PLEDGE TO AMERICA
Comments:Criticize public figures regarding their public work only when you have backings in the form of solid citations, quotes or proofs from authority sources. Don’t attack a private citizen by name. Refrain from criticizing an identifiable person repeatedly. Refrain from making false statements about any one. If someone has broken these rules, call it to our attention immediately.
Monday, April 30, 2012
ASU Decision Re: Professor Jammie Price
letter presents a summary of facts and issues related to your recent
conduct and the University's investigation of student complaints
regarding your class( es). It also establishes the requirements for your
return to the classroom.
On March 6, 2012, you met with Linda
Foulsham and Drs. Folts and Specht (Dean Calamai's designee) to discuss
complaints made by student athletes in your class. At that time, you
were informed of the complaints and advised not to engage in retaliation
against the students. Ms. Foulsham offered to schedule a meeting with
you and the students to discuss concerns. During your next class
meeting, you showed a documentary film on the pornography industry.
Students and parents complained about the manner in which you showed
that film which led to the meeting on March 16,2012, with Drs. Carey and
Specht to discuss student complaints regarding your classes and to
allow you the opportunity to respond to these complaints (See Attachment
1). At that meeting, you were informed that the University would be
investigating all complaints and you were placed on administrative leave
with pay to allow the investigation to proceed in an orderly fashion.
You were advised that this administrative leave with pay was
non-disciplinary (See Attachment 2). The investigation was
completed and findings were transmitted to the Provost on April 26,
2012. A summary of investigative findings will be provided to you. The
investigator determined that there was sufficient evidence to conclude
that you created a hostile learning environment for a significant number
of students in your classes. A number of students reported that your
teaching style was confrontational, belittling, angry, critical and
destructive of the potential for a valuable education experience.
Additionally, many students reported that there was little value in
attending class because there were no opportunities to learn fundamental
concepts or foundational material as described in the course syllabus.
The investigation did not focus on whether showing a documentary film
dealing with the pornography industry was appropriate; this is a
determination left to the faculty. Rather, questions centered on the
pedagogical framework of the classes. You asserted that you showed the
film in response to the instruction that you not retaliate against
student athletes who had previously complained about your comments. You
stated that you thought it would be better not to speak at all to avoid
any perception of retaliation. This rationale appears to be
disingenuous. The investigation found that you failed to provide the
appropriate teaching strategies that should accompany the use of media
dealing with sensitive topics (e.g., disclaimer about the graphic nature
of the film and topics to be covered, contextualizing the material, and
teaching difficult topics in a respectful way). You also admitted that
you had not seen the film and you were unable to identify which version
(edited or unedited) of the film you showed your students. It was
determined that by failing to take precautions to ensure that students
viewed the film in an informed, safe and trusting environment, you
breached your professional and ethical responsibilities to your
You have complained that you are being singled out
because you have spoken out about issues on campus. This assertion has
not been supported and is contradicted by the investigative findings and
your own admissions. Moreover, the selective and misleading statements
you have made about the process to date are not intellectually honest.
In the classroom, students reported you often commented about an
allegedly racist environment at Appalachian and about student athletes.
Additionally, students stated that you repeatedly criticized students
for attending Appalachian. Such comments are patently unacceptable, and
support the conclusion that your classroom demeanor has been
confrontational, belittling and destructive to students and the student
experience. Comments about your personal life and challenges also
contributed to a hostile environment. In December 2008, Dean Calamai
warned you that your professional communications should be honest and
forthright and if they were not, it could be deemed insubordination and
subject you to discipline (Attachment 3).
In summary, your
conduct in the classroom has led to the creation of a hostile
environment for your students. Based on the findings of the
investigation, a number of corrective actions must be taken in regard to
your classroom approach and pedagogy to ensure a productive learning
environment for all of your students. These corrective actions are not
serious sanctions, but instead will provide you with an opportunity to
address the issues identified in the investigation.
with the Appalachian State University Faculty Handbook, you are
instructed to work with Associate Dean Specht to draft a professional
development plan that includes, at a minimum, the following:
Process for midterm and end of semester teacher-course evaluations.
These evaluations should be administered by a third party.
B. Inclusion of best practices for teaching lower division courses, which should include at a minimum: 1. Attendance policy that requires attendance and specifies the method to take attendance during class. 2. Multiple assignments that provide students some form of graded feedback prior to the midterm period. 3. Individual class objectives which allow for framing conversations that deal with sensitive topics.
C. Participation in professional development education activities: 1. Dealing with sensitive topics in the classroom 2. Sensitivity training
D. Fully developed syllabus which includes disclaimers should
controversial materials be used. Further, a planning document should be
developed if sensitive materials are to be used. The document should
provide the class session objectives, information regarding the steps to
be taken to contextualize the information and the debriefing process.
It is important to note that this requirement is not a ban on use of
sensitive materials. Instead, it is a requirement to implement
responsible approaches to pedagogy.
E. Random peer reviews from
individuals with knowledge of either the course content or best
practices for undergraduate teaching. A mutually-agreed upon observation
instrument will be used by each reviewer. These reviews should occur
across at least two semesters. If the reviews are positive, decisions
can be made about phasing out these activities. Timelines for
completion of the plan should be established as well as predetermined
times for evaluation of progress. This plan should be designed to cover a
Once developed collaboratively, you will be
expected to comply with the conditions of the professional development
plan. Noncompliance can lead to serious sanctions, up to and including
discharge. We sincerely hope and trust that you will work with your
Associate Dean productively to achieve the requirements set forth in