The Latest in Administrative Overreach

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BY JONATHAN REES

Aaron has already pointed you this morning to the very sad and strange events going on at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Maryland.  I want to quote from the same IHE article that Aaron did and add some different emphasis:

“As an employee of Mount St. Mary’s University, you owe a duty of loyalty to this university and to act in a manner consistent with that duty. However, your recent actions, in my opinion and that of others, have violated that duty and clearly justify your termination,” said the letter.

Further, the letter said that Naberhaus’s actions “have caused considerable damage” to the university and that the university might sue him. In addition, the letter told Naberhaus he was “designated persona non grata” and banned from the campus.

Those with good memories will remember the story of Danny LeDonne, who was declared persona non grata from Adams State University in Colorado after already being fired from his contingent position. In Danny’s case, the administration has asserted (without evidence) that he is a threat to public safety. It is difficult to tell the justification in this Mount Saint Mary’s case without reading the whole letter, but at first blush it appears to be an even weaker reed.

Does the idea of a university having a Persona Non Grata Policy seem weird to you? It did to those of us in the Colorado AAUP. The folks at Adams State looking into Danny’s case learned that Adams State got its Persona Non Grata Policy from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. When I asked AAUP staff in DC about Persona Non Grata Policies they didn’t have any other examples that really compared to these, so I figured this might be a Colorado thing. But now we have a university invoking Persona Non Grata status all the way on the other side of the country!

To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, if one university does it we might ignore the problem.  If two universities do it we might ignore them too, but when three universities do it…Well, we got the makings of a movement. What do you say we, the readers of this blog, crowdsource an investigation of this very unwelcome administrative “movement?”

Does your university have a Persona Non Grata Policy? How is it worded? Why does it have one? Has it ever been invoked? Drop your answers in the comments below, so that the AAUP can get better hold of this particular movement before things get even more out of hand.

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