It’s not hard to think of reasons that college professors should be fired. Incompetency, insubordination, violent outbursts, inappropriate student relations, the list goes on. Even if you spent all day on such a list, though, you’d probably never get around to “used the word ‘God’ in a letter.” But that is exactly why Bucks County Community College fired adjunct professor Dwight Anderson last spring.
According to Anderson, who spoke with Campus Reform about his situation, the trouble started when a student tried to blackmail him for a better grade. The Pennsylvania educator bought copies of a Christian book called Since Nobody’s Perfect, How Good is Good Enough for each of his astronomy students. Anderson said he made it clear that students could choose to accept or reject the gift, and it would not have had any impact on their grade.
“One student called me about it, and said that if I didn’t do something about his grade, then he would go to the administration about the book,” Anderson said. “I didn’t do anything about the grade, so he went to the administration and that was my first offense.”
Anderson was warned to refrain from doing anything “overtly Christian” from that point forward. Apparently, BCCC officials believed that he violated that order when he wrote a farewell letter to his graduating students. In that letter, Anderson wrote:
If each of us, little by little with God’s help, can incorporate these foundation stones of goodness into our lives, we will find an anchor for our lives which will result in a deep and lasting satisfaction through life, and allow us to influence the world for good as we live out our lives.
And that was that. That minor allusion to God was all that it took for the college to dismiss Anderson from his position. As though “God” is specifically Christian in nature. As though Anderson’s letter was some insidious attempt to lure his students to church. As though it is so monstrous to provide students with a message of hope and goodness.
Anderson is fighting back against the dismissal, using his Facebook page to collect letters from former students who support his return to the classroom. He has also talked to the local teachers union to gather some political weight as he fights for his job.
We wish him the best of luck; liberal professors can get away with extraordinary, extremist rhetoric of every flavor, but even the merest whiff of conservatism is enough to get you thrown out on your caboose.