Adjunct dismissal questioned
February 25, 2008
Inside Higher Ed
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is taking up the case of June Sheldon, who lost her job teaching science courses at San Jose City College after a student complained about Sheldon's discussion, in a class on heredity, of the causes of homosexuality. Sheldon was talking about the "nature vs. nurture" debate with regard to why some people are gay, and students complained that her comments suggested that she did not believe anyone could be born a lesbian, and that the way she endorsed the "nurture" side of the debate was offensive. FIRE's Web site details the case, and provides many of the relevant documents, and FIRE officials noted that Sheldon disputes the way her statements were described by college officials, and maintains that she was describing arguments on both sides of the debate. FIRE's complaint charges that Sheldon is losing her teaching position in punishment for expressing controversial views that were appropriate for the class topic, and in violation of due process rights. Michael Burke, the president of San Jose City College, noted that Sheldon was an "at will" employee and said she had been granted more rights of review than her contract required. He said she was removed from teaching following an investigation that raised questions about what she was telling her students, and that the process was consistent with college guidelines.
- Adjunct dismissal questioned, PDF, 132.5 KB , Inside Higher Ed