Dean Elaine Heath and Professor Thea Portier-Young of Duke Divinity School (DDS) are apparently intellectually incompetent. When faced with disagreement, they are unable to express their ideas with cogent argument. Instead, these “Christian” academics prefer to destroy their colleagues, rather than debate them. In fact, their conduct towards a fellow Christian professor has been so egregious that any decent Christian school would have removed them from their faculty for conduct inconsistent with basic Christian values. Of course, that will never happen. DDS has long been Christian in name only.
In the case of Dean Heath, her extreme ideological commitments have driven her to initiate a ludicrous charge of “unprofessional conduct” against Professor Paul Griffiths for the crime of simply refusing to share her commitment to radical racial identity politics. In the case of Professor Portier-Young, her extreme ideological commitments have driven her to file an even more ludicrous charge of “harassment” against Professor Griffiths – for the crime of simply criticizing her agenda of advancing racial identity politics. Such actions are anti-intellectual, totalitarian, cowardly, and antithetical to basic Christian principles.
I have obtained emails from Professor Griffiths that detail the actions taken against him by Dean Heath and Professor Portier-Young. Here is an overview of what they reveal:
(1) The Discipline initiated by Dean Heath against Professor Griffiths. In February 2017, Dean Heath contacted Professor Griffiths and asked for an appointment in which she proposed to communicate her expectations for “professional conduct” at DDS. After a brief email exchange concerning the conditions for the meeting, an agreement was reached for a four-way meeting. The participants would include Dean Heath, Randy Maddox (Dean of DDS Faculty, as support for Dean Heath), Professor Griffiths, and Professor Thomas Pfau (as support for Professor Griffiths). That meeting was scheduled for March 6, 2017. Just before that date, Dean Heath cancelled the meeting without explanation. Shortly thereafter, Dean Heath proposed a new meeting on the same topic, but without Professor Pfau’s participation. Professor Griffiths responded by proposing a one-on-one meeting between himself and Heath. No agreement was reached and, to date, no meeting has occurred. In a letter dated March 10, 2017, Dean Heath initiated financial and administrative reprisals against Griffiths. The reprisals included a) banning him from faculty meetings b) banning him from voting on faculty affairs and c) banning him from future access to research or travel funds.
(2) Discipline initiated by Portier-Young against Griffiths, through the University’s Office for Institutional Equity (OIE). In early March, Professor Griffiths received a phone call from Cynthia Clinton, who is an officer of the OIE. It was disclosed that Professor Portier-Young had filed a complaint of harassment against him. The accusation was that Professor Griffiths had used racist and sexist speech in a manner that rose to the level of creating a hostile work environment. A meeting was then scheduled for March 20, 2017 between Griffiths and representatives of the OIE to discuss the allegations. Professor Griffiths then requested a written version of the allegations, together with all of the supporting evidence, in advance of the meeting. Clinton declined both requests. Consequently, Professor Griffith declined the meeting and sent a written statement to the OIE.
In response to the malicious accusations again him, Professor Griffiths decided to resign his position as a tenured professor at DDS. Why he decided to resign rather than fight will be the subject of the last installment in this five part series. It will also be the most important installment in the series.