Academic Freedom: Suspension Retrospective I

An article on me appears in the Daily Southtown in the Insight section for July 31, 2005.
It is a retrospective look at my suspension. When it is available online, I will link it.

Former President Richard Yanikoski says he was not pressured to suspend me:

November 4, 2002. He tells me in his office this incident is over and that I had resolved it favourably and honourably with a series of e-mail exchanges with Cadet Kurpiel of the Air Force Academy. He praised my career and said he only wished to be notified by me in the future if anyone tries to “injure my career.” I warned him in his office that pressure would mount against me and that he would have to stand up to external public constituencies that wanted me driven out of academe due to my antiwar position. He said he could withstand the pressure.

November 5, 2002 He calls me at home and states that the pressure is mounting to punish me but that I “had constitutional rights.” I could tell he was beginning to waver in his defence of my rights.

November 11, 2002 I am suspended.

These are the facts where a besieged president was influenced by external forces to suspend me and sanction me for an antiwar e-mail.

Richard Yanikoski is quoted as saying. “Peter loves the controversy.” I was contacted by the Daily Southtown (a major regional paper in the Chicagoland area and owned by the infamous Hollinger Group that also publishes the Chicago Sun-Times) and had several discussions with them prior to my being interviewed. I did not seek this publicity. Yet I am no longer under a gag order not to speak to the press which was imposed upon me in November and December 2002. I am sorry but I am an American who served my country honourably in the military and I can speak to the press whenever I want.

It should also be reiterated that my e-mail comment was never intended to be made public. It was not a speech; it was not an article; it was not an interview; it was not an an op-ed piece so I had no intention of this becoming a highly publicised event based upon an e-mail that was not an extramural utterance. Unlike antiwar Professors Ward Churchill, Nick De Genova, Richard Berthold, whose rights I STRONGLY AND FEREVENTLY support and have said so publicly on college campuses, they intended their remarks to be heard by an audience. I did not. I was not seeking publicity; few would want to experience what I went through; however, I am dedicated to peace and conflict resolution and I would be foolish not to utilise an opportunity to have a broader audience to pursue this objective.

I had no choice but to fight back because my entire life has been opposed to war and for me to allow any individual or incident to thwart my mission would have been to abdicate my sense of social responsibility. I will never do that because I have dreams and I have visions and I have a purpose that no one can or will silence. I hate war; I hate violence; I loathe those who clinically conduct it and declare “collateral damage” which included babies being killed or fail to see the tragedy of it. I am strong; I am confident; I am not perfect and have made mistakes; I will not be silenced or bullied.

This is a link to a scholarly article that I published about this auto da fe. It analyses AAUP documents that were violated in my case. Both FIRE, National Association of Scholars and the AAUP SXU chapter publicly noted that.

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