Petition in Support of Dr. Janice Harper

David Price has an article in CounterPunch about Janice Harper, an Assistant Professor with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville whose tenure review and subsequent firings seem rather suspicious. In particular, she says that she was told her tenure “would not have been an issue” had she not raised concerns which led the college to call for a sexual harassment investigation against one of her colleagues. What is worse, is that it seems that in retaliation she was also subject to an investigation which involved both Homeland Security and the FBI:

Dr. Harper says that in early June, the University of Tennessee’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) revoked her standing research clearance on the grounds that the police and FBI investigations and the seizure of her research materials exposed her informants to risks. She was told that she “could not use my data until I had assurance from the FBI and university that I was no longer under surveillance.” As these investigations continued, however, they found nothing to indicate that she had made threats or was somehow building a hydrogen bomb. Yet, Dr. Harper was caught in a classic double-bind. Although the FBI did not find that she had done anything wrong, she could not complete her work simply because this investigation had opened her private research records up to FBI scrutiny. This, of course, seriously imperiled her professional activity and development. Last fall, Dr. Harper learned that the faculty in her department voted to deny her tenure application.

There is a petition on her behalf.

(Thanks to the many, many, people who sent this our way. Server was acting sluggish so apologies for the delay.)

5 thoughts on “Petition in Support of Dr. Janice Harper

  1. The Counter Punch article is worth a read: http://www.counterpunch.com/price08102009.html holy crap, it says that Homeland Security and the FBI investigated Harper for teaching Joseph Masco’s Nuclear Borderlands book, and concludes “the Patriot Act serves as attractive nuisance inviting abuses of process and principles of fundamental fairness, while Homeland Security and FBI agents’ snooping through professors’ course reading lists undermines the basic foundations of academic freedom needed for free and honest inquiry.”

  2. Sign the petition! It’s worth noting that Dr. Harper has been terminated from UTK, lost her NSF funding and book contract as a result of the FBI investigation, and is now a single mother on the academic job market with this hanging over her head. Anyone who has other avenues via AAA, AAUP, or etc should try to bring this issue to their attention directly as well.

  3. People, you only have one side of the story. Talk about “mob rule.” Those in the know know that she is an extremely volatile character.

  4. Those “in the know” understand that this was a smear campaign, based on gender discrimination and retaliation against someone who defended her academic freedom, launched not just by the UT admin but facilitated by so-called liberal colleagues as well. Professor Harper’s CV speaks for itself and the denial of tenure and subsequent slanders were ways to punish her.

    It’s easy for “AB” to anonymously make charges against Dr. Harper, but offer no evidence. On the other hand, there are several reports exonerating Dr. Harper based on official investigations. But when a smear campaign is in effect, little things like facts get ignored.

    This is one of the more extreme cases of academic malfeasance I’ve seen. The UT admin and most of the faculty who went along with it deserve shame. Dr. Harper is an outstanding scholar who would easily get tenured at any reputable [key word here--reputable] school that did not have a history of gender issues like UT does.

    If “AB” really knows Dr. Harper, I’d suggest writing out your real name and giving some examples. But you can’t–because the absurd charges have been investigated and found empty, just like the attack on Dr. Harper. Tennessee should be ashamed of itself . . .

  5. This caase is why i am sooo happy to be freelancing. The freedom to study, research, publish and present what I choose without censure is priceless. I am ashamed of the academic hypocracy demonstrated by UT. But it is worth saying that every ‘institution’ offers the opportunity for power to corrupt individuals who reap benefits from it. I am sad for Janice but hopeful that she will have the courage to continue to expose the dirty dealing she is enduring. I am sure her ]volitility’ as AB remarked on earlier is the manifestation of her determination to speak out agaisnts the system and those who use it improperly. Let us remember: Quiet women never make history…

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