Why Would SOSU Give An Academic Award To A Trans-Teacher It Wants Gone?

The English faculty of Southeastern Oklahoma State University unanimously recommend that assistant professor of English Rachel Tudor receive tenure. Tudor transitioned from a biological male into a female four years ago and now suspects that her trans-identity has to do with the administration’s denial to give her tenure. She claims says that both the vice president and dean refused to discuss their decision with her and that the interim vice president for academic affairs Douglas N. McMillan called her “lifestyle” offensive to his Baptist beliefs. Oh, academia, what tangled ivory webs your internal politics weave!

School policy dictates that the president had to reveal his reasons for denying Tudor tenure. And according to Tudor the president claimed he couldn’t verify her work on two academic journals even though both journals prominently feature her name on the cover. He found her scholarship “flawed” even though she’s published 10 peer-reviewed articles. And he called her work as a presenter in the school’s annual Native American Symposium “neither noteworthy nor exceptional.” Nevertheless, SOSU still issued an April 26th press release announcing that they would give Tudor an award for outstanding scholarship. Award worthy but not worthy of hiring, eh? A lovely parting gift for today’s contestant in “Who Wants To Be A University Professor”?

The school’s faculty senate voted to add gender identity to the school’s nondiscrimination policy, but Tudor is unsure if the administration recognized that vote. In the meanwhile she has consulted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission, and is appealing to the Regional University System of Oklahoma overseeing SOSU. Whether they can get the school to reverse their decision remains uncertain.