The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 December 2004

The Deming business

I've stayed off the David Deming story, partly because our paths have crossed a few times, mostly in the context of Usenet, and I think it's reasonable to say that there's no love lost.

On the other hand, I am not at all pleased to note that Dr Deming has been gradually reclassified as an unperson by his employer, the University of Oklahoma, as he explained earlier this year in FrontPage:

My troubles began in March of 2000 when I published a "letter to the editor" in the campus newspaper that some people found offensive. Responding to a female columnist who claimed that possession of a firearm made every gun owner a potential murderer, I pointed out by way of analogy that her possession of an unregistered sexual organ made her a potential prostitute. For writing this letter, twenty-five charges of sexual harassment were filed against me by people I had never met. My attitudes, convictions, and beliefs were put on trial in a secret Star Chamber proceeding. After I admitted (gasp) that I was a member of the National Rifle Association, I was asked this question: do you think the Nazis were bad people?

For publishing "the letter," I received a formal letter of reprimand from Dean John T. Snow. After receiving the reprimand, I asked Dean Snow how the publication of my controversial letter would affect my position at OU with regard to issues such as promotion and raises. Instead of reassuring me that my expression of a political opinion would not affect my professional career, Snow said that the answer was "unclear." In a statement that I believe was intended to intimidate me, Snow said that in making future decisions he would "weigh in" how much I had learned from past experiences.

What Dr Deming learned is that the hand that feeds him was inclined to slap him around, and he continued to bite back. In the summer of '03, Deming ventured the opinion that the University was opening itself up to charges of conflict of interest by naming a new professor who happened to be an officer at a consulting firm in which other faculty members held interests. The University responded by stripping him of most of his classes and banishing him to the basement. Deming sued; OU filed a motion to dismiss; the University's motion has now been itself dismissed, meaning Deming's suit can go forward.

The complete text of Deming's complaint can be read here. [Link requires Adobe Reader.]

Posted at 11:23 AM to Soonerland

This doesn't suprise me in the least for OU. It is also a good example that the good old boy network is still alive and functional at OU. I hope Prof. Demming wipes the floor with their stupidity.
Back in the late eighties I applied for a job at the physical plant. It involved boilers, air conditioning, heating power genration. At that time I had 14 years experience in the field. I recieved a ltter back from them that I was not considered for the job due to not enough experience. The application only required 3 years experience. I know it was because I wasn't part of the "family" and I didn't use any of my connections at the time.

Posted by: anstranger at 7:59 PM on 20 December 2004

I must agree. Dr. Deming could and was on many occasions a rather pompous and grandiose individual but he was attacked merely for flexing his political rights in this case. It is also true that the "family" at OU is in strong control and has been for decades ... the appearance and installation of intellectually androgenous King Boren only proves it and adds to the foul brew that incestuous relationships foment. Universities such as OU should buck the PC trend and back up the political rights of individuals but yet again they pander to the mafia like insiders. I heartily cheer for Dr. Deming and hope he extracts a mighty pound of flesh from the great lumbering university beast. I'd gladly chip in for a case of brew for the feast.

Posted by: Ron at 11:17 PM on 20 December 2004