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Roosevelt University’s New Deal

Chicago-based Roosevelt University, a school  that prides itself on “social justice” seems to have dispensed precious little of it to an adjunct professor it dismissed last year. “There was a sociological study done in Arizona, and they discovered that 60 percent of the people in Arizona approved of the immigration law and 40 percent said, ‘no habla ingles,’” Robert Klein Engler told [1] a class in 2010.

The class was discussing said statute at the time so arguably it was on topic. Unfortunately, a student objected so now Engler is on leave. “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.” But Maly wouldn’t tell him,  Engler  remembers [2], and neither would any other university officials.

“On August 6, 2010, Mr. Maly notified me by e-mail that I was fired from the University,” Engler claims. “He claimed I wasn’t cooperating with an investigation.” He had to hire lawyers to find out.

“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.”

Although initially helpful, his union also turned against him. “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,” Engler asserts. “The University has severely hurt my future employment prospects in academia by recklessly and falsely branding me as a ‘harasser.’”

“Unfortunately I’ve learned 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.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia [3].

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [4]