Monday, October 27, 2014

Suspended for Irony and Sighing

Inside Higher Ed
October 27th, 2014

While American universities debate whether "civility" is an appropriate way to evaluate faculty members, a British institution has faced intense criticism for punishing a faculty member for sighing, unfriendly body language and the use of irony.
The University of Warwick has now backed down and dropped all charges against Thomas Docherty (at right), a professor of English who is known for his criticism of the the use of corporate approaches in higher education. But the case has set off a broad debate over how administrators respond to criticism, and over the vulnerability of professors who speak out. Others have said it points to the arbitrary nature of punishments in academe, given that if every professor who sighed or used irony ended up suspended, there might be a lot of empty departments in Britain and elsewhere.

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