Several former students are standing behind an IU South Bend sociology professor fired for what the university is calling “serious personal and professional misconduct.”
The university won’t say what Otis B. Grant is accused of doing, only that, “The finding of misconduct was primarily based on representations he made at the time of his hiring and subsequently during his tenure at Indiana University.”
But several of Grant’s students say he was a good teacher that thought outside the box.
“He was probably one of my favorite professors,” said Melinda Miller, who liked her first sociology class with Grant so much that she signed up for a second one.
“[He] definitely [had] a different style of teaching. And he does give you notice at the beginning of the semester – ‘This is how I teach, this is how I talk, this is what it is,’” she recalled.
But Miller was upset when she read an article in Wednesday’s South Bend Tribune saying the university fired Grant.
“A lot of us students liked him and we got no say,” she added.
Several former students commented about Grant on WSBT’s Facebook page.
“He used foul language and stuff but he made class a lot more enjoyable to be in,” said Jennifer Alter.
Jason Smith wrote: “We talked about abortions, tattoos in the workplace, how sex is used by employees to gain power, the death penalty...etc. And each time he fostered our intellectual growth by always pushing us to argue using the methods of sociology we have learned."
“The course I took with him was one of the most lively courses I have been in where all students were expected to engage in discussion,” said Kelly Todman. “I might have heard a few slips on foul language, but it never bothered me."
IUSB sanctioned Grant in 2008 after some students complained he cursed in class, cancelled classes and dismissed two students from a course without due process. He was also accused of allowing a non-employee to grade student work and access student academic records – a potential federal privacy violation.
Miller and others don't know what Grant is accused of doing that caused the university to fire him at the end of last year, but they're prepared to keep defending a man they say made a definite impression on their lives.
Grant is appealing his termination to IUSB's faculty board of review. WSBT tried contacting him but could not find a phone number or a working email for him.
IUSB Civil Rights Student Association President Jason Moreno told WSBT concerned students came to him several weeks ago with concerns about Grant being fired, but the group will only help Grant if he asks for it.