Saturday, August 6, 2011

Widener's Dean Linda Ammons Goes After Law School Professor Lawrence Connell

I read about this a couple of times earlier this year, and William Jacobson has an update: "Widener Law School goes Soviet, demands law professor undergo psychiatric evaluation."

Professor Connell was exonerated in a university disciplinary hearing, and William notes:
The faculty committee which heard the evidence found that Connell did not violate any university policy with regard to the allegations of racist and sexist conduct. The committee report, available exclusively here, while it ultimately vindicates Connell, is a depressing narrative of the sorry state of political correctness and race/sex politics on campus, in which the feelings and reaction of accusers carries as much weight as the objective reality of the statements made. While Connell was vindicated on a wide range of charges, this case surely will have a chilling effect on academic freedom on campuses as professors now know that regardless of the context, they are at risk of the subjective feelings of those with an agenda.
Read the whole thing. And background at Frontpage Magazine, "The Persecution of a Professor."

What's interesting to me is that, from what I can see, the attacks against Professor Connell were launched almost exclusively by Widener's Law School Dean, Linda Ammons. Checking her bio at the university's website, it turns out, no surprise, she's a "critical race feminist." And she's black, of course, a fact that in a rational world wouldn't matter a bit, but here in fact serves as the key variable doing most of the explanatory work. Connell mentioned the term "black folks" during classes, and was attacked as "racist." He'd also used Ammons as the subject of his classroom hypotheticals, which is apparently a completely harmless tradition going way back in the profession. After the university panel urged the administration to drop the charges against Connell, Ammons (or others in the administration) recruited students to make new charges, which allowed the witch hunt to continue. What William's talking about at his post is the requirement that Connell undergo a psychiatric evaluation as part of his reinstatement --- after he was already cleared of wrongdoing. The university, driven no doubt by Ammons, dug deep into campus regulations to find something, anything, with which they could convict Connell. They're alleging that his defense of himself, which included an explanatory e-mail to the university, was an act of "retaliation" in violation of college codes and his faculty contract, and that he should be suspended for a year. The university agreed with Dean Ammons' recommendation. It's perverse and pure evil. One must logically surmise that Dean Ammons' mind has been literally poisoned by years of progressive legal and ideology training in victimology and recrimination. Professor Connell is a middle-aged white man who has allegedly deviated from the accepted narrative. And for that, nothing less than complete professional destruction is pursued by his enemies. I'm reminded of Ann Althouse's quote, "'Isn't it funny the way lefties are, at bottom, puritanical about sex?'," because the same kind of insane, politically correct fanaticism has been driving the libelous allegations of sexual harassment that I've been defending against.

It's unreal.

Read the comments about this at Volokh, especially this one from "Blue":
Dean Ammons has now comprehensively crossed the line into Evil.