Psycho Psych Professor Loses Job for Blog Comments

This one could go to The Pit or to GD with a bit of tweaking but I’ll just put it here.

A University of Arizona adjunct psych professor named Deborah Frisch left numerous and perverse comments on the website of conservative blogger Jeff Goldstein (Protein Wisdom- currently down), many concerning his two year old child. She now reports that she lost her job due to complaints written to her boss claiming she made threats to kill and molest his child.

The odd affair is documented here and here and I learned of it at my friend’s blog here. I will say in fairness to the prof that in the comments I read she NEVER actually threatened to kill or molest said child, just that she wouldn’t care if somebody else did (I’d still have fired her, though it’s not certain how voluntary or coerced her resignation was and she’s inconsistent, claiming she lost her job in one paragraph and that she resigned voluntarily in the next).

Interesting moment in the history of snarking and trolling. Thoughts? Comments? Tithes? Offerings? (I can see this moving to G.D. or The Pit or just dying on the vine, but whichever it’s rather interesting.)

I just skimmed over some of the site in question, here:

It looked to me like a bunch of pseudo intellectuals trying to flame each other. The
Frisch woman was stupid enough to ID herself, which seems to have inspired some
of the more rabid right wingers to email the university and call their attention to her
bad taste. Tempest in a teapot, if you want my opinion.

I have a hard time going from “I resigned” to “I lost my job” being a statement of being fired. True enough, she may have been coerced to resign or be fired. To be honest, she deserved to be fired for her comments. I’m pretty “left leaning” myself, but she was definitely over the top here. To say that she wouldn’t care if somebody kidnapped or molested a two year old child is really over the top. I know that this whole “right” vs. “left” sentiment in our country right now causes some pretty heated and really dumbass comments to be tossed back and forth, but, lady, get a grip! Wishing harm on a two year old? I do give her some props for apologizing for it, but still, she needs to face the consequences of her actions. So, if she was given the opportunity to resign as opposed to be fired, then the University of Arizona was giving her a chance to save some face. Sounds to me like she admitted saying these things to TPTB at the UofA. Personally, I would have fired her ass. I think she was let off kind of light. That’s my .02.


The so-called culture wars are certainly waged fiercely in Tucson, seat of pretty much the only reliably blue county in notoriously Goldwater-Republican Arizona. The U of A takes in a lot of Phoenix kids who went to high schools named after Goldwater, and kids from the rest of Arizona who certainly bleed red (quite notably those from Mormon Arizona, a corner of the world I didn’t know existed until I went to the UA).

But I’ve never heard of anything like this. I too am one of the more left-leaning and atheistic people you’ll meet, and this is pretty shocking.


:eek: :eek:

That said, these blogs are laughable, including one who thought they were displaying biting wit by inserting the word “kook” as close to the prof’s name as possible and as many times as possible in one post:


As psychologists, we are held to ethical and legal standards that may constrain our acceptable behaviors even when we are not on the job. If a psychologist (or a university employee, for that matter) is pseudonymous and manages to maintain that, s/he can, of course, behave in any way s/he wishes, I suppose. If s/he isn’t pseudonymous or anonymous, s/he can, among other things, be construed to be representing the field of psychology in a way that decreases public confidence in the field, which is an ethical problem; again, the same could be said of how s/he represents the university, if that’s in the U’s standards.

As a psychologist, I might wish that I could wrestle in jello or sing gangsta rap at my local drinking establishment, but I have chosen to avoid certain activities that could raise questions about my adherence to professional ethics. On the positive side, it provides that little reminder not to flame anyone or call them names on message boards, even under a pseudonym.

But if you were to sing gangsta rap WHILE wrestling in jello, that’d be OK, right?

Only if you sold the jello to mental hospital residents afterwards.

Only if I were wearing a mask.

Woah, that woman is bona fide wacko. The things she said were miles over the line.

I’ve been encouraged and outright asked to blog many times but this is exactly why I don’t. Anytime you post on anything remotely controversial the Fraternal Order of Batshit Crazy Trolls from both ends of the spectrum come out of the woodwork and it’s absolutely impossible to win an argument with them (the Black Knight syndrome) and I just don’t have the time or patience to end it with anything other than a general deathwish. The alternative is to not allow comments but then you’re accused of being thin-skinned or a control freak.

Deb Frisch clearly occupies the Cindy Sheehan Chair of Applied Lunacy at U of Oregon and whether fired or not certainly deserved to be (it’s not censorship or depriving an employee of free speech when they wish molestation on an ideological opponent’s child- the woman is clearly insane and possibly dangerous and makes no secret of her connection to U of AZ [where I’ll bet this story is really interesting news at the moment). However I’m equally pissed at the people posting to Goldstein’s blog yammering on about the hypocrisy of the Left and Liberals and yadda blah as evidenced by Frisch. That’s a disgusting generalization akin to lumping all right-of-centers with Ann Coulter and Fred Phelps.

Goldstein’s site is back up and has a story so far entry for those interested.

UofA, btw, spaces and Zs optional, and apparently it’s not big news at all.

Which is why some of the greatest luchadors have been psychologists.

Not if you’re trying to distinguish it from the U.s of Alabama, Alaska and Arkansas. :wink:

As for the paper- remember that it’s summer and most of the student paper staff isn’t there.

Not much to say, other than that adjunct professor essentially means “hired to teach a class.” It is a whole order of magnitude less than assistant, associate or full professor. So losing her job in this case is not nearly as big a deal as an actual professor losing a job. Since this is summer, it could be as simple as them not renewing her contract for the fall.

Note: nothing against adjunct professors, I’ve learned much from many of them. But they have generally had other, full-time jobs and specialized in teaching one class. For the good ones, this meant that a) they had real-world examples to use in class and b) they had passion for the material they taught and c) they often had years of experience teaching the same thing.

Not an employee of UO, though clearly she was around in the past. I see nothing on a cursory search of UO’s site to suggest she’s been there during the last several years.

It may also mean “teaching full-time over many years but not in a tenure line,” depending on the school or system’s nomenclature.

Remember kids, nobody ever won a flame war by giving out their personal information.

Why bother? They all pale in comparison and really aren’t worth talking about. :wink:

Maybe not, but when I did that search there was a very recently-published paper about Hollywood trends.

Oh yea! I fuckin dare you to say that to my face! Think you’re so big, hiding out in Tokyo. Why don’t you come over here to Baltimore and say that dicknose! That’s right, I’ll meet you anytime, day or night, just knock me up at 123 Main Street. If I’m not there, just call me on my cellphone at (410)867-5309 and ask for Dave Dingletron, I’ll come running in a hurry to settle your hash, oh yes indeed!