Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Story Thus Far, Part I

As we understand it, in May 2005 the Board of Trustees unanimously granted Professor Jeffries tenure and authorized that he be given a tenure contract, which he received in June. At some point later in the summer Jeffries was informed that the school was revoking the tenure contract and instead he was offered a probationary tenure-track contract.

Jeffries was not allowed to appeal the decision.

Because the probationary contract would nullify his existing tenure contract, Jeffries refused to sign the new contract. After his refusal to accept the probationary contract, Jeffries was told that his services were no longer required, and he was asked to vacate his office at the University.

From what we have been able to piece together, the events leading up to the decision to revoke Jeffries's tenure began when the administration had requested that Jeffries, in his role as a tenured faculty member and as the Wendt Professor of Ethics (a.k.a., the "campus ethicist"), present evidence against a fellow faculty member who had been accused of wrongdoing. According to reports we have received, Jeffries refused on a number of grounds, first and foremost because he was, indeed, the so-called campus ethicist; he did not want to alienate himself from his colleagues for fear they would no longer trust him in that capacity. Furthermore, as far as he could tell, he was not obligated by the terms set forth in the faculty handbook to engage in any such activity.

From what we can gather, Jeffries was charged with having an uncollegial attitude.

Rumor has it that the University is claiming that a memo Jeffries sent to some administrators asking to discuss a few things in his contract constituted a counter-offer to his tenure contract, and thus the University was justified in taking the tenure contract off the table. Because Jeffries refused to sign the probationary contract on the grounds that it would nullify his existing contract, it seems that he did not intend his memo to be interpreted as a counter-offer.

NOTE: We will be updating this story as more information is made available.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current problems at the University might be characterized as a clash between two cultures, one based on the concept "Might Makes Right", and the other based on the concept "Power Corrupts...".

Where may common ground be found?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005 11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless the procedure has changed, it is the Rank and Tenure Committee which reviews a candidates papers and interviews the candidate and makes a recommendation to the administration. I can assume the Committee made a positive recommendation for the administration seldom goes against a negative one. The administration must have found that Dr. Jeffries met all of the many and strict requirements for tenure and recommended tenure, otherwise the Board of Trustees would not have acted. Just as the Board of Trustees is the only legal authority to grant a student his diploma, it is the only authority to grant tenure. Therefore, it, and not the administration, has the only authority to recind tenure. An "uncollegial attitude" reason for removal of the tenure contract must have occurred in the short time after tenure was granted by the Board of Trustees and cannot equal the many years of service and the quality of that service which led to the granting of tenure. Sounds like administrative pique at not being instantly obeyed. The contracts that need to be recinded are those of the president and other administrators involved for lack of leadership qualities and immaturity.

Thursday, November 17, 2005 1:21:00 AM  

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