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Anne McSorley

In my work with Behavioral Risk Management, The situation described is "never out of nowhere." This unfortunate mess sounds like it has it's roots in emotional causes but I also detect some manipulative evaluations. Was he high visibility? Was the risk to do something (anything) determined by his to-date value? You hit the nail right on the head when you say it damages everyone involved.

OU Journalist

In case you're interested in reading about how Reader's tenure hearing went:


I totally agree with you Bob, I have lack of sympathy for a boss that does not have the courage to tell their employees when they are being an "asshole" and calling them out on it.

Part of proper leadership behavior is to be bold and state your concerns or take action on negative situations if someone is creating havoc in the work environment. I don't think it's right to fire an individual out of nowhere before providing him with notice and time to correct their actions.


I think that not tolerating bad behavior has the potential to be a great way to ensure that people get the help they need.

I used to work for and now work alongside an "asshole" who is really just someone with serious anxiety problems who doesn't want to manage other people. Intolerance of her behavior by me and her supervisor is what got her into a position where she could look at the bigger picture and realize that she's not happy, that she needs to make changes.

Intolerance of asshole behavior a loving response that prompts the asshole to examine herself.

The guy in the story sounds like he got an opportunity to see himself from this whole tenure exchange, and I hope it all worked out collegially.


It would be interesting to compare and contrast this story with the story of the Fort Hood shooter. For some odd reason, the powers-that-be in both cases overlooked something. It would be interesting to understand the dynamic of why a group in power ignores behavior until it blows up in their faces.

G. Tod Slone

We need to put a stop to over MODERATION (i.e., CENSORSHIP). Why not joining in on those who believe that pre-approved speech is not free speech at all! Anyhow, regarding the article in question, my comment was censored. Inside Higher Ed censors comments. The problem with your "asshole" rule is that an "asshole" for one person might be a nice guy to another and vice versa. See my censored comment at:

David Reuter

It appears that a lack of honest communication allowed this situation to progress to the point where we are now discussing it.

Glen S. McGhee

Let us not forget the words of C. W. Mills (1916-1962):
"Yet the deepest problem of freedom for teachers is not the
occasional ousting of a professor, but a vague general fear -
sometimes called 'discretion' and 'good judgment' - which leads
to self-intimidation and finally becomes so habitual that the
scholar is unaware of it. The real restraints are not so much
external prohibition as manipulative control of the insurgent by the agreements of .... gentlemen."
(1951 / 2002: 151)

working girl

I wasn't completely clear about who the bad guy was in this story.

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