There is some news from Illinois via the American Papist on the Illinois firing scandal. Take a peek at the form letter they are sending out:
I learned of this action on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) campus late last week and immediately asked Chancellor Robert Easter, who oversees the campus, to provide me with a briefing on the matter. I want to assure you that the University administration shares my commitment to the principles of academic freedom. At the same time, we do believe it’s important to fully investigate all of the details related to this situation. As I’m sure you’re aware, it is sometimes the case that public reports may convey only part of the story. I think it important to reserve judgment until I have all of the facts and I hope you’ll agree.
We have asked the UIUC Senate’s standing Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure to immediately review this action. This is the mechanism on the campus through which these matters should be vetted. We expect this review to be completed very soon. By using our channels of shared governance and review, we are in the best position to make informed decisions that afford a fair process for all.
If you don’t think these guys are worried, you’re right:
Chancellor Robert Easter has asked the University of Illinois’ Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure to determine whether the university violated the academic freedom and right to free speech of adjunct professor Dr. Kenneth Howell.
Howell, who has taught in the university’s Department of Religion since 2001, was recently fired for explaining in a class on Catholicism that the Church believes that homosexual behavior violates natural moral law.
University President Michael Hogan addressed faculty senators on Monday, after receiving 100 e-mails about Howell’s case, reported The News-Gazette.
“We want to be able to reassure ourselves there was no infringement on academic freedom here,” Hogan said. “This is a very, very important, not to mention a touchy and sensitive, issue. Did this cross the line somehow?”