University of Denver Professor's Plight Featured in 'The Denver Post'
December 1, 2011
by Jaclyn Hall
FIRE has been closely following the case of University of Denver (DU) professor Arthur Gilbert, who was investigated and found guilty of sexual harassment after two anonymous students complained about the content of his course, "The Domestic and International Consequences of the Drug War."
In The Denver Post yesterday, reporter Kevin Smith highlighted the due process and academic freedom concerns raised by DU's handling of this case. He quotes FIRE's own Peter Bonilla on the subject:
"[T]he University of Denver was not interested in the academic freedom issues of his case," said Peter Bonilla, assistant director of FIRE's individual rights defense program. "They judged it purely by whether they believed subjectively that certain topics of his lectures, and the content of course materials, was in itself offensive."
As Peter mentions, FIRE wrote to Chancellor Robert Coombe early last month to urge him to respect faculty members' right to academic freedom and re-examine the finding of harassment against Professor Gilbert. The DU chapter of the AAUP penned a letter in support of Gilbert as well. Hopefully, DU will decide to restore its reputation by reversing this harassment finding and revising its procedures in order to protect academic freedom for faculty.