American Philosophical Assn. 'deeply troubled' by firings at Mount St. Mary's University

by Tom Roberts

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The firing of two faculty members of Mount St. Mary's University "raises serious concerns" about the administration's regard for academic freedom and free speech, according to a letter issued yesterday by the American Philosophical Association.

(See previous story about the controversy at Mount St. Mary University that apparently led to the firings.)

The board of officers of the APA, based at the University of Delaware, said it "is deeply troubled" by the reports of the firings of two faculty, both philosophy professors and including one tenured professor "following their expressions of concern" about a plan by the university's president, Simon Newman, to cull students.

"The firing and removal of these faculty members without due process -- and doing so for their exercise of freedom of expression -- raises serious concerns about respect for  the principles of academic freedom, tenure, and shared governance" at the university, said the three paragraph letter sent to President Newman and the board of trustees of the Emmitsburg, Md., institution.

The action "harms not only the individual faculty members involved, but the entire Mount St. Mary's community and beyond by chilling speech and undermining public discourse," said the letter.

The APA called on Newman and his administration to "ensure that all university faculty, including those fired in recent days, receive the full protections of academic freedom and due process" required under the guideles of the American Association of University Professors, a national organization that advocates for academic freedom and shared governance in academic institutions.

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