A Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) English professor is alleging that his job is under review for teaching a racial justice unit, CNN reported.
“[They] told me they had concerns that I was indoctrinating students. That was the exact word they used: indoctrinating,” said Dr. Sam Joeckel. “I had no idea this was coming.”
Joeckel said he had been teaching a racial justice unit for years without a hitch. But this month, a private Christian university’s provost and dean told him his contract renewal for next year would be on hold while they investigated the unit, Joeckel said.
His conversation with his employers indicated the investigation was prompted by a parent’s complaint, Joeckel said. A decision about Joeckel’s employment will be made by Mar. 15, according to a PBA letter sent to him.
“He is open-minded, and never wants to push his agenda on students; he pushes students to be critical thinkers and open-minded. That was my experience,” said Lauren Carleton, a PBA alumna who said she had taken two of Joeckel’s classes and did not feel she was being pressured to think a certain way.
This move comes amid Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) proposed plans to defund diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs at state colleges and universities. The plans may not affect PBA, but they still set a tone for the state, Joeckel said.
“Of course I can’t say with certainty the connection, but things like this do not happen in a vacuum,” Joeckel said. “What happened to me is definitely influenced by a toxic political culture, and it’s my opinion that the university is playing a role,”