Maine university bans professor who planned Susan Collins protest course

Maine university bans professor who planned Susan Collins protest course

University of Southern Maine bars prof who sought to teach unauthorized course protesting Susan Collins

A course offering credits to students who protested Sen. Susan Collins, R- Maine, (left) was organized by Dr. Susan Feiner (right), a former professor at the University of Southern Maine. (AP/ Youtube – The University of Maines Women and Gender Studies Program)

A retired professor from the University of Southern Maine has been “barred” from teaching at any of the school’s campuses after offering an unauthorized “pop-up” class for students to protest against the confirmation of then-Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“We are embarrassed by and apologize for the rogue behavior of a former colleague,” USM President Glenn Cummings said in a statement early Wednesday, the Portland Press Herald reported. “In response to her inappropriate actions Dr. Susan Feiner has been notified that she is now barred from teaching at the University of Southern Maine, a prohibition that will be upheld by the other campuses of the University of Maine System as well.”

Susan Feiner, professor who offered credit for anti-Kavanaugh protest, banned from university

President Glenn Cummings announced the university’s decision regarding Dr. Susan Feiner Wednesday after learning that she offered students a course  that would bus them to Washington to demonstrate against Sen. Susan Collins, R- Maine, who supported the confirmation of Kavanaugh, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Susan Feiner, who retired in September but continued to teach some classes, offered students one credit for taking a pop-up course called “Engaged Citizenship,” which would bus students to Washington to participate in a protest urging Republican Sen. Susan Collins to oppose confirming then-Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“We are embarrassed by and apologize for the rogue behavior of a former colleague,” Cummings said in a statement obtained by the newspaper.

The University of Southern Maine apologized Wednesday for the “rogue behavior” of a retired professor who offered credit for participating in a protest against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, announcing that she has since been barred from teaching at the university.

“In response to her inappropriate actions, Dr. Susan Feiner has been notified that she is now barred from teaching at the University of Southern Maine, a prohibition that will be upheld by the other campuses of the University of Maine system as well.”

The university said that the one-credit course was arranged without knowledge or consent and that no school funds were used to support the trip.

Cummings said in his statement that Feiner used the “unauthorized” course as a way to advance her “personal political agenda.”

University spokesman Robert Stein said that "as far as we know," no students participated in the bus trip to D.C. "If any students went, it was without credit and on their own," he said.

Feiner said in a text message to the Press Herald that she would not challenge the school’s ruling because she is “retired.”

University president Glenn Cummings said in a statement Wednesday that Dr. Susan Feiner set up ‘‘an unauthorized class that advanced her personal political agenda,’’ the Portland Press Herald reported. Feiner has been banned from teaching at the University of Southern Maine and other University of Maine campuses.

Cummings says the ‘‘pop-up course’’ was hastily arranged without his or the provost’s knowledge.

University spokesman Robert Stein said that ‘‘as far as we know,’’ no students participated in the bus trip to Washington, D.C. ‘‘If any students went, it was without credit and on their own,’’ he said.

As for Feiner, she said she didn’t plan to challenge the university’s decision. ‘‘I’m retired. It’s USM’s loss,’’ she told the newspaper in a text message.

Maine GOP Executive Director Jason Savage praised the university’s actions. ‘‘President Glenn Cummings and the University of Maine System showed true integrity in dealing with this situation swiftly. We are very pleased to see immediate, and forceful, action taken on this matter,’’ Savage said in an email.


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