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Community Coalition Plans Rally To Protest Professor’s Alleged Firing Process

A coalition of nine student, faculty, and community organizations will host a press conference and rally on Thursday, April 28, as Penn State allegedly advances dismissal procedures against a professor.

The demonstration, which will begin at 3:30 pm. at Old Main, comes as English and African American studies professor Oliver Baker faces possible termination from the university. Back in November, he was found not guilty on one summary count of harassment for his involvement in a scuffle with a student counterprotester at a pro-vaccine rally organized by Penn State faculty in August.

Nine organizations will take part in Thursday’s demonstration, including:

  • American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
  • Coalition For A Just University (CJU)
  • NAACP State College Chapter
  • Students Against Sexist Violence (SASV)
  • Schreyer Gender Equity Coalition
  • Liberal Arts Collective at Penn State (LAC)
  • Centre County Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
  • Alleghenies Abolition
  • Central Pennsylvania United (CPAU)

More than 10 speakers from these organizations are set to speak at Thursday’s event to “demand answers and accountability” from Penn State. The community coalition alleges the university has violated its own procedures, namely the AC70 firing process, which is used to dismiss tenured and tenure-eligible faculty members. The group’s concerns largely lie in the process’s extended timeline, which has stretched far beyond the required 60-day threshold. It also found fault in Penn State’s pursuit of dismissal against someone found innocent in court and the university’s alleged changes to the faculty-elected committee that oversees AC70 processes.

“These apparent violations give the appearance that the administration is unfairly influencing the AC70 process in the case of Dr. Oliver Baker,” the coalition wrote in a statement on Tuesday.

To date, Baker remains on administrative leave from the university. Penn State declines to comment on pending litigations and internal processes.

Back in January, student and faculty chapters released statements condemning Penn State for continuing its dismal procedure against Baker. Community members held a rally on campus in March to continue those efforts.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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