the hateful speech and threats targeting students and other Hamline community members.
We stand for intellectual debate and sharing of resources and knowledge without fear of censorship or retaliation.
We stand for the right to challenge one another's views, but not to penalize each other for holding them.
We call for the fair treatment of and due process for all Hamline community members.
We thank and applaud students, faculty, and others in the Hamline community and beyond, who have taken the time and had the courage to speak out.
As we no longer have faith in President Miller's ability to lead the university forward, we call upon her to immediately tender her resignation to the Hamline University Board of Trustees.
We are united in this statement.
We are the faculty of Hamline University.
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