University Seeks To Fire A Professor Who Told Students Their Hurt Feelings Were ‘No Big Deal’

In one of his more underrated roles, Tom Hanks played Jimmy Dugan, a washed-up former star baseball player who becomes manager of an all-women’s baseball team.

In one scene, Hanks berates a player for a bonehead play, and she immediately breaks down. “There’s no crying,” Hanks bellows. “There’s no crying in baseball!”

According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, Coastal Carolina University is trying to fire a professor who told some hypersensitive students that they should, as the saying goes, get over themselves.

FIRE reports that the issue began about a month ago, in CCU’s theater department.

An unidentified visiting artist was working with two minority students. One shared that she felt “isolated” for some reason and wanted to become better acquainted with other minority students.

So the instructor and the students scribbled the names of other minority students on a whiteboard in the classroom.

When the next class arrived, the names were still up, and the Social Justice Warriors immediately went to Defcon 1. They believed, FIRE says, that all the minority students were being singled out, but for no apparent reason. 

They organized a protest, naturally, and ultimately the Department of Theatre’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee investigated. Although the panel determined the names had been innocently written as a “resource for newer students who are looking to be in community with other BIPOC students,” it still apologized to the allegedly offended students.

The faculty and the entire department, a committee email said, “are deeply sorry to anyone who was affected by this incident.” The visiting teacher who had the idea originally also self-flagellated, saying she had been “thoughtless and careless.”

FIRE notes that Dr. Steven Earnest was unimpressed by the whole display.

His reply to the committee email, as written: “Sorry but I dont think it’s a big deal. I’m just sad people get their feelings hurt so easily. And they are going into Theatre?”

When the expected volley of criticism was fired his way, Earnest said he was simply “defending our guest artist.”

Earnest, of course, was labeled insensitive and a racist, for essentially saying there’s no crying in theater.

Accordingly, he faced calls for his termination. Students also boycotted theater classes.

“It was upsetting to be accused of racism by students and others with whom I have never interacted,” he said in a statement on FIRE’s website.

“But it was even more upsetting to have these false accusations ratified by a university that I have called home for over fifteen years.”

That occurred when Claudia Bornholdt, the dean of CCU’s College of Humanities and Fine Arts, directed the prof to steer clear of his own classes. In effect, he had been suspended.

FIRE on Wednesday noted that, according to Earnest’s personal lawyer, CCU is stepping toward firing him.

In its letter to the school, FIRE said it reminded the administration that Earnest’s comments were protected by the First Amendment. If the school follows through, the group added, it will need legal help.

“If it’s curtains for Earnest, that means it’s act one for a lawsuit,” FIRE attorney Adam Steinbaugh said in a statement. “And Coastal Carolina has already decided to be the villain.”

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