Progressive academic, award-winning slam poet and Green Left cultural reviewer Bill Nevins was unceremoniously sacked from his job as an English academic at the Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque in September – just as classes were about to begin for the new semester.
Nevins wasn't simply a "non-renewal", which is the mean-spirited legal term used when a part-time instructor is "let go". He was given one written sentence and a few verbal mumblings about improper mileage reimbursement forms and then his filled classes were circulated as available to other instructors!
Our former "community-minded" Dean Berkowitz (on his way out of town) was selected to inform Nevins and did so without the grace of eye-contact or allowing any discussion or questioning on Nevins' part. What country do we live in? What century is this? What rights are we fighting for? Remind me please.
By the time the e-mail flurry ensued (subject line "What happened to Bill?"), I was querying Dr. Winograd. Other part-time instructors are feeling very insecure, angry, and let down. There must be some reason Nevins was removed as an instructor of his five classes just hours before classes were to start, way too late to apply at other institutions. What is the rationale for secrecy and fear-inducing non-disclosures? What is gained? I, along with many of my fellow instructors both full and part-time, and many students, would like to know "What really happened to Bill Nevins?"
To be sentenced without a hearing or appeal reminds me more of Gitmo than college. What kind of regard for educators are we modeling for students? No wonder they have so little respect for the profession.
[Merimee Moffitt is an English instructor at CNM.]