'Atlanta Journal-Constitution' is Latest to Highlight Wrongdoings in East Georgia Case
September 28, 2009
Readers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, if they weren't already aware of the appalling treatment of Professor Thomas Thibeault by the administration of East Georgia College (EGC), were given a primer on his case this weekend in an article by the AJC's Kyle Wingfield.
Wingfield neatly sums up Thibeault's alarming situation:
There are still several unknowns in this case - including the things still unknown to Thibeault himself, which is part of the problem. But this much is beyond dispute:
On Aug. 5, Thibeault attended a faculty training session where he criticized the college's sexual harassment policy as lacking provisions to protect the accused. Two days later, he was summoned to the office of college President John B. Black, who asked him to resign due to his "long history of sexual harassment," or else be fired and have the unspecified allegations against him aired publicly.
In the seven weeks since that meeting, Black has told Thibeault by letter that a faculty committee had begun and then concluded dismissal proceedings against him, and that he was suspended with pay pending an inevitable firing. But during those seven weeks, neither Black nor anyone else has told Thibeault exactly what harassment charges have been filed against him, or by whom, despite the professor's request.
Wingfield also notes that he got no answers even to his most basic questions—either from the University System of Georgia or from Mary Smith, Vice President for Legal Affairs at EGC, who according to Wingfield "declined to answer my questions about the case—including whether the school routinely waits until an employee has a 'long history' of harassment before addressing the alleged problem."
Adam, who commented to the AJC for the piece, illustrates the seriousness of the failures in Thibeault's case, telling Wingfield that Thibeault's case "is maybe one of the most extreme cases [nationwide] where there's due process violations...and we don't even know what the allegations are." Given the ten years FIRE has spent fighting failures of due process at universities around the country, calling this "one of the most extreme" cases of its ilk is quite a statement; it also happens to be true.
The AJC is the latest major media outlet to carry news of EGC's unlawful and immoral treatment of the popular professor. As we noted last week, Thibeault laid out his case in a twenty-plus minute interview on Breitbart.tv, to the increasing dismay of his hosts. The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed have also been on EGC's trail, to name just two of the many who have picked up on the case.
Wingfield's article—which links on numerous occasions to FIRE's case page—is a welcome addition to the media storm bearing down on EGC, all the more so for being in a widely read newspaper right in the college's and university system's backyard. Read his article, check out the rest of the remarkable media coverage garnered by Thibeault's case, and let the powers that be in Georgia know that you won't stand for it.