Censure at Indiana University Northwest

On Saturday, the governing Council of the AAUP voted unanimously to add Indiana University Northwest to the Association’s list of censured administrations. The censure comes just over one month after the publication of an AAUP investigative report on the dismissal of Dr. Mark McPhail, a tenured professor of communication at the school.

The investigating committee found that in acting against McPhail, the administration disregarded AAUP-supported standards of academic due process. The AAUP investigating committee deemed “implausible” the charge that McPhail had made violent threats and it found “highly credible” McPhail’s allegation that the administration’s actions were prompted by his criticism of the administration’s handling of racial equity issues and therefore violated his academic freedom.

The committee further concluded that conditions for academic governance at the institution are unsound and its racial climate is unwelcoming to faculty members of color. With respect to that climate, the committee noted that McPhail had regularly highlighted racial inequity on the IUN campus, and that the criticisms and charges against him employed racial stereotypes of Black men as incompetent, angry, and violent.

Based on the report’s findings and a recommendation from Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the AAUP’s governing Council voted to place Indiana University Northwest on the AAUP’s list of censured administrations. AAUP censure informs the academic community and the public at large that conditions for academic freedom and tenure at the institution are unsound. More on AAUP censure is here.

Publication Date: 
Monday, March 6, 2023