Once again, the Post‘s David Harsanyi brings an important case to light. In today’s column, he highlights the case of Phil Mitchell, a veteran instructor at the University of Colorado who was recently fired. For having views or professional practices like Ward Churchill? Hardly. Mitchell is a conservative Christian who claims he was set up. (Disclosure: Though I’ve never met Mitchell, we have mutual friends.)
To his credit, Harsanyi presents the case in a fair and balanced manner:
Mitchell can relay stories of the nasty anti-Christian bigotry he’s experienced on campus. I suspect that bias is very real. But those are the hard knocks of free speech. The question is: Do those incidents mean there is a conspiracy to remove him from CU? It may be convenient for conservatives to say yes. But we don’t really know.
Brown, a trusted figure in this state, however, can investigate this case and answer that question.
If he fails to do so, questions about the seriousness of CU’s diversity effort will again linger.
I don’t know nearly enough about the particulars to suggest whether or not there may have been a conspiracy. But the track record of how conservatives have been treated in American public universities suggests CU would be much better off giving Mitchell’s case thorough, careful public treatment than trying to quietly sweep everything under the rug.