Tenure decision was wrong

By DOT WARD,

Dear Editor:

When the State College Board met to consider granting tenure to University of Mississippi assistant professor, James Thomas, it took several hours before a decision was made. 

It wouldn’t take most people five seconds to say that his “political protest” of last October was inappropriate to say the least.  A professor doesn’t deserve tenure when he encourages readers of his Twitter post to make a political statement by “interrupting a Senator’s meal by putting their fingers in their salads” or “to bring boxes and take their food home with you on the way out.”  How childish and undignified and certainly unbecoming a college professor!

But with the American Association of University Professors screaming about freedom of speech and the climate that exists on most college campuses and is shown in decisions made by the leadership of Ole Miss in recent years, the outcome was predictable.

The thing that is most troubling is that Thomas said he has “absolutely no regrets about anything I said,” and that he didn’t mean for his comments to be taken literally or incite violence.  What?  A college professor who doesn’t have enough sense to know better?  And we want to give him the license to have free reign in teaching our young people?

And if asked, I’d tell Mr. Thomas, just as well as President Trump, to use prudence and restraint in what you post on social media. 

Yes, we all have freedom of speech, but the tongue is a two-edged sword.  With freedom comes responsibility.

We have the responsibility not to speak the negative thoughts in our minds about another person or incite action that is unfair or reprehensible even though we have the freedom to do so.

We have the responsibility to discourage disrespectful and unruly behavior, and the freedom to encourage others to live by the Golden Rule and to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Our colleges and universities should employ faculty members who can teach not only “head sense” but who, through example, can instill knowledge that molds the character of the men and women who will soon be leading this nation.

Dot Ward

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