Linfield University sued over process-free termination of tenured professor, Daniel Pollack-Pelzner

Adam Steinbaugh
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Excerpt: A frozen laptop screen, an error message, then an automated reply from his own university email account announcing that he was no longer employed at Linfield University. That’s the total process — a generous description — that Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, a tenured professor, received after criticizing Linfield’s senior leadership, who summarily terminated him in what they called an “extraordinary step.” Now he’s suing. As FIRE has previously reported, Pollack-Pelzner’s dispute grew out of a series of conflicts with Linfield’s senior administrators, principally President Miles K. Davis.

After Pollack-Pelzner was summarily terminated, President Davis and Provost Susan Agre-Kippenhan unwisely gave a series of interviews demonstrating that they either do not understand what tenure means or believe that they have found a get-out-of-tenure-free card. The senior administrators claimed alternatively that Linfield had no policies, the policies were outdated, or they didn’t apply because Pollack-Pelzner was fired as an employee, not as a professor.