Meet Philip Schrodt, who very recently retired as a political science professor at Penn State following 31 years of tenure. He marked his retirement with two exercises of free speech.
First, on a lighter note, a month ago — on the day he left his office for the last time — he left on his door the final Calvin and Hobbes cartoon:
Second, on a much heavier note, on August 1 — one day after cashing his last paycheck — he attacked the school, and various aspects of academia in general (including other older tenured professors who contribute relatively little but decline to retire) in a lengthy post on his blog. For example:
[Penn State] as a whole is phenomenally weird, following a North Korean governance model without the transparency . . . . [It is] an authoritarian hellhole . . . . [T]he serial pedophile Jerry Sandusky found a welcoming and protective environment at Penn State not out of luck, but rather as an all-but-inevitable consequence of the institutional culture. . . . There is almost certainly a small fortune to be made in Federal whistle-blower suits here in Happy Valley.
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Academic institutions have changed little since the post-WWII expansions of the 1950s, while the world around them has changed dramatically. What little change has occurred appears focused on the proliferation of pointless administrative positions whose sole purpose is to make the institution more expensive and less efficient.
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Penn State, ever the leader in things nefarious, has embarked on a concerted effort to drive its least-healthy employees off its self-financed group health insurance and presumably onto the Affordable Care Act health exchanges.
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At Penn State, I was accepting a salary to produce cogs and cannon fodder for an academic machine . . . . [W]hen you find yourself beginning to feel sympathetic with many of the stereotypical negative things people say about academia, it is time to go.
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There is absolutely nothing worse than the academic stereotype of the old fart in the cluttered office telling people “It’s all crap!!!” — while pulling down, year after year, a handsome if static salary . . . .
Professor Schrodt won accolades for his courage and candor and his post went viral via coverage on The Monkey Cage (Aug. 1); Inside Higher Ed (Aug. 6); Althouse (Aug. 7); TaxProf Blog (Aug. 7); and College Insurrection.
As attention to the post grew, an obvious issue arose: would those at Penn State being attacked by Professor Schrodt censor the criticism — try to pressure or even threaten Professor Schrodt to get him to remove his post? The muzzling of competing ideas is, after all, a key component of the “progressive” playbook,
This concern was most presciently raised by Thomas Lifson in an essay published yesterday at the American Thinker. As a former member of the Harvard faculty, Lifson was especially appreciative of Schrodt’s “scathingly honest swan song about academic life.” He called Schrodt “gutsy” for publishing it, but added that there was “no doubt he will face some consequence for his truth-telling.”
Lifson was more on target than he likely realized. Within 24 hours (by late this morning), Schrodt’s August 1 post (and an August 4 post reacting to comments) disappeared from Schrodt’s blog without explanation. A few hours later, Schrodt posted a short, cryptic statement which seems consistent with the view that he deleted the post based on pressure from those criticized: “22,000 views . . . okay, I’ve made my point: let’s do a ‘time out’ here.”
So that readers can adequately assess the prospect that Penn State officials managed to censor highly critical comments on the blog of a retired professor, and so that readers can verify that the above quotes from Professor Schrodt’s blog (and the quotes on other websites which have reported on his blog) fairly summarize the content, the full text of Professor Schrodt’s now-deleted August 1 and August 4 posts is reproduced as an historical record on the Badger Pundit Addendum (here and here).