Update: July 30, 2013: Graham Spanier and his cronies will be tried for cover-up.
Members of the Defend-Little-Graham fan club might want to read Notes from the Academic Underground by Barry Roberts Greer. In it, they’ll find “Spanierism at Oregon State University,” a well-documented chronicle of Spanier, who is married to an English prof, stomping all over the First Amendment rights of a writing instructor, then lying to cover it up.
Spanier, who had forced OSU to give Sandra a job in the English department, yelled on the phone for a half hour at the chair of the department because of a commentary published by Greer as a writing instructor who had a problem with nepotism. Sandra’s job did not exist before she arrived, it was never advertised, she never had to interview, and she was given tenure as an added perk. Spanier also cut the lit faculty, which Sandra was part of, work load in half, and did nothing to reduce the load of the writing instructors who worked in a program deemed the equivalent of an underfunded community college by outside consultants.
It took two years for Spanier to force Greer out of his job for doing what he taught and had been praised for by the English chair and outside readers. Greer had also taught in the honors program. After being fired for First Amendment use, he went on unemployment with a two-year-old daughter at home, lost his pension (used to pay for food and health insurance), and his spouse lost her art career. Spanier made his next career move to Nebraska and then to Penn State. The rest is history.
In 1993 Writers NW published “Malamud and Corruption at Oregon State University” after Greer left OSU on the front page of a censorship issue. You can also download a free copy at academia.edu or buy the original manuscript with full citations at amazon.com. Greer warned Penn State about Spanier, but nobody called.
Spanier, in short, could be called a career criminal who has yet to be convicted of a crime–yet. He’s still allegedly a criminal. But, to be fair and balanced, Greer’s character can also be questioned: he was an award-winning teacher, a highly praised writer, a special assistant to the Michigan senate majority leader, a firefighter with commendation, president of the University of Connecticut Graduate Students Council, honors student, cancer survivor, and so on.
“In Greer’s clear-eyed snapshots of injustice in the halls of academia, readers also glimpse gems of wisdom more commonly found in Greek tragedy. Perhaps, as in the case of Graham Spanier detailed in these pages, ‘a man’s character is his abiding fate’ after all.”– Jean Anderson, a PEN Syndicated Fiction winner, comment on Notes from the Academic Underground.