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Naval academy professor wins MSPB review

A naval academy professor was recently fired after students allegedly complained he acted inappropriately during class. The professor, who has taught as a civilian member of the facility for over three decades, challenged the federal agency’s personnel decision and took his appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

MSPB review leads to reinstatement

During the investigation, it became apparent that the termination was the result of complaints filed by five midshipmen. The complaints stated the professor used inappropriate behavior while teaching. Upon review, the administrative judge found the professor's course was known for its rigorous discourse. The administrative judge reviewing the case found evidence that the class was very popular amongst midshipmen, in part due to the lively, "freewheeling discussions” that would occur within the class.

Ultimately, the administrative judge disagreed with the U.S. Naval Academy’s decision. The judge ordered the agency return to the professor to his position with full pay and benefits.

Reinstatement not the end

The agency has given the professor back his job, but is not allowing him to teach and is in the process of appealing the judge’s decision. As a result, the professor will likely need to continue to defend his actions within the classroom in order to keep his position. He has stated that he feels he has a “mission” to give midshipmen a unique perspective that they would not otherwise receive at the academy. He states his course encourages midshipmen to ask questions, a perspective he recognizes is not always popular within the military.

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