Saturday, March 08, 2008

And Peace Be With You

A Cal State East Bay math teacher and practicing Quaker who was fired for refusing to sign a state-required loyalty oath got her job back this week, with an apology from the university and a clarification that the oath does not require employees to take up arms in violation of their religious beliefs.

"It's the best possible outcome," said Marianne Kearney-Brown, 50, a graduate student in mathematics who was teaching a remedial class for undergraduates. "My concerns have been addressed."

See Pacifist Cal State teacher gets job back.

I wrote about this case last week, God is on My Side, after the Quaker math teacher lost her job, saying that the school's position on the loyalty oath would clearly not prevail, since the teacher's objections were reasonably based upon her religious beliefs.

Luckily, the university saw the error of its ways sooner, rather than later. Of course, the fact that the university received a tremendous amount of bad press over the incident no doubt helped. As the LATimes reported, Instructor fired over loyalty oath reinstated:

The idea that someone could be fired for refusing to sign a loyalty oath came as a surprise to many Californians who were unaware that public employees are still required to sign it. The pledge was added to the state Constitution in 1952 at the height of anti-Communist hysteria and has remained a prerequisite for public employment ever since. All state, city, county, public school, community college and public university employees are required to sign the 86-word oath. Noncitizens are exempt.

* * * *

The firing of Kearney-Brown, who also is a graduate student at the campus, brought widespread criticism from faculty members, students, Quakers and civil-liberties advocates. Some faculty members began circulating a petition objecting to it. The United Auto Workers, which represents teaching assistants, pursued a grievance on Kearney-Brown's behalf.

"People were outraged," said Henry Reichman, a Cal State East Bay history professor and chairman of the Academic Senate. "I was very vocal on the campus that this was an outrageous thing."

I guess I could stop swearing about it now.

(Via How Appealing)

No comments: