Faced with accusations of denying due process to seven professors dismissed last year, Bethune-Cookman University countered that, in four cases, the professors' transgressions were so great as to warrant immediate termination -- they kept an off-campus apartment where they would take female students to (sometimes forcefully) have sex with them.
On Monday, the American Association of University Professors filed a report (PDF) against the Bethune-Cookman administration. Inside Higher Ed writes that, according to the AAUP, the professors were denied normal procedure -- like an account of specific allegations against them -- before they were let go. The AAUP also said that reasons the university gave for dismissal did not always seem accurate (for example, university officials argued that a few of the professors did not hold necessary graduate credits, despite evidence to the contrary).
University officials quickly responded with a report of their own - saying that that the four professors who were charged with sexual harassment referred to themselves as the "Nigerian Mafia" and maintained the off-campus apartment for sex with students.
The Washington Post notes that the university's report includes several shocking allegations. For example:
A Social Sciences student confided in her Philosophy professor that Professor #2 had continued to harass her sexually. She stated that this incident occurred in her classes with him in front of the other students as well as at clubs where Professor #2 would grab at her and ask her to go with him. The student also alleged that Professor #2 had asked her for sex and offered her an "A" in exchange for sex.
University counsel Pamela G. Browne asserted Bethune-Cookman's prerogative to deny the professors in question a hearing at the time of their dismissal. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, she said that "when faced with conduct that poses not only a threat to student safety but also creates an immeasurable exposure of legal liability, a university has a responsibility to take swift action."
The National Council of Negro Women and Reverend Al Sharpton have asserted their support of the University, writes Inside Higher Ed.
The university has not disclosed the identities of the four professors.
Do you think university officials made the right call? Let us know what you think below.