In Defense of Professor Scott Gerber

Peter Wood:

elissa Baumann, President of Ohio Northern University, after she and Law School Dean Charles Rose initiated an investigation of Professor Scott Gerber. The university has so far refused to explain to the Professor what deed caused his banning and forced removal from campus. This is a clear abuse of process and of the Professor’s rights. Professor Gerber has detailed his experience in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

We have sent the following letter to Dr. Melissa J. Baumann, President of Ohio Northern University.

Dr. Melissa J. Baumann
President Ohio Northern University
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810

May 14, 2023

Dear President Baumann:

I am writing on behalf of Professor Scott Gerber, a member of the National Association of Scholars and professor of law at Ohio Northern University. NAS is an organization of professors, administrators, graduate students, teachers and independent scholars who share our mission focused on the traditional liberal arts in undergraduate education, to traditional standards of academic freedom and free expression on campuses, and to the observance of objective, uniform standards of due process in procedures relating to academic disciplinary matters.

I am appalled by the treatment ONU’s senior administrators have meted out to Professor Gerber. His account published in The Wall Street Journal and the statement issued by FIRE are powerful indictments of the unfairness, callousness, and abuse of process that ONU has exhibited—I would say “in this case,” but in fact there is no case. As far as we on the outside can tell, there was only administrative whim.

I have known Professor Gerber for many years, and I know him to be sharp-witted and undeterred by pressures to conform himself to reigning ideology. He speculates in his WSJ op-ed that his criticisms of ONU’s diversity, equity, and inclusion policies may have prompted the effort to purge him from the faculty. While that seems likely, we don’t know. But whatever motivated the administration to take this action, the manner of taking it is inexcusable. What could possibly justify interrupting a professor’s class in order to take him under escort to the dean? In the real world we call this bullying. Then to demand his capitulation on the spot without naming charges or following the university’s written procedures? In the real world we call this contempt and intimidation.