University of Colorado investigates another professor in the philosophy department, associate professor Brad Monton
The University of Colorado is investigating two professors within the beleaguered philosophy department on the Boulder campus. (Camera file photo)

A group of faculty members believes the University of Colorado administration has created a sense of fear on the Boulder campus with recent cases in the sociology and philosophy departments.

The five-person faculty affairs committee within the Boulder Faculty Assembly condemned the university administration for its handling of cases involving now-retired sociology professor Patti Adler, associate philosophy professor Dan Kaufman and associate philosophy professor David Barnett.

The committee wrote that in actions taken against those professors, CU leaders showed "blatant disregard for the rights, interests and well-being of its faculty."

Committee members handed out paper copies of the statement at a meeting of the faculty assembly Thursday, though no formal action was taken by the group. Next month, the faculty affairs committee is expected to bring the motion forward formally to the assembly for discussion.

CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said the administration will wait to comment on the statement until after the faculty assembly discusses it.

Last December, Adler said she was asked to resign over a lecture on prostitution in her class "Deviance in U.S. Society." The administration first suspended her from teaching the class, then reversed course and reinstated her. She returned to campus and taught the class during the spring semester and a summer session before retiring.

In the philosophy department, Kaufman was banished from campus this spring and reinstated more than two months later after undergoing a violence threat assessment.

The university began termination proceedings for Barnett this summer after he allegedly retaliated against a female graduate student who said she was sexually assaulted by a male graduate student.

"These precipitous and punitive actions taken against faculty without due process and then often quickly reversed show that the administration is exercising extremely poor judgment in its handling of faculty affairs," the committee's members wrote.

The group wrote that such actions have drawn negative attention from the American Association of University Professors and the American Civil Liberties Union and have "created a sense of fear, insecurity and distrust among the faculty, which is unhealthy for the campus environment."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 or kutas@dailycamera.com.