The executive officers of Pulaski Technical College’s Student Government Association asked college president Dr. Margaret Ellibee last week to endorse the American Association of University Professors Standards of Academic Freedom and Due Process and to give fired professor Lyndel Roe a hearing based on those standards.
Roe, a philosophy teacher, was fired last September after a student complained that he’d asked her in class if she’d ever had anal sex with a man. It was meant as a rhetorical question, he said; Roe maintains that he was trying to make a point about the day’s lesson — on why God allows bad things to happen. He said he had in the past also used profanity in class but that it was not directed at students.
James Ryan Bozeman, the SGA president who wrote the letter to Ellibee, told the president that he had listened to complete audio recordings of Roe’s classroom lectures and reviewed “relevant documents.” He wrote that the recordings, unavailable to the administration at the time of Roe’s firing and appeal, constitute “new evidence” that “may yield a more conclusive perspective of Mr. Roe and the allegations set forth in his termination paperwork, which has been provided to me in its entirety.”
Prior to his firing, Roe had made Freedom of Information requests concerning the school’s budget and the school’s enrollment drop of 12 percent for the 2013-14 school year. He said at the time that he could not prove that his firing was in retaliation for raising questions.
Ellibee responded to Bozeman’s Jan. 24 letter on Jan. 28, saying, “I appreciate your forwarding your concerns. Please be aware that there is a grievance process in place that PTC employees can choose to pursue.” Roe has completed that process.
The SGA also plans to take its request for AAUP standards and an investigation into Roe’s firing to the Faculty Senate tomorrow.