Monday, July 14, 2008

Chronicle of Higher Education Picks up on UAB Termination Story

In the world of higher education, there is no more important publication than the Chronicle of Higher Education.

It is to academia what Editor & Publisher is to journalism--except that, having worked in both industries, I would say the Chronicle is more revered than E&P. And that's saying something.

The news of my termination at UAB has made it to the premier publication in the field of higher ed.

The Chronicle, picking up on Raw Story's breaking article from last Friday, reports:

The editor, Roger Shuler, worked at the university for 19 years, including the last 12 as an editor in the publications office. He was fired in May after placing a written request for vacation time on his boss’s chair instead of handing it directly to her, he says. After the boss reprimanded him for that act, and Mr. Shuler complained about the reprimand, he says, the university investigated his use of his university computer and contended he was spending three hours a day on research for his blog. And for that, the university fired him.

But Mr. Shuler denies he was using university time to conduct research or to write material for his blog, Legal Schnauzer, and says that as an editor at the university he must keep up with news in the state. He believes the reprimand for his vacation request and the investigation of his computer use were attempts to punish him for using his blog to criticize the Republican U.S. attorneys in the state.

In particular, Mr. Shuler’s blog has defended Don Siegelman, the former Democratic governor who has been prosecuted by one of the U.S. attorneys with close ties to the White House. On his blog, Mr. Shuler has questioned whether another Republican U.S. attorney in Alabama is “corrupt and racist.”

I found the comments to be most enlightening--and entertaining. I'm sure most, if not all, come from colleagues (former colleagues, I guess) in higher ed. A sampler:

Any time there was a firing over leaving a written request on a chair instead of handing it to someone, you KNOW there is a problem. That’s the kind of thing that only happens at a university when there’s bad blood and more to the story.


Of course we see many times where universities are slack on all these things until they want to get rid of someone then all of a sudden it is a huge problem.


If the facts as presented by the person who fired him are correct, then it showed that he read the news online during the day—which would mean 95% of academia would be fired. Considering that the appeals committee overturned his firing, it sounds like the facts were actually on his side.


Uh-oh, am I going to get busted for checking the Chronicle during office hours? I had better go!


I am a graduate of UAB and am familiar with various complaints from employees about the unprofessional, dictatorial behavior of many managers at the school. The school has lost & will continue to lose many of the best & brightest because of this mentality. Perhaps the actions presented above do not differ significantly from other state Universities; however, the lawsuit brought here is one in many that I am familiar with at the University across several departments. That is what is disturbing.

Chronicle reporter Robin Wilson concludes:

The university told The Raw Story that Mr. Shuler had not been fired for blogging, but it would not comment further. In June an appeals committee at the university voted to overturn Mr. Shuler’s dismissal. But he says the university recently told him that, while he could be rehired, he would not get his former job back.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm an alumnus of UAB, and Mr. Shuler's experience does not make me proud of my alma mater. In fact, it makes my skin crawl.