by Gordon J. Fulks, PhD
Dr. Art Robinson posted a new article last week that is much more focused and helpful in sorting out the mess at Oregon State University:
Art concentrates on the three principle figures: his son and PhD candidate Joshua, the Department of Nuclear Engineering head Kathryn Higley, and her husband Instructor Steven Reese.
From the biographical information that has been sent around, it seems that Kathryn Higley is one of the many multidisciplinary people who have emerged today with a broad but shallow background in science. The hints that her primary focus are politics and social science rather than hard science come from the use of such terms as “radioecology” and “societal aspects of nuclear technology” in her official biography.
The fact that Kathryn Higley graduated from Reed College also suggests that she is heavily politicized.* I am not surprised that she is apparently treating Joshua badly and probably directing her husband to do likewise. But she should not be able to end his career alone, even though she is head of the department. The only way she could succeed is with the support of other faculty members. The fact that Professor Higginbotham is supporting Joshua says that Joshua has strong support. We need to know how other faculty members are lining up on Joshua and why. Are they heavily politicized like Steven Reese and his wife Kathryn Higley appear to be or are they inclined to give a good student a fair chance to complete department requirements?
Officially, OSU seems to be supporting some very bad behavior on the part of a husband and wife team with an apparent vendetta against at least one student and possibly two more from the same family. That is hardly appropriate for a state school that should be completely dedicated to its students.
Now that Joshua has officially waived all of his rights to privacy, OSU should be completely transparent in clearing up this mess. If there are legitimate reasons why Joshua is failing, please tell us. If Kathryn Higley and her husband Steven Reese are inappropriately using their positions of authority to ruin a student’s career, please tell us. Then please take administrative actions that we can all support against the offending parties. If administrators above Professor Higley are also involved or conflicted on this matter, OSU needs to ask a completely independent body to investigate.
* not all Reed graduates are heavily politicized on the far Left. My brother was not radicalized by his undergraduate days at Reed and has many stories to tell about the politics and drugs that were rampant when he was there. The radicals did not try to prevent him from graduating, even though he was not of their faith
NOTE: There is more than one married couple in the OSU Nuclear Engineering Dept
Kathy Higley’s husband is Nuclear Engineering (NE) Instructor Steven Reese. Similarly, NE Professor Todd Palmer is married to NE Asst. Professor Camille Lodwick.
One observer noted “It’s a little Peyton Place there in the OSU Nuclear Engineering Dept.”
Related letter to the editor:
“I worked over 25 years at OSU, so I saw first-hand how blind it was to discrimination against conservative thought.”