Linfield fires prof who raised sexual harassment, antisemitism allegations

By Rob Manning (OPB)
April 28, 2021 1:58 a.m.

The professor said he tried notifying his bosses about sexual harassment on campus but was met with antisemitic comments from the university president. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner has now been fired.

Linfield University professor and Shakespeare scholar Daniel Pollack-Pelzner received an email Tuesday morning summoning him to a meeting with the school’s director of human resources, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the university provost.

“This is a meeting to discuss your employment at Linfield,” read the email from Provost and VP for Academic Affairs Susan Agre-Kippenhan.


“I doubt they’re going to offer me a promotion,” Pollack-Pelzner quipped in an email to OPB.

By the end of the day, Linfield officials were confirming that Pollack-Pelzner was out of a job.

“The university today took the extraordinary step of terminating the employment of a member of our faculty for serious breaches of the individual’s duty to the institution,” read a statement by a public relations firm on behalf of the university’s provost. “As a matter of policy and privacy, personnel matters are confidential, but maintaining that is not always possible – particularly when the precipitating events involve false public accusations that have, sadly, harmed the university.”


The now-former professor and former faculty trustee had raised the ire of university leaders several weeks ago with a series of messages Pollack-Pelzner posted on Twitter. The tweets alleged a pattern of sexual harassment involving members of the school board of trustees and antisemitic comments from President Miles Davis.

Pollack-Pelzner’s accusations were bolstered by other faculty members and led to a strongly-worded letter from the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, and a call from the Oregon Board of Rabbis for top leaders at Linfield to step down. Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences voted by a 59-11 margin to express “no confidence” in Davis and trustees chair David Baca, calling for both to resign.

Davis and other Linfield officials said allegations of sexual harassment were investigated, and the people accused of antisemitism denied Pollack-Pelzner’s account.

The Salem-Keizer chapter of the NAACP has also started an investigation into possible racial bias at the university. In response to Pollack-Pelzner’s allegations, Davis noted that two of the trustees being investigated for sexual harassment are Black men, including himself.

A message to Pollack-Pelzner from OPB was not immediately returned.

This story may be updated.


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