Letter to the editor: Administrators crossed a line with faculty academic freedom

David Demers, Phoenix AZ

I congratulate Cody Cottier, Evergreen reporter, for his investigative story, “CAHNRS conflicts undermining academic freedom, faculty say.” Allow me to supplement his report with a few more facts and observations:
1. A culture of termination has existed at WSU for several decades now, as Vice Provost Francis McSweeney admitted under oath in a deposition taken in 2010. At that time, she had played a role in the dismissal of up to 10 tenured faculty for allegedly low performance in annual reviews.
2. The American Association of University Professors says termination policies like the one at WSU are a violation of the academic freedom rights of professors. Performance reviews should not be used because there is too much temptation to use them to oust outspoken professors.
3. The administration at WSU still contains administrators who endorsed a legal strategy that tried to convince the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2014 that WSU faculty do not deserve free-speech rights when speaking in their professional roles. These individuals should be removed from their administrative positions.
4. Administrative actions taken against professor Robert Wielgus should be investigated for violations of state criminal statutes, as well as for violations of state ethics laws. If such violations are found, President Kirk Schulz should resign from his position.