I recently read the article, “Bullies Hurt: Fact & Fiction,” written by Dr.Yahya R. Kamalipour, a communications professor from my alma mater and my former teacher.
I will not spend much time in this article pointing out why Maurice Eisenstein is a bad teacher, a failed logician, a hate-monger, or an academic bully. Kamalipour does this succinctly in his article, and Eisenstein makes it more apparent by his own agency and rhetoric. The case has been made against Eisenstein, and Purdue has elected to retain Eisenstein despite his unethical behavior.
It is understood that it is difficult to remove a professor who has been granted tenure at a university. Maurice Eisenstein has been challenged at the university and in a court of law, but tenure policies and legal defense continue to trump good ethical professionalism. I have learned that there is a cost to the university to legally attempt to have Eisenstein removed, and the financial cost is close to seven figures. Today’s college is more concerned about fiscal solvency than professional rigor, and I grudgingly admit understanding of this. There are still multiple calls for the university to do something about Eisenstein, but there is no wherewithal to continue. I hate to sound defeatist, but there remains little legal recourse to remove Eisenstein without first reassessing collegiate policies or reinventing from scratch the tenure system at colleges (for which I have advocated).
I have three potential solutions to the problem of Maurice Eisenstein, which are practical and might be implemented by those who oppose his continuation as professor at Purdue University Calumet:
1) Continued education and awareness of Maurice Eisenstein’s unprofessionalism is warranted. Dr. Kamalipour is an excellent professor of communications, and he is well aware of the power and strength that rhetoric and public exposure has for communal structure, institutional change, and social mores. I know this because Kamalipour taught me as much in the classes I enjoyed under his tutelage as an undergraduate. His blog should be promoted at Purdue Calumet, and knowledge of this travesty should be spread through the Northwest Indiana community…in fact, the world should become aware. I ask my reader to read Kamalipour’s blog to become aware of injustice within my local collegiate community. I write about this in my blog with the hope of more exposure to a serious problem within my treasured and respected institution of higher learning.
2) The following is a comment I posted within an online discussion about what to do about Eisenstein: “Cannot an ombudsperson position be created?…perhaps another political science administrator/instructor/professor who could attend, monitor, and challenge Eisenstein’s hate speech when it is unduly spewed out in his classroom. I know it is additional expense, but it would be less than the legal fees for removing him. It would maintain the academic integrity of the university, also…which is ultimately the ethical concern.”
3) Ultimately, my professional dilemma is formed around the disservice that occurs in Eisenstein’s classroom; I know that Yahya Kamalipour can defend himself and has already successfully refuted Eisenstein publically (although, academic bullying of fellow faculty is specifically unethical, and Eisenstein should not be allowed to target Kamalipour or other faculty members in such a manner). However, Eisenstein continues to teach classes at Purdue Calumet. The students at Purdue Calumet deserve a quality education, and Eisenstein’s pedagogy and opinions do not qualify as “quality.” I write directly here to students who might have the displeasure of retaining Eisenstein as their professor, whether forced by credit requirements of a degree-seeker, or electively by students who wish to learn about political science. The role of a professor is “one who professes to know, to understand,” not one who absolutely knows or understands. The role of a student is “one who studies, who comprehends;” furthermore, I would extend the definition for a college student to be “one who challenges ideas and contributes to the academic conversation by logical argumentation, validated evidence, and fresh perspective.” While most college professors are uncomfortable with students challenging their authority in the classroom, it is the right, or even the duty, of a college student to challenge the lecturing of their professor with rationale and critical thought, for the purpose of furtherance of the academic discipline…and certainly to oppose bad theories or illogicality that a professor might utilize. This is a difficult student role to assume, as most believe a teacher’s knowledge is to be consumed, and a student is expected to comply without question…but this assumption works against the basic premise of an education, where a student is to gain agency. Authoritarian pedagogies work against the students’ best interests on many occasions, especially concerning the case of Maurice Eisenstein. As a student, I challenged my professors (even Yahya Kamalipour a time or two). As a college instructor, I invited my students to challenge my ideas and rhetoric; on several occasions, my students became their own teacher and convinced me to the contrary on several claims I suggested in the classroom…I believe this is integral to my professional obligation as college instructor—to profess my comprehension of my discipline, admit I could be wrong, and do what is in the best interests of my students. This is the fundamental issue with Maurice Eisenstein: he cannot admit wrong-doing, and without significant consequence, he has been encouraged to continue his faulty pedagogy and appalling rhetoric, at the expense of his students. Students, you can challenge your teachers, especially if you suspect they are wrong…if an instructor unduly punishes you with threats in the classroom or to your grade, then that is when written policy is designed to protect you, and Eisenstein could be exposed for the fraudulent professor he is…It is understood that this would take courage and be a bit scary, but it is perfectly within your parameters as a college student, one who pays increased tuition rates to be in that college classroom and deserves to receive quality instruction and facilitation.
For a more personal reaction to Maurice Eisenstein’s teaching, click here.