Doves Fired

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Social Order / HierCon / School Stories /

Why Was I Fired?
(All the non-tenured critics of the war were fired!)
(And all with tenure had known to shut up in the first place!)
(In the faculty room the critics were 100%. Outside the faculty room, security required silence.)

The college I taught at in 1969 fired me illegally. I got a small amount of restitution from them, but never mind that: my firing was illegal: why did they fire me? In the years and decades since I’ve declared my theories as publicly as I was able. The possibilities are easily categorized:

  1. Political
  2. Economic
  3. Cultural / Intellectual

The latter subcategorize into different classes of thing: I was fired because I taught

  1. Shakespeare
  2. ecology
  3. history of 20th-century racism

It’s that latter addition I’d never mentioned: not from my soap boxes, not from my Free Learning Exchange, Inc., not from; I didn’t remember it till yesterday!

The other reasons have all been discussed by me copiously for forty-odd years. It’s high time I address the racial possibility. In the army I was a clerk typist at Whitehall Induction Station. PFCs mixed with civil servants. We typed up the induction forms, interviewed those being considered for induction and those enlisting. The army’s memorandum on race, inherited from some federal bureaucracy: immigration or something, passed into my hands. I kept it. I had it with me when teaching: Colby College, Waterville, ME. I shared its contents with my students.

I never had any evidence that my students understood what I was saying about Shakespeare. My Shakespeare professors in graduate school didn’t seem to, why should they. It’s possible that some English major complained to a parent, it’s possible that the parent had some weight with the alumni; but that possibility strikes me as the least likely among my above candidates.

Quick review: I sure that economic considerations counted: colleges like to hire young instructors for peanuts. Once you get your union card, the PhD they have to start paying an almost livable salary, have to plan to give you tenure or get rid of you before your quorum of years have passed. But I doubt that economics was the principal reason in my case: they’d already rehired me, on a third successive one-year contract. The salary was agreed upon: $9,000. I’d started at $8,000, gone to $8,500, was headed for $9,000, and then the exit.

I’m sure that politics loomed large. The English department had just fired ten of its twenty-one member faculty, firing me made it eleven: more than half! The student newspaper alleged the reasons to be political: all eleven of us had participated in a series of silent vigils on the steps of the chapel, protesting US involvement in Vietnam: 1968, 1969 … None of the ten not fired has so partcipated. The local paper had called us all, students and faculty, Communists. The college didn’t utter a peep in protest. There’s nothing like federal aid to education to reduce the concept of education to another grease pile of propaganda, no more relevant to learning than Church indulgences had been to Christian faith.

i’ll continue in a bit, previous draft precedes

PS The above categories of course interrelate: politics is cultural, economics is political and cultural …

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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