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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gary Peters Forced Out at CMU

According to Right Michigan, the sordid affair over Gary Peters at CMU is finally over.

After months of turning a blind-eye to Gary Peters sacrificing the education of students by running for Congress while he's under contract as a professor, Central Michigan University is finally doing the right thing.

Reports out of Mount Pleasant indicate the school's HumanResourcesDepartment has finalized a policy that would require professors to pick between Congress and campus.

Under the new policy, which comes some three weeks after classes ended, Peters will be required to resign by June 5 -- 60 days before the Democratic primary on August 5 -- if he wants to challenge Congressman Joe Knollenberg.

Let me quickly review the particulars of the case. The whole thing started over a year ago when Central Michigan University hired Gary Peters to be their distinguished Griffin Chair. This was a peculiar hire because Peters had already announced an exploratory committee to run for U.S. Congress. Immediately, student Dennis Lennox began tracking the case and even formed a group called Students Against Gary Peters. As Lennox began putting more pressure on the administration to make Peters choose between Congress and his duties at CMU, the administration began putting more pressure on Lennox. They began sanctioning him for all sorts of dubious charges. They forced his eventual punishment all the way through their disciplinary process. In a move of stunning hubris and brazen chutzpah, the administration eventually held a secret disciplinary hearing over Spring Break without inviting Lennox to attend. They sanctioned him without him even being there to defend himself. While they didn't expel Lennox, they did formally write him up and put the write up in his official file.

This is a rather monumental victory. This whole sordid affair was another example of powerful forces trying to run over those deemed less powerful. (Those that have been following the story will remember that CMU threw out all standards of decency, fairness, an due process in trying to silence Dennis Lennox as he attempted to force Gary Peters to do exactly what the administration is doing now.) There will be time for reflection and analysis later. I don't believe this let's the administration off the hook, however for now, a major battle for the forces of the weak against the powerful has been won.

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