A wrongful termination lawsuit claims that Kean University in Union, New Jersey fired six professors last year after they complained about being moved out of their private offices and into cubicles.
According to a report by NJ.com, six professors have filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the public Kean University. The professors claim that they were fired after complaining about the university’s decision to downgrade their private offices to cubicles.
The professors claim that the new space features cubicles for professors from various departments. The new space, which the professors claim is noisy and not private enough for one-on-one student meetings, is called the Center for Academic Success. Kean University spokesperson Karen Smith said that the workspace is designed to be a “productive” and “supportive” environment for students to engage with their professors.
“Students receive productive and supportive advisement in our newly revamped Center for Academic Success, which contains the appropriate balance of open office space and private spaces for confidential conversations,” Smith said.
But critics are mostly concerned this week with the university’s decision to fire professors for simply expressing themselves. James Castiglione, President of Kean’s faculty union told NJ.com that it is inappropriate for the university to fire professors for advocating for their students.
“Faculty are being fired for advocating for their students’ rights and their students’ needs,” Castiglione said in a brief comment. “It’s very damaging to our ability to provide quality education and services to our students.”
Democratic State Senator Joseph Cryan came out strong in favor of the speech rights of the terminated Kean professors during a rally held in May 2019.
“It’s the continued intimidation and retaliatory efforts against people that speak out that creates a process on campus of intimidating free speech in a place that should a bastion for it,” Cryan said at the time. “There’s just too many people there that speak out tor point out something that needs to be corrected and the solution is to attack the messenger.”