Friday, December 10, 2010

Justice denied for former DePaul Professor Thomas Klocek

For over 14 years, Thomas Klocek was a well-liked adjunct professor at DePaul University School of New Learning. One course he taught was "Critical Thinking." So it's ironic that he was essentially fired by the Chicago Catholic university after engaging in a spirited discussion about Middle Eastern politics with members of Students for Justice in Palestine and United Muslims Moving Ahead at a new students fair at DePaul's downtown campus in 2004. The groups were promoting the usual inflammatory tripe peddled by campus extremists such as comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.

Unaccustomed to critical thinking, the SJP and UMMA members complained to Klocek's deal--and Klocek became a former DePaul adjunct professor. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) got involved--of course they sided with the Muslim groups. Outside of a mathematics professor and some campus conservatives, no one at DePaul defended Klocek. As for Klocek, a devout Catholic, he learned that standing up for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, can be a career-ending move.

I've been covering the Klocek case for five years. He sued DePaul in the summer of 2005 for defamation. But shortly before the start of the trial, the third judge assigned to the case, a DePaul law school graduate, dismissed the suit.

His lawyers appealed, but late last month the Illinois Supreme Court decided not to hear Klocek's appeal.

Justice has been denied. Klocek is a good man who got a raw deal. I'm glad to have assisted him in getting the word out about the injustice brought upon him--and I will continue to do so.

Below is a press release from Mauck and Baker, Klocek's law firm:

On Monday, November 29, 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court decided not to hear Professor Thomas Klocek’s appeal, bringing an end to his five-year suit against DePaul University for destroying his reputation. The case had been litigated in the circuit court for years in front of a number of different judges: two of which ruled Klocek properly stated valid claims against DePaul; the last of which, however, unexpectedly threw the entire case out on the eve of the trial in 2009. The appellate court was unwilling to disturb any of the circuit court’s holdings, issuing a short order, rather than a published opinion, simply rubber-stamping the circuit court result.

As those who have followed the case may recall, little more than six years ago, Klocek was a well respected part-time professor at DePaul's School for New Learning who, as DePaul’s own Father Kevin Collins put it, was "more likely to talk an ear off about religious and historical fine points than mean to offend" and was "as gentle as he was opinionated and on the erudite side." This gentle and erudite man, who had enjoyed a fourteen year unblemished record of teaching diversity and culture courses to working adults at DePaul apparently talked about religious and historical fine points with the wrong groups (the Students for Justice in Palestine and the United Muslims Moving Ahead) on the wrong campus. What he understood to be a simple, albeit contentious, dialogue lasting all of five minutes with the student activists about their pet issues, turned out to be beyond DePaul's threshold for academic freedom.

The students with the help of the Council on American and Islamic Relations quickly filed complaints with the administration demanding Klocek's removal, and in a rush to a politically-correct judgment, DePaul caved. Instead of caving privately with an eye to Klocek’s rights and reputation, DePaul's administration, without a hearing or even notice to Klocek of the students' charges against him, made a public spectacle of defending the students from the professor who had dared to "dishonor" their perspective and "assault" their beliefs. Though DePaul later claimed Klocek was suspended for his conduct and not his views or his speech, Dean Susanne Dumbleton, Klocek's supervisor, ruled that "No one should ever use the role of teacher to demean the ideas of others or insist on the absoluteness of an opinion, much less press erroneous assertions."

John Mauck of Mauck & Baker, attorneys for Thomas Klocek, had this statement: "On behalf of Professor Klocek and Mauck & Baker, we express sincere appreciation for the hundreds of e-mails of support, prayers, and financial contributions. We do not think justice was done in this case. By faith we take consolation in realizing that justice was not done in the trials of John the Baptist, Yeshua, Stephen, or Paul yet God brought about extraordinary blessings from those legal "defeats."
Related posts:

Sept 15: Second anniversary of the beginning of the Thomas Klocek affair

DePaul President Fr. Holtschneider: "Academic freedom is alive and well at DePaul"

CAIR-Chicago recommended that DePaul fire Klocek

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Take it to the SCOTUS! This is 1st Amendment stuff.

THIRDWAVEDAVE said...

What a shame. I suppose SCOTUS is the next stop but long ago I lost faith in that institution. Klocek just got hosed.

Anonymous said...

The Nazification of DePaul "University" is now complete

John Brooks said...

Take it to the SCOTUS. This is the 1st Amendment, but like THIRDWAVEDAVE I've lost faith in this freaking upside down justice system and why we let these damn Palestinian, Muslim terrorist sympathizers on our campuses. They the Muslims dont like me calling them terror sympathizers well I'm addressing my 1st Amendment right as given: "or abridging the freedom of speech". The Islamofascists want to take us over with sharia.

oregonjake said...

If you think only tenured profs are at the mercy of CAIR, check this out/

http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/25648132-41/class-lcc-college-course-community.csp

CAIR wants noobody to talk about Islam, and will do anything to make sure no information comes out, except what they deem apprepriate.

Mark said...

Has anyone noticed that these Moslem zealots who form organizations on campuses throughout the United States seem to be clustered around the very worst institutions of higher learning. To call DePaul a "fourth rate" institution would be an insult to similarly classed collges and universities. DePaul - including its graduate program and law school - amounts to little more than a barbers' college. Adjunct Professor Klocek was probably too smart to have lasted at such a place in any case, but the fact that a university which granted tenure to the likes of Norman Finklestein would resort to this still shocks one's conscience.

John Ruberry said...

Tom Klocek is very smart.

Oh...as for Finkelstein, DePaul hired him, but he was never granted tenure.

Mark said...

I'm sorry, John. I stand corrected. However,the fact that DePaul would hire such an idiot to begin with speaks volumes concerning its academic "standards."