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Arthur Gilbert and Academic Freedom at DU

December 1, 2011

Yesterday’s Denver Post ran a story about the troubles of Professor Arthur Gilbert at the University of Denver.   Arthur Gilbert is a tenured Associate Professor in DU’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. On the basis of two anonymous letters complaining about his classroom conduct, Professor Gilbert was pulled from his graduate classroom last spring, suspended with pay, and banished from campus for over 100 days pending an investigation. A DU Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity investigation cleared him of conduct-based charges but determined that his speech created a “sexual harassment hostile environment.”  The university’s Provost sentenced Professor Gilbert to a “conversation” with the ODEO Director. A Faculty Review Committee hearing Professor Gilbert’s appeal determined that his due process and academic freedom rights were violated. It termed the DU administration’s behavior “outrageous.” The administration, however, let the conviction stand and now considers the case closed.

The story was first reported nationally by The Chronicle of Higher Education.  DU’s student newspaper, The Clarion, ran a long story. The DU AAUP chapter was on the story as soon as it broke.  A chronological listing of relevant documents, including the chapter’s interventions on Professor Gilbert’s behalf, can be found on the DU chapter’s website.  The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is aggressively following the case.  A compilation of FIRE materials can be found here.  The National AAUP has reviewed the case materials and sent a letter to DU Chancellor Robert Coombe. The letter is posted to the DU AAUP chapter website and to our “Documents” page.

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