Showing posts from 2020

The Managed Campus vs. the Governed Campus

The managed campus and the governed campus represent opposing visions of higher education. In practice and by definition, the managed campus is antithetical to both academic freedom and faculty governance. In its extreme manifestation, the managed campus is a graveyard for academic freedom. And it may well lead to the early graves of faculty, staff, and students forced to return to campus without adequate protections. from Rachel Ida Buff's Editor's Introduction to this timely and powerful  Volume 11 of the AAUP's  Journal of Academic Freedom Abstracts of Several of the Articles from this Important Issue Trickle-down economics offers the promise that wealth will eventually flow to all sectors of society. I argue that r

Memorial for Mike Shively Sponsored by the UVU Chapter of the AAUP: Remarks by Scott Abbott and Jim Harris

In Memory of Our Colleague, Friend, and Family Member Mike Shively And in Protest of the Investigation that Cost Him His Life  Scott Abbott My brother, John Abbott, died of AIDS-related causes in late July 1991. The day we drove to Boise to identify him as our brother and son and to clean out his apartment, I began to write what I called “fraternal meditations.” I needed to mourn. I wanted to remember. I hoped to become a better person through the meditations. That work of mourning was finally published as the book  Immortal For Quite Some Time  twenty-five years later. I’m grateful to have mourned, thankful to have the memories—and on June 3 of every one of the twenty-nine years since John’s death, I have woken on the morning of his birthday and sworn to be a better person—in his memory. This memorial service in honor of Mike Shively brings us together to mourn and to remember and to commit to live better lives. It also gives us the opportunity to draw lessons from the past for a bett

Who Decides on Budget Cuts in a Crisis?

Thoughts from the Chronicle in advance of possible cuts and layoffs at UVU:

Thoughts after the Chronicle Piece on Mike Shively and UVU

When serious complaints are made, the following four basic requirements will allow us to work together as respected colleagues at UVU: First— Any member of the faculty, student, or staff member who alleges they have been harassed, discriminated against, threatened, or deprived of academic freedom, should be taken seriously. Second— The claim should be investigated carefully by impartial investigators, a team including faculty peers if the accused is a member of the faculty. Third— The accused person must be given a chance to respond to the allegations, knowing who is making them and what the specifics are, before a decision is made to suspend. Fourth—During a suspension, the investigation should proceed with all due speed. As The   Chronicle of Higher Education (May 13) points out, the accuser in this case was taken seriously.  As I noted in a previous post (A Report on the Report), the investigators were not impartial nor did they include members of the faculty.  And as

Was This Professor Dangerous?

A journalist for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Emma Pettit, published a piece today about Mike Shively and his suspension. It's fairly thorough and informative and even-handed. You can find it HERE What she doesn't note is the distressing quality of the final UVU Report on the case. See my previous post for comments on that. While the family seeks legal recourse, we're left at UVU to sort out how faculty and administrators can go forward in the context of this case and earlier ones that leave many faculty distrustful and even fearful.  For instance: One allegation the investigators made against Mike Shively was that he didn't use Canvas. When two of my students wrote on their SRIs this semester that I hadn't used Canvas and they wished I had, I thought about the investigation that noted exactly how few minutes Mike had been on Canvas. Can my pedagogical choice be used against me? I wondered. Of course not. But the fact that the question came to mind


This week I read Utah Valley University’s Final Investigative Report on Professor Michael Shively, dated July 31, 2019. With a set of appendices, it is a public  document, filed in a lawsuit against UVU by the family of Professor Michael Shively (Case 2:20-cv-00119-DB-PMW Document 17-1 Filed 03/26/20; Utah Federal District Court).  I discuss the Report here because it reveals serious flaws in a procedure that should afford due process to members of the faculty while also enabling the University to dismiss faculty when there is proven cause. A UVU Faculty Senate Committee, of which I am a member, is currently writing a new policy on “Faculty Remediation, Sanction, and Dismissal for Cause.” Mistakes made in the Shively case can help us as we develop guidelines that are more reasonable than those in the earlier policy and more conducive to a mutual sense of trust and collegiality. Professor Shively passed away on August 19, 2019, never having seen this report that discounts ma