Post Classifieds

EDITORIAL: Administration needs to agree

Cooperation is needed

On September 23, 2008

It appears that the administration has ignored the faculty on a matter that pertains directly to them.This Thursday, Daryl Lapp, a lawyer, will address the Brandeis faculty on the subject of state and federal anti-discrimination laws in the academic environment. Provost Marty Krauss decided to invite Lapp to speak in response to some faculty members who felt that they didn't properly understand anti-discrimination laws.

These concerns arose last fall after Prof. Donald Hindley (POL) was accused of violating the University's non-discrimination policy with racially insensitive comments. Although Krauss claims that he invited the lawyer in response to faculty concerns, the Faculty Senate had originally asked last year to have a diverse panel of speakers on the matter. Krauss opted for the lawyer despite this idea.

Considering that the Faculty Senate and the administration are already at odds over the role each side plays in addressing and handling anti-discriminatory speech violations, Krauss' latest measure to ignore the faculty's wishes and make a unilateral decision on the lawyer is troubling.

Last year, the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities heard Hindley's appeal and deemed the administration's punitive measures excessive. The Non-Discrimination and Harassment Problem Resolution and Appeal procedure was not properly followed, it said. The Faculty Senate then revoked its approval of the policy on the same grounds. However, Krauss overruled the Senate and the CFRR, claiming the role of both groups was limited to a mere advisory analysis of the Faculty Handbook, even though the matter involved a professor whom the CFRR was supposedly representing.

The decision by Krauss to disregard the demands and opinions of the faculty on this matter is wrong on a number of counts. The members of our faculty are the ones who are most at risk, from a legal standpoint, and they should be treated accordingly. Consistently vetoing or ignoring the Senate and the CFRR will only discourage them and hinder meaningful action in the future. If Krauss wanted a lawyer to represent her viewpoint, she should have used her power to add him to the faculty-requested panel.

As it stands, the CFRR has stopped hearing faculty grievances until an agreement with the administration on faculty governance policy is reached. If any progress is to be made on this front, and if Krauss wants the faculty to respect her decisions, she will have to respect their opinions and be more cooperative. Forming the panel they asked for in the first place would be a good start.

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