IG says USAFA Officials Negligent in Absolute Statements

The Air Force Inspector General has determined two US Air Force Academy officials were “negligent” when they made “absolute statements” about the Academy.  The IG’s conclusions:

  • Col [Richard] Fullerton was negligent in making an absolute statement concerning the academic credentials of [USAFA] faculty members while authoring the Academy’s 2009 Institutional Self-Study Report to the [HLC] of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Brig Gen [Dana] Born was negligent in making an absolute statement to a local newspaper regarding the military faculty’s specific academic credentials as they related to teaching disciplines without first confirming the accuracy of the supporting data.

The investigation was the result of a complaint lodged by MRFF-associate R. David Mullin, an Academy instructor who apparently lost his teaching position (apparently due to “performance issues“) around the same time he went public with various criticisms of the Academy.  That has led to speculation on both sides — that Mullin has been targeted for mistreatment, and that Mullin is trying to exact revenge on his former employer in any way he can.

While much has been made of the “negligent” determination, it is noteworthy that none of the other allegations were substantiated, including a laundry list of Constitutional and religious discrimination allegations.  In the original complaints made by R. David Mullin to the Higher Learning Commission, these included

alleged accreditation violations, religious discrimination and cronyism in hiring civilian faculty.

“I am very concerned that [USAFA] may have committed persistent, gross violations of allowing inadequate academic credentials of many military instructors,” [said] R. David Mullin…

“Also there have been violations of First Amendment rights and academic freedom by Brigadier General Dana Born, Dean of Faculty, and Richard Fullerton, Vice Dean of Faculty. These two officers have also stifled diversification of the faculty.”…

Mullin also alleges that more than half of cadets who took Calculus 1 and 2 in their first semester from 1996 through 2006 were taught by professors with unrelated master’s degrees.

This tactic of compiling a long list of unrelated accusations into a complaint is known as “throwing mud against the wall and seeing what sticks,” a time-honored if not unique Weinstein tradition.  Not only were none of the other allegations substantiated, the IG practically defended the Academy, specifically saying there was no evidence the USAFA faculty was not “qualified” to teach at USAFA.

It is also noteworthy that the conclusions are benign.  The IG apparently found no malice in the statements by Col Fullerton or BrigGen Born and “faulted” them not for their statements, but their decision to make “absolute” statements — without confirming the supporting data, in the case of BrigGen Born.  The conclusions seem academic, with no pun intended.

That’s hardly the slam-dunk Michael Weinstein was probably after, though, as noted before, IG complaints are win-win for Weinstein, and he’ll get what hay he can out of it.  Notably, the local reports do carefully avoid reference to Weinstein, though the initial complaint and its subsequent handling bear Weinstein’s hallmarks.  Of course, it is also likely not a coincidence that Mullins’ lawyer also simultaneously represents the MRFF.  BrigGen Born has been one of Weinstein’s most high profile and consistent targets, and these IG conclusions, benign as they are, likely contribute to his personal vendetta.

For his part, Mullin released a statement through the MRFF’s veritable PR representative, the Colorado Springs Independent‘s Pam Zubeck, calling the report “white wash,” but seemed to admit despite his complaints USAFA “might meet a bare minimum standard based on accreditation.”

Weinstein et al. have long since demonstrated that when they cannot defend their position on its merits, they will attack on every other issue, hoping to catch their target in a “gotcha” moment.  The ludicrous nature of this IG complaint — which ultimately found only that USAFA leaders did not qualify “absolute” statements – demonstrates the tireless lengths to which Weinstein and his advocates will go to “utterly destroy” those with whom they disagree.

Because that’s what a tax-exempt, 501(c)3 “charitable” religious freedom group does, apparently.