[Milton-L] For Jameela Lares: Gary Stringer Dismissed

Steven Bellin steven.bellin at snc.edu
Mon Mar 8 07:35:12 EST 2004

Jameela and others,

As one of Gary's former students--he sat on my dissertation committee at USM--I am shocked and appalled by the university's actions.  I encourage all of us, whether we know Gary personally or not, to follow the course of action Jameela suggests.  Write to the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and the newspapers to express your concern.  

Steve Bellin
St. Norbert College
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Carol Barton 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2004 7:22 PM
  Subject: [Milton-L] For Jameela Lares: Gary Stringer Dismissed

  (Please send replies to jamlares at yahoo.com rather than my university

  Dear friends,

  There are a number of you that I should have already written
  individually, but the last few days have been terribly traumatic.

  If you don't already know, my senior colleague Gary Stringer, a tenured
  full professor currently serving as the Charles W. Moorman
  Distinguished Alumni Professor in the Humanities and the long-time
  director of the NEH-sponsored Donne Variorum Project, was suspended
  pending termination and locked out of his office on Friday by the USM
  university president, Dr. Shelby Thames.  Gary had led an investigation
  into the qualifications of the Vice President for Research, who had
  been given the position without the normal search and whose resume
  claims--falsely or ignorantly--that she was a tenured professor at the
  University of Kentucky when she was only tenured in the Kentucky
  community college system.  Thames did not reply to earlier inquiries by
  the local AAUP chapter, following AAUP's receipt of an anonymous packet
  of information in this matter.  The AAUP conducted its own
  investigation, finding that the resume contained misleading
  information.  The veep's response to the papers was that she would sue.
   Gary and also Frank Glamser, AAUP president, were called in abruptly
  on Thursday to be interrogated as to where they got the information,
  but since a lawsuit had been threatened, they declined to answer
  further questions.  They were informed on Friday that they could either
  resign or be fired.  While they were meeting with the president, the
  university police were sent to change the locks on their doors and
  confiscate their computers.  The action was apparently initiated by the
  president.  Neither the appropriate dean nor chairs were informed. 
  Even the provost did not know.  Earlier this year, the president's
  "risk manager" had attempted to change the faculty handbook to allow
  the president to fire tenure faculty with a minimum of due process.

  As you might imagine, the entire university community is in an uproar. 
  This action is the latest and in a long series of decisions and actions
  that have been questioned to no avail by the beleaguered USM faculty. 
  I hope we can count on your support.  We are facing NCATE and SACS
  accreditation next year, we are trying to hire new faculty to replace a
  few *hundreds* who have left, we are trying to recruit top students,
  and we are trying to do our work in an increasingly impossible
  situation.  We are also concerned that our status as a Carnegie 1
  institution is in jeopardy.

  There have been numerous local stories over the last three days; I am
  patching in the links below.  A reporter from the Chronicle of Higher
  Education was expected today to begin an investigation, and a
  preliminary story should appear on their website tomorrow.  We are
  hoping for national news coverage.

  If once you review this material you agree that something should be
  done to support Gary, Frank, and scholarship at USM, you could help the
  effort greatly by expressing your concern to Dr. Thames's immediate
  superiors, the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of
  Higher Learning at <http://www.ihl.state.ms.us/contact.asp> and by
  sending a copy of your comments to your local news service or perhaps
  even to one of the papers listed below.

  Thank you,

  Jameela Lares

  Sunday March 7:
  (this article talks about protesting students being kicked out of
  basketball game)

  Saturday March 6:

  Friday March 5:
  ----- End forwarded message -----

  Jameela Lares
  Associate Professor of English
  University of So. Mississippi
  Hattiesburg, MS  39406-5037
  +601 266-6214 ofc
  +601 266-5757 fax

  Jameela Lares, Ph.D.
  Associate Professor
  Department of English
  University of Southern Mississippi
  118 College Drive, #5037
  Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
  +601 266-6214 ofc
  +601 266-5757 fax

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