On Friday, April 14 2023, Ohio Northern University law professor Scott Gerber and his students were shocked and alarmed to see campus security officers, backed up by armed local police, unceremoniously enter the classroom, remove Gerber, and escort him to the Dean’s office. There the professor with 22 years experience, a history of excellent evaluations, and courses filled to capacity was immediately barred from teaching, banished from the ONU campus, and told that if he didn’t sign a separation agreement and release of claims by April 21st, the university would commence dismissal proceedings against him. On what grounds? Insufficient “collegiality.”
The real reason, as Gerber went on to explain in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece published a few weeks later, titled “DEI Brings Kafka to My Law School,” was insufficient compliance with the school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, to which he had objected publicly and in newspaper op-eds and television interviews.
The mission of DEI, of course, is the implementation of social justice revenge. It has metastasized throughout every institution of society: government agencies, the military, corporations, the legal and medical fields, law enforcement, the entertainment industry, literally every Human Resources department anywhere. But perhaps nowhere is it more deeply entrenched than in the field of higher education, where Critical Theory – the subversive ideology behind DEI – originated and was developed.
It is hardly news anymore that university administrations and faculties skew far left politically and are dominated by a totalitarian degree of wokeness. Lockstep conformity to political correctness is expected or persecution for your lack of “collegiality” will ensue: at best, being ostracized by one’s peers, and at worst, being exiled from a career you trained for, excelled in, and loved. “And more than anything else, I love teaching,” Gerber wrote.
As he details in his WSJ piece, in the week prior to being essentially frog-marched out of his classroom in the middle of a lecture – an outrageously unnecessary measure clearly intended to send an intimidating message to any other professor who might step out of line – he had published an op-ed at The Hill defending Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s “right to have friends – even rich ones,” referring to the Left’s recent attempt to manufacture a corruption scandal involving the black conservative Justice whom the Left considers a race traitor.
The week before that, Gerber gave a TV interview in which he “criticized DEI programs that discriminate against white men in the name of ‘racial and social justice’ and for being indifferent to the type of diversity higher education should value most: viewpoint diversity.” In the week before that, he published op-eds in a national newspaper and in Ohio reiterating his argument.
During a meeting earlier this semester of the University Council, a faculty governance body of which Gerber was vice chairman, he had requested that the school’s DEI program address this issue of viewpoint diversity. The administration replied bluntly that diversity of viewpoints “is not part of our diversity, belonging and inclusion plan.”
And there you have it: diversity of viewpoints, which is the only diversity that should matter, is precisely the kind that is anathema under the racist DEI agenda, which values diversity of skin color and gender identity but uniformity of viewpoints above all else.
ONU has launched an investigation into Gerber but refused to supply him or his lawyers with any specifics. Denied even the basic right to know his purported transgression, He racked his brain “to think of rules I might have broken.” In his Wall Street Journal article, Gerber likened himself to Josef K, the protagonist of Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, a young bank cashier who is arrested one day by emissaries of an unnamed agency, trapped in a surreal judicial nightmare, and ultimately executed without ever even being told the nature of his crime.
“Perhaps decency is a sacrifice ONU is willing to make to grease the wheels of the DEI agenda. It looks like the law is, too,” Gerber lamented. The school is unambiguously guilty of violating his rights. The American Association of University Professors even notified ONU on two separate occasions that “an absence of collegiality ought never, by itself, constitute a basis for non-reappointment, denial of tenure, or dismissal for cause.” Dr. Melissa J. Baumann, President of Ohio Northern University, doubled down on the school’s passive-aggressive silence by informing AAUP that “ONU will not be providing a response.”
A GoFundMe page in his support has been created, and Gerber has secured legal assistance from the Academic Freedom Alliance and letters of support from FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. Harvard Law school professor Randall Kennedy composed a letter signed by more than fifty other professors expecting “a proper resolution of this distressing situation.” On May 18 Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars, sent a fiery letter in defense of Gerber to President Baumann. In it he wrote,
I am appalled by the treatment ONU’s senior administrators have meted out to Professor Gerber. His account published in The Wall Street Journal and the statement issued by FIRE are powerful indictments of the unfairness, callousness, and abuse of process that ONU has exhibited – I would say “in this case,” but in fact there is no case. As far as we on the outside can tell, there was only administrative whim.
What could possibly justify interrupting a professor’s class in order to take him under escort to the dean? In the real world we call this bullying. Then to demand his capitulation on the spot without naming charges or following the university’s written procedures? In the real world we call this contempt and intimidation.
He goes on to urge Baumann to “apologize publicly to Professor Gerber and explain to your board that you made a grave mistake,” though Wood acknowledges that this is “unlikely to happen,” given the unapologetic nature of authoritarian regimes.
Gerber’s story echoes that of many other professors around the country (and elsewhere in the Western world) who have run afoul of the Campus Diversity Gestapo and been summarily cast out of “decent” society as what George Orwell called an “unperson.” This unconscionable bullying, as Peter Wood labeled it, must never be allowed to stand – for the sake of academic freedom, for the sake of viewpoint diversity, for the sake of a civilization that values freedom of thought, due process, and human rights.
Ohio Northern University must reinstate Gerber immediately and make public restitution, including the apology Wood demanded. And every other institution of higher learning around the country must be put on notice that the racist, totalitarian Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion scam must end.
Correction: A previous version of this article said Prof. Gerber secured legal representation from FIRE; in fact, it was from the Academic Freedom Alliance.
Thanks for this article. Outrageous and frightening happenings.
I wonder if this display encouraged cowardice or rebellion on the part of the students who witnessed it?
If they made no response, that’s disturbing too. Do they support the humiliating “gestapo” tactics – all for so called DEI diversity?
Where are the freedom fighters? The resistance? If the young won’t rebel, maybe no one will.
>I wonder if this display encouraged cowardice or rebellion on the part of the students who witnessed it?
Cowardice on the part of some students and complete agreement on the part of most. It only takes a few years to completely brainwash children and all todays college students have spent 12 years in brainwashing factories known as government schools.
Victor L. says
Cat, you ask:
“Where are the freedom fighters? The resistance?”
William Butler Yeats:
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
Those are the last lines of the poem, “The Second Coming”. Judge Robert Bork saw the beginning of this trend when he was a professor at Yale Law School; it’s just as well he did not live to see what occurs now. His book on the subject is aptly titled “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”.
Gary Hope says
Christopher Lasch wrote about this in 1979. “The Culture of Narcissism
He was ahead of the times. Worth reading.
Algorithmic Analyst says
Kafka was a prophet.
Mark Dunn says
This is embarrassing, but “collegiality” does that mean you can’t set on a board, and play nice with others?
Mo de Profit says
“The mission of DEI, of course, is the implementation of social justice revenge. ”
Perfect description, thank you.
Perhaps we should change the order to Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and kill the thing stone dead.
It’s no accident that it’s called DEI and not DIE…
Beware the IDE of marchers.
Vincent Clancy says
It definitely is transitory!
Yes, but in which direction? Will sanity and decency be restored, or will the guillotines be set up soon?
The Left’s only goal is political power, and the ends always justify the means, no matter how extreme, perverted, criminal, or damaging they are. It’s like playing pick-up basketball with the guy who will argue an out of bounds play for 15 minutes, even though the ball clearly touched him last and everybody saw it. His team takes his side because they want to win, while you and your team argue the merits of the play and sequence of events. Eventually someone on your team gives in and says just give him the ball so play can resume. The guy is not interested in who the ball actually went out on, he is interested in winning. The only way to win in that case is to meet him with more force, aggression and volume. Unfortunately, as the article describes, this is not a friendly debate between fellow citizens with differing views, it is all out political warfare.
Tristin Kilgallon says
If anyone would like to help Prof. Gerber in his legal battle with ONU, please see the GoFundMe link below. Any amount helps and please share the campaign, if you are so inclined.
Just donated; so should everyone else.
Thanks for setting up this fund.
David Ray says
Let’s hope the woke pricks at GoFundMe don’t repeat their habit of pulling the plug on the link & pocketing the proceeds.
They pulled that garbage with Maine Jake Gardner, Kyle Rittenhouse, & the Canadian truck protesters (who staged an actual peaceful protest – the most well behaved protest in history)
GoSendMe is a much better site.
The initial argument for “affirmative action” was that admitting more blacks would increase the diversity of views available in academia. Now the mask is completely off and the universities admit that the modern version of “affirmative action” – DEI – doesn’t care at all about viewpoint diversity whatsoever. The moral is that the Left’s stated aims are never its actual goals.
The Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological state where the abused identify with their abusers; Masochism by another name. Surveys show that the denizens of academia overwhelming vote Democ-rat and yet they squeal like stuck pigs when the Democ-rats screw them. Generally speaking, kangaroo courts on campus are more in the nature of foreplay than persecution. Want to stop the madness, Herr Professor? Stop voting Democ-rat!
Foreplay, as a prelude to what? – rape?
Laurence Jarvik says
Thank you for publishing this!
Angel Jacob says
It’s real fascism at work.
This is what happens when you put racist, hateful and unqualified, criminal and terrorist supporters in positions of power. They bully good people, they get great people fired, and they rob people. That’s the ONLY mentality these criminal and terrorists supporters have, that’s the ONLY way they can think. And they will NEVER change, because they don’t have the brain capacity.
Given enough time and power to these thugs, they WILL kill anybody who doesn’t bow down to the criminal and terrorists demands.
Mark these words, and when the time comes read them again, and think why didn’t we do anything about it while we could.
Algorithmic Analyst says
Right, it is real fascism, like Germany in the 1930s, when top professors got expelled from universities.
Anyone remember that episode of The Prisoner where the numbered townspeople follow Patrick McGoohan around the village and point their fingers at him, all the while screaming “Unmutual!”? Some artworks truly are prescient.
Gary Hope says
That was a great series. Way ahead of it’s time.
Prescient is right.
College administrators most prominent goal is to treat people differently based upon skin color while stoking the flames of racial animosity and mental illness. We need a complete reassessment of everyone in higher ed.
I just attended Scott Atlas’s speech at New College in FL. The rancid students screamed through his entire address. The useless professors did nothing before hand to encourage them to behave like ladies and gentlemen. I hope DeSantis elimates tenue and tosses all professors to the curb.
We have an extremely limited number of intelligent young people in America right jow. We don’t need so many colleges to begin with. We need more quarries and factories for the young and fired College professors to work at.
Alix Brit says
The Left has infiltrated every institution particularly the schools – including the university – and law and medical schools. How would you like to have your surgery performed by a less than trustworthy doctor who got into medical school because of the DEI push and has decided that you have already lived too long? The Nazis very early on gained a foothold and dominance in the universities especially in the liberal arts. It is already happening here. Note the crazy adjunct professor at Hunter who harassed pro life students and was dismissed only after she threatened a reporter with a machete. The majority of students and faculty at HUNTER COLLEGE backed up her harassment of pro lifers who had a harmless display about fetal development.
Medical schools have been practicing a form of DEI for a few decades now, it is called Affirmative Action.
The totalitarian impulse has been growing gradually for decades. But since late 2020 it has accelerated its domination (I wonder what happened in 2020 – anybody know?) It shows no sign of stopping; in fact the reverse is true. The lawless power of the left will continue until the gulags in D.C. are scattered all over the country. They are coming for everyone.
PS: When I first read of Professor Gerber in The College Fix the first thing I thought of was Josef K.
Kafka isn’t a cautionary tale for these people; it’s a how-to manual.
“I wonder what happened in 2020 — anyone know?”
That is surely a rhetorical question. Our country was stolen out from under us in a coup at the end of the year. And a made-up plandemic occurred at the beginning of the year to facilitate the coup.
David Elstrom says
One interesting point in this article is the inclusion of local police in the Gestapo squander that dragged the professor before the Dean. Since when do the police lend their authority to purely civil actions (like the illegitimate de facto firing here)? Apparently the cops lacked the guts to insist they weren’t available to back up university thugs.
that aspect of the whole schemozzel struck me as wrong too. City cops enforce city and state law. they are not moderators in civil proceedings. Unless this prof had violated some state or local law, those coppers had no bidniss even showing up.
That right there is a notable cause of action directly against the city coppers for false imprisonment. They used the force of the threat of their arms to imprison a citizen, take him captive, demand his compliance. ACLU where are you? He is in great hands with FIRE< however. They have the guts and tenacity to make something of this.
I understand there might be a position open to such a prof at this newish college in Florida. I believe CHris Rufo has somewhat to do with that outfit……
Great article and informative
How did the University compensate students? Students had to pay for their education including their instructors. A refund and reparations for services not provided is in order. Students did not pay tuition to witness and learn about police state tactics.
Behold the magic of the DEI gods and tremble! If you are reading about the universal acceptance of DEI and you are not scared sh!tless, you don’t know history. A degree used to be EARNED through a demonstrated measure of excellence. Equity means equality of outcome, the opposite of what a university education is about. Unfortunately our universities have degenerated into reeducation camps for the gullible, who borrow too much money for little more that a piece of paper. When I read about Professor Gerber’s plight after his distinguished career, yes, I’m scared. And why not? Isn’t this what Stalin and Hitler and Pol Pot and Mao and others did?
It’s Communism and/or Fascism, pure and simple which is the most well-recognized totalitarian, OPPRESSIVE ideologies of our time.
We must name it clearly w/o obfuscation and stop camouflaging “it” with less sinister or historically clever verbiage i.e., Kafkaesque, Woke, DEI, ESG, social justice, “the Left,” Progressive, Socialist, Marxist, Jacobin, Bolsheviks, Stalinesque, etc..
paul chacho says
State governments should de-fund completely these universities.
Robert Shillman says
Based on this great article about a terrible story, I just donated $1,000 to FIRE to help defend Professor Gerber and other brave professors like him!
Laurence Jarvik says
God bless you! I wish there were more people like you…
Robert of Prague says
Thank you for posting this. It is a disgusting incident. No matter how you slice it, it’s totalitarian – take your pick, fascist, nazi, commie, socialist, et al. Mao’s ‘little-Red-book’ students would’ve beaten the prof to pulp or worse. It may get to that if we, the silent majority won’t stop it.
The local cops are woke cowards just like those in Uvalde, TX a year ago.
Voltaire was no religious conservative, however, a clear thinker. His epigram: “Those who can be made to believe absurdities can be made to commit atrocities.”
Thomas L. Gilmer says
I Would like to receive telephone number(s) and email address(es to give to some legal organizations and lawyers who might be able to help. As a Christian Zionist Baptist Pastor I will endeavor to get individuals and Churches to pray. All of any religious group or no religious group have much to gain if this professor wins his case against the University and individuals and government institutions who participated in illegal despotic unnecessary show of force against Professor Scott Gerber.
Only 7 people have donated in the last 16 hours. There are 31comments above and many times as many readers.
Making a story of a Jewish academic getting shafted by a gang of leftists at a university is a score for our side. Robert Shillman himself just donated a bundle. Chop, chop! Step up for this guy and donate $35.
Someone should call Joel Pollak at Breitbart and lean on him to run with this.
John Blackman says
as thomas sowell predicted back in 2019 , if biden is elected it will be the end of america . this article and many others confirm it .
Ugly Sid says
This man is a wrecker. He’s targeted the uniformity of the foundational diversity essential for concentration of controlling focus free of obfuscation.
If we listened to him crippling self doubts would arise. Our subscription to beliefs constitutes their validation. His slippery honesty can’t be allowed to derail righteous momentum by those resolved to extricate utopian results from pedestrian circumstances. Facts be damned.
Why isn’t THX denouncing this individual? Has outrage over altruism fallen from fashion? Attack that man.Find a way to use his sincerity against him. This personal decency constitutes an attack upon the rest of us. And we want vengeance. Tolerance is suicide. Get him!
Fred Winston says
This is a war on religion! This is a war on the children! This is a war on tradition! Share everywhere! Give this to the kids
Stephen Triesch says
This is easily one of the most frightening and bizarre episodes of political correctness enforcement that I’ve ever seen. Hopefully, there is some way to sue the administrators behind this for all they are worth.
Stephen Triesch says
According to the article, the professor was arrested on April 14th but had until April 21st to sign the dismissal agreement the university was forcing on him. One key question is whether he had been ordered to stay off campus before his arrest. So, depending on the answer to that, he might have two legal recourses: false arrest and denial of due process in his termination. Lack of “collegiality” sounds like a made-up excuse, not something that would be explicitly defined in school regulations. I do not think it would be something traditionally defined as misconduct, so this could also violate the rights of tenure.