• October 25, 2014

An Angry Professor Mounts His Own Labor Protest in Alabama

An Angry Professor Mounts a One-Man Labor Protest in Alabama 1

Glenn Feldman, a labor historian, accuses the U. of Alabama at Birmingham of trying to drive him out because of a pro-business bias.

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close An Angry Professor Mounts a One-Man Labor Protest in Alabama 1

Glenn Feldman, a labor historian, accuses the U. of Alabama at Birmingham of trying to drive him out because of a pro-business bias.

Note to college administrators: Think twice about getting into fights with experts on labor activism.

The risk is ending up locked in battle with the likes of Glenn Feldman, a tenured labor historian at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Administrators there abandoned a training center that he ran. Convinced that they withdrew support—and now are trying to drive him out—because they have a pro-business bias, the professor has come at his bosses with two lawsuits, a faculty grievance, and a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint. He also mobilized members of the United Steelworkers to swamp the facsimile machines in the administration's central office, and has sent the entire State Legislature an e-mail message accusing the University of Alabama system's administration of misusing state funds and victimizing him because he is Hispanic.

Along the way, Mr. Feldman helped establish a chapter of the American Association of University Professors on his campus—getting himself elected as its president—and persuaded the state conference of the AAUP to take up his cause.

He probably is not done yet.

"I am being treated in a way that is beyond description," Mr. Feldman said in an interview. He characterized himself as someone "who has wanted to do nothing but write and teach," but now finds himself defending his livelihood from people who object to his views.

University administrators have denied his accusations. Although they eliminated Mr. Feldman's previous position as part of a reorganization of the business school, they have offered to keep him on in the economics department if he earns graduate credits in that discipline. He has refused, alleging that the administration eventually plans to close the economics department, so its offer to let him work there is a set-up, an invitation to board a ship just before it is scuttled. (The training center, meanwhile, has found a new home at a community college.)

Mr. Feldman is unusual in his zeal, but he is hardly alone in suspecting college administrators' motives and their willingness to respect tenure. William F. Trimble, a professor of history at Auburn University and president of the AAUP's Alabama state conference, argues that tenured faculty members feel especially backed into a corner in Gulf Coast states, where they watched several colleges cite the financial hardship brought on by Hurricane Katrina's devastation in 2005 as justification for jettisoning academic programs and faculty positions.

"We now have a situation where there is a budget crisis all over the country," especially at public colleges, Mr. Trimble says. "Tenured faculty members have found themselves in a vulnerable position."

Taking Care of Business

As Mr. Feldman sees it, his problems began after the university's business school got a new dean, David R. Klock, in March 2008.

At the time, Mr. Feldman was serving as director of the business school's Center for Labor Education and Research, which provided clinics and seminars on labor and employment law throughout the southeastern United States. Mr. Feldman had joined the center as an assistant professor in 1996, earned tenure through the university's business school in 2002, and taken over as the center's director in 2006.

Mr. Feldman's complaints against the university argue that it very quickly became apparent to him that the center's work was not valued by Dean Klock, a former chief executive of CompBenefits Corporation—a major health-benefits provider—who had spent the previous two-and-a-half years as dean of the college of business administration at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.

The idea that Mr. Klock was no fan of the center's work is seconded by Marc T. Cryer, who worked under Mr. Feldman as an assistant professor and now directs the center at its new location, at Jefferson State Community College, in Birmingham. In an interview, Mr. Cryer called Mr. Klock "very business-oriented" and "certainly not a friend of labor."

"He was pretty clear that he did not feel that the labor movement had any business in academe or that academe had any business spending time on the labor movement," Mr. Cryer said.

What is clear from the record is that in May of 2008 the university asked the Alabama Legislature to withdraw a $650,000 line-item appropriation for the center from the university's budget.

Dean Klock and other administrators there who have been named in Mr. Feldman's complaints declined to comment for this story, citing a lawsuit he has brought against the university system's Board of Trustees in U.S. District Court.

But Dale G. Turnbough, a spokeswoman for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, issued a statement broadly saying "we dispute what Dr. Feldman alleges." And Claire Peel, the university's associate vice provost for faculty development and faculty affairs, wrote to Mr. Trimble of the state AAUP last month to say that "many of the facts and assumptions" Mr. Feldman stated to Mr. Trimble in seeking the state AAUP conference's help "are incorrect."

An extensive chain of written and e-mailed correspondences that Mr. Feldman provided The Chronicle show a pattern in his interactions with administrators there. In one exchange after the other, the administrators use a measured, formal tone in refusing his demands. In many cases, they also accuse him of various forms of inappropriate behavior—such as threats to use litigation and the news media to tarnish their reputations if they do not give him what he is asking. Mr. Feldman responds—often with harsh language—by accusing the administrators of ineptitude and ill motives, and alleging that their demands that he apologize for behaving inappropriately represent an attempt to get him to incriminate himself for termination proceedings down the road.

Fighting Words

Mr. Feldman's federal lawsuit accuses Mr. Klock of unsuccessfully seeking to derail Mr. Feldman's bid for promotion to full professor in the spring of 2008, and telling one faculty member there "we are going to fire this guy anyway and it wouldn't look good if we just promoted him."

Late that spring, after labor-union officials went to state legislators to fight the attempt to close the center, the lawsuit says, a deal was brokered in which the university agreed to let the center stay until the end of September 2009, when it would be moved elsewhere. The pact did not bring any lasting peace between Mr. Feldman and Dean Klock. The lawsuit claims Mr. Klock agreed to let Mr. Feldman stay on at the university after the center left, only to subsequently demand that Mr. Feldman cease engaging in labor advocacy and threaten to fire him after the center leaves.

In the end, Mr. Feldman joined the faculty of the business school's Department of Marketing, Industrial Distribution and Economics. But, he says, administrators there altered the terms of employment without his consent, moving him from a contract that annually paid him $110,000 for 12 months of work to one that paid him $83,000 for nine months. Administrators said such changes were standard in cases in which someone is moved from an administrative post to a faculty position.

Mr. Feldman was subsequently told that his academic background in history would be a problem for accreditors examining the marketing and economics department, and he needed to obtain 18 graduate semester hours in economics to be deemed academically qualified to teach in his new position. He was given until the beginning of this month to submit a plan for earning the additional academic credits, but he has refused to do so, and the university has yet to say how it will proceed.

Last month, Mr. Trimble of the state AAUP sent university officials a letter disputing the idea that accreditors would deem Mr. Feldman academically unqualified to teach economics. He called the university's request that the professor obtain graduate credits in that field "at best curious," asserting that Mr. Feldman had already long taught economics courses and has "an impressive publication record."

In an interview this month, Mr. Feldman argued that "the bottom line is I am being retaliated against for the sole crime of not leaving when I was told to." He said he has refused to earn credits in economics because doing so would "cement" him into a department that might be shut down completely, denying him the ability in the future to argue in court that he had been singled out for dismissal.

"It does not take a genius," he said, "to figure out you are being set up again."

Editors' note: An earlier version of this story has been changed to correct two points: The language Mr. Feldman used in his responses directly to administrators is best characterized as harsh, rather than coarse. And although Mr. Feldman was working at the Center for Labor Education and Research when he earned tenure, that tenure was not awarded through the center but through the university's business school.

Comments

1. jkwilso2 - July 13, 2010 at 08:27 am

This may be the first time in history that a public university asked a state legislature to cut its funding. And the notion that a full professor in the business school must take the equivalent of a year's worth of full-time classes in order to be qualified to teach is completely unprecedented. I've never heard of that happening anywhere.

2. rplank - July 13, 2010 at 09:37 am

JKW go look at SACS and look at what is labeled as a guideline, but then how it is practiced. SACS is certainly creating some issues for some schools in hiring with very narrow views of what is qualified. The issue with UAB as I see it is are they being consistent in following those rules or is then just a limited decision to apply these rules. Where I am, trying to go up for SACS for the first time, I personally resent their intruding into something they know very little about, but expect to see more of it. So it is very possible we will see more of this kind of thing.

3. rippleview80 - July 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

This situation has little to do with Katrina and much to do with Dixie as a whole and how someone with the last name of Feldman and, allegedly, "Hispanic" is treated when he or she is successful or bucks the system in that part of the country. The more the South changes, the more it remain the same.

4. ellenschrecker - July 13, 2010 at 11:17 am

Let's add a little perspective here. Labor centers across the country are under attack. It's not just one business school dean in the South. UCLA's renowned labor studies program is on life-support and others are as well. Why should an increasingly corporate-minded institution (i.e. US higher education) have to put up with a program that supports collective bargaining? When a financial squeeze offers an opportunity to axe programs, is it surprising to see labor studies in trouble?

5. softshellcrab - July 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm

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6. shepherd1011 - July 13, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Whoa! The article states, "Although they eliminated Mr. Feldman's previous position as part of a reorganization of the business school, they have offered to keep him on in the economics department if he earns graduate credits in that discipline." Offered to keep him on? Isn't it his right as a professor with tenure to stay? Sounds like they canned this labor training center and demoted (slashed the salary) the director when he wouldn't give up his tenure. That smacks of retaliation. I wonder what kind of publishing record he has. Could that be a factor, too? For that matter, I wonder what kind of track record Klock had at as an administrator at this California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.

7. azprof - July 13, 2010 at 02:36 pm

It sounds like the university bend over backwards for this guy. Unfortunately sherpherd1011 doesn't understand that you are tenured to a unit, if that unit it gone then you are gone. Feldman sounds like he is very aggressive. He throws around wild accusations to intimidate and when he doesn't get his way he throws a tantrum.

8. thomas_jefferson - July 13, 2010 at 03:00 pm

What a disgrace for UAB and the University of Alabama system!

This guy sounds like a jerk? You've got to be kidding.

Let's see. He was a tenured, full professor at UAB for 14 years. They shut down the labor center of which he was director and then they tried to set him up for termination by trying to get him to take 18 grad hours in a subject in which they're planning to shut down the department. And he's not happy about that. I wonder why?

9. thomas_jefferson - July 13, 2010 at 03:02 pm

azprof

Feldman was tenured in the School of Business at UAB.

At UAB there is no tenure through centers.

10. mchag12 - July 13, 2010 at 03:12 pm

As he should, azprof. The relationship with the faculty at public universities is just becoming untenable as faculty are treated as line items to be dispensed with at will by high paid administrators. What would you do, azprof, if your department was slated for demolition and your university actually asked the state legislature to defund it? Back out of the room shuffling and bowing and repeating thank you, thank you? If you think you are safe, you're not.

11. enuffalready - July 13, 2010 at 04:11 pm

Did UAB do its due dilegence in recruiting this dean from Cal Poly-Pomona? Sounds like UAB's administration is inept and perhaps unethical in its treatment of certain faculty. What is Klock's record at UAB other than riling faculty members? How much money has he raised for scholarships and endowed chairs for the school of business? No doubt this administration spends far too much time whipping faculty and not enough time shaping students.

12. shepherd1011 - July 13, 2010 at 04:25 pm

Wanted to verify who is correct - thomas_jefferson or azprof. Easily found the UAB Faculty Handbook online. It states, "The primary faculty appointment is in an academic unit (School of Business) through which a faculty member has a primary academic affiliation. It is through this unit that a tenured faculty member holds tenure in the University, and it is from this unit that recommendations for appointment, promotion, tenure, and other actions concerning a faculty member are initiated. In no circumstances will a primary appointment be made in centers, laboratories, programs, or institutes." Sorry azprof, but in UAB's own faculty handbook, Feldman has tenure through School of Business rather than through labor training center. Kudos to this guy. What's he supposed to do? Walk away or fight for what's been his since he was granted tenure in...what...2002? Major retaliation on the paycut. What is that - 25% for refusing to leave? Ouch. Who wouldn't fight for that? Still wondering if he's had publications this Klock guy didn't like. Will have to check that out after class.

g. shepherd

13. nampman - July 13, 2010 at 06:31 pm

Good for Professor Feldman. Given the way faculty are treated like replaceable cogs these days, you have to look out for your own interests. The University is only out to make money like all other businesses, and yes it is a business rather than a profession anymore.

14. jakarn - July 13, 2010 at 07:09 pm

Like many large businesses, colleges and universities have now stooped to hiring "gunslingers" to come in and do the dirty work that long time administrators won't do. AT UAB Dean Klock was brought on board in 2008 to do just this. Dr. Feldman, a brillant academical, possesses five degrees from prominent universities; under graduate from Birmingham Southern College, Masters from UAB and Vanderbilt University and his PhD. from Auburn University. He has written and had published over five profound books on historical southern political and civil rights issues. UAB is trying to smear his reputation when instead they should proud to have a person of his integrity, brillance and moral character on their faculty.

15. thomas_jefferson - July 13, 2010 at 07:17 pm

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16. virginiatilladurr - July 13, 2010 at 08:17 pm

It is of great concern when a highly qualified tenured professor is repeatedly harrassed by administrators because he presents challenging opinions to a pro big business culture. America is now at a critical juncture in its economic history as unemployment remains high and budget cuts are increasingly affecting all aspects of the public sector such as job security, education, healthcare, housing, the environment, to safety in the workplace. America without the ability to non-violently challenge the powers to be will have a devastating affect on the lives of all American patriots. There is increasing evidence that our pro-profit culture does not work when it is at the expense of the public interest Professor Feldman has been dedicated to understanding American and especially southern economic history and educating students about the ramifications of history on present day life. This education is crucial for a new generation. If universities wish to remain relevant to future generations of Americans dedicated to free inquiry, democracy, civil rights, civil liberties and justice, they should not be allowed to use clever and devious means to kill off the voices of reform and dissent.

17. theseer - July 13, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Dean Klock apparently has enough clout to cut-off funding for areas which he doesn't personally approve. It's an old game run by politically motivated university administrators across the country. Dr. Feldman is justified in his lawsuit and if he perseveres against the tyranny of those small people in power crusading against him, he will have won a major battle for all who have been chewed up and spit out by small-time university power brokers.

18. adminguy - July 13, 2010 at 10:56 pm

ellenschrecker is correct: the attack on Professor Feldman is part of a broader campaign against labor studies. This Klock character nevertheless seems rather sleazy and unethical. I hope that Feldman succeeds in re-gaining the respect and financial compensation from his institution that he deserves. We need more, not less, labor educators!

19. ehyouadvisor - July 14, 2010 at 09:58 am

A lot of people reading things into this story.

Facts:
Glenn Feldman is tenured and should have protection from being cut (definition of tenure in Wikipedia is: Academic tenure is primarily intended to guarantee the right to academic freedom: it protects teachers and researchers when they dissent from prevailing opinion, openly disagree with authorities of any sort, or spend time on unfashionable topics.)

Dean Klock was at UAB all of 3 months before cutting the Labor Center's programs. Calling Klock a southern bigot who is anti-Jewish/Hispanic is a real stretch. Saying that he is an unappologetic budget cutter who alienated his previous employer is more appropriate.

At UAB rules have been broken, professional conduct has been abused, accusations are flying, and now lawsuits have been filed. This is not anything new. The sensationalism of the report makes this seem like discrimination (Feldman is claiming it too), but in reality it is a clash of academic ideals where money is involved.

I too am routing for Feldman.

20. academicbystander - July 14, 2010 at 11:07 am

I'm not an academic, but I work for an academic nonprofit organization, and I tend to view the question of tenure with some ambivalence. In both college and graduate school, despite my own strongly liberal political leanings, it was hard for me to avoid observing that many of my tenured professors were, not to put too fine a point on it, disengaged to the point of torpor. Meanwhile, no one where I now work is protected by tenure, though our president has nevertheless played his role faithfully, at times somewhat controversially, for 30 years. Others here have been in their jobs for more than a decade, and they clearly expect to finish their careers here. In this context, it's easy to drift to the conclusion that tenure isn't truly necessary and may in fact, at least at times, be wrong-headed.

Professor Feldman's experience serves as a useful corrective to this view. The whole point of tenure is to protect people like Glenn Feldman when circumstances require them to speak out in protest of university policies. The university petitioned the legislature to zero-fund its own labor program? Please. What responsible program director *wouldn't* protest? As a tenured faculty member, Feldman's protest should have cost him nothing, least of all his job. It should instead have earned him the esteem and gratitude of his colleagues-- and of anyone else who values the concept of free speech, regardless of how they might feel about organized labor, in the university and elsewhere.

21. maguiredaniel - July 14, 2010 at 11:35 am

Administrators are business people, not academics. Discerning their sympathies is not difficult as this case ilustrates.

A university is primarily a "communitiy of teachers and students," "universitas magistrorum et scholarium." All other parts of the university, buildings and grounds staff, administrators, gardeners, secretaries, are supportive of the essential "universitas magistrorum et scholarium."

As in this case, the non-academic adminstrators act as if they were "the university," using the corporate model....a model they also use when deciding on their salaries.

Tenure is a pesky thing for adminsitrators. This is just one example of how they are successfully neutralizing it even though it iss the basis of academic freedom andinegrity.

Daniel Maguire, Marquette University

22. businessprofessor - July 14, 2010 at 11:48 am

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23. bigtwin - July 14, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I wonder if there is a clause in the faculty collective agreement at UAB on terminating tenure positions should the dept/college close. Some of the schools I applied to in the past had such a clause. If so, this guy has been given a lot of second chances. Tenure positions are not bullet-proof nor should it ever be.

24. rab1960 - July 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm

To: rippleview80
Re: "The more the South changes, the more it remain the same."

The percentage of minority students at UAB is about 33%. What is that percentage at you institution?

25. ohirishka - July 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm

To second businessprofessor, Feldman is a great teacher. As a former student, I found Dr. Feldman to be challenging, interesting, objective, and involved. From a student's perspective, it's more than a shame to see UAB driving away such amazing, standout faculty.

26. bigboy123 - July 14, 2010 at 05:41 pm

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27. more_cowbell - July 14, 2010 at 06:30 pm

It sounds like this prof is learning some first hand lessons about what he teaches.

Is it really any surprise that someone who considers himself a labour activist gets into a fight with the admin and lands themself in such a position? this story reminds me of my far left pro-labour colleagues in grad school. I'm not sure why these people choose academe for a career path when their interests and motivations would be better served in a political/advocacy organization/lobbyist role.

28. lexandlucky - July 14, 2010 at 06:56 pm

UAB has been fortunate to have Dr. Feldman on faculty thus far.I am not surprised to hear positive comments from his former students and colleagues regarding his demeanor and passion for education.Dr. Feldman could easily pack up his briefcase and move to just about any institute of higher learning to grace another faculty, which is, quite frankly, what the arrogant Dr. Klock deserves. However, he has a lovely family that is completely engrained in their community and I'm sure his thoughts are on his beloved family and not wanting to uproot them on account of some jerk who personally wants to take him down.I don't know how all of this will play out but I do know that no amount of money could replace the countless sleepless nights that Dr. Feldman and his wife have had to endure throughout this ridiculous ordeal.Biased, you bet. Hang in there Glenn!

29. shepherd1011 - July 14, 2010 at 07:40 pm

Big Twin, the tenure position has already been covered (see comments 7, 9, and 12 above). Feldman's "primary faculty appointment," and tenure at UAB is through the "unit" of the School of Business - not the labor center or any other unit. So, it looks like to get rid of Feldman using program/unit closure, UAB would have to close down the whole School of Business. Found this easily online in faculty handbook and policies (2.3.5.1)

Just checked out Feldman's CV online. Incredible. Never seen anything like it. He must be Klock's nightmare with all those publications. What happened to Feldman's free speech as an academic? Looks like this Klock guy wants to not only shut him up but shut him down. I wonder how much the UAB president and provost know about this. How much negative publicity will they put up with?

30. sobprof - July 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Like businessprofessor, I was also a faculty member in Business at UAB. Klock began destroying the college upon arrival and I joined many others in a mass exodus. Glenn is the ideal faculty member. I remember once debating him at a student honors book reading on the history of labor unions in the US. Although we disagreed about their value to society in the current environment, his reasoned and educated arguments made me more open to their societal value in the past. Even though we disagreed, I had the greatest respect for him and his intellect. From what his students have said, he taught with the same level of intelligence and respect for differing viewpoints. Unfortunately, differing perspectives are no longer tolerated at UAB in the School of Business. What a shame. Fight the good fight Glenn. May you and the other good people at UAB vanquish the despot.

31. lhmcbride - July 15, 2010 at 07:21 am

One comment asked: "What happened to Feldman's free speech as an academic?"
Another noted: "Unfortunately, differing perspectives are no longer tolerated at UAB in the School of Business."
When professors are fired because they raise politically incorrect ideas, as has happened repeatedly in the past 15 years, it is apparent that Luddites must be in charge. My own undergraduate alma mater has turned itself from one of the premier liberal arts colleges on the East Coast with vibrant discussion and visiting faculty and speakers from every possible milieu into a manager, nurse and kiddie ed factory. Perhaps they did it because in such disciplines, dealing with esoteric information and non-standard concepts is rather the exception than the rule. I believe that they were either greedy or craven or both. And their earlier adventurous president has been replaced by a general issue model. The graduate school I attended didn't have such problems; it was in the Deep South, and even 40 years ago, was careful not to upset any intellectual applecarts with anything even approaching intellectual rigor and creativity. Football was where their main interest was then and is now.
The late author Dominick Dunne was pointedly ignored by his alma mater because he wrote popular novels, one imagines, and not literary works. He remembered the college in his will in that exact measure, and took it to task in print before he died for its ivory-tower bias. Business schools are hardly alone in penalizing the successful who don't follow their unwritten rubric, whatever it is. The problem is far larger than Mr. Feldman's case, and I would hope he prevails, re-opening the way at least in small part for bona fide intellectual activity, rather than the narrowly circumscribed reworking of old ideas that passes, these days, for academic rigor and honest intellectual pursuit.

32. rkdrury - July 15, 2010 at 11:48 am

I recently heard at a conference I attended that under the Bush administration the constitution of accreditation agency boards was drastically changed to accommodate "more balanced political views," on some occasions radically increasing the number of board members; previously, I was told, members of such boards were constituted based on the educational credentials of appointees rather than their political views. The result across the board, I was told, has manifested itself as an assault on the humanities and the reconstitution of assessment practices to only focus on "measurable outcomes." I'd be interested in knowing if this is true and, if so, the ramifications.

33. chroniclebarnacle - July 15, 2010 at 08:21 pm

I wish I could play the race card....

34. businessprofessor - July 16, 2010 at 09:59 am

Feldman is the one who has been extremely flexible--not UAB.

I have seen Feldman's grievance and other emails since he cc'd them to everyone in the School. Feldman has proposed for over half a year now that UAB simply transfer him to History, African American Studies, American Studies, Government, the School of Education in Social Science, Management, or elsewhere. UAB administratrion has turned down every single one of these proposals, giving a lot of credence to his claim that Klock is trying to force him into a box as "Economics faculty." Everyone here knows Klock has Economics on the chopping block because he brought them all in and told them to their faces.

Feldman is correct to resist that kind of trap. I would. If Klock terminates him as part of a program/unit closure of Economics, then UAB lawyers can argue there was no singling out, no retaliation, and Feldman wouldn't have any lawsuit--when there has been a very clear and long pattern of retaliation against this guy.

Heck, they've already tried to fire him 3 times and are working on a 4th with this 18 hours SACS excuse. People teach all over UAB without 18 hours in anything. The University simply writes them what are called "exceptions" to the SACS guideline based on all manner of things. They have to; that's UAB's slave labor.

35. businessprofessor - July 16, 2010 at 10:18 am

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36. allsidesconsidered - July 16, 2010 at 06:45 pm

I am a faculty at the UAB School of Business and have a very different opinion of this situation, the faculty climate and Dean Klock. As with any university, the vast majority of people here are good, hard-working and trying to do the right thing.

This article paints UAB in such a poor light, that for those of us here doing our best to build world class programs, Feldman is destroying our efforts and reputation, and making our jobs much harder. I am disheartened that the way Dr. Feldman is managing this situation is carrying such a high price for the rest of us.

Yes, we have a new Dean. This Dean is putting in place processes for evaluating faculty performance and trying to equitably assign workloads, which we have lacked for many years. He is eliminating programs that are losing money because we no longer have unlimited funds and have to make difficult choices. Because we have not had leadership that's been willing to make hard choices like these in the past, having a leader willing to do so is coming across as very "heavy handed".

The Dean has also given us ample opportunity to participate and find new ways to create value, such as paying for a semester off to get training in new areas, which is what he is offering to Dr. Feldman. While Dr. Feldman is a popular teacher and has a long academic and publication record in history, his teaching and scholarship are not in the fields of business or economics.

As for this string of comments, I do not share the view that the school's faculty are terrorized or totally demoralized. I cannot account for a 50% exodus - most of the departures I am aware of were simply retirements. From my point of view, the majority of the faculty here are energized and excited to finally have some leadership, and feel that we are now in a position to make real progress.

In my opinion, Feldman has moved beyond acceptable behavior by engaging in personal attacks and slander against the Dean. Calling into question the integrity of the Provost and the President is also inappropriate. I am not convinced that it's Feldman that's being mistreated in this case, and I am surprised that the Chronicle would encourage and condone this behavior.

37. shepherd1011 - July 16, 2010 at 06:56 pm

Just read on another blog that, when Klock ousted the Center for Labor Education and Research, UAB also relinquished $3 million in federal funds every 5 years for Workplace Safety Training. A quick google tells me that WST is for training in confined space, hazardous waste, asbestos, meth labs, and Homeland Security. Even 10 years after 9-11, it seems that millions in federal funding for Workplace Safety Training would be a huge feather in UAB's cap. What are they thinking throwing all that away? I wonder what Alabamians would think about passing on all that free federal money to keep them safe. It looks like the directors (Alan Veasey & Kenneth Oldfield) are still the same at the new location at Jefferson State Community College.

Greg Shepherd

38. thomas_jefferson - July 16, 2010 at 09:11 pm

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39. thisworkplace - July 17, 2010 at 12:10 am

Seth Godin wrote this(below)a few weeks ago. I believe this applies to this case. I do feel that Glenn Feldman is an excellent teacher and UAB (like many schools) needs more like him.

Please read-- os

If you want to hire people to do a job, to be cogs in the system and to do what they're told, you might want to focus on people who don't think very highly of themselves.

People with low self esteem might be more happy to be bossed around, timed, abused, misused and micromanaged, no?

And the converse is true as well. If you want to raise your game and build an organization filled with people who will change everything, the first thing to look for is someone who hasn't been brainwashed into believing that they're not capable of great work.

A harried teacher might find it easier to teach a class to obey first and think second, but is that sort of behavior valuable or scarce now?

Industries that need to subjugate women or demonstrate power over one class of person or another are always on the lookout for people they can diminish. Our task, then, is to find people we can encourage and nurture until they're as impatient with average as we are.

The paradox is that the very people that are the easiest to categorize, to command and to dominate are the last people we want to work with. (Seth Godin)

40. retiredfromuab - July 17, 2010 at 07:45 am

This is a VERY disturbing story. If you haven't worked in a situation where it is obvious you are being set up to be fired, the details may not resonate - but I have - and it is miserable. It's amazing that Professor Feldman has held up this long in the face of all that has gone on. And, worst of all, Professor Feldman is not alone in his anquish at UAB. I have spoken to many at UAB who at this very moment are miserable due to the "environment". To be miserable, seems to be the norm more so than the exception. Why is everyone so miserable at UAB? Why is the "environment" at UAB militaristic in nature? Fall in line and shut up or get fired? Professor Feldman has guts. I hope he wins this case and I hope that the ones mentioned above are held accountable for their actions.

41. joebud - July 17, 2010 at 09:05 am

It seems in the face of declining public funding for universities and research, some schools will do any amount of placating to business and industry to get their money. This looks like an example of that. You could have a business school full of pro-business advocates (whatever that means) and have one strong voice for the labor side of the equation and look what happens--they seek to shove him out. I can't believe they are telling a long-time tenured, frequently-published, highly-respected professor that he has to go back to school to continue to teach there. That's bunk. Just the latest hurdle set before Feldman to try and make him leave. Since closing down the viable center he worked for and cutting his salary by 25% didn't work, they now put before him the hurdle of additional graduate credits he would have to earn. Had he agreed to surmount that hurdle they would have certainly set another before him. Where is the academic freedom? Can this school not tolerate one occasional contrarian view?

42. eulogio - July 17, 2010 at 10:22 am

I can not believe:
It is a racial complaint in this century and in US !!
It is part of the UAB Strategic Plan !!
It is the vision and mission of UAB !!
It is a news from an academic center !!
I am sure Dr.Feldman is a prestigious professor who is fighting for their rights as a person and deserves the full support of the university community.
UAB can not be created this negative precedent, is needed an immediate investigation of this situation involving the highest university authorities.
I am sure that Mr. Glenn Feldman will get their rights back.

43. jonesaw1930 - July 17, 2010 at 10:57 am

After 40 years as a professor of history, I have seen this kind of university administration several times. It is time for the Board of Trustees at UAB to investigate its administrators, especially Dean Klock. Poor adminstrators like Dean Klock are destroying good acadmic universities. Dr. Feldman was my graduate student at Auburn University and was one of the best that I have ever had. He is a brilant young man and an outstanding teacher and scholar. Any university in the country would be proud to have him as a member of their faculty.

from what I hear and read it is time for the Trustees to have a house cleaning of its administrators. When a university has as many law suits against it as UAB, then something is seriously wrong. Dr. Feldman is a man of the highest integrity and is highly respected as a teacher and scholar. I have never had a more responsible, hard working student and I rate him as the best.
He has a wonderful family that love the Birmingham community. There is no reason for any faculty member to be treated like Dr. Feldman. It is time for the AAUP to step in and investigate UAB before these administrators destroy the academic role of the university. Dr. Feldman is simply doing what is right and it is efforts like his that will rid universities of such incompetent administrators. Good Luck Glenn and stay the course.

44. jaad7676 - July 17, 2010 at 11:31 am

Just a note about this monstrosity that somehow got thrown upon a great friend and an exemplar of a professor. As a former economic student at UAB, I actually relished in the opportunity to sit in a class that Dr. Feldman taught, due to the fact that I had heard such great things from former students. As a class, we had to fortunate opportunity to learn about economics as related to/ presented in a historical point of view. It was to say the least an informative class with lively debate between STUDENTS, which I feel as though that should be promoted on the university level. Isn't this college, a place where our minds should be broadened to all aspects of life, and then from that make and form our own opinions?
Dean Klock has mounted this unjust action against a stand up citizen, friend, and great professor. It is a shame, embarrassing, and degrades a University, which I love. Dean Klock has personally shown me, as a former student, his authoritative attitude and mindset when he treated and talked to me as if I was a 6-year-old misfit, when trying to solve a matter involving myself and other students. As for Glenn Feldman needing to take more required courses to teach, is probably the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my entire life.
We are all behind you Glenn.

45. sickofworking - July 17, 2010 at 11:35 am

It seems to me that this is a clear case of Dean Klock coming into UAB with his own agenda and if certain programs didn't fit that, he just did away with them. That is crap and is an example of what is wrong with this country. People that put the most into their jobs and have the best work ethics are the ones that always get screwed in corporate America. Glenn is a great person and his accomplishments speak for themselves, which makes me wonder why all of this is happening to him and what UAB's motive is for all of this. Glenn, I hope these people get what is coming to them.

46. kmw1970 - July 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I haven't lived in Alabama long enough to know that much about UAB but I do know this. Glenn Feldman is a great guy and from what I hear, a very popular professor and someone that has worked very hard for the greater good of Alabama. I was raised in a blue collar, union household and although there is a lot of criticism of unions these days, it's situations like this for which unions were created. Unfortunately, the American work ethic is not what it used to be and it seems that those who work the hardest are the ones that are treated the most unfairly. I can't understand what Dean Klock's motive is for his gross mistreatment of Glenn but he doesn't need to be someone in that position. I really hope that UAB will do the right thing and get rid of him and pay Glenn the salary that he deserves - he's accomplished a lot and should be compensated accordingly - not given a pay cut. Stay strong Glenn - we are behind you.

47. sallyhemings - July 17, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Kudos to Glenn Feldman for speaking out against those UAB administrators attempting to "axe" his job. His case is not unusual: those who speak out against discrimination get targetted. What he has resisted and should continue to resist is the obvious ploy that Feldman, a tenured faculty in business, needs to be retrained--now that UAB has closed the CLEAR center. Submitting to that ploy would be a clear admission of being unqualified in the School of Business where he was tenured and has published widely. It is entrapment. Don't do it! There are plenty of people across campus with degrees different from faculty in their assigned departments who are not being hounded out of their jobs. The Department of English is a classic example. Moreover, it is ironic that Feldman received a $20,000+ plus pay cut after being forced to leave an administrative position during which he widely published while a another faculty member on campus with questionable claims of a publication record has received a $32,000 raise for 3 months of summer work this year! Is that logical? Is that justice? Is that ethical?

48. bjhollars - July 17, 2010 at 01:02 pm

Terribly disheartening. Feldman's dedication to his school and students does not warrant such behavior from administrators. We're all rallying behind him, and we hope UAB can make the right choice and renew our faith in the university.

49. swhitsett - July 17, 2010 at 03:03 pm

This situation speaks poorly of UAB. Glenn Feldman is showing a lot of courage and guts not to let his dignity and rights as a tenured professor be invalidated. I hope UAB will make the right choice in this matter.

50. casprof - July 17, 2010 at 03:18 pm

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51. timothyshays - July 17, 2010 at 03:40 pm

This is setting Alabama's reputation back 50 years. I am a lifelong Republican, and was at UCLA when Angela Davis was teaching there. She realy didn't bother me. My history prof, from whom I received three "A"s, was a Bronx-born "Red Diaper Baby" named Allen Yarnell. Dr. Yarnell was a superior prof (he was the consultant on "The Way We Were" and had another student named Bill Walton). The point, of course, is academic freedom. Prof. Feldman is obviously well qualified. So why is UAB trying to run him out of town?
From afar (I'm a New Yorker now, forgive me) the case of Dean Klock v. my friend Glen Feldman is comparative to the fictional Dean Wormer v. Louis Brandeis, another superb labor lawyer.
I only wish my hero Frank Johnson were still around, or Justice Black. Those two Albamians knew right from wrong.
Then again, another hero of mine, Gene Bartow, could probably mediate this with all fairness.

52. biggal68 - July 17, 2010 at 05:09 pm

This entire situation sickens me. Dean Klock needs to get a life and leave Professor Feldman and his family alone! I've known Glenn Fledman and his family for years. They are some of the most upstanding people you'll ever meet. I have only known Glenn to stand up for what is right and the way UAB has been treating him and others on staff is simply wrong. Personally, I admire Glenn for being willing to stand up to UAB at all costs. If justice does not prevail in this situation, it will be a sad day for all of us.

53. theophilus - July 17, 2010 at 09:00 pm

Where to start when commenting on this situation? First, some context: I come to it from various backgrounds: faculty brat (Father = professor and university administrator; Mother = university fundraiser; a brother and his wife = professors, provost, dept. chair, etc.); resident of Birmingham and admirer of what UAB has done for this community (economic engine, cultural diversifier, etc.); and employment attorney. Second, I have dealt with CLEAR and the Business School over the years. Clearly CLEAR and its faculty became persona non grata with the arrival of the Klock administration - but why? Until Klock testifies (and he will have to testify) we won't know for sure, but it is plain from all the talk in the wind locally about the Business School in general and CLEAR in particular that he has a political agenda (whether personal or from his masters doesn't matter - he's the titular head of the Business School, and therefore they are stuck with the decisions he has made). Why alienate an apparently loyal segment of UAB's community of supporters and "clients" (hate that word used that way, but I'm working on my business-school speak)? Something apparently stuck in Klock's craw - but what? And thus UAB and the Business School's problem: the public record is that the adminstration of the Business School has retaliated against a tenured professor for his political views, the content of his academic portfolio, and his opposition to what it is they were trying to do to him. They may choose to dispute (if they dare under oath) his account of the events, but all that means is that won't lose before they get to trial. How sad - sad for Prof. Feldman and his family, sad for the clients of CLEAR and UAB, sad for the community that supports UAB (after all, if you pay taxes in Alabama you're paying the judgment that Prof. Feldman is going to win).

54. northern_exposure - July 17, 2010 at 09:21 pm

I have known Glenn Feldman for twenty years and have always considered him to be a tremendous scholar and a person of integrity. His record of achievement as an excellent teacher and his impressive publication credentials make him the type of professor that any university would want to keep--at all costs. The efforts by UAB administrators to try to force Glenn out are a disgrace. This type of thuggish behavior should not be allowed to continue in an institution that claims to value academic freedom and intellectual honesty.

55. uabstudent - July 17, 2010 at 10:08 pm

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56. ssc31231 - July 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I am following Professor Feldman's ordeal from Texas, having earned an MA in US History with a empahsis on the labor movement. Remember the 19th century when railroads were the big thing, and thousands of Chinesse were "imported" to do the physical work of building the first transcontinental line? It wasn't nice, lots of people died, the workers who lived were paid a pittance. As the century moved on the movement for organized labor grew and grew until today we have some laws that give workers protections. It is a real irony that Professor Feldman, whose job is to teach students this important part of American history now finds himself threatened by the administration of a public university. Wake up Alabamans and do the right thing.

57. reality_considered - July 18, 2010 at 12:30 pm

The articles, comments, and negative exposure for the UAB school of business are entirely due to the reckless disregard of policies and procedures by UAB administrators. This dispute should have been settled long ago. Unfortunately Alabama taxpayers have been desensitized to misconduct and dereliction of fiduciary responsibility at the school and across the university. Thus the legal wheels keep spinning and the bill to taxpayers keeps running only to come to the realization that the school promoted a tenured faculty member to full professor, then attempted to terminate him, then placed him in a department teaching economics, then having previously taught economics courses told him he was unqualified to do so. It is hard to believe that UAB counsel would actually want this to land in court. When they open that can of worms it will be hard for Klock, Robicheaux, Jack, Kennedy, and others to cling to the truth if they can remember, and the light once shone will be harsh. In the meantime the faculty exodus continues campus-wide with teacher/scholars seeking stability and better students and the research side taking the grant money with them. It is not just the university rankings that will slip, the diversion of federal research capital to the biggest employer in Alabama will also be felt. So much for progress in the great state of Alabama.

58. casprof - July 18, 2010 at 05:17 pm

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59. max12 - July 18, 2010 at 06:13 pm

UAB should clearly just give Mr. Feldman a faculty teaching position in another department and stop this petty behavior that seems very unfitting and despicable for a public university seeking a national reputation for educational excellence. The purpose of tenure is to preserve quality professors and allow them to explore and pursue educational excellence in their field that is not subject to university politics or someone else's world view. Mr. Feldman's credientials and tenure clearly show that he is highly qualified, revered by students, and at one time supported by UAB who bestowed tenure on him. If it isn't an evil plot, it is at least very suspicious that the University now reverses dorection and seeks to arbitrarily reduce his salary and attempts to get rid of him. The fact that UAB has not just settled this issue by moving Mr. Feldman to another established department (that won't be eliiminated) indicates that there is a personal or political vendetta behind the University's actions, or perhaps Mr. Klock's actions, that seem very inappropriate at a public university and raise justifiable concern.

60. historyinalabama - July 18, 2010 at 06:29 pm

UAB looks very, very bad in all of this, and from what I can tell, they have only themselves to blame. I teach at another institution where business faculty and administrators at least attempt to make ethics a central part of the "business" school curriculum as well as their own conduct. I don't hear "ethics" anywhere in UAB's mode of operation in these instances. Perhaps that is one of the reasons they were eager to get rid of CLEAR, which included them. Rumors in the world of academia beyond UAB have it that this type of behavior (threats, intimidation, abuse of tenure process and in this case ignoring tenure altogether) have become so run-of-the-mill and entrenched at UAB that those who have thought to question it have been intimidated into silence (until they can secure employment elsewhere), and fewer have dared to challenge it. There are many, many good people who work at UAB. I feel for them, because I know how many of them are bullied and unhappy but who, for a variety of reasons, feel that they cannot leave and go somewhere else; this is what the admin. counts on, preys on, and exploits. There are a lot of super-size egos involved.

I have known Dr. Feldman for almost twenty years now and have worked with him professionally in enough various capacities to know the caliber of his work, the level of his dedication to students, higher education, research, and the pursuit of Truth and Truth-telling. UAB would be hard-pressed to find another academic or professional with as much knowledge of business and labor in the state of Alabama historically or currently. This is what they want to get rid of so that students will be taught a distorted view of business and labor history and current events. In many ways Dr. Feldman is a victim of his own success as a business and labor historian. His publications, public speeches and presentations, popular courses, and leadership in the Birmingham and Alabama communities are unassailable. That's not even counting the tenure, full professorship, and decent compensation that UAB itself granted him. This just doesn't make any sense. It's not as if he's an Asst. Prof. going up for tenure for the first time (not that that justifies inappropriate tenure process shenanigans, either). UAB just looks bad all the way around, and as long as the state of Alabama and the UA System continue to allow such a visible state institution proceed in this way, everyone looks bad.

I'm sure that others like me have wondered why Dr. Feldman would want to remain in such a department/unit at such an institution; but I think if I were in his place, I would wonder why I had to be the one to leave and not unscrupulous administrators, especially if I had tenure and such positive teaching evaluations and other investment in that campus community.

Good luck to Dr. Feldman. History books may very well chronicle this case one day as part of the history of higher ed. and business schools in general and the state of Alabama in particular.

61. nojusticenopeace - July 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm

If the job of a tenured professor as accomplished as Dr. Feldman can be threatened in this way, who is safe? Does anyone think for one minute that a professor half as able who used his talent to advance corporate interests rather than those of working Alabamians, as Dr. Feldman has done, would face a similar attack? Don't the workers of Alabama, whose taxes support the system of public higher education, deserve more from that system than winning sports teams?

62. tenstring - July 19, 2010 at 08:15 am

I'd like to express solidarity with Dr. Feldman and note that it's a bit of a travesty that the membership of the AAUP isn't threatening a strike if UAB doesn't back off. The AAUP has long acted like a branch of the administration in many of not all of the institutions where they have a presence. Earth to AAUP (and other unions): the nature of the relationship with the administration IS CONFRONTATIONAL. We're supposed to stand up for the rights of the membership, not kiss the asses of administrators who don't have our interests at heart.

63. chicagofriendofglenn - July 19, 2010 at 11:33 am

In the almost 20 years that I have known Gelnn Feldman and his family, he has shown exemplary character and class in his professional and personal life. As a professor, he serves as a caring mentor; as a scholar, he is at the heighth of his field; and as a person, he brings humor and warmth. Universities should celebrate differences of opinion (in this case labour relations), foster constructive debate (as with the Center), and bring understanding to a new level to become a model to other organizations. I wish that our winters were warmer so that Glenn and his family would come up to Chicago to teach at one of our prestigious institutions. We would welcome him and his ideas with open arms!

64. factfinder1 - July 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm

It really amazes me that some people have the audicity to label Dr. Feldman as a "troublemaker" and an "alleged Hispanic." Do these people even know Dr. Feldman? Well, I do. In fact, I've known him for over 40 years. Professor Feldman is a fine, upstanding member of the community. He is not some angry lunatic. We are talking about his livelihood and good name being attacked and threatened. Wouldn't that make you just a little bit upset? But the point is that Glenn Feldman is a brilliant, articulate, teacher. In fact he has written and published numerous works, he has been interviewed by television stations and his opinion has been sought regarding various labor issues. He is a caring and loyal, yes LOYAL teacher. He cares about his students; his work ethic is unreproachable. UAB should be proud to have him on their team. And, yes, he is a TEAM player. Professor Feldman is versed in Economics as well. He is a tenured professor through UAB and that tenure should not be attacked. He is highly qualified and highly motivated. People should not confuse his motivation with aggressiveness. I for one, applaud Dr. Feldman, and hope that he prevails and if the powers that be at UAB were astute, they would also value and appreciate such a fine, professional professor as Glenn Feldman.

65. schaller67 - July 19, 2010 at 02:46 pm

I know Dr. Feldman professionally, and I find this whole story at the very least disconcerting and probably closer to terrifying. I hope the people who have power in the state university system in Alabama intercede on behalf not just of his rights, but the general principles of academic freedom and, for the matter, general fairness.

Tom Schaller, PhD
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

66. plebama1985 - July 19, 2010 at 03:03 pm

I have worked in the corporate world, academics, and non-profits for nearly 25 years. This situation is truly horrific. If a Univeristy (or any organization) punishes its employees for thinking differently and speaking out to protect diversity of thinking, then the organization is surely headed down a slippery slope toward destruction. Creativity is enhanced in organizations (yes even academic institutions) when people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives are welcomed and nurtured. Dr. Feldman's academic record is stellar. He does what he believes is right and teaches from a vast knowledge in his area of expertise, labor relations. "If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it." This quote certainly seems appropriate in this case. Dr. Feldman's courses are valuable and valued by students. It is a sad thing when university administrators lose touch with the purpose of their institutions in lieu of pursuing personal political agendas. Because Dr. Klock and Dr. Feldman have differing opinions does not give Dr. Klock the right to do everything he can to "fire this guy." Dr. Feldman has contributed to the GOOD at UAB and the Birmingham community for a LONG time. To eliminate him from his position of being able to encourage UAB students to look at the past and think creatively about the future would be a sad loss for UAB, for Birmingham, and for education. I will be cheering for Dr. Feldman loud and long to win this battle that should never have begun.

67. sdiethelm - July 19, 2010 at 04:58 pm

I have known Glenn Feldman for many years. He is a brilliant, hard working and honest man. This treatment of such a fine person by UAB is appalling. Glenn Feldman deserves justice to come down on UAB and he deserves to be compensated for the horrific treatment he and his entire family has endured.

68. zacry - July 20, 2010 at 03:52 am

It sounds like the University has no case. Let's hope Dr. Feldman is reinstated to 100% and awarded damages. The court should fine the responsible parties (Dr. Klock and higher up), so that the university is strongly encouraged to take the opportunity to clean house and start rebuilding its reputation.

Remind the students of their opportunity to support Dr. Feldman and build the university that they deserve. There is a segment in the Howard Zinn documentary about the Boston U. president trying to oust Zinn. These crimes sound all too similar. Corporations have corrupted the media, our government, our courts, health care, universities (all levels of education), and ... This is a fine place to start dismantling these abusive systems.

69. 69386720 - July 20, 2010 at 06:54 am

Glenn Feldman is a man of the highest caliber. I have always been proud to call him and his wife friends, but that pride was cemented when I learned how he worked to secure the jobs of his co-workers CLEAR. He is not out only for himself but for others as well as the betterment of his university. It is clearly him, through this fiasco, that has emerged the better person. Shame on UAB for not taking care of their tenured faculty, but instead, fostering a back-stabbing, distrustful atmosphere of intolerance in the workplace.

70. blackacre - July 20, 2010 at 07:10 am

Prof. Feldman is as fine a professor and person as there is. While tenure is not irrevocable, it is improper, especially in a school of higher learning, to essentially force him out based on political leaning. We're not talking about one of President Obama's anarchist friends here. We're talking about a conscientious historian who was building something extraordinary at UAB. I hope that UAB comes to its senses, resolves the case out of court, and retains Prof. Feldman in a meaningful role that ultimately does credit to the School.

71. historyinalabama - July 20, 2010 at 09:05 am

The fact that UAB students' comments have been removed here by the moderator is rather disconcerting. I read the comments and cannot understand why they were removed unless they were used by UAB email addresses, which means that UAB used its institutional clout (again) to try to manipulate the situation. Students posting comments is NOT the equivalent of a violation of a University's evaluation of job performance using confidential student evaluations. Students voluntarily posted their comments in public space. The fact that UAB doesn't want to let students use their UAB email addresses to post public comments about Dr. Feldman is revealing.

Another important point to keep in mind: Dr. Feldman is not trying to "hide" behind his tenure. He was granted tenure by the appropriate SACS-sanctioned process at UAB by UAB faculty because of his work - his research, publications, teaching (course load and student evaluations), and public service.

UAB is counting on its political connections and institutional entrenchment in Birmingham and the state of Alabama to do whatever the current administration wants, even if faculty and students, research, teaching, accuracy, history, and truth are trampled in their process.

The posts here are important. But what will really determine the outcome is whatever force UAB's top administrators view as powerful enough to force them to do the right thing. Unfortunately this happens too often in academia: top administrators allowed by trustees to do whatever they want to faculty (especially in Alabama) become convinced that they can do whatever they want as long as the trustees keep them employe. Thus, the only "force" powerful enough to get the attention of trustees and egotistical administrators is the Courts. This is the only language that public institutions in Alabama seem to understand.

It is a shame, but it is the only way that faculty like Dr. Feldman (and faculty at other institutions in Alabama with legit. grievances, such as pay inequities or knowledge of corrupt, unethical fiscal practices) can right institutional wrongs.

One would think that such bad press would be enough. But as with most institutions it's all about the money; just follow the money trail to see what motivates institutions to act or not.

Good luck with the lawsuit. Only when UAB/UA System has a financial penalty looming will it decide to pay attention to Dr. Feldman.

I hope Dr. Feldman succeeds - for himself and also for all faculty and students across our state.

72. natd2010 - July 20, 2010 at 10:28 am

I have known Glenn for many years, first as a student--now a friend and colleague in academe. The guy can write; his scholarship is superb. What has happened, as others have pointed out, happens everywhere. Politics on a college campus can be as nasty, brutal, and toxic as it is anywhere. If you want to "get" someone--especially someone who makes you feel uncomfortable, has a different set of values, and acts like he does not need you--there are lots of ways to do that.

One solution is invite Glenn to join the history faculty--where he belongs. My question is why hasn't UAB done this? Dr. Feldman's answer is simple: UAB wants him gone. The fact that the University would eliminate a program like economics to do it makes one want to ask a lot more questions.

73. univprof - July 20, 2010 at 11:05 am

The motivating force behind this dispute is not to strengthen and improve the UAB faculty and provide a better education for UAB students. The motivating force has become Klock's determination to "win" at all costs in what has become a personal vendetta against Feldman. I'm betting that UAB settles with Feldman and that this suit never gets to court. There is a good chance that UAB would lose which would cost the Alabama taxpayers even more money and probably cost Klock, his administrators, Capilouto and Garrison their jobs.

74. jcprayer - July 20, 2010 at 01:07 pm

What a shame! This matter has become such a travesty to the reputation of UAB! Nay, the entire university system in Alabama!
I believe that this crime against Feldman is not an isolated event. And I feel the only way to bring this practice to an end is to bring it to public attention(through the courts). Bravo Dr. Feldman for championing this cause! I've known Glenn Feldman for over forty years, and would personally vouch for his high integrity and the brilliant scholar that is his nature! I don't believe this is any personal vandetta on his behalf. I believe he is merely seeking due justice to being personally wronged! I hope that Dr. Feldman can see this through to court in order that UAB will be forced to get rid of their hired thugs!! If more faculty were on board for possibly a class action suit, then maybe some real change might come about.

75. ohirishka - July 21, 2010 at 11:22 am

A lot of insightful comments have been deleted. Why?

76. szechi - July 22, 2010 at 04:12 am

Whenever a university administrator turns away money to fund a unit that is already up and running (and doing a good job to boot) you have to look for an ulterior motive. And even more so when university funding is being cut. This case is very clear. For either personal or ideological reasons senior administrators at UAB do not like the kind of history Prof. Feldman is doing, and so - despite the praise his work (which is highly regarded internationally) has received - they are determined to get rid of him. Is this not constructive dismissal and likely to end up costing UAB a very, very large sum of money? Why do administrators at so many universities keep on trying to pursue this kind of agenda, no matter how many times they lose? Do they not care what it will cost their institutions in terms of money and status? The trustees need to step in and end this sorry business now.

77. pschmidt - July 22, 2010 at 04:05 pm

In response to ohirishka, at post 75, and anyone else wondering why some comments here have been deleted--

I urged the person here moderating the comment fields to watch the comments attached to this story carefully, because it appeared to be attracting a lot of comments in which people anonymously accused named individuals of wrongdoing without offering much in the way of substantiation. Most or all of the comments that ended up being deleted contained such anonymous attacks on named persons, and were deleted based on considerations of fairness, accuracy, and civility. A few might have run afoul of our commenting policies for other reasons, i.e. because they contained pitches for commercial products and had no relevance to the story at all.

If people want to ensure their comments are not deleted, I suggest that they substantiate any factual allegations against named or identifiable individuals and avoid engaging in defamation. Attaching your own name, and thereby taking responsibility for your comments, is always a good first step in getting yourself to comment in a responsible manner. Then, if others posting here level unsupported allegations of wrongdoing against you, you can come to understand the wisdom of our habit of removing such comments as soon as we see them.--Peter Schmidt

78. marc_dierikx - July 24, 2010 at 11:55 am

From a European perspective, Professor Feldman's is a bizarre case. We try and do things different here. Apart from the issues in UAB policy that form the basis of the dispute that has arisen over his position, and possible personal differences, it is impossible to see how the decision of the University to pressure a tenured professor through unilateral breaches of agreed employment contract, would hold up to the accepted test of reasonableness and fairness in general legal practice. "Pacta sunt servanda" is, to my knowledge, also accepted in the American legal system as the basis for agreements. It is difficult to see how this would not apply to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Feldman is entitled to invoke the principle that contracts must be served and demand that the University respect the appointment conditions it set out when it gave him tenure. A self-respecting institution would do everything in its power to resolve this conflict in a mutually satisfactory way, and issue Feldman generous compensation for unwarranted infringements upon the employment conditions laid down in his appointment.

79. strangekitchens - July 24, 2010 at 02:22 pm

This case raises troubling questions about academic freedom. Isn't tenure designed to protect a researcher and teacher whose work might be at odds with a given administrative viewpoint or political trend? Since Glenn Feldman's work was deemed worthy of tenure, then it's clearly a problem if the university decides in retrospect that tenure doesn't mean anything substantial. And whoever heard of a university administrator turning down money for research (whose quality had been proven)? Universities have to protect the exchange of ideas even when some in charge aren't keen on those ideas. A disturbing case, indeed.

80. zacry - July 25, 2010 at 03:04 am

@pschmidt - If students have firsthand knowledge of UAB personnel abusing power, let them post anonymously. The Chronicle should not set students and junior faculty up for exposing what they know.

@UAB students - Set up a web page to discuss and broadcast your case. Don't let business flunkies dismantle exemplar programs for dollars at the expense of academics. Take it to Wikileaks and/or YouTube, and back Dr. Feldman in court when the time comes.



81. fredr - July 25, 2010 at 10:08 pm

It troubles me that the major public university in Birmingham wants to weaken if not do away its labor studies department, a field the university ought to do everything it can to strengthen. It is beside the point whether an administrator agrees politically with the head of the labor department or not; is not a university the very place for a variety of views? The fact that the university is trying to oust or at the very least place the professor in such a poor position that he tries to leave is shameful. He is accomplished and has proven himself over the years. Students at a university are not mere consumers who must be pleased at every turn, and it appears that the university is trying to match what they perceive as the more conservative side of the student body. A university is to expose students to the world and let them make their own hopefully informed choices. Professors like Feldman are a vital part of that mission.

82. oldprof7 - July 30, 2010 at 04:14 pm

Professor Feldman's academic freedom has clearly been violated by administrators at UAB, none of whom, I'll wager, could match his impressive record as a teacher and his truly extraordinary achievements as a researcher. The tenure system was created precisely to deal with cases like this, in which authority and influence mount attacks on scholarly integrity. I have little doubt that the national AAUP, and other groups dedicated to the protection of professional and civil liberties, will pay close attention as this case develops. It is a shame to see UAB, which has such tremendous potential as an institution of higher learning, place its academic reputation at risk in this fashion.

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