Editors note: This letter to the editor was written by a current UVU faculty member regarding a professor’s resignation for writing an anti-Muslim message to students.
I am sure that Professor Green was a good teacher. The awards he won throughout his career at UVU speak to his commitment to students and their education. It is sad that he no longer has a place at our school. But it isn’t unfair.
Professor Green violated UVU’s inclusion policies, which state that, “We value and promote collegial relationships and mutual respect among students, faculty, and staff… and seek to address the needs of populations who are underrepresented…” The comments Professor Green made in a class forum did not demonstrate respect for students or underrepresented populations. I understand why Derrek Studebaker reported him.
At first, when Professor Green addressed his resignation in a recent op-ed, he took responsibility for it. He said he resigned because “he didn’t want the university to take a hit” for his comments. He could’ve left it at that. But no, later in the piece, he blamed the student who reported him for his resignation, going so far as to say, “It is unfortunate indeed that one student’s action caused the university to lose one of the best Professors it has ever had.”
That is unfair to Studebaker. Professor Green made comments that would’ve probably led to disciplinary action or termination. Studebaker merely reported them. The problem here is not what Studebaker did but what Professor Green said.
Professor Green said that he is “very opposed to allowing Muslims to immigrate to the USA” because “they can’t be properly vetted to sort the good from the bad.” That is what he said. That is what is at issue here.
We had a Professor on campus who openly admitted in the school newspaper that he doesn’t think Muslims should be here because, by virtue of their being Muslim, he can’t tell whether they’re “good or bad.” What kind of message does that send to our Muslim students? How does that promote “civility and respect for the dignity and potential of each individual” we, as educators at UVU, are asked to recognize?
What our Muslim students deserve is an apology—not a justification or an excuse—for what was said. Until then, all I can say is, I know from personal experience that most of the professors at UVU do not feel as Professor Green does. People of all faiths are welcome here.
John P. Christensen
History & Philosophy