Editor's note: This letter is addressed to Sen. Josh Hawley.
Prior to your brief time as a member of the MU faculty, I chaired the Campus Faculty Advisory Committee on Promotion and Tenure. We recommended hundreds of promotion and tenure decisions, both positive and negative, and at no time was a colleague’s politics or religion ever discussed.
I, of course, knew of your political views, based on your public background, including serving as a clerk for Chief Justice John Roberts. That would have made no difference in whether I would have supported or opposed your promotion and tenure. Instead, I and my colleagues would have evaluated your publications, service and teaching to see if they met standards of scholarship.
Chief among the standards of scholarship would have been adherence to evidence and dispassionate judgment. Scholars throughout their careers have to abandon views in the face of contrary evidence. Similarly, we regard falsifying evidence as contemptible and worthy of expulsion from the academic community.
I regret to say that your actions encouraging rioting both by gesture and by repeating allegations of “fraud,” in the face of all evidence and legal decisions to the contrary, have violated standards in a way that would be incompatible with your continued membership in the academic community. Should you ever try to return to the MU faculty, you could expect overwhelming opposition to your appointment.
I realize that you left academia before any promotion and tenure decision could have come up. Nevertheless, your behavior should have consequences, even in politics. You need to resign your position and devolve to a status of well-deserved obscurity.
Francis J (Frank) Schmidt, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus at MU.