Report on the Termination of Phil Mitchell

Following is the Executive Summary of a report on the termination of CU instructor Phil Mitchell issued by the Colorado Committee to Protect Faculty Rights (CCPFR), a standing committee of the Colorado Conference of the AAUP. The report was composed by Don Eron and Suzanne Hudson, officers of both the AAUP chapter of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Colorado Conference of the AAUP.

Read the report in its entirety here: Phil Mitchell Report

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Phil Mitchell, a senior instructor in the Sewall Residence Academic Program (RAP) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, was terminated by non-renewal of his contract in the spring of 2007. Mitchell, arguably the most honored teacher in the history of the University, had previously been terminated in 2005, he claims, because of hostility by the History Department toward his conservative religious and political convictions. Mitchell publicly spoke out against his 2005 firing, an endeavor that he believes temporarily saved his job. Mitchell considers his 2007 firing an act of retaliation against his speaking out in 2005.

The Colorado Conference of the American Association of University Professors finds substantial evidence that:

  • A history of antipathy toward Dr. Mitchell’s political and religious convictions existed within the CU History Department.
  • CU backed off Dr. Mitchell’s 2005 termination because, when challenged by media inquiries, the administration and tenured faculty could not document cause for his firing. Their stories changed several times, as each story proved untrue.
  • The 2007 documentation against Dr. Mitchell was orchestrated to justify his firing.
  • A dual employment structure exists at the University of Colorado, wherein most of the faculty can be fired at any time for any reason, or for no reason, thus allowing the administration and sometimes tenured faculty to suppress the academic freedom of the majority.
  • Dr. Mitchell’s termination violates numerous AAUP protections of due process, shared governance, and academic freedom.

Read the report in its entirety here: Phil Mitchell Report