Jill Powers, age 54, was a tenured professor at Fisk College in Tennessee until she was literally run out of her institution. While all of us have seen stories of the liberal takeover of higher education, institutions and liberal professors changing curriculum to fit their personal agenda, we have not seen many personal stories that spotlight this issue in higher education. Powers’ story is one of those personal instances of the liberal takeover of education institutions.
Powers had tenure at Fisk university and had been a professor there since 2003. She describes the first two years at Fisk University as productive and a wonderful environment. However, during the third year of her time at Fisk, a new women’s studies professor was hired and Jill’s persecution began. Very shortly after this new professor started, she began to incite students into complaining about and filing official complaints against Jill. The basis for these complaints and issues with the course that Jill taught? She taught early English literature that had many connections to and context that had to do with Christianity. The new professor and the students that she incited took issue with the fact that in her class, Christianity or the history that directly relates to the literature she taught mentioned Christianity. That was the beginning of the end of Jill’s career in higher education that she had worked for her entire life.
Initially it was just filed complaints and discomfort and confrontation with the women’s studies professor. As the situation continued, with no intervention from the college administration, more consequences became apparent to Jill. The first sign of her forced segregation at the institution was her exclusion from the family day at the university. The department heads were normally responsible for organizing and interacting with the families during this event. Jill was the department head for her department and was not informed or included in the event, instead they utilized the women’s studies professor that had been railing against Jill’s course all this time, in spite of the fact that she was not a department head. She watched as any professors that had white pigmented skin were removed from department heads and chairs of committees. The institution made a clear push to appear completely black in its faculty for public events and parent days.
A new provost was appointed that removed all administrative power form the chairs of departments and faculty. He quickly began removing any conservative leaning professors or those whose courses, by their very nature, taught any aspect of history or culture that the liberal agenda disagreed with. The primary complaint was that professors like Jill would not alter their curriculum by literally changing history to accommodate the modern liberal view point. These issues continued for several years and ultimately this provost was elevated to executive vice president for Fisk University.
The behavior of the women’s studies professor escalated to the point that on one occasion she had blocked Jill from leaving the faculty break room by physically standing in front of the door way and blocking her. During this incident she was screaming profanities in Jill’s face and accusing her of trying to poison the other faculty members. The department head was present in the break room observing this incident, but did not intervene or act on her behalf. This moment cemented the understanding for Jill that she was not going to get support from administration when it came to the ongoing harassment and hostile work environment, that even if she remained silent and attempted to get along with the other faculty as she had been for years, she would continue to be targeted.
In 2014 she resigned from her position at Fisk University, no longer able to teach in the environment created against her, forfeiting her tenured position. Most would think this would be the end of this situation for Jill and that she would then move on from this awful experience. Following her resignation she applied at many other colleges and even had five courses offered to her from a university in Texas, however several weeks after having offered her the position, they rescinded the job offer and the courses she was intended to teach. Although she voluntarily ended her employment with the university, never pursuing a lawsuit or filing a complaint about the treatment she had experienced there, the university has systemically continued to give her negative references for new employment.
Ironically, the provost that was present during the worst of the harassment towards her became the executive vice president of this university, was just two years after her resignation found to be embezzling funds from the state through the University for personal use. When he resigned due to this situation he was quoted as having said, “some of the most evil and mean-spirited people I have ever encountered,” referring to members of the faculty he claimed, “had been perpetrating personal attacks against him and even accused someone in the faculty of making racist comments towards him,” although he would not divulge the faculty member or what the comment was. The irony in this situation is that he accused others within the staff of treating him the exact way that he had encouraged and enabled conservative and white faculty members to be treated for years.
The decline in our overall education system is tied directly to situations like what Jill experienced personally. Real people who are good teachers and have dedicated their entire lives to academy, are having their entire careers sacrificed at the altar of liberalism. To target and destroy the career of an early English literature professor, because Christianity and religion, as a whole, is directly tied into that subject is ludicrous. Our education system is losing all sense of morality and logic because of educational administration conducting themselves in manners just like this. To force out, or force retire, good teachers for educating students based on facts and historical accuracy, in regards to the subject matter, is purposely undermining an honest, accurate and fair education. When these students are paying tens of thousands of dollars for their education they should be outraged and protesting the limiting of that same education to fit a political agenda.
On a more personal level, we as a nation should be very concerned about the course of higher education and the impact to real people like Jill powers. Are we going to stand by and watch while good people have their lives ruined over teaching historically accurate college classes? Will we watch as our higher education system gets warped and twisted into something that is no longer providing real education while people’s careers are abolished? Jill has been actively applying at other universities for two years and has yet to acquire a full time position even though she holds multiple degrees, has an impressive resume and left Fisk university on good terms in spite of her treatment there.
I will ask the reader to determine for themselves if you believe this is by coincidence or if once again, another life has been ruined by the liberal agenda to blacklist and destroy lives and careers of anyone who will not accommodate and alter history to suite their agenda.
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