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Faculty Senate considers clarifying fuzzy policy

Faculty and staff within the Faculty Senate believe there is a need for clearer, more specific language within the University charter when it comes to addressing faculty misconduct and discipline procedures.

At yesterday’s Faculty Senate meeting, faculty and staff discussed ideas, thoughts and possible solutions to improve and build upon a current policy procedure listed in the University charter. The language currently in place is unclear according to many faculty members.

“Right now each college follows procedures on how they handle each case and if the Faculty Senate were to develop a charter it would be more structured for the university as a whole,” said Romance Languages professor Opportune Zongo.

“Termination currently is the only sanction in the charter which speaks to solutions for faculty misconduct,” said Faculty Senate chair Patrick Pauken. He also added that questions such as, “Who has the authority to impose a sanction?” should also be addressed, because currently this is unclear, Pauken thinks.

The appeals process and what exactly the punishment and timetable of an accused professor’s fate are also matters to be included in the new policy charter.

The new charter would give specific steps and procedures for all faculty across the University to follow when questions of misconduct arise thus creating a more unified plan that is not so disorganized, said Pauken.

Many Faculty Senate members feel if there was a unified system of guidelines instructing how to deal with instances of misconduct, it would be more beneficial for all parties involved.

“The senate should keep in mind both the rights of the accused and the victim’s rights when questions of misconduct arise,” said Popular Culture Professor Becca Cragin.

Benjamin Muego, Faculty Personnel and Conciliation Committee chair added the senate should remember when developing the new charter, language should be specific yet flexible enough to keep Dr. Cragin’s point in mind.

Additionally, Faculty Senate members addressed the importance that each case of faculty misconduct be judged on a case by case basis.

Faculty Senate will work closely with the Faculty Personnel Conciliation Committee to further develop the new misconduct and discipline policy charter. The FPCC is a committee which looks into grievances, denial of tenure, suspension and other issues affecting professors.

The Faculty Senate hopes to revise and begin implementing the charter this semester as this is a matter the senate has dealing with for some time now, partly because of the large turnover of faculty.

Faculty Senate meets the first Tuesday of every month in the senate gallery of McFall Center at 2:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

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