This week's local kerfuffle is about an adjunct professor who's contract was not renewed by the University. He's now claiming anti-Catholic bias because a student complained about his anti-gay bias. The N-G articles are here and here. I'm getting in on this late, so there's not really much point, but what the hell.
Something about this whole thing smells funny. I just don't buy it. Both articles say that his contract was not renewed (he was not fired) "after" the anonymous student lodged his complaint. One thing that's conspicuously missing from the articles is that he was let go as a result of this complaint. His contract wasn't renewed after the Hundred Years War, either, but that doesn't mean one led to the other. The only suggestion that Howell's contract wasn't terminated because of anti-Catholic bias is coming from Howell himself.
My skepticism is driven largely by one point: undergraduates just don't have this kind of influence. It's not like university administrators sit around thinking "Oh woe is me, I must now lay of a highly skilled teacher because we have had a single anonymous complaint." It's not like they sit around rubbing their hands together, cackling evilly, and plotting a new Protestant schism, either.
Can I point out that the University is undergoing a major financial crisis at the moment? The entire freakin' staff had to take a 3% pay cut and now they're going to have to find a way to pay the new
CEO's university president's 40% raise over his predecessor's salary. It really wouldn't surprise me if departments were looking for any way at all to save a few bucks. Cutting non-tenure track teaching staff might be a good way to reduce labor costs. I've asked a few people and they didn't know if other adjuncts are being let go or not.
I suspect there's more going on here than we know about. At most, I'd bet that this was just an excuse to get rid of someone that has been a nuisance or a problem in other ways. That a teacher is being gotten rid of because of one anonymous complaint just doesn't wash.
I'm also amused of the irony in the fact Howell claims "[Natural Moral Law] says that Morality must be a response to REALITY" while simultaneously claiming he was discriminated against because of his membership in a Church that also teaches that demonic possession is real.