I blogged in June about Prof. Bradford and the Indiana University (Indianapolis) Law School, who claimed that he was being discriminated against by the faculty for his political views: Several people pointed me to this Indianapolis Star story:
In 2001, [William C.] Bradford was hired as an associate professor at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. . . . [H]e's under fire, he said, because his ideas about the war on terror do not conform to views held by [two tenured professors]. . . . Bradford said the two [professors] voted consistently to deny him tenure, despite good academic ratings.
In March 2004, he said, he was told during a review that someone described him as "uncollegial."
That's the new kiss-of-death buzzword. "Faculty seeking to get rid of others claim they are not collegial," Bradford said. . . .
Bradford wrote a defense of the flag after 9/11 — one that hung in the school lobby until some faculty objected.
He refused to sign a letter sent by [one of the professors] defending Ward Churchill. He's the Colorado professor who called victims of 9/11 "little Eichmanns." . . .
Inside Higher Ed, however, reports:
[A]s Bradford’s complaints grew louder, his story unraveled. It has now become clear that Bradford lied about, among other things, his military service. University officials confirmed Monday that Bradford — who did not respond to e-mail and voice messages and who hasn’t commented on the latest events — has resigned, effective January 1. . . .
In September, Lucas Sayre, a second year law student and the head of Indy Law Net, noticed that Bradford’s comments were coming from the same IP address as posts from other user names. Sayre, who had taken a course with Bradford and said he was a great professor, questioned Bradford about it, and Bradford admitted to using fake names to post “cheap shots, schoolyard bickering,” Sayre said.
In October, Bradford promised the blog audience that the person who endowed Roisman’s chair was upset at her behavior and would strip her of the chair, and that Judge David J. Dreyer of Marion Superior Court had issued a temporary restraining order barring professors from speaking ill of or taking any actions against Bradford. Roisman did not lose her chair, and there never was a restraining order. . . . Court records and sources both indicate that Bradford never filed for any sort of injunction. . . .
There's also this Indianapolis Star story, which Inside Higher Ed refers to as well:
One of Bradford's allies, Professor Henry C. Karlson, pointed out that Bradford was the real deal — awarded the Silver Star and a major in the Special Forces. Bradford said he was in the infantry and military intelligence. He fought in Desert Storm and Bosnia, he said.
On the law school's Web site and its Viewbook, Bradford was profiled as being in the Army infantry from 1990 to 2001. He wore a Silver Star lapel pin around campus. He had a major's gold-leaf insignia plate on his vehicle. . . .
Independently, [a source of mine] and I requested Bradford's service record from the Army. It showed he was in the Army Reserve from Sept. 30, 1995, to Oct 23, 2001. He was discharged as a second lieutenant. He had no active duty. He was in military intelligence, not infantry. He received no awards. . . .
If these factual accounts are accurate, then this is obviously very bad: Prof. Bradford was right to quit; I doubt that he'll get a job at another university any time soon; and, while I'm surely no expert on legal ethics, I do think that lying about one's military experience would justify bar discipline, though I don't know whether in practice state bars impose such discipline (and how much they impose).
Yes, I know that historian Joseph Ellis got only a one-year suspension from his teaching job for having lied about his military record. But: (1) It doesn't follow that all other professors at all other universities should be treated according to the most lenient past example available; (2) the lies here, if they are indeed lies, are more varied and also partly derogatory towards particular other people (which is rightly seen as worse than a mere lie about one's past behavior), which thus bespeaks even a more general untrustworthiness than does Prof. Ellis's behavior. (3) A professor's stellar academic achievements — which Prof. Ellis is generally seen as having had — certainly don't excuse his misconduct, but they may in close cases be relevant to the magnitude of the punishment. The good we do doesn't justify the bad, but it is rightly weighed in the balance when our overall characters are judged.
I e-mailed Prof. Bradford to ask him for his side of the story (I originally called, but his former assistant told me that an e-mail would be likelier to reach him quickly), and received this response, which I post in a redacted form at Prof. Bradford's request:
There is indeed another side of this story — what has been written is not so much false as simply a series of partial truths and minor errors, but the result is that the story is very misleading and casts me in a negative light, quite unfairly. Because I do not want to reveal confidences [related to certain events that Prof. Bradford asked me to keep confidential -EV] . . . I'm unable to mount a substantive defense. Just please know that if the full story could be told the result would be that I would be perceived as . . . an imperfect but honorable person. I wish I could say more, but unfortunately I can't.
Thanks to Prof. Paul Secunda (Workplace Prof Blog) for the pointer.