Pacific University Professor Suspended After Sharing Story About Drag Bar In New Orleans
Added 03-04-21 07:55:03am EST - “Pacific University is the latest focus of an intense struggle over academic freedom after it suspended Professor Richard Paxton.? Dr. Paxton was accused of violating the "civil rights" ?” - Jonathanturley.org
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Pacific University is the latest focus of an intense struggle over academic freedom after it suspended Professor Richard Paxton. Dr. Paxton was accused of violating the “civil rights” of students under Title IX after he shared an experience of unwittingly walking into a drag bar in New Orleans. The story was a story shared for a pedagogical purpose. While that story appears to have been the impetus for the initial action against Dr. Paxton, he was also accused of saying that “every person has a gender” and other references. He has alleged that Jennifer Yruegas (who is not just the university’s but associate vice president of human resources and associate dean of the business school, and Title IX coordinator) pushed Paxton to resign. The investigation has now dragged on for months and, to its credit, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has filed its own letter of concern in the matter. The case is similar to other recent controversies where professors were suspended and subject to long investigations without a clear basis for such action.
The main complaint against Dr. Paxton was the story that he shared in a class on cognitive development and specifically Jean Piaget’s “schema theory.” The theory has been described the following way:
Schemas are categories of information stored in long-term memory. A schema contains groups of linked memories, concepts or words. This grouping of things acts as a cognitive shortcut, making storing new things in your long-term memory and retrieval of them much quicker and more efficient.
The theory suggests that human conduct and behavior is based on these groupings of patterns and concepts from our life experiences. Paxton shared his response to the bar as an example. He and his friends entered what they thought was a typical bar when they gradually realized that it was a bar featuring the “World’s Best Female Impersonators.” They left.
When there was a complaint, Paxton recounts an alleged confrontational call with Yruegas and another official. The letter to Fox New’s John Roberts was reprinted on the site the College Fix.
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