Even when conservative professors earn tenure, the academic experience can get unbearable.
Professor Robert Lopez of California State University-Northridge was happy to receive his tenure in May 2013. The achievement is particularly difficult for conservative professors. Three years later, however, Lopez was ready to leave, writing about the “salvation” he’s found and how he’s “quitting because I found the will to live.”
Lopez, who is bisexual and Latino, has written about problems he faced on campus months after obtaining tenure for expressing his conservative views. In October 2013, “The Devil Comes Home to Cal State Northridge” was published for American Thinker. “I confessed that I admired Palin to a colleague, and he immediately compared me to Hitler,” Lopez wrote.
The reactions against Lopez didn’t stop with the Hitler comparison. People were rude and denounced him. His applications for benefits were rejected, as were department newsletter submissions. He couldn’t get on committees, and faculty members whom he called “the Marxist Brothers” held closed-door meetings about him.
Lopez “had people carve threatening lines over the Army stickers on my door, tear my American flag, and throw flyers at me.”
He was not allowed to use university resources for anything political, but his colleagues were held to different standards.
“Anything I did, on the job or off, that alluded remotely to my not being a leftist counted as political and was therefore grounds for complaint and possible sanction,” he wrote.
As Lopez chronicles his worsening experiences, a common theme is “the constant stream of ‘it has come to my attention’ messages.”
Last month, American Thinker published “The True Story of a Conservative Refugee.” Lopez describes how he became convinced that someone had been going through his personal items, which he had suspected for years. He described more of the complaints against him, including one which led to a tribunal:
The epic Title IX tribunal over my conference at the Reagan Presidential Library is still now, to this day, open and undecided after 600 days. The case was based on a gay student claiming he had a nervous breakdown because of anti-gay “targeting” at the Reagan Library and a woman who claimed I did not nominate her for an award because she alleged that the five female speakers at the Reagan Library were “anti-female.”
The investigation of Lopez, and the risk of suspension, highlights the hypocrisy of campus culture. At other universities, professors who made anti-Republican comments received pay raises, a stark contrast to Lopez being forced out.
Lopez felt forced to teach a certain way because he couldn’t trust his students and “was teaching like a robot.” He also suspected that his colleagues were “planting students in my class to annoy me.” Lopez went through lengths of only accepting digital papers, of no longer providing comments on papers, and of letting students write about whatever they wanted.
Lopez told The College Fix that he stood up for “racial and ethnic diversity in literature and staffing.” With calls for diversity from students, particularly when it comes to assigned literature, there could have been common ground for Lopez and his detractors.
It wasn’t enough for those out to get him.