Recently, an Allen Harris case was again recognized in the New York Times in a Jan. 25, 2022 opinion piece by John McWhorter.
The case involves University of North Texas music theory professor Timothy Jackson. In July 2020, he became the victim of backlash and calls to step down for defending his viewpoint on the music theorist Heinrich Schenker.
Mr. Jackson heads the school’s Center for Schenkerian Studies, which promotes Schenker’s music theory. In late 2019, Philip Ewell, a black music professor from Hunter College, condemned Schenker and anyone who promotes his work as “racist.” Ewell gave a plenary speech to the Society for Music Theory, followed up with an article written for Music Theory Online in 2020.
Mr. Jackson then led a publication in The Journal of Schenkerian Studies defending Schenker and rebutting Philip Ewell’s speech and article. This, in turn, resulted in backlash from hundreds of students and professors. The University of North Texas then relieved Mr. Jackson of his supervision over the journal and did not rule out further disciplinary action.
On behalf of Mr, Jackson, Allen Harris sued the university for the unfair treatment he received for simply exercising his First Amendment rights. We will bring further updates as the case continues.
To read the opinion piece in full, click here.