Professor disciplined because he didn’t write a reference letter!

So what happens if he agrees to write a letter, but the language is less-than-stellar? Is that verboten? And what about getting in trouble for writing a reference letter?

John Cheney-Lippold, a tenured American and digital studies associate professor, will not get a merit raise during the 2018-19 academic year and can’t go on his upcoming sabbatical in January or another sabbatical for two years, according to the letter signed by Elizabeth Cole, the interim dean of UM’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

He could also face additional discipline, up to and including dismissal, if a similar incident occurs in the future, Cole wrote in the letter, dated Oct. 3.

“Your conduct has fallen far short of the University’s and College’s expectations for how LSA faculty interact with and treat students,” according to Cole’s letter, which The News obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. “This letter is a strong warning that your behavior in this circumstance was inappropriate and will not be tolerated.”

“In the future, a student’s merit should be your primary guide for determining how and whether to provide a letter of recommendation. You are not to use student requests for recommendations as a platform to discuss your personal political beliefs.”

He also made a couple of poor decisions that gave the university grounds to come after him. The number one lesson of the Marquette witch hunt is never, ever mention a student’s name publicly.

Besides outlining disciplinary action, Cole’s letter chided Cheney-Lippold for writing two letters previously for students who wanted to study in Israel because he didn’t have tenure. Cole also criticized him for using class time in two courses he is teaching to discuss his views on the Palestinian-led BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movement and his decision to not write a letter for Ingber.

“You did not honor your responsibility to teach your students the material on your syllabus related to your field of expertise,” Cole wrote. “Although this material was discussed in only one session, an entire class period represents a significant portion of your total contact hours with students over the semester. This use of class time to discuss your persona] opinions was a misuse of your role as a faculty member.”

The letter also said Cheney-Lippold violated Ingber’s privacy in some statements he made to media outlets and “cast a national spotlight” on her.

Personally, I think he should be disciplined for that beard:

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/10/09/university-michigan-disciplines-professor-over-israel-letter-controversy/1580969002/

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