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AAUP Sides with 'Traditionalist' Bible Prof

Cedarville denied David Hoffeditz 'academic due process,' says association.

On January 14, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released a conclusive report on its investigation into Cedarville University's termination of tenured Bible professor David Hoffeditz.

The AAUP, a non-accrediting organization that monitors academic freedom, determined that the Ohio Baptist school handled Hoffeditz's firing inappropriately by denying him "academic due process." The report stated Cedarville failed by "(a) misdirecting the burden of proof onto [Hoffeditz], (b) not affording him a hearing before a body of faculty peers, (c) denying him access to the evidence and the witnesses against him, and (d) failing to provide for a final appeal to the board of trustees," among other administrative missteps.

In response, Cedarville released a statement Wednesday, calling the report a "flawed document that does not contribute in any constructive matter to a sensitive and difficult issue." Cedarville claimed the association has a "historical bias" against religious schools, citing a disproportionate number of AAUP cases brought against them, and that it printed factually inaccurate statements despite Cedarville's corrections beforehand.

Hoffeditz was a conservative member of the school's Bible department. He had spoken against the postmodern theology he believed some of his colleagues espoused, and expressed concern over the school's stance on whether one can know the Bible's truths with certainty. (See the school's "Truth and Certainty" statement.)

Cedarville president William Brown told CT last April that Hoffeditz was fired not because of his doctrinal beliefs, but because of his behavioral standards, which did not meet the university's. "[Standards] involved how you treat each other, how you talk about each other, what's acceptable, and what's not. [Those standards] among others were violated," said Brown.

The school stated Wednesday that it will respond further to the AAUP report in the near future.

Both Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education covered the Cedarville story.

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Posted:January 16, 2009 at 1:00PM
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