Florida’s Christian university has decided to terminate the contract of an English professor with left-leaning views who taught composition classes about “racial justice” or “gender equality”.
Palm Beach Atlantic University, which is a self-described Christian university that offers whole-person education, decided to defer renewing the contract for Samuel Joeckel, an English professor who taught composition courses at the university over the past decades. Joeckel claimed that PBA officials wanted to examine materials that he shared with students in a “racial Justice” unit before they resigned him. However, Joeckel said that the investigation into his curriculum was politically motivated.
Joeckel wrote in an Instagram post, “I had to laugh at the Dean’s decision to cut off the meeting so he could prepare for Ron DeSantis’s arrival on campus.”
Joeckel questioned the authenticity of his concerns regarding possible indoctrination. He posted the post with a hashtag for white Christian nationalism. He claimed that he was a teacher of racial justice and had been under suspicion by administrators since the Governor. DeSantis (R), has tried to eradicate critical race theory in Florida schools.
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The school announced Wednesday that Joeckel’s contract was not renewed. Joeckel posted the news to Instagram, claiming that Joeckel had been the victim of a “far right” smear campaign.
Joeckel stated that “The timing of these events is not coincidental as we are dealing an ‘anti-woker’ crusade by Governor DeSantis, other far-right politicians, and activists.” “PBA clearly was influenced by this toxic ideology.”
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CNN reported that Joeckel was the subject of a parent’s complaint. Joeckel has already retained an attorney to help him evaluate his “legal options.” However, the university does offer tenure to faculty members. According to the handbook, “discontinuance may occur at any moment, without cause, at PBA’s discretion.”
The school did not comment on Joeckel’s situation. An internal memo from February confirms that administrators were concerned about Joeckel’s composition course. Chelly Templeton, Provost Chelly Templeton, wrote that faculty are free to choose a theme that unites their Composition II courses. “However it is important that Composition II objectives remain at the center of the course.
A syllabus that Joeckel used to teach in class has been made available. It shows that Joeckel devoted three classes to racial justice during that semester. He also teaches “gender equality” and includes a text written by Virginia Woolf.
Joeckel has been supported by many students. More than 300 former and current students of the PBA signed an open letter addressed to administrators condemning Joeckel’s decision to terminate his contract and voicing concern about academic freedom.
The letter stated that Joeckel was fired by the university for “inciting fear and sparking division, encouraging political tribalism, and dismantling efforts at creating a campus which embraces unity in all its diversity.” It is not clear how many signees have ever taken Joeckel’s classes.
Joeckel stated that he never “indoctrinated students” to adopt a particular view in all of his years at PBAU. He stated unambiguously that “indoctrinating students is against every educational bone of my body.”