Mike Adams
Going to the mailbox to retrieve and examine an annual evaluation usually isn?t a big deal at my university. Over the last few years, professors have seen few pay-raises. When we do get one, it is rarely enough to cover the increases in our parking stickers and health insurance. But, of course, the administrators live like royalty. One might say that the UNC system is the closest thing to a fiefdom in 21st century America.

But this year I discovered that some annual evaluations penalized professors for failing to attend faculty parties. That could interfere with those professors who wait tables for spare change on the weekends. I?m joking of course but check back in a few years to see if my prediction comes true.

After I spoke with a couple of attorneys (for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, about some of the legal implications of using such criteria, I realized that such vague ?collegiality? factors were being used in other states like New York, Indiana, and California.

The decision to write an editorial on the subject meant that I would risk getting no pay-raise in a few weeks when the change was divided up in my department. But writing an editorial exposing the practice would bring some badly needed attention to the often overlooked ?collegiality? issue. Justice Brandeis once said that sunlight is the best disinfectant. So, I wrote the editorial, of course.

In examining my own evaluation, I also discovered that there was a false statement claiming I had attended no departmental meetings during the fall semester. I contacted the interim chair and had her remove that false statement. She did so and even apologized.

But, then, I decided to write another editorial lambasting my university for making any reference to my attendance at departmental meetings. That was because I had been told by the university police to avoid a certain faculty member who seemed to think I was poisoning her with tear gas.

I discussed the absurdity of the situation with one of America?s most famous defense attorneys who practices in Boston. He characterized it as a classic Catch-22. ?You had better attend those department meetings with your fellow professors, Dr. Adams? and ?You need to stay away from that delusional professor (who attends department meetings), Dr. Adams? were incompatible demands. I think that after three and a half years, it?s time for the university to make a call one way or the other.

And that was another dilemma. If I wrote a critical editorial, I would risk getting no pay-raise. If I didn?t respond and just signed off on the evaluation, I couldn?t live with myself. So I wrote the editorial, of course.


Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.