AURORA | The Community College of Aurora was officially deemed a black sheep for its firing of a part-time philosophy professor last fall, a national association that represents college professors announced June 17.
College officials maintain the allegations are baseless.
The American Association of University Professors, a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group, charity and labor union, formally placed CCA on an “academic freedom censure list” for allegedly violating the rights of former adjunct CCA professor Nathanial Bork, who was sacked by the college last fall.
Bork took issue with a new curriculum that was implemented at the local college at the beginning of last school year. He claimed that the new structure watered down course work and inhibited his ability to properly teach his students.
Community college officials have repeatedly rejected Bork’s claims, saying he was let go for questionable performance and failing to implement the new curriculum.
Mary Meeks, a spokeswoman for the college, wrote in an emailed statement that the college disagrees with the AAUP’s decision to formally censure CCA.
“We believe that this action is unfortunate and unwarranted and that the conclusions of the investigating committee did not accurately characterize the college or the situation in question,” Meeks wrote. “This action, based on those conclusions, does a disservice to the faculty, staff and students of a fine institution.”
Bork said he had stellar reviews from the majority of his students throughout his roughly six-year tenure at CCA. He said his firing was a retaliatory measure imposed on him after he sent a letter to the Higher Education Commission, CCA’s regional accrediting agency, outlining the problems with the new curriculum.
Both the HLC and the state’s Department of Higher Education signed off on the school’s curricular tweaks before they were implemented, CCA President Betsy Oudenhouven said in a statement earlier this spring.
The CDHE briefly looked into the matter last fall, but quickly cleared the school of any wrongdoing.
The Community College of Aurora now joins 55 other schools on the AAUP’s censure list, which is updated annually. The college has the opportunity to be removed from the list if the organization deems it has rectified the issues that originally led to censure.
The decision to censure was larger based on a report the AAUP compiled on the local college after a three-member investigating committee visited the school late last year.
In an emailed statement, Bork said he was pleased with the AAUP’s decision to censure CCA.
“I feel extremely vindicated and supported,” wrote Bork, who also works as an adjunct professor at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton. “I’m glad that what happened to me was so glaringly wrong and dishonest that it’s been recognized as such throughout the region and throughout the educational world. I’m humbled at all the support I’ve been given through both AAUP and through all the positive emails I’ve received from educators at other institutions all over the country. “