An interesting story in today’s Chronicle of Higher Ed: Bruce E. Fleming, a tenured English professor at the U.S. Naval Academy spoke out a couple of years ago, criticizing what he saw as the Academy’s undue emphasis on affirmative action. Specifically, in:
a widely circulated June 14, 2009, column in an Annapolis newspaper, The Capital, […] he argued that the academy enrolled minority students through a separate, less-demanding admissions process, and that many of those students struggled academically.
Afterward, Fleming said he faced retribution for what he saw as whistleblowing; specifically, he was denied a merit-based pay raise that his department chair had advocated, as well as a written not-quite reprimand. Apparently, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel agreed, and its finding has led to a legal settlement.
It’s worth noting that Annapolis has had other problems as well, culminating in the retirement of the school’s superintendent, who was also named in Fleming’s complaint.
It’s been said that one of the few people who can speak the truth without fear is a tenured professor. While that probably doesn’t happen nearly enough, it’s good to see someone who both lives up to that and maintains his right to do so. Nice work, Professor Fleming.