Reason as the Leading Motive

Scholar Loses Job Due to Ayn Rand’s Philosophy

Posted by Jerry on July 6, 2007

I need to save this link, so I’m posting this here.

John Lewis, professor of History and the Classics at Ashland University was pressured to resign his post as professor due to his interest in the philosophy of Objectivism.

Mr. Lewis says his battles reflect the extraordinary and unfair degree of hostility that objectivists in academe receive from both left and right. “In the morning at Ashland [University], I was resigning because conservatives and evangelicals were opposed to me,” he says. “And then in the evening I was at George Mason [University], and there were some Muslims and this new student SDS opposed to me. I found that poignant.”

Officials at Ashland have made their discomfort with objectivism abundantly clear. In January the university, in Ohio, rejected Mr. Lewis’s application for tenure, and officials told him in writing that his support for objectivism was the sole reason for the denial.

This denial of tenure was despite the candid admission of Ashland’s then provost Robert Suggs “that Mr. Lewis’s publications, teaching, and service all met or exceeded the university’s tenure standards.”

Mr. Suggs conceded that Mr. Lewis had not proselytized objectivism in the classroom. But he argued that Mr. Lewis’s scholarly publications expressed ideas that were contrary to Ashland’s mission. He pointed in particular to Mr. Lewis’s chapter in an edited volume, Essays on Ayn Rand’s Anthem (Lexington Books, 2005). There Mr. Lewis celebrated Rand’s “break with the Judeo-Christian condemnation of ambition and pride.”

Mr. Lewis was floored by the rejection. “I was denied tenure explicitly on the basis of objectivism,” he says. 


5 Responses to “Scholar Loses Job Due to Ayn Rand’s Philosophy”

  1. Shyam said

    Somebody, someday
    Surprise me
    And say
    Somebody, somewhere
    Was exalted ‘cos
    He wanted to live
    Only, his own way! 🙂

  2. […] the staff of Ashland University isn’t very objective when it comes to fostering well-rounded philosophy students. John Lewis, a professor there, was […]

  3. For Prof. Lewis, I think it’s about time he not take this lying down and contact The Institute for Justice, or FIRE (Freedom for Individual Rights in Education)…universities and colleges will continue this kind of vile, intolerant, biased, vicious persecution if they are not held accountable for their actions…and hitting them in the proverbial pocketbook, a.k.a, shekels will surely start sending them messages…it’s not enough to just walk away and not make waves…so, when are all you academics going to finally fight back?!!!! Just my evaluation of the state of academia.

  4. Ergo said


    This case was already taken up by FIRE. Ashland University’s position is very shameful especially when they explicitly accepted the Anthem Foundation’s money expressly allocated for the study of Objectivism. Ashland accepted the money and, when a new president was instated, the University decided it wanted to dispose off Prof. Lewis without even granting him tenure. For the full story, check out this link:


  5. Unfortunately this article is not that surprising. During my college years I found myself downplaying my objectivist leanings to avoid undue crticism. What really does suprise me though is when he was talking about opposition at George Mason. From my understanding George Mason has a somewhat objectivist leaning – at least in the Economics department (see Walter Williams)

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