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Pacific U Fires Tenured Professor For Supposedly Insensitive Statements Like “Every Person Has A Gender”

Pacific U Fires Tenured Professor For Supposedly Insensitive Statements Like “Every Person Has A Gender”

Dr. Richard Paxton has sued, asserting the university violated its own commitment to academic freedom, due process, and civil rights.

Pacific University has taken action to fire Dr. Richard Paxton, despite his status as a full, tenured professor in the College of Education, and sixteen years of service to the school. The termination comes after students complained that he said, “Every person has a gender,” and “Native Americans were aggressive and war-like,” among other supposedly insensitive statements.

Located in Forest Grove, Oregon, Pacific has accused Paxton of violating the civil rights of students in his class with insensitive language. The school took this action without a hearing on the matter, apparently denying him due process. Pacific had previously suspended Paxton over the allegations and pressured him to resign, prompting him to file a federal lawsuit against the university. According to the lawsuit, the resignation demand came with no evidence or opportunity for Dr. Paxton to respond to the allegations.

Paxton claims in his lawsuit that he was summoned to an online meeting on October 9, 2020, with 15 minutes notice. The meeting was arranged by Jennifer Yruegas, university council and its Title IX coordinator, and included the dean of the College of Education. Yruegas placed Paxton on paid administrative leave and gave him a matter of days to submit his resignation. Paxton refused.

On August 26, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reported:

The three-page memo from Pacific’s University Personnel Committee sent to Paxton on Wednesday is presented as a recommendation and lays out appeal options, but it essentially constitutes the professor’s termination.

Paxton sued the university for his suspension earlier this year, stating that the university did not award him due process. That lawsuit is ongoing. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into the private university’s treatment of Paxton, which is also still underway.

The initial student complaints led to Pacific launching an external Title IX investigation of Paxton, which was dismissed last month.

But, Pacific launched its own internal investigation, in which the school’s Provost found that Paxton violated some university policies.

Students allege that at various times, Paxton made offensive comments about gender and Native Americans:

Paxton was placed on administrative leave last year following complaints from students about alleged comments he made about gender and ethnicity while teaching. Specific alleged comments Paxton made in a class include saying that “every person has a gender,” ignoring the gender identity of agender and nonbinary students. Students in a separate class alleged Paxton described Native Americans as “warlike” and “aggressive,” among other comments.

These and other statements led Pacific University to claim Paxton violated the civil rights of his students, and to initiate suspension and dismissal proceedings.

In response, Paxton appealed to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) for assistance in defending himself against the allegations. AAUP wrote a letter to Pacific on February 1, 2021, saying:

On December 8, the university’s outside counsel sent Professor Paxton’s attorney a “Notice of Allegations” describing the complaints that had ostensibly led to his removal from the classroom.2 According to this document, a student in one of his fall 2020 undergraduate classes had alleged that Professor Paxton “told a story during which he stated that ‘every person has a gender,’ which ignored the gender identify of agender and nonbinary” and made “negative and genderstereotyping comments”; acknowledged to the class that some might consider his comments offensive but nevertheless persisted “to engage in the conduct”; and treated the complainant “dismissively” and with a “harsh tone of voice.” In addition, five students in a graduate course that fall had alleged that Professor Paxton had “engaged in negative and stereotypical comments” with regard to ethnicity and genderspecifically, that “Jews funded the Revolutionary War” (Dr. Paxton is Jewish), that he thought it “weird” that some women instructors were crying on election night 2016, that “young women today” do not carry “purses like they used to,” that Native Americans, historically, were “warlike” and “aggressive,” and that Italians “worship” Christopher Columbus.

We understand that, as of the date of this letter, nearly four months after Professor Paxton was suspended from his primary responsibilities, Ms. Watson, the outside investigator, has not contacted him, much less interviewed him. We understand, further, that the Pacific University administration has failed to afford Professor Paxton a faculty hearing in which to challenge the charges that have been placed against him, leaving unresolved whether the action against him was based on considerations that violated his academic freedom or on other impermissible considerations. In the meantime, his attorney informs us that outside counsel continues to ignore her requests for material she considers vital for representing her client: Zoom recordings of the classes in question, a recording of Professor Paxtons October 9 meeting with Ms. Yruegas and Dean Gustafson, and specific allegations of sexual misconduct that would justify an investigation under the universitys Title IX policy.

AAUP notes in its letter that Pacific University has endorsed its 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and states its support for academic freedom and academic due process in its faculty handbook.

The October 2020 suspension of Paxton also caught the attention of the National Association of Scholars, which wrote an open letter to Pacific University’s president. That letter laid out some disturbing details of the conduct of Pacific’s investigation:

NAS was told that at approximately 2 o’clock on Friday, October 9, Ms. Jennifer Yruegas, Counsel to Pacific University and also its Title IX Coordinator, called and texted both Professor Paxton and his wife to insist upon an emergency Zoom meeting 15 minutes later. Professor Paxton agreed and attended along with the Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Leif Gustavson.

At that meeting, Ms. Yruegas apparently informed Dr. Paxton that he implicated the civil rights of his students who had complained that he was sexist, racist and anti-Semitic. She then demanded that he resign by the following Monday or else be subjected to a Title IX investigation which would not only terminate his appointment at Pacific University, but would also ruin his reputation and therefore also his prospects for other employment. She also forbade him from speaking to anyone else about the matter, banned him from campus and offered to draft resignation papers (a “soft landing”) which she promised would include 6 to 12 months of severance pay.

Within an hour, Ms. Yruegas emailed Dr. Paxton the resignation agreement, called the “Voluntary Separation and Release Agreement,” which included three months of severance, not the six to twelve originally discussed, and included a pledge to “not initiate a Title IX review of Employee’s conduct.” Though the Release stated that he had 21 days to sign, Ms. Yruegas told him that Title IX required an answer within two days – that is, by Monday, October 12.

As OPB reports, Pacific University claims it offered Paxton a hearing. Paxton’s attorney told OPB “he was only given 10 days notice and could not be there on the day it was scheduled.” They requested a reschedule multiple times, but Pacific refused, proceeding to termination without any opportunity for Paxton to defend against the allegations.

Paxton’s full federal complaint, which is pending a hearing, can be read here. If Paxton’s claims are true, it appears Pacific University has violated its own dedication to academic freedom, due process, and civil rights.

—————

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds, and on Gab at @RealJeffReynolds.

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Comments

caseoftheblues | August 31, 2021 at 7:08 pm

Just exactly how fragile have college students become!?! It seems like the only thing they are fit for is to sit in a chair with a blanket wrapped around them staring blankly at a garden as their keepers tiptoe and speak in hushed tones around them.

    They’re not fragile, they’re flexing their power.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to BuckIV. | August 31, 2021 at 7:21 pm

      Adding to that, there aren’t any people around willing to slap the ever-loving crap out of them, kick the in the BEE-hind, and tell them to grow up.

      Communist regimes used to get everyone into the fields to pick crops, chop sugar cane, or what have you. It was seen as some terrible thing by us comfortable Americans.

      Was that such a bad idea? Or, variation on the theme: students working summers, either in volunteer work or some sort of summer job?

        The Friendly Grizzly in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | September 1, 2021 at 8:10 am

        I see I didn’t finish my point. My point was, those places had no snowflakes. Back when our minimum wage rates weren’t insane, and employers didn’t need to fill out a 3 inch high stack of government forms in order to hire a kid to sweep out the stock room twice a week, we had very few snowflakes.

        JusticeDelivered in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | September 1, 2021 at 8:24 am

        I would call this parents failure to administer tough love,

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to caseoftheblues. | August 31, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Is it really the students being that delicate? Or, is it professors telling them they are?

    They are not fragile they are cry bullies.

I hope he gets the whole $1.3 mil he stated, plus punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

The idiot students should start with the Comanche and go from there. I’m guessing that all of those complaining about the professor’s comments regarding the NA would characterize the Marxist claptrap, aka CRT, as “just teaching history”. Well, the noble savage isn’t history.

As for the gender nonsense, it’s well past time to stop indulging fantasy, mental illness and/or attention whoring.

    alaskabob in reply to Paddy M. | August 31, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    The Lakota were commonly called the Sioux…the name given to them by other tribes… it means “enemy”. Lewis and Clark had a run-in with them also. The irony of “Dances with Wolves” painted the Pawnee as the bad guys… not the really really bad guys (Lakota) who drove the Cheyenne out of the sacred Black Hills.

Male and female sex. Masculine, feminine, and the transgender spectrum.

    redc1c4 in reply to n.n. | August 31, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    another apparent supporter of indulging the mentally ill in their delusions, which is unethical.

      Sex: male and female. Gender is sex-correlated physical and mental attributes (e.g. sexual orientation). Trans- refers to a state or process of divergence from normal. Transgender: normalize, tolerate, or reject?

      I, for one, like pride parades: lions, lionesses, and their [unPlanned] cubs playing in gay revelry.

    caseoftheblues in reply to n.n. | August 31, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    Yah..no.

Insensitivity is the path to truth.

Whoever fired him should have their balls or breasts cut off.

After all, the couldn’t complain about that, could they?

i don’t understand why this is so hard for people to understand…

you can be:
Male

Female

Mentally Ill

you may wish to choose wisely 😎

    amwick in reply to redc1c4. | August 31, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    There are rare cases of physiological issues.. RARE cases.. One such person said they preferred the term intersex. It is something they are born with. The complicated process that results in a biological human male has some missteps along the way… Mostly parents and a surgeon address this shortly after their birth, and they are raised accordingly. Those are the people I feel for. The rest of them are firmly in your third category.

E Howard Hunt | August 31, 2021 at 10:19 pm

I was in that class. The professor said everyone has an agenda and Native Americans were so addressed if it’s what they more like.

Hey, dudes, get the cotton out of your ears.

Hey! When all’s said and done, it is Orygun after all

Could have said “everybody is alive or dead” and someone would have objected on behalf of those who identify as zombies. 😐

The Friendly Grizzly | September 1, 2021 at 8:26 am

Is it not time to just get rid of Title 9? It’s nothing but a be-all end-all weapon for troublemakers.

I never had any time for any activist bull crap when I was a university student. I was holding down three jobs in addition to a heavy class schedule. I had to work my butt off to make it financially and academically. Everybody I knew was doing the same, including my future wife. We bussed tables, worked retail and talk whatever jobs we could find to earn money. We didn’t have any reservations about it—back then college/university was a privilege earned from hard work. Now, it’s just a certificate of indoctrination.

So If Professor Paxton wins his suit, does Ms. Yruegas get off scoot free? As Asst Counsel for Title IX she should be removed. Where is the due process?? Did Paxton ever face his “student” complainer?

This is disturbing. It will be a BAD decision either way.

PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE “GENDERS”!!!!!!!

“Gender” is not a synonym for “sex”. THINGS have “genders”, PEOPLE don’t have “genders”. People are one of two sexes, or else intersexed.

“Gender” refers to the artificial or stereotypical categorization of certain words, ideas, abilities, and things as being either “feminine” (associated with the female sex), or “masculine” (associated with the male sex). In language, a third gender, “neuter” refers to words and other things that are do not have these pretend traits.

“Sex” refers to the biological role that the individual plays in reproduction (or would, barring for age, injury, medical issue issue or chromosomal or hormonal anomaly.)

Living beings that have an actual “sex” do not have “genders”.

Added, re pronouns.

Pronouns are words. Words have genders.

Pronouns refer to SEX, not “gender” when used for living beings that have a sex. Depending upon the language, gendered pronouns also may refer to gendered things, as in make-believe (the ship is “she”).

Stop letting the Marxist Orwellian deliberate confusion of language — and THOUGHT — prevail by accepting nonsensical premises and taking a position without challenging these as the threshhold issue.

Pacific also has a General Counsel problem–he should sue her personally for violation of his civil rights. What kind of lawyer would handle a case like this?

.

The termination comes after students complained that he said, “Every person has a gender,” and “Native Americans were aggressive and war-like,” among other supposedly insensitive statements.

The brute! Did he also teach that water is wet?

In addition, five students in a graduate course that fall had alleged that Professor Paxton had “engaged in negative and stereotypical comments” with regard to ethnicity and gender—specifically, that “Jews funded the Revolutionary War” (Dr. Paxton is Jewish)

Huh? To whom is that negative or insensitive? And in what way is it a stereotype? It doesn’t say anything about Jews in general, or anyone in general. It’s a simple historical fact, as far as I know undisputed, that there were Jews who funded the revolution.

that he thought it “weird” that some women instructors were crying on election night 2016

OK, he found it weird. What’s the problem here?

that “young women today” do not carry “purses like they used to,”

Again, a simple fact. Does anyone claim that young women today do carry purses, in anywhere the numbers that they used to? Or that they did indeed use to carry purses in significantly higher numbers? And even if someone does dispute one of those two points, so what? How is it negative or insensitive? Is there some virtue in purse-carrying, that he’s alleging young women today don’t have?! Or is there some vice in it, of which he’s accusing young women of the past?!

that Native Americans, historically, were “warlike” and “aggressive,”

Um, yeah. Doe anyone dispute this?

and that Italians “worship” Christopher Columbus.

“Worship” is a strong word, but he’s certainly a national hero, at least for Italian-Americans. I don’t know about Italian-Italians.

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