Native American law professor claims request for tenure denied due to unpopular conservative beliefs
By Mari Rosen, News Editor
William C. Bradford, a Native American associate law professor at Indiana University-Purdue University's School of Law (IUPU), has been denied tenure due to his conservative political views, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Bradford's support for the Iraq war, for example, has not settled well with other faculty members. "[To them], I'm the wrong kind of Indian," he said.

Florence Wagman Roisman, a tenured professor at IUPU, recently approached Bradford about signing a petition that contradicted the professor's conservative views. Bradford claimed that Roisman made derogatory comments after he refused to sign. Roisman later sent out a campus-wide e-mail advocating an anti-war rally, while Bradford then sent out an opposing e-mail, urging his support for the troops.

Wary of attack, Bradford wrote to the law school's associate dean for assistance, according to The Chronicle. "I really can't take the subtle innuendo, the near defamation, the political and racial witch hunt dressed up as an inquiry into collegiality," he wrote in the letter. However, no action was taken following the submission. Bradford decided to apply for tenure following these incidents, thinking that receipt of this honor would cause the personal attacks to end. "I wanted the faculty to say, 'Yep, we're keeping you even though there are these people that don't like you,'" he explained.

After learning that the school's Promotion and Tenure Committee had taken a straw poll to determine his tenure potential, Bradford took his story to media outlets. According to Bradford, the result of this straw poll, 10-5, was clearly different from the usual unanimous vote for most professors. Following this event, Roisman and Bradford filed a series of complaints against each other.

The university's faculty is divided in their views, according to The Chronicle. A university spokesman claimed that Bradford overreacted to the straw poll taken by the Tenure Committee, pointing out that the poll was not centered around the professor's tenure proposal. However, Bradford insisted that certain professors are implicit in a plot to deny him tenure. He claimed that these recent faculty actions were ridiculous because in the last year Bradford has received a promotion, a pay raise and a special fellowship, indicating that he is still viewed in a positive light.

Bradford is currently seeking employment at other colleges and universities due to these recent incidents, according to The Chronicle. He has decided that he will not further seek tenure at IUPU because he is concerned with the possibility of retaliation. "Big institutions have long memories," he said.

Issue 09, Submitted 2005-11-03 21:10:11