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.