Latest News and Commentary: National

July 30, 2020
By Colleen Flaherty

An associate professor of politics at Converse College in South Carolina says he’s facing possible termination for publicly refusing to complete newly mandated diversity and antibias training. “My department chairman has informed me that the administration intends to dismiss me for insubordination and other reasons,” the professor, Jeffrey Poelvoorde, said via email. “I’m going to the mat on this one.” Poelvoorde, who denied an interview request, citing his attorney’s guidance, said that Converse recently told employees to complete mandatory diversity and bias training, in response to the murder of George Floyd by police and other events. Instead of watching the two training modules, Poelvoorde wrote an open letter to the college explaining his intention to defy the new requirement. He also expressed outrage that the college’s previous public statements condemning Floyd’s murder did not also condemn protests that turned violent. In particular, Poelvoorde mentioned David Dorn, the late Black retired police officer who was killed while providing security to a store in St. Louis in June.

June 8, 2020
By Fernanda Zamudio-Suaréz

In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd and the protests that have swept the nation, some college administrators are acting quickly when it comes to professors' provocative or offensive posts on social media. In some cases, however, administrators' hands are tied.. Last week Scott Senjo, a professor of criminal justice at Weber State University, posted three threatening tweets about people protesting against police brutality. The institution quickly started an investigation; Senjo said on Wednesday that he had agreed to its request that he step down, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. At Miami University, in Ohio, Douglas Brooks, a retired professor teaching a summer course, was accused of making offensive comments to protesters. In a letter from the provost to faculty members, the university condemned his views but said his speech is protected by the First Amendment. Still, Miami is giving students the option to finish the course with a different professor, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.