On December 18, 2013, the AAUP Colorado Conference issued the statement below.
Statement Regarding University of Colorado and Professor Patti Adler
The AAUP Colorado Conference condemns the University of Colorado’s treatment of sociology professor Patti Adler as a clear violation of academic freedom and an unwarranted infringement on Professor Adler’s professional obligation to choose effective instructional methods to communicate disciplinary knowledge in her classroom. The reported concerns of CU administration, first, that Professor Adler may have violated federal institutional research protocol and, second, that Adler’s classroom role playing presentation potentially violates federal sexual harassment policy, if correctly reported, have no bases in principle or in fact and appear to inaccurately characterize the reach of either of these important social protections. Institutional Review Boards are clearly limited to supervising research, not teaching. Sexual harassment protection does not justify restriction of academic freedom except where an intent to harass is manifestly evident or a hostile environment is shown to exist,* the circumstances of which have not been established in this case and thus should not be presumed absent formal grievance and investigation. The fact that Professor Adler has taught her class using this role playing exercise for 20 years without complaint is certainly strong circumstantial evidence against such allegation. The AAUP Colorado Conference hereby urges CU administration to uphold academic freedom and hereinafter respect Dr. Adler’s pedagogical judgment in classroom in the absence of procedurally credible evidence of any misconduct.
Stephen P. Mumme, PhD, Co-President, AAUP Colorado Conference
Jonathan Rees, PhD, Co-President, AAUP Colorado Conference
Ray Hogler, PhD, Vice President for Legislative Affairs, AAUP Colorado Conference
Suzanne Hudson, MA, Secretary Treasurer, AAUP Colorado Conference
Don Eron, MFA, AAUP University of Colorado at Boulder
Dean Saitta, PhD, Immediate Past Co-President, AAUP Colorado Conference
Myron Hulen, PhD, Past President, AAUP Colorado Conference
*AAUP’s official policies on Institutional Review Board practices and Sexual Harassment may be found at the national website.
Contact: Steve Mumme or Jonathan Rees