UVM Has Lawyered-Up: Over 40 Fully Redacted Emails Released

My VT public records request has produced several smoking gun emails showing the Dept of Economics, led by its Chair, bent on not letting me continue teaching. This purge effort, it should be made clear, took place after nearly 8 years of teaching 10 to 11 courses per year at all levels and covering all areas of economics at the University of Vermont, with many courses popular, oversubscribed, and highly rated by students. The emails revealed that the department could not let me continue because the “content” of my classes was not “good economics”. Translation: I exposed students to heterodox perspectives, using non-neoclassical textbooks, and rigorously taught and then critiqued what is known as neoclassical economics (the so-called standard model), which occupies the economics core curriculum everywhere. This, apparently, is not “good economics” — well, let’s just say, it isn’t going to bring in the big bucks from Wall Street and the rest of corporate America.

But the intriguing part of the public records request that led to the release of the emails mentioned above (which includes attempts at document suppression) and released at deadendeconomics.com is the pile of fully redacted emails (over 40). These emails are fully redacted by UVM’s provost office prior to their release to me, citing attorney-client privilege. My appeal led only to the removal of the redaction applied to the address fields and dates. The subject line and email body text remain fully redacted. The question is whether to challenge these redactions in court now or later. Clearly, meanwhile, UVM has definitely lawyered-up. -JS