A Guide to the Dismissal Process
Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, xii
+ 218 pp, 40 chapters, endnotes, afterword, hardcover, 1998.
Available from the
and Noble, Blackwell's
(or probably for free at your local university library).
With publication of this book and his continuing
research on the subject, Westhues has virtually founded a new
field in sociology. ... Tongue in cheek, the book gives supervisors
step-by-step advice on how to get rid of a misfit professor named
PITA (Pain In The Ass): oddly, but typically, the only one in
the proximate institutional setting who actually gives a damn
about what they do. His or her commitment will tend to embarrass
and threaten all those (the overwhelming majority) around him
or her, whose only commitment is to their paychecks and leisure.
The book is amusing but very scary at the same time.
David S. Clarke, Professor of Management of Technology, Southern
Illinois University, and Editor, Knowledge, Technology,
and Society, in his weekly e-newsletter, 2003.
chapters—highly readable, personal, engaging, and illuminative—alternate
between a suspenseful narrative of Westhues's own case winding
its tortured and exasperating way through an appeal, and the "how-to"
chapters, which are written, this reader presumes, with an intensely
ironic, but tellingly effective voice. They sound like advice-to-administrators'
manuals, of which genre the readers of this journal should be
overly familiar. But let the reader beware that Westhues skewers
them with a satiric intensity that chills the blood.
David W. Leslie, Chancellor Professor of Education,
The College of William and Mary, book review in The Journal
of Higher Education, 2000.
. . a remarkably perceptive account of the techniques useful for
getting rid of unwelcome academics. Of course, it can also be
read by those who are targeted, and their supporters, as a primer
on what is likely to happen and how best to oppose it.
Brian Martin, Associate Professor, Department
of Science, Technology, and Society, University of Wollongong,
book review in Campus Review (1999). Read
the full review online.
. . an interesting, informative and passionate look into the darker
side of ideological correctness and intellectual weakness within
Bill Zwerman, Associate Professor,
Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, book review
in The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology
. . engaged me on several different levels. Although it was not
the book I thought I was getting, it did cause me to think about
and question group and departmental dynamics in ways I had not
before. I became aware of new areas of research. I do know different
people got very different meanings and insights from the work
and on that basis alone I can recommend it.
Peggy Brandt Brown, University of North Texas,
book review in Education Review (2001). Read
the full review online.
. . first of all a scholarly treatise devoted to the sociology
of controlling human relations in academia and thus it contributes
to our understanding of policy and practice at many Canadian universities.
... Within this context it is recommended by this reviewer that
Eliminating Professors be read by members of Faculty
Associations across Canada and their respective Academic Freedom
and Tenure Committees, keeping in mind the possibly new environment
of rules in which their committees will operate. And university
administrators might find a place for it alongside their editions
of Mein Kampf, Kafka, and Machiavelli.
Robert Needham, Director of Canadian Studies,
University of Waterloo, book review in The UW Gazette
is well known that universities rank among the best known offenders
in supporting petty tyrants full of pompous bombast with an obtuse,
indecipherable, self-righteous and downright unconscionable bureaucracy
which works mercilessly to torture competent people. Westhues,
an award-winning teacher himself, has been on the receiving end.
Miraculously, he provides a dispassionate analysis of the forces
coming down on him while waiting for the firing squad to load
their weapons. Though thinly disguised as a guide for oppressors,
it is a must read by any student of bullying and psychological
Gary Namie, Western Washington University,
co-founder of the International Campaign
Against Workplace Bullying and co-author of The Bully
account has the chill of graveyard truth. I've often read about
the ideal of a fearless objectivity in the social sciences, but
I've rarely experienced it as forcefully as in this book.
James R. Kelly, Professor of Sociology, Fordham
University, prepublication review for Mellen Press.
why is he writing a book telling adminsitrators how to eliminate
professors? It is a rhetorical trick. What he is really telling
us is, this is how it is done, based on my case studies. And,
how it is really done is a very chilling affair, in which truth
plays little role. The main goal is to get rid of the accused
professor, and information is used and distorted to achieve that
end. Westhues's findings are similar to mine in the area of sexual
harassment. . . . This book does a great service by showing exactly
how college administrations can corruptly use information to dismiss
professors who do not deserve dismissal. If anyone thinks the
process used in colleges is usually fair, they ought to read this
book. It is eye opening.
Russell Eisenman, Department of Psychology,
University of Texas — Pan American, book review in The
Journal of Information Ethics, 2001.
a how-to guide for administrators seeking the dismissal of certain
members of the academic staff, it is fraught with errors of the
most serious kind. ... Perhaps most importantly, the book does
not acknowledge the possibility that tolerating the occasional
DR. PITA who is fulfilling his or her job to teach and do research
is sometimes necessary in order to maintain the integrity of academic
freedom within the university.
Sylvia D. Jansen, University of Manitoba, book
review in The Canadian Journal of Higher Education,
is a witty, cathartic, and intelligent discussion of the often
painful dismissal process endured by tenured professors in higher
education. ... Westhues' advice to administrators is not to fear
campus outrage, but asserted that 'moral panic is an administrator's
best friend. The key point is to manage it' (p. 99). His book
contained numerous strategies for administrators that often blur
the line of ethical behavior.
Welch, Coordinator of Student Programs, Texas Women's University,
book review in Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice,
sociological study of and administrative guidebook to getting
rid of unwanted professors based on 25 case studies of professorial
Book News, 1999.
Professors : A Guide to the Dismissal Process
is a recommended book that humorously deals with a difficult but
important subject. The author acknowledges that he does not pretend
to present the final word on this issue and that this book is
just ‘‘an invitation to action, and to study, reflection,
and research.’’ After reading this book,
the reader will view the professoriate life and the concept of
tenure with a different perspective.
J. Esqueda, University of North Texas, book review in Community
College Journal, Research and Practice, 2002
Table of Contents
1. Carpe diem: September 28, 1997
3. The problem of Dr. PITA
4. The objective: PITA’s elimination
5. Marks of undesirability
Two Initial Stages: Ostracization and Harassment
6. Marking PITA out
7. Techniques of torment
8. Millennial fears
9. October 4, 1997
10. Which lesson from Fabrikant?
Stage Three: the Incident
11. Deep trouble
13. The small matter of truth
14. October 11, 1997
15. Leading Leymann’s mob
16. Necessary harm
17. The star chamber
18. Making the star chamber work
19. Managing moral panic
20. October 19, 1997
Stage Four: Aftermath of the Incident
21. No playful romp
23. PITA’s internal appeals
24. Appeals to the board
25. October 25, 1997
26. Letters from PITA’s friends
29. The media
30. Other outsiders
Stage Five: Elimination
31. Mental illness as exit door
32. November 2, 1997
34. An ending to beat all
35. November 12, 1997
36. November 20, 1997
37. November 28, 1997
38. December 5, 1997
39. December 10, 1997
40. December 11, 1997