University of Denver: Sexual Harassment Finding Violates Professor's Academic Freedom in the Classroom
In April 2011, veteran professor Arthur Gilbert was investigated for sexual harassment after two students anonymously submitted complaints stemming from his course "The Domestic and International Consequences of the Drug War." Gilbert's dean, Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, suspended Gilbert from campus while he was investigated by DU's Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity (ODEO) and Department of Human Resources. ODEO found that Gilbert would have created a hostile environment if his class had been a regular workplace, but acknowledged the special characteristics of the classroom environment and deferred judgment. Hill declared Gilbert guilty, however, without considering Gilbert's academic freedom or the subject matter and context of the course, and mandated that Gilbert attend "sensitivity training." Although a faculty panel criticized DU for violating Gilbert's academic freedom, DU Provost Gregg Kvistad upheld Hill's findings. Despite letters from FIRE and the DU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, DU has refused to reopen the case.
- "University of Denver Calls Teaching 'Sexual Harassment,' Ignores Faculty; AAUP Launches Inquiry," December 12, 2011: University of Denver Professor Arthur N. Gilbert is daring to teach his "Drug War" course again after the university violated his academic freedom and suspended him earlier this year, deeming his teaching about sexual issues to be "sexual harassment." Over the objections of FIRE, a faculty committee, and the University of Denver chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the University of Denver refuses to correct its error. On November 30, the national AAUP opened an inquiry into the case.
- "Letter from AAUP Associate Secretary Anita Levy to DU Chancellor Robert Coombe, November 30, 2011," November 30, 2011
- "Email from Arthur Gilbert to Korbel School Student Affairs Office, November 22, 2011," November 22, 2011
- "University of Denver response to FIRE, November 14, 2011," November 14, 2011
- "DU AAUP Letter to DU Provost Kvistad and Chancellor Coombe, November 12, 2011," November 12, 2011
- "FIRE Letter to University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe, November 4, 2011," November 4, 2011
- "Final grievance response from Provost Gregg Kvistad, October 20, 2011," October 20, 2011
- "Report of Faculty Review Committee, October 4, 2011," October 4, 2011
- "Response from Christopher Hill to ODEO Investigation, July 14, 2011," July 14, 2011
- "Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity Determination Letter, June 8, 2011," June 8, 2011
- "Notice of Administrative Leave from Christopher Hill to Arthur Gilbert, April 6, 2011," April 6, 2011
- "Syllabus, INTS 3300 and 4141, The Domestic and International Consequences of the Drug War, Spring Quarter 2011," March 15, 2011
- "The End to My 'Sexy' Academic Career," by Madeline Gootman, July 26, 2013
- "U. of Denver Hides Behind Title IX to Justify Persecution of Veteran Professor," by Peter Bonilla, January 11, 2013
- "DU ‘Clarion’ Highlights University’s Appearance in ‘Unlearning Liberty’," by Peter Bonilla, November 8, 2012
- "U of Denver Faculty Senate to Administration: Vacate Tenured Professor’s ‘Harassment’ Finding," by Peter Bonilla, May 30, 2012
- "Univ. of Denver Fails to Scare Prof Away from Teaching Drug War Course," by Peter Bonilla, January 11, 2012
- "University of Denver Calls Teaching 'Sexual Harassment,' Ignores Faculty; AAUP Launches Inquiry," by Adam Kissel, December 12, 2011
- "University of Denver Professor's Plight Featured in 'The Denver Post'," by Jaclyn Hall, December 1, 2011
- "University of Denver Student Speaks out Against Punishment of Professor," by Peter Bonilla, November 21, 2011
- "University of Denver Refuses to Reconsider Violation of 50-Year Veteran Professor's Academic Freedom," by Adam Kissel, November 18, 2011: Over the objections of FIRE, a faculty committee, and the University of Denver Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, the University of Denver (DU) has refused to reconsider its violation of Professor Arthur N. Gilbert's academic freedom. DU had suspended Gilbert earlier this year after receiving anonymous complaints of sexual harassment due to his classroom comments, but all of the comments in question were based on academic material relevant to the class. Although DU claims in a letter to FIRE that it "carefully" investigated the claims, DU never evaluated Gilbert's comments in the context of the classroom environment.
- "University of Denver AAUP Echoes Call to Restore Academic Freedom to DU," by Adam Kissel, November 15, 2011
- "University of Denver Attacks Academic Freedom With Punishment of 50-Year Veteran Professor," by Peter Bonilla, October 27, 2011
- "Reload and Fight,"
by Kaustuv Basu, Inside Higher Ed, December 13, 2011
- "Concerns raised about academic freedom over University of Denver professor's punishment,"
by Kevin Simpson, The Denver Post, November 30, 2011
- "College ignoring professor's freedom,"
by Bob Kellogg, OneNewsNow, November 28, 2011
- "Carroll: Prof's rights disregarded by DU,"
by Vincent Carroll, The Denver Post, November 5, 2011