Widener Law School goes Soviet, demands law professor undergo psychiatric evaluation
Posted by William A. Jacobson
Le-gal Ijn-sur-rec-tion blog
Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 10:00am
Lawrence Connell is a tenured law professor at Widener Law School in Delaware. I have noted in prior posts that Connell was accused of a wide range of racist and sexist conduct directed at students in his classes and at Dean Linda Ammons (because of hypothetical examples Connell used in class).
Connell has sued, and also went through a university disciplinary hearing process. The faculty committee which heard the evidence found that Connell did not violate any university policy with regard to the allegations of racist and sexist conduct. The committee report, available exclusively here, while it ultimately vindicates Connell, is a depressing narrative of the sorry state of political correctness and race/sex politics on campus, in which the feelings and reaction of accusers carries as much weight as the objective reality of the statements made. While Connell was vindicated on a wide range of charges, this case surely will have a chilling effect on academic freedom on campuses as professors now know that regardless of the context, they are at risk of the subjective feelings of those with an agenda.
But on one charge Connell was found to have violated university policy. The Committee found that Connell’s reaction to the false accusations against him, in which he sought to vigorously defend both his job and his reputation, constituted “retaliation.” …
But Dean Ammons recommendation, accepted by the university, went much further, demanding that Connell submit to a psychiatric evaluation, undergo ”anger management” counseling, and issue an apology:
Defending oneself decisively constitutes “retaliation” and earns a “sentence” of being required to see a shrink and get anger management training? Looks to me like this faculty committee is “retaliating” against this professor for successfully defending himself!