Chancellor’s actions in breach of University Statutes. Did she not know, or not care?

The Chancellor informed Prof. Steven Salaita on August 1, 2014, that she would not forward his case to the Board of Trustees. The University Statutes (Article III, Section 3) spell out how to handle such cases:  “In case a recommendation from a college is not approved by the chancellor/vice president, the dean may present the recommendation to the president, and, if not approved by the president, the dean with the consent of the Board of Trustees may present the recommendation in person before the Board of Trustees in session.”

A Dean cannot exercise this statutory option if the Chancellor keeps him in the dark and instead announces her decision directly to the candidate. Which is exactly what the Chancellor did in this case. Brian Ross, the Interim Dean of LAS, learned of the Chancellor’s actions only three days later, on August 4. Who knows when the Chancellor might have seen fit to inform him – he found out only because Robert Warrior (Director of the American Indian Studies Program) wrote to the Dean to inquire what was going on. See the correspondence on pages 361-362 of the publicly available documents.

The new Dean of LAS (Barbara Wilson) could perhaps still ask the Board to reconsider the case, but no reasonable person could think that the Statutes intend for the Chancellor to inform the candidate he will not be hired before the Dean has even had a chance to learn about the decision, let alone to exercise the statutory option of taking the case directly to the President or Board.

Thus the Chancellor failed to follow the rules that are supposed to govern these rare situations, as laid out in the Statutes, the founding document of the university. Did she not know the rules? Or did she know them, but not care to follow them?

Conclusion

We cannot let academic freedom and fair employment practices be left in the protection of the Statutes, no matter how well intentioned they seem, because clearly the Statutes can  be overridden by a determined administrator.  We need a faculty union to protect our rights. Contact us today at <campusfacultyassoc@gmail.com> to join the effort!