Some college professors have made an unsafe place for themselves.

The Academe Blog reports.

On Becoming the Enemy We Fight

A supplementary Report on the AAUP-Censured Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge appeared today. It deals with the dismissal of Teresa Buchanan:

Buchanan, a specialist in early childhood education with an unblemished eighteen-year performance record, was being evaluated for promotion to full professorship when a district school superintendent and an LSU student filed complaints against her, alleging sexual harassment as defined by LSU. Her dean immediately suspended her from teaching, and eventually, despite a faculty hearing committee’s unanimous recommendation against dismissal, the LSU board of supervisors accepted the administration’s recommendation that she be dismissed.

A faculty hearing committee:

found unanimously that “removal with cause” should not be contemplated, though it also faulted Buchanan for having violated LSU’s policies on sexual harassment by “her use of profanity, poorly worded jokes, and sometimes sexually explicit ‘jokes’ in her methodologies.” The committee found no evidence that this behavior was “systematically directed at any particular individual,” however, only that “some individuals observing the behaviors were disturbed.”

That made me think of John Wilson’s excellent essay on this blog a few days ago about students and coddling. I agree with him completely: Administrators have taken to using accusations, especially those concerning sexual harassment, as a means of battering faculty and even administrators somehow on the outs with those higher up. What happened to Laura Kipnis is perhaps the most famous recent example, but it is not the only one. Wilson claims, correctly, I believe, that “Today, students frame… complaints in the language of harassment and emotional harm because that’s how administrators train them to do it.” He goes on, “any idea that becomes a trend on campus is dangerous in the hands of meddling administrators who think they are there to serve students by punishing people who upset them.” This seems to be what has happened in the Buchanan case.