Susan Feiner, who recently retired after 21 years as a professor, has been slapped with a ban from teaching any class in the University of Maine system after she attempted to disguise political activism as a pop-up course.
The former economics professor was hit with the punishment after she offered credit to students willing to be bused to Washington, D.C., in early October for a demonstration against Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. The planned student protest would have been directed at Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
University of Southern Maine President Glenn Cummings decried the “rogue behavior” of the former professor, the Portland Press Herald reported Wednesday.
Cummings said the teaching ban stems from an “unauthorized class that advanced her personal political agenda.”
Feiner does not plan to fight the ban. The disgraced professor wrote that her removal is “USM’s loss.”
The professor, who is retired, reportedly said she’s disappointed, but will not challenge the decision. https://t.co/6SIiCpBMJy
— Bangor Daily News (@bangordailynews) October 17, 2018
The situation originally boiled over and caught the nation’s attention after an email offering the course was acquired by the Maine Republican Party.
A screenshot of the email was posted to the state party’s Facebook page, and users soon began to comment their disbelief. Most were in shock that taxpayer dollars might have been used for this, with some even suggesting legal action be taken.
Feiner denied that any taxpayer money was involved.
After confessing she never filled out any paperwork for the trip, she quickly took on the role of the victim. The former professor took aim at the university for depriving students of a supposedly valuable experience.
“It’s terrible to deny students such an incredible learning opportunity. Social justice is not a partisan issue. There is nothing seditious about students taking a bus to Washington, D.C., in a historic moment,” Feiner told the Press Herald in an interview aboard the protest bus.
Feiner defended her actions by claiming she worked at the “Francis Perkins Institute at USM, which organizes pop-up courses that are funded by a grant and offered free to students,” the Press Herald reported.
USM has denied the existence of any such institution. In reality, the Frances Perkins Initiative for Social Justice Education is an honorific placed on certain grants. At press time, many articles on its home page were labeled, “This page is temporarily down while the project is being reviewed.”
It seems that if Feiner’s political activism hadn’t caught up with her, the dishonesty might have.
She originally planned to offer up to 12 similar pop-up courses every semester until the university slapped the ban on her. Feiner has not revealed what she plans to do after being barred from teaching at the university.
At least with her dismissal, students are a little safer from being used as political props.
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