It's been about a year since the controversy over the firing of SUU professor Stephen Roberds began to settle down. I'd like to thank everyone who read my posts, commented, trackbacked, or followed this story on their own blog. In the meantime, SUU has not been overrun by brownshirts, speech codes, the John Birch society, or Mormons intent on suppressing 21st century culture.
Roberds and his supporters claimed he was fired for swearing in class. Almost immediately this was picked up by the liberal blogosphere - including the daily KOS - as a sign of Bush driven fascism in the U.S.
SUU administration asserted that this was a confidential personnel matter and revealed nothing. They still haven't. The scuttlebutt was that this was a case of extreme inability to get along with colleagues and students.
Roberds repeatedly threatened legal action. None was ever taken. Free speech advocacy groups reported that he was uncooperative. His supporters rallied a bit; this fizzled as the story took a bizarre twist.
This blog was instrumental in getting out the information - suppressed by the local and school papers - that Roberds had been fired from the University of North Alabama under almost identical circumstances several years before. Even worse, the same pattern of free student labor and student contributions (!!!) was used to smear the university. A few thousand hits later, and the issue was quickly and quietly removed from everyone's radar screen. The students website in support of Roberds stopped paying its bills several months ago, and was shut down.
The whole story is covered under my SUU - Southern Utah University category heading between December 2004 and February 2005.
P.S. I hope Roberds lands somewhere that works for him ... he's a really inspring professor that many students were deeply attached to, and from whom they learned a great deal.
P.P.S. The local paper did not forget that I scooped them, and bitch slapped me a few months later in a front page article about the newly tenured professors at SUU - including a scurrilous implication that I had left my previous employer under an ethical cloud.