Barrow Neurological Institute Puts Peter Steinmetz, AR-15-Toting Doctor, On Leave
Steinmetz filed his lawsuit against ABOR and Arizona in April of 2008, asking the court to review a decision by ASU to uphold his firing, and alleging a breach of contract.
It's somewhat unclear from Steinmetz's complaint why ASU offered a "terminal contract" in 2008, after he'd taught at the university for more than two years. But the complaint notes that a report about Steinmetz by the university criticizes him for "not acquiring more funding."
Steinmetz claims the university's "inaction caused the loss of funding."
ASU lured him from an assistant professor job in his home state of Minnesota by offering him a position as associate professor, which he started on January 1, 2005, the claim states.
As long as he had a "self-sustaining research program," ASU authorities told him, he only had to publish two articles each year and teach one class each semester.
Laboratory space the school promised him wasn't available for six months, and the university didn't give him a teaching assignment right away, he claims. The fact that he didn't start teaching immediately was held against him, even though it wasn't his fault, the complaint states.
In April of 2007, Steinmetz was told he'd be terminated at the end of that year. Steinmetz was surprised by the notice, given that his performance evaluations over the previous two years had been good, the claim says.
The Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure ruled in favor of Steinmetz in January of 2008, the complaint says, because the decision to fire Steinmetz was "fatally flawed by procedural errors." The committee recommended that Steinmetz be retained, albeit in a lower position of assistant professor.
Steinmetz asked the court to award him damages. But after filing the lengthy and detailed complaint with the help of local lawyer Guy David Knoller, Steinmetz never had the complaint served to ABOR or the state of Arizona, resulting in its dismissal several months later.
As of Wednesday, one page of ASU's website still lists Steinmetz as co-chair of a "graduate external committee."
Asked to comment on Steinmetz's current status at ASU, spokesman Skip Derra tells New Times that, "Peter Steinmetz was hired at ASU 1/5/2005. He was an Associate Professor in Harrington Dept Bioengineering (Fulton College of Engineering). His employment ended (end of assignment) 6/1/2008."
Yet ASU also had a web page devoted specifically to Steinmetz -- until the bad publicity surrounding his name this week, that is.
Here is the link to the now-deleted ASU web page on Peter Steinmetz:
And here's the Google cached version of that page, which was changed this week:
Like Barrow, which also purged Steinmetz from its website this week, ASU isn't talking about the changes it made.
Steinmetz may have showed Valley residents this week that they and their firearms have more rights that they thought at the airport.
But he also showed how public display of an AR-15 can shoot down a career.
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.