Category Archives: Bullying

A Conservative Professor Stands Against University and Union Bullies

This is from Robert Klein Engler’s Defense Fund website. It’s a story we ought to hear about.

In 1999 I began teaching at Roosevelt University as an Adjunct Professor. I loved my job and my students, and I take great pride in the fact I had never been the target of any complaint from any student, faculty member, or administration official.

That all changed on May 10, 2010, when during a phone call with my Department Chair Michael T. Maly he mentioned that a “harassment complaint” had been filed against me. I asked what the complaint was about. Mr. Maly said he couldn’t tell me.

For months I practically begged Roosevelt University officials to provide me with at least some clue as to the nature of the “harassment complaint” lodged against me. I couldn’t imagine what it might be, but thought I at least had a right to know what someone was alleging.

But for months the University ignored my pleas.

On August 6, 2010, Mr. Maly notified me by e-mail that I was fired from the University. He claimed I wasn’t cooperating with an investigation. This was beyond absurd. For months the University stonewalled my attempts to learn even the most basic details of the allegation against me.

It is certainly true that one side wasn’t cooperating. And that side was the University.

On the day I was fired via an e-mail message on the basis of a “harassment complaint”– I still had no idea what the underlying “complaint” was about.

Adam Kissel of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education published this about my case: “How is it reasonable to expect someone to defend himself without knowing, for instance, whether he should bring in evidence that could disprove the allegation and end the case right away? For insisting on such basic rights, Engler eventually was fired by Roosevelt University.”

Fired for telling a harmless joke in class? You gotta be kidding…

Finally, two months after Roosevelt University fired me, and only after I hired an attorney to help me get some answers, I was for the first time advised by the University that the so-called “harassment” complaint related to one harmless joke I told in front of an entire classroom of students.

Apparently, one student complained about a joke I told to the entire class–a joke which by the way directly related to that day’s classroom discussion. Not only was the joke harmless, we now know that the University never should have tagged the complaint as “harassment” in the first place. The University breached its duty from the very beginning by lumping me in with true harassers–simply because I told a joke of an identical kind that one could hear from Jay Leno or David Letterman five nights a week.

I’m now asking that age old question, where do I go to get my reputation back?

Fergus Hodgson of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy has more on my case, including the specific joke that started it all.

Kissel sums it up perfectly, “Engler’s ordeal apparently originated with nothing more than this joke, which (like it or not) is obviously not harassment.”

My union stood with me, right up until they threw me under the bus.

My union representatives agreed that Roosevelt University’s firing of me in August of last year was in clear violation of multiple sections of the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization (RAFO) union contact. In a letter dated July 6, 2010, RAFO’s grievance chair Joseph Fedorko advised Roosevelt University that “The Agreement . . . has been violated in several respects (most obviously Article 4E, but also possibly 4H and 4K and others). RAFO filed two grievances against the University on my behalf.

For several months, I was reassured by my union representatives that things were moving along and that the union was working hard on my behalf as our contract requires. This past December my union filed a “Step 3” Grievance. Basically that’s the union saying it’s not satisfied with the employer’s response and it’s notifying the University that we’re moving to arbitration.

So far so good. My union seemed to be standing up for me. I was very confident that any fair and neutral arbitrator would agree that I should get my job back. All we had to do was follow through on the arbitration that my union demanded (at least on paper) from the University.

But now comes March of this year. Now my union tells me that it’s doing a complete reversal. Now that we’re finally to the point where I hope to get a fair remedy–my union decides to throw me under the bus.

Now I’m shocked to hear my union parroting University officials, and telling me they won’t fight for my job or for my reputation. I’m expected to accept a small cash settlement offer that will do nothing to restore my job, my professional standing, or my reputation.

For nearly a year I have remained in employment limbo as I relied in good faith on my union’s representations that they were fighting in solidarity with me for my contractual rights. The University has severely hurt my future employment prospects in academia by recklessly and falsely branding me as a “harasser.”

Unfortunately I’ve leaned the hard way that my union is great on the rhetoric about collective bargaining. It’s the follow through and actually doing something for their dues paying members that my union has a problem with.

Why is my fight your fight?

When academic freedom is squelched or threatened, every American loses.

Robert Weissberg, emeritus professor of political science, University of Illinois-Urbana and currently an adjunct instructor at New York University Department of Politics, said this about my case in his article earlier this year entitled: Standing Up to the PC Bullies:

“Consider what might now happen at Roosevelt University. . . . Topics like crime, teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency will vanish lest a slip of the tongue, even the wrong facial expression, brings charges of harassment. Prudent faculty might also revert to plain vanilla boring lectures and award sensitive students “A’s” as an insurance policy. Other might just pander to these groups to play it safe.”

I need your help.

I ask for your help, because if it happened to me, it can happen to you.

I’m standing up and seeking fair treatment against two powerful forces: politically correct academia, and an arrogant union establishment that long ago lost sight of its proper mission.

Help me make Roosevelt University a better place to teach and learn. Help me make Roosevelt a university where academic freedom is respected and a harassment policy is not used for political purposes.

Any donation you can make to my legal defense fund will be greatly appreciated. (You can follow the link at the top back to his website.)

Robert Klein Engler

RKleinEngler(at)aol(dot)com

Doug Ibendahl, attorney
dibendahl(at)mail(dot)com 

Recent News

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WEISSBERG: Standing Up to the PC Bullies l January 27, 2011
http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.8539/pub_detail.asp

KISSEL: Roosevelt University Professor Fired after Telling Joke in Class l January 18, 2011
http://thefire.org/article/12756.html

HODGSEN: Here’s the joke that got college prof fired l January 13, 2011
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=250705

NBC CHICAGO: Professor fired for immigration joke wants job back l October 21, 2010
http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local-beat/roosevelt-university-professor-engler-immigration-joke-105389653.html

THE TORCH: Professor still seeks answers l September 27, 2010
http://www.roosevelttorch.com/sections/news/professor-still-seeks-answers-1.2344123

THE TORCH: Student comes forward about fired professor l November 10, 2011
http://www.roosevelttorch.com/sections/news/student-comes-forward-about-fired-professor-1.2406369

VIDEO: Social Justice is Not Funny
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pWMm_5EONc

Mr. Engler’s books are available from amazon.com.

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Filed under Bullying, College Education, College Related, Teacher Unions

UPDATED: North Carolina Teacher yells at student because of a question he asked about Obama!

Parents, if you have a kid that sits in a classroom like this, give them a recording device and tell them to hit record.. This comes out of North Carolina and shows you how political indoctrination occurs in our classrooms. Kudos to the young man for doing this. A classroom should be a safe place for ideas to be exchanged; it is not a place for an adult bully to push a political agenda and yell down a student who disagrees.

The original news article this comes from:

Video stirs debate on teacher’s actions in North class

Update 5/21/2012: The teacher in question has been suspended by her district. Once again, parents, do not lay idly by as your kids are treated this way. When they start seeing this happen, change will come.

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Filed under Bullying, Liberal educators out of control in the classroom, Videos

Bully

We were curious if anyone had seen the new movie Bully? Leave a comment below, and let us know what you thought.

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Teachers Must Protect All Students from Bullying to Encourage Critical Thinking and Effective Debate

Teachers are typically caring people who are deeply concerned about the intellectual, emotional, and educational needs of their students. Over the years, many teachers have found protecting students’ rights more challenging as the educational system and the school curricula become more political. A teacher’s commitment to recognize the needs and protect the rights of each student becomes most important at that time.

During my 36 years as a conservative teacher in the classroom, it was difficult to witness the removal of conservative current-events materials from library magazine racks, to witness the removal of conservative ideologies from the text books, and to read the demeaning representations of the few traditional American values that remained in school textbooks. Nothing was more upsetting than hearing from students who supported conservative ideologies that they were bullied by classmates and teachers for their political stands and for expressing their intention to choose abstinence during discussions in health class.

I volunteered to donate two conservative magazines and one conservative newspaper to my school library so conservative children would feel comfortable discussing that side of political issues during current-events classes. The librarian told me, “NO.” She had to present only those items recommended by curriculum guides.* While conservative teachers were upset by this, few were willing to take a stand. It is time we all take a stand. We now must protect political diversity just as we support other diversity issues.

State governments have wasted millions of dollars creating and implementing anti-bullying curriculums which have been destined to failure because of the often unintentional but institutionally accepted bullying practiced by most political and social institutions, including the educational system. If there is any chance of limiting bullying within the educational system, legislation and district policies must include anti-bullying standards for the role models and leadership of the very institutions required to implement the anti-bullying curriculums.

Educators recognize that school libraries set the intellectual and social tone of the school. Librarians have been diligent about including literature that recognizes the contributions made to America by every race and nationality. The current-events materials may include everything from Mother Jones, Monthly Review, Mother Earth News, to Time, and Newsweek; but one typically will not see a copy of a conservative magazine such asThe Weekly Standard or National Review. Censorship is one of the most aggressive forms of bullying.

A Wisconsin teacher brought his fourth graders to the state capitol for a field trip and encouraged those children to participate in the anti-Governor Walker protests that are a well-known daily occurrence. When this instructor used his influence to encourage students to ignore the political views of their parents and to protest a Governor whom their parents support, intimidation was being used to bully young children. Fortunately, most teachers use better judgment.

This teacher, like so many others, was simply following curricula recommendations which encourage student activism. Unless teachers encourage students to become active on both sides of the issue, critical thinking and effective debate are lost.

When a student is met with derision when he responds to discussion questions presented by stating that the he or she intends to practice abstinence, that is bullying. When the instructor does not stop the mocking and/or if he participates, the instructor not only condones these behaviors but becomes a bully. Peer pressure is often used to push children into abandoning their goals and values. A common peer pressure tactic is represented by the false statement that “everybody does it”.

If bullying in schools is going to subside, teachers must support anti-bullying policies which include well-defined examples of bullying, well-defined consequences for any acts of bullying, and standards which must be applicable to adults as well as to students in the educational setting. Once that has been accomplished, legislators must take a careful look at curriculum core standards for every subject area and assure that those standards are fact-based and scientifically sound, that the data is replicable, and that the content encourages respect for the traditions and customs that have served the American people so well for over 200 years.

This is a piece written by Karen Schroeder. Ms. Schroeder is a member of Conservative Teachers of America and President of Advocates for Academic Freedom. She can be reached at 715-234-5072.

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