My Case Goes to Trial

Today, March 26 at 9:00 a.m., will be the first hearing in which I am appealing my expulsion from the university. When everything is concluded -for good or for bad- I’ll recount in detail everything that has happened. I haven’t done so yet because many of my friends think that I might bury myself deeper, and I believe that they’re partially right.

I had been a tenured professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Technology (better known as InSTEC), where I taught various courses related to philosophy – until they kicked me out

In November of last year, I began meeting once a week with a group of students and university professors on the lawn of my institution. There, we mainly discussed topics on the history of the political left.

At first we meet like this informally, but later got the idea to present it as a project to the Department of Social Sciences, whose energetic head approved the idea. I knew that the matter would raise eyebrows, since it was so unusual in a setting like this; only Communist Party-affiliated groups organize initiatives to openly discuss political topics. However, it not only raised eyebrows, but holy hell as well, as a shock wave spread out across the campus.

I was accused of many things, including that I was counterrevolutionary, which is the absolute worst one can be charged of. Nonetheless, this was leveled against me without a minimum shred of proof.

Finally, they tossed me out for not fulfilling -so they said- the study program, though it’s difficult for me to fathom how they reached that conclusion when all my evaluations as a teacher had been good.

The “evidence” that they had in hand were testimonies by my students made to a committee of professors confirming my inability to parrot the mottos that these academics believe are the ABC’s of Marxism, mottos that of course I never required the students to memorize in such a mechanical and anti-philosophical manner.

They also have as proof of my non-fulfillment of the program, a group of ten classes that I drew up with the objective of making philosophy more accessible; I had aimed to revolve it around epistemology and alienation. Those classes were held in the library, in the plain view of everyone, since I presented them there while in the course of developing them, one by one. These sought to embrace a part of the study program, though of course not in a traditional way.

No one called my attention to these lessons before, but now I’m suddenly on the outside for presenting them, and without the benefit of any intermediate measure.

An expert, another university professor who collaborated in bringing the accusation against me, stated in the previous labor hearing that the classes in question were “right wing,” and that the staff of a leftist university had all the legal authority in the world to demand that the classes of their professors be to the left.

If I had to classify my classes based on this approach, clearly I would put them on the left, assuming that this means they fight against ignorance, colonialism and alienation; and for this, when this case came up, I tried to lean on Marx, who to me is a splendid example of a warrior on the side of these causes.

I will try to somehow post these classes on the Internet, so that they can be read and judged personally by those interested in this matter.

I know nothing of legal procedures, but I believe that it’s logical that if I present myself as the plaintiff, I cannot end up being accused. I say this because some people have already warned me, “for my own good,” against appealing the decision of the administrative hearing and taking the matter to municipal court. They believe the action could backfire against me, making it impossible to ever work as a university professor again.

Tomorrow I imagine that I will have more news.

Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

10 thoughts on “<em>My Case Goes to Trial</em>

  • November 24, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Significa eso que fuiste alumno de Erasmo? Un profesor universitario no es como cualquier empleado, y más un profesor de filosofía. Qué fue lo que te disgustó? Que no te dieron las cosas masticaditas para repetirlas en la prueba? O que te enseñaron a pensar y eso da dolor de cabeza?
    Una curiosidad: Simone de Beauvoir en su autobiografía (creo que es en La force das choses) cuenta que Sartre, en sus tiempos de profesor de liceo, hacía cambios al programa, como aquella vez tuvo delante una clase de “tozudos campesinos”, naturalmente pragmáticos, y decidió empezar con una andanada de filosofías idealistas. Luego estos aprendieron tan bien a pensar que pasaban el tiempo contraponiendo los argumentos iniciales cuando Sartre enseñaba las materialistas. Por supuesto, nadie lo expulsó de su puesto de profesor.

  • April 2, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Creo que en mi comentario anterior le di una especial importancia a la palabra respeto. Basándome en esto di mi opinión sobre algo que me toco muy de cerca, las clases que se impartieron. Al opinar algo muy importante es saber realmente de lo que se esta hablando, yo se bien como fueron esas conferencias. Precisamente por eso, puedo con toda confianza decir lo que pienso de unas clases que aunque no improductivas, porque de cualquier persona se puede incorporar nuevas experiencias, no se dirigieron a los puntos esenciales de un programa. Al final de esto los perjudicados fueron los estudiantes que no conocían los elementos fundamentales de la asignatura.
    En cualquier ocupación, en cualquier lugar, a un individuo lo emplean y le explican para que fue contratado. Con una misión a cumplir en su trabajo, el trabajador comienza su tarea. Evidentemente si no cumple con su rol debería ser expulsado.
    Dejar claro que una opinión bien justificada debe ser admirada. No pasa de ser una entre muchas otras, pero es lo que pienso.

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