Protect academic freedom

The following petition was drafted by Academics for Justice ( and will be sent with signatures to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the North Carolina AAUP (NC-AAUP), and North Carolina State University (NCSU) Chancellor James L. Oblinger.

In March 2008, Dr. Terri Ginsberg filed a Grievance Petition with the NCSU Faculty for alleged violations of First Amendment rights and other rights guaranteed under the University Code that were perpetrated by senior, administrative colleagues during her employment there as a one-year, non-tenure-track Assistant Professor with possibility of renewal.  These alleged violations constituted concerted attacks on her academic speech supporting Palestinian rights and legitimacy and criticizing U.S. and Israeli policy in the Middle East, and they culminated in her non-reappointment to her position at NSCU.

Despite strong, legally grounded recommendations on the part of James Martin, NCSU Faculty Chair, that Dr. Ginsberg's case should be given a fair hearing on campus, NCSU Chancellor James L. Oblinger chose in June 2008 to dismiss her case upon the basis of an Appeal he was sent by the Grievance Petition's named respondents which argued, erroneously, that the Petition was filed too late, and that, moreover, as contingent faculty, Dr. Ginsberg had no right to grieve under the University Code.

Whereas the national AAUP and the NC-AAUP had been providing Dr. Ginsberg with requested guidance up to that point, each office informed her subsequent to Chancellor Oblinger's decision that it would no longer be able to serve in that capacity.  The AAUP supplied no explanation for its decision, which eerily echoed the perfunctory and condescending language and tone of Chancellor Oblinger's decision to dismiss the case.

Dr. Ginsberg's case is but the most recent in a spate of similar cases that, in contravention of organizational mandate, have been ignored or refused by the AAUP, which has allowed political and other unrelated sensitivities interfere with its interpretation of obvious violations of the principles of rights of academic speech and association.  As a result, alleged perpetrators of campus discrimination and academic speech violations against scholars whose research entails support for Palestinian rights and legitimacy and criticizes U.S. and Israeli policy in the Middle East have gotten away scott-free, and the increasing marginalization and super-exploitation of contingent faculty have been allowed to continue unimpeded.

We, the Undersigned, hereby demand that the AAUP and NC-AAUP provide vigorous political and legal support to Dr. Ginsberg in her pursuit of her right to a fair campus hearing by a committee of her peers, and in her attempt to clear her name against those who would consider it tainted for its association with Palestine solidarity.  Across-the-board punishment and silencing of speech critical of violations of basic Palestinian rights or critical of U.S. Middle East policy should not be accepted by any rational academic in the U.S.

We also hereby demand that Chancellor Oblinger reverse his ill-advised decision to deny Dr. Ginsberg that right, and that he as such help set a precedent upon which contingent faculty at NCSU and elsewhere may finally exercise their legal right to grieve on campus and, as such, to their full rights as scholars, teachers, and intellectuals in the academic community.

Respectfully submitted,

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