CU Boulder’s “Reckless” Treatment of Philosophy Department


Wes Morriston, University of Colorado philosophy professor emeritus, has written an opinion piece in The Daily Camera in which he excoriates the university administration’s handling of the various problematic events and revelations there over the past year or so, including what he says was “an explicit threat to dissolve the department by invoking Regent Policy 4H (the policy on program discontinuance). The idea was to fire everyone, and then hire back some of us. Those lucky enough to be rehired would be rostered (for administrative purposes) in other departments.”

He accuses the administration of bullying behavior that has cause “fear, insecurity, and distrust.” He says:

I am shell-shocked. During the past year, my department has been publicly humiliated by a series of reckless and ill-considered moves by the campus administration, accompanied by highly selective, misleading, and carefully choreographed disclosures to the press. As a result, a fine department’s reputation has been irreparably damaged and a very successful graduate program has been trashed. 

The administration did not have to do things this way. The overwhelming majority of my colleagues are people of good will who love their work and are justly proud of one another’s accomplishments. Even at the worst times, they have shown themselves capable of sitting around a table and having a civil, respectful, and constructive conversation about common problems. They were (and are) appalled by sexual harassment or sexual misconduct of any kind. They were (and are) eager to improve the climate for women, both in the department and in the discipline of philosophy more generally. Had administrators chosen to work with department members in a low-key, considerate, and respectful way — had they been less prone to public posturing, finger-pointing, and patting themselves on the back, things would have gone very differently.

The piece is here.

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