In a surprise development today, Robert Night was fired today from his position as Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University for violations of the school’s code of ethics. “This is simply the last straw,” said University President Myles Brand, referring to recent incidents in which Prof. Night allegedly grabbed and verbally abused a student and used loud and demeaning language in a dispute with an upper-level female administrator. “Such uncivil, defiant behavior in our faculty is unacceptable,” Brand continued. “One violent assault by an academic is okay. Two is maybe questionable. But now we’ve got to draw the line.”
Night’s dismissal is the culmination of a series of documented incidents spanning over 20 years in which the Professor has shown a proclivity toward kicking, slapping, screaming at and choking his students. Outside Indiana University, Prof. Night has encountered trouble for assaulting a police officer and a patron at a local restaurant. Night has remained unrepentant, maintaining that “I’ve got my own lecturing style, and if some people can’t deal with that, they don’t have to take my classes.”
Night’s colleagues have quickly come to his defense. Associate Professor of Anthropology Susan Spickles remarked yesterday, “So he choked a student or two. He’s certainly done more good than bad for this University, and you’ve got to respect him for that.” Referring to Night’s violation of a zero-tolerance agreement made last Spring after video surfaced of Night choking a student in his office, Anthropology Department Chair Olaf Potz complained that “no one told Robert what ‘zero-tolerance’ meant. Does that mean no slapping? No kicking? No spitting? No name-calling? Really, how could you expect him to comply if he doesn’t know the limits?”
Meanwhile, students flocked by the thousands to Assembly Hall to protest the loss of one of their teachers. Banners with the words “Burn, Brand, Burn!” demonstrated Indiana students’ fiery devotion to their academic idols – and indeed, Brand was burned in effigy. Meanwhile, pictures of Millicent Mills (the student who complained to administrators after being grabbed last week) were distributed with the caption “Wanted: Dead.” Mannequins with Mills’ name on them and attached signs attached reading “this is what we do to traitors” were visible yesterday on campus. Explained Mike Dolt, a leader of yesterday’s protests, “we love our academic environment here. I came here because I wanted to take classes and learn. Now there’s no reason for me to stay here – I think I’m going to transfer.” Dolt later suggested that he and other students might boycott classes until Prof. Night was rehired.
Off campus, radio shows across the state of Indiana were inundated with calls from irate callers wanting to know why such the widely beloved, albeit controversial, Prof. Night got the sack. Citizens from Gary in the North to Mount Vernon in the South proclaimed their loyalty to Night and his mission, despite his heavy-handed tactics. Waitress Betty Lou Whoo offered an explanation for the fervor. “You’ve got to understand us Hoosiers: we really go crazy for the education offered at Indiana University – it makes us proud. Me, I love to follow the different departments’ retention statistics. Now, it just won’t be the same.”
As campus police and the custodial staff cleaned up the debris from a night of raucous protest, most kept to themselves. However, Police Sgt. Billy Club was overheard remarking to one reporter, “Well, what do you expect? The kids here at Indiana are really serious about their learning. Of course they’ll get fired up when they lose a Professor, even when he’s a royal jerk. It really means something to them and their future, you know?” “Not,” he mumbled under his breath, “like some silly basketball game.”