Verdict Could Alter Hiring In Higher Education

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A federal jury’s decision expected here this week has the potential to shake up the hiring practices in the liberal-slanted world of academia, reverberate into classrooms and change the ideological direction of higher education, national scholars agree.

The central issue: Did the University of Iowa deny Teresa Wagner a full-time teaching position because of her conservative Republican work and advocacy with groups that oppose abortion and same-sex marriage?

“What’s unusual about this case is there is at least plausible evidence that there was clear-cut ideological discrimination in the hiring process,” said KC Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College who has written extensively about academia censorship and closely followed the Iowa case. “If Wagner wins, it could form a precedent for the courts to take a more active role in overseeing these sorts of things in at least public universities.”

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