Letters to Editors of Newspapers in America

Idaho Statesman: Nicholas Gier

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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2011

Laid Off Tenured Professor

Habib Sadid’s, formerly a tenured professor at Idaho State University, employment was terminated ostensibly for criticizing multiple administrations at ISU, letters to the editor, and paid advertisements in a local newspaper that did not bear favorably on ISU.

Nicholas Gier’s letter to the editor of the Idaho Statesmen did not list any of the aforementioned “actions of opposition” initiated by Sadid. Gier maintains Sadid’s free speech rights were violated. If Habib Sadid was frequently publicly critical of ISU, why didn’t he quit and move on? The right to free speech, like all other rights, can be abused and one has to wonder if Sadid stepped over the line with a paid advertisement criticizing ISU administration. I mean staring at the nice firm asses of the female college volleyball players is one thing, but constantly complaining about various administrators and policies is another.

Tenure is partially in place to protect faculty from the caprice of the various administrations under which they serve. It is not unusual for a long time faculty member to serve under, say, 7 administrations/academic deans. Tenure is not intended to give professors carte blanche to mouth off every time they feel the least bit slighted. I know plenty of underpaid and “mistreated” adjunct professors who would give their right arm for the cushy job that was once Sadid’s.

HABIB SADID CASE Unjust treatment for ISU professor

The Associated Press story on the Habib Sadid case conflates two lawsuits and contains errors. The first suit in 2008 was based on charges of retaliation and Idaho State University’s refusal to provide annual evaluations of Professor Sadid. As university bylaws are considered part of a faculty member’s contract, we believe that Sadid should have prevailed on these points.Retaliation is always difficult to prove, and we are content that the justices did rule that District Judge Nye misused the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Garcetti v. Cellos in denying Sadid free speech rights. This is a huge victory for faculty everywhere.The second suit filed this year in state and federal courts was for Sadid’s termination on Oct. 30, 2009. Here the issues are not only First Amendment ones, but also massive violations of due process. We are confident that we will win this case.My organization has raised over $151,000 for Sadid’s defense and we will support him all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court.

NICHOLAS F. GIER, president, Higher Education Council, Idaho Federation of Teachers, AFT/AFL-CIO, Moscow

Factual Background
Habib Sadid (“Plaintiff”) was a tenured professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Idaho State University. ? He began working for the University in 1991, was given full tenure in 1993, and became a full professor in 1999. ? During the period from 2001 through 2008, Plaintiff publically criticized successive University administrations in guest columns, printed comments, a letter to the editor, and a paid advertisement, all of which were published in a local newspaper.
On September 29, 2008, Plaintiff filed this action against the University and a University administrator alleging that they retaliated against him for exercising his free speech rights, that the University breached his employment contract, and that the administrator defamed him. ? He later amended his complaint to add as defendants the former and current Provosts, the former and current Deans of the College of Engineering, the current Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the current University President.
The Defendants moved for summary judgment on various grounds, and the district court granted their motion. ? Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration, which the court denied. ? The court awarded the Defendants court costs as a matter of right, but denied their request for an award of attorney fees. ? Plaintiff appealed the granting of summary judgment, and the Defendants cross-appealed the denial of their request for attorney fees.

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7 comments on “Idaho Statesman: Nicholas GierAdd yours →

  1. Assuming the events that are being reported are true, sadid evidently thought his opinion was more important than other viewpoints. You have to screw up pretty bad to get fired from a tenured teaching position. He must have said some very harsh things about Isu in that ad he paid for! If he was that upset to take out ad criticizing his employer, he probably deserved what he got. Sounds like a classic case of megalomania to me.

  2. Tenured University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign engineering professor Louis Wozniak was fired for posting a video about how his student cried over an honor society award Louis believe he deserved. Louis Wozniak had multiple conflicts with colleagues and was outspoken in his public criticism of dept chair. He also sent out sexual emails(not propositions to horny coeds, just sordid humor) to his students on occasion. He sued a student over not receiving an award he thought he deserved. Read Colleen Flaherty’s piece for more depth and detail. Even with tenure I think Louis crossed the line and his termination was justified.

    1. Was Lisa Christopherson tenured? She is the Rio Rancho, N.M. teacher fired as a result of her involvement with a union and her public vocal criticism of school district officials.

      She taught at Eagle Ridge Middle School and it was reported she acted in a disrespectful and dismissive way toward her students that resulted in her termination after multiple complaints from distressed parents.

      I knew of her Halley McKenzie and
      Matt Vallerga. The last two were chill, but she could be aggressive and in your face even though she cared about my daughter.

      I also appreciate what Divyesh Patel and Craig Brandt stood for and were trying to do on school board.

    2. It this the same Colleen Flaherty who is a flame torch for the rights of poorly treated and compensated adjunct teachers? I worked at Lone Star College in Texas as an adjunct in near Humble and The Woodlands. The conditions, lack of respect from the full timers, and the pay are a travesty. Your office is your car littered with fast food debris. Adjuncts are the life blood of community colleges often doing a better job of connecting and teaching than their complacent well paid, cushy schedule counterparts. I have even heard comments from the students of the ilk, “oh she is only an adjunct”. Oh well Screw it….I am much better off now creating my own schedule as an IT consultant. Still developed some strong bonds with students that I see around town and sometimes even worth with!!

      1. George Skelton Los Angeles Times writes incisively about the tragic decline of the teaching profession citing examples like kids who belong in special Ed pooping and peeing on floor of regular classroom, parents who nurture along a sense of entitlement criticizing teacher rather than their spoiled rotten progeny, kids who are sent to principal refusing to stop playing games on smart phone only to be readmitted into class by gutless principal fearing parental retribution, teacher whose smart phone was stolen by a kid whose friend was distracting teacher feigning interest in academics, car key teachers who are too tired to grade homework only taking keys to car after work, parent teacher altercations fist fights, dealing with bullying

    3. Related is Texas A and M adjunct professor Irwin Horwitz with his students who weren’t performing well academically and were behaving in disruptive, rude and dishonest ways. So he sent the students in his strategic management class an email:
      “Since teaching this course, I have caught and seen cheating, been told to ‘chill out,’ ‘get out of my space,’ ‘go back and teach,’ called a ‘fucking moron’ to my face, a unscrupulous student cheat by signing in for another, one student not showing up but claiming they did, listened to many hurtful and untrue rumors about myself and others, been caught between fights between students, caught a student masturbating in corner…….So Irwin then stated he would fail all of them! Can u blame the dude??!!

  3. This appears to be a site about incompetent academic types. Me and my buds went to this professional development seminar in Orlando, Florida sponsored by Texas Instruments. We went to all these sessions where technology and teaching tips were covered. We were supposed to get one hour of college credit for it and had to send proof that we attended the talks. A dude named Doctor dennis st john of central michigan university was paid to grade the stuff we uploaded to blackboard there but he is slacking and will not respond to emails or phone calls. Is anybody else having the same problem with this cat?

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