There is usually little at stake in these annual peer evaluations because bad professors and good professors get roughly the same annual raise. Nonetheless, some professors still sharpen their knives every year in anticipation of using the evaluation process to quietly and anonymously stab their enemies (real or perceived) in the back. This is just in case administrators decide to distribute a little merit money - after spending most of the resources on themselves, of course.The backstabbing - by liberals who want to construct an Utopian society, no less – got so bad in my department a few years back that we had to amend the process to force people to justify (with actual sentences!) any negative evaluations of their colleagues. This was done largely to stop one sociopath who was giving scores of one (on a scale of one to nine) to numerous perceived enemies in the department. Needless to say, they eventually became real enemies.
This change in the evaluation process has not stopped all of the petty squabbling among the faculty. But, fortunately, this year it has provided some concrete evidence to support an assertion I’ve been making for years; namely, that professors are often judged on the basis of politics rather than competence.
When a member of the “service” committee in my department gave me a three out of nine (scores of one to three must be accompanied by a written justification) it was accompanied by these three words: “only political activity.”
Of course, only a college professor could be lazy enough to produce less than one full sentence in an annual peer evaluation. Furthermore, this sentence fragment leads to multiple interpretations concerning what the full sentence might have been if the professor had actually finished the thought. Perhaps it meant “Dr. Adams’ service to the department, university, and profession is not valuable because it is only political activity.”
Or maybe it meant something different like “Dr. Adams’ service was not sufficiently political. He should join the American Society of Marxist Feminist Criminologists. This is the only political activity I’ll consider from this right-wing gun-toting bastard.”
If one assumes that the former interpretation was intended, numerous questions arise. For example:
*Was my service last year on the department search committee “only political activity”? I didn’t ask the candidates who they voted for in the presidential election - like someone in my department did in a 2001 job search. How did they get away with that? Isn’t that illegal?
*Was my appearance on Fox News last April (to debate a Holocaust denier) “only political activity”? If so, does this mean conservatives are anti-anti-Semites while liberals are only anti-Semites?
*What about my appearance on Fox News to debate a genocidal racist? Was my freely expressed position on that issue also “only political activity?” Does that mean liberals are pro-genocide?
*When I speak on college campuses - arguing that liberals and conservatives alike should be respected in the court of public opinion - is that “only political activity”? Is it the liberal position that only liberals can speak? Doesn’t that prove my point?
At first glance, the one negative evaluation I cite seems like nothing more than petty departmental squabbling. But, of course, the implications are quite serious. For example, over the years my colleagues have reported activity in feminist and Marxist organizations as examples of “professional service.” Of course, no one has ever assigned a low score for these activities, despite their obvious political nature.
And, of course, this is not the first time I have been “written up” for my “political activities.” Last year, the interim chair in my department (now the former interim chair) wrote that my political activities were interfering with my teaching/ research/ service responsibilities.
Interestingly, the last of the “political activities” I engaged in before her negative write-up was a squabble with a Holocaust denying professor (mentioned previously) who also claimed that the Jews plotted 911 together with George W. Bush. To make matters worse, the interim chair was Jewish. There is something very wrong when Jews impede my fight against anti-Semitism.
But this year I have many reasons to be thankful. For example, my new chair has offered to expunge the “Only political activity” remark from my record. She concurs with my designation of the remark as unprofessional – it fact it was probably “only political.” She also understands the dangerous implications of allowing colleagues to punish one another for political activity, real or perceived.
Lately, I am learning that some leftists are fair-minded and strong enough to stand up for what is right, not just what is left. But others are bigoted and dumb enough to put it in writing.