College rules against professor who defended rigorous math standards

Christian Schneider:

A hearing officer at a Nevada community college has ruled against a professor who saysthe school is trying to fire him for standing against weakening math standards.

In a report issued November 12, Truckee Meadows Community College Special Hearing Officer Vicky Oldenburg found that math Professor Lars Jensen violated several school codes when he protested a new curriculum structure that essentially allows remedial math classes to count for college credit.

The report brings Jensen one step closer to being fired with cause.

The report will now go to a faculty panel that will vote and write up its own recommendation. College President Karin Hilgersom will issue a final decision once she receives both reports.

“We are very disappointed with the conclusions and recommendations in Special Hearing Officer Oldenburg’s report,” Jensen said in an email to The College Fix. “We feel that her report ignored longstanding state and federal precedent protecting faculty speech and academic freedom.”

Jensen, who has been a professor at Truckee Meadows Community College for 22 years, told The Fix that Oldenburg’s report ignored guidelines set for faculty speech in previous decisions handed down by the Nevada Supreme Court and federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“This follows a dangerous pattern at TMCC,” Jensen said. “It further underlies the importance that faculty disciplinary panels be subject to outside binding arbitration, which unfortunately is not available at TMCC.”