USMMA Professor Faces Firing for Joke Tied to Shootings

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by bruno, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,001
    Likes Received:
    301
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,796
    Likes Received:
    930
    Bruno, I find it just for this one reason.

    This professor had 3 students miss class to attend funerals and somehow he felt that was appropriate to say this comment to a child mourning their father, and students mourning other victims 15 days later shows he is missing a sensitivity chip.

    For a child to come back to the USMMA after that horrific loss shows the quality of his character. For a professor to be so ignorant/insensitive that your students (3) missed classes to attend a funeral because of this massacre and did not realize shows the board you are not in touch with your students.

    Let's be honest, he had 3 students, received an email by the Academy and it went up and over his cranium that OMG these are my students

    Let's also be honest, the school has 1000 students, 250 a class yr. Can you really say OOPS I didn't realize I would offend anyone after you know 3 of your students were excused from class by you?

    I am not trying to be politically correct, I am trying to say there is a reason why many people feel tenure is not the best option when it comes to teaching.

    If you follow Mr. Kreiser's thought process, you could only be fired if he threatened to kill himself or students, otherwise, a hearing would be appropriate. That comforts me so much. My kids prof is safe as long as he is not a threat after he has tenure. Damn the kids. He was stupid with his comment, never mind he is teaching our next generation of leaders, afterall, he is only human and forgot that 3 of his students were emotionally distraught. It was a faux pas. Yet, he is tenured, so you, your students Mom that buried her husband, their father, and your child that are left in tears, we are sorry for your pain, but he was a tenured IDIOT and afterall he didn't represent a threat to himself or students. He just was an IDIOT that you and your child were taught to respect from an academic perspective for the past 2 decades.

    Sorry for ranting, but I have no pity for him one iota. I applaud the USMMA according to this news account. If he lacks the common sense to not make a joke like that when you had 3 students impacted personally, do you really want him teaching your child?

    Do you truly disagree he is not missing a chip in his brain in this situation?
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    3,001
    Likes Received:
    301
    Those are good points.
     
  4. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    21
    Obviously Professor Sullivan made a stupid comment. I can almost imagine him thinking to himself that he was a idiot for just saying it and I certainly feel for Midshipman Cowden and his family.

    I have to agree with Bruno. I have seen this disturbing trend all too often. It does not matter how you have lived your life, helped your community, served your country. You say or do something wrong and you are history. I can't understand why we always have to go for the juglar. Do we have to ruin his life for what he said? I am not defending him. He was an absolute jerk.

    My son has told me that Professor Sullivan was well-respected on campus. Wouldn't he and the academy be better served by his attending sensitivity training, community service or some other punishment other than termination?
     
  5. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,601
    Likes Received:
    35
    I'm not sure why the heck they Kreiser who has no affiliation with the institution from what I saw. The important quote, where I think they would be able to take job action is the thing to focus on...

    That being said, we don't have all the facts here. Not making excuses for the guy, but he may not be missing a chip, but one could be malfunctioning and in serious need of some psychiatric help.

    I think if they guy agrees to go check into a facility to treat some "issue" he may be having and come back in a year, the school may have to dial it back as it would become a "medical" issue. Gives everyone an honorable exit.

    This kind of "unusual" behavior out of a "well respected and liked" type of person may be the first sign of an issue that needs some treatment. Yes, you can throw him under the bus, but ultimately that just creates a "disgruntled former professor" which is just the type of individual we are trying to avoid here, no?
     
  6. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    21
    He has been at KP for six years. Let's say he taught 100 mids each year for the last six years. Was their training/schooling tainted because of a future comment that a teacher will make? Everybody makes mistakes. Maybe he is not sailing on an even keel but doesn't he rate a second chance? A 20 second moronic comment should not be enough to trash a mans career.
     
  7. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2010
    Messages:
    723
    Likes Received:
    2
    Beyond sent you a PM
    Pima Darling, sent you a Pm
     
  8. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    5
    Egregious behavior, exhibited once, is often enough.

    See also:

    Jimmy the Greek
    Gilbert Gottfried
    Don Imus
    Dan Turner
    Ronan Tynan
     
  9. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    21
    Exactly my point. One strike and you're out. However, the professor was not a public figure like several on your list who were hung out to dry for making racial/religious comments and who were crucified by the media.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,796
    Likes Received:
    930
    JMC,

    He is teaching future military leaders. Place his position on par with a DO or Squadron Commander. Now if the DO or Commander said that at the weekly Friday briefing, knowing that the Wing King has sent them emails about this, and he had 3 reporting to him, would you feel it would be wrong for that commander to be relieved of his position due to no confidence from the Wing leadership? If the answer is no, than there you go. You are holding him at the same standards the military would for their leaders, future leaders he is teaching currently.

    Before you say well at least he still has a job in the military, this is true, BUT the reality is they know they will be passed over for promotion and separated at the earliest opportunity. In essence the military's tenure system saves them for a period of time.

    Here's the thing. This is a Service Academy, one that every single taxpayer pays for every yr. Imagine if he didn't get fired and MSNBC or CNN ran this story. Do you think after it hit all over the nation people would not be outraged that he was still teaching? The school would be inundated with phone calls and emails from taxpayers demanding exactly what they did...fire him. Probably the MOCs in CO would also get phone calls and emails demanding answers as a tax payer.

    I don't think he did this with malice, I think it was a brain fart, but when you are teaching students to live at a higher level of ethics, than you have to be willing to live and die at that same level.

    As the old saying goes it is nothing personal, just business.
     
  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,749
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    No, he's teaching some future leaders and some well-paid commercial ship drivers/engineers.


    I think his comments were insensitive, and given the fact that one of his student's father was killed, horribly ignorant. It wasn't in support of the killer, but wasn't sensitive to the victims and family members of victims.

    It's a knee-jerk reaction by a school with very little leadership at all levels. I would love to know the student's reaction to the apology.

    It's not easy to fire a federal employee. All you have to do is walk around Washington, any agency or department (including DOD), to realize there is a LOT of dead weight out there, untouchable.

    He would be well served to file an appeal. I'm guessing he would win (and deal another black eye to USMMA) unless he has prior misconduct documented.
     
  12. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,796
    Likes Received:
    930
    LITS, I apologize I should have said some. 1,000,000 lashes with a wet spaghetti noodle.

    The USMMA forum now has this thread too.

    To answer your comment about appealing this is the newest information
    That says to me he is not yet fired and they are not taking a knee jerk reaction position.
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,749
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    The statements by the dean are very knee-jerk. He appeals and stays. Now we have the dean on record as saying "nothing less is appropriate than being fired."

    How would I view this as a student? The dean should have shut her pie hole until the process described above was complete.
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,796
    Likes Received:
    930
    LITS,

    The way the system works is the Dean gives their recommendation to the committee. Their recommendation was they should be fired. It is not back tracking.

    They stated they were immediately placed on administrative suspension, and an investigation would occur where a decision would be made. If part of this process is to take into account interviews with students AND faculty, where are you coming from in that article their position has changed? Look at the dates

    However, here is where I see the problem.

    Professor Sullivan stated he was unaware of the students loss, but he excused 3 students to attend funerals in CO.
    That's my issue regarding him as an instructor. You are informed 3 of your students will miss classes for days to attend funerals, 1 being a parent and you forgot @ one week later. This comment was made 11 days after the shootings...due the math, student goes home for the funeral, if his father was buried 5 days after the shootings, and he returns 3 days later, that is only what 2 -3 days in class he has been back? You as a professor knowing your students' father was killed and that is why he missed class wouldn't go to the student and personally check with him at the beginning or end of the class to see how he is doing? We are not talking about a huge school.

    Now he is saying OOPS I was unaware as his defense. That does not pass the sniff test for me. He got the email from the administration, he excused 3 students for funerals in CO from NY, if he forgot, than I have to ask how invested is he when it comes to his students? It appears to me the answer is they are a number and a name on his roster.

    I know KP posters have a positive image regarding Prof. Sullivan, the students like him, but the fact is this is not about a popularity contest, it is about following the regs set forth for employment.
    It is not personal, it is business. I have to say under that quote, the joke IMPO constituted notoriously disgraceful conduct. I am sure he is a nice guy, he never meant to hurt these students emotionally, but he did and it is the school's right to terminate him.

    People are making it personal because he is liked and for that they want to give him a 2nd chance, but this is a business, and if they ignore it, and the next professor who is not liked by the students says the exact same thing, what do they do? They gave a pass to Prof. Sullivan, and this will be the next Profs defense of why they are being singled out for dismissal. It creates a legal mess for the school.

    This is bigger than the Professor and his remarks. Again, it is not personal, it is business, Prof. Sullivan knew that when he signed his contract with USMMA.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  15. JMC0759

    JMC0759 S-USMMA '12 D-USAFA '15

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    21
    We should fire the teacher because of what he said so that a precedent is set for the next time it happens? What a nice atmospere to be working in. You say the wrong thing to the wrong person at the time and they are offended by what you said? A precedent has been set, so termination each and every time. Every case looked at exacly the same. He deserves to be punished but getting fired? You give a punishment to a person to stop a certain behavior. The person learns from the incident and never does it again. (hopefully, but not always in my line of work.)

    And Pima, I want to throw out to you someting you wrote on the other thread concerning this same subject. What would happen if CNN found out about it and the professor was not terminated? Do we have to bow to what might happen all the time? Reprimand the teacher in some other way. Better yet, let the class that heard the idiot make the comment decide what to do with him.

    And how is this "bigger than the professor and his remarks?" What exactly are you saying? A first amendment issue? What? This is strictly a personnel issue that is being played out in the media and the script is probably already written.

    My DS did not have this teacher but even he, as a former member of the regiment, thinks that the proposed punishment does not fit the crime.
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,796
    Likes Received:
    930
    Okay, let's go 1 by 1

    You picked up on one part of my post and missed the bigger subject. Same post.
    I didn't set the rules, they did, and because that is in their rules, I stand by my position regarding precedent.

    Find the loophole. This is business. It is legally protecting their arse, in this case the USMMA. It is business!

    I never said they had to bow, but let's be honest here. Do you actually think if CNN/MSNBC/FOX ran with this story heads wouldn't roll?

    Business is business. The DoD is not going to place pressure on the USMMA when CO taxpayers are calling their MOCs.

    I think I answered your question. This is not 1st Amendment, it is our political system. Taxpayers pay for the SA's. USMMA is one of them. It is bigger than his remarks because of backlash from taxpayers/voters that feel the DOD budget is too bloated and want answers.

    Again, it is not personal, it is business. Legal constraints and dollars/cents.

    I think you are mis-construing my posts and positions. I am not saying they are right to dismiss him, I am saying it is a business decision to dismiss him because if they don't it can become a precedent in the future.

    The idea of
    This was not saying it to 1 person privately, it was said to a class. Honestly, sorry, but that is the real world now. You say the wrong thing to a person and you can have HR opening a file the same day. PC is not a joke around term in this day and age.

    He did not have the PC issue in his realm or atmosphere when he stated that comment.

    I think people assume I want him gone, but that is not the truth. I am only trying to illustrate why they would release him. I have said on every post that I don't believe he did this with malice or forethought. I think he had a brain fart. However, USMMA has to look at it from a different perspective... legal.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,749
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    I understand, having spent too much time at the Pentagon, that the Department of Defense is pretty sure it runs the country, but USMMA isn't a military school, and it certainly isn't under the Department of Defense. Secretary of Transportation might have something to say about DOD putting pressure on USMMA.

    Agree, the DOD's budget is bloated, and bloated might be an understatement. USMMA could stand to gain from a few billion dollars coming out of the DOD's pocket.
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,749
    Likes Received:
    1,002
    No, this is the federal government, which is far from "the real world". In the private sector, especially in "right to work" states, you say the wrong thing you could be sent packing quickly.

    But USMMA is within the federal government. The closest thing you get to what I discribed above is a contractor, doing the same or more work than his/her federal counterpart but FAR easier to fire.

    I'm guessing the professor stays. If that happens, I've love to know how the Dean's public statements have on the work environment... or for the midshipmen.
     
  19. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    606
    Maybe the guy is just a jerk and someone wants him gone.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,796
    Likes Received:
    930
    For people who think I am being harsh, instead of attacking me, defend Professor Sullivan,

    Was it or was it not disgraceful? If you say YES, defend, and remember Professor Sullivan signed a contract abiding by this. He also had 3 students miss class too.

    Remove the emotion, answer the question from the business perspective.

    Did he or did he not notoriously disgrace the USMMA with his joke when he had 3 students in his classes, especially now that national papers picked the story up?

    It really isn't that hard. Do you believe that CO applicants will think twice before applying or attending due to his remarks if they heard them? If the answer is yes, I think they will have concerns, than you side with the academy. His actions were disgraceful.

    I get you are a KP parent, you have a vested interest. I have no vested interest, except being a tax payer, footing the bill.

    Remember my taxpayer dime is part of their budget.
     

Share This Page