UW Senate Reviews Emmert’s Arbitrary Decisions in the Aprikyan Case

News on Aprikyan (see previous entries here): The  Senate leadership and the Secretary of the Faculty are seeking advice from the Advisory Committee on Faculty Code and Regulations about the principles upon which the President based his overturning of the faculty Panel’s decision. The plan is for the Senate Executive Committee to examine the matter in detail at its next meeting (Monday, 10 January). As the only body empowered by the Code to interpret the Faculty Code, the SEC may decide to act by authorizing the Senate leadership to undertake less formal discussions with the University leadership, administration and Regents; or alternatively the SEC may decide to clarify this matter by formal action. (from James Gregory,  AAUP and Senator).

Summary of Aprikyan story: Dr. Aprikyan was charged with scientific misconduct.  This led to an investigation not led by his peers, as expected under the faculty code, but be a faculty group convened by an attorney in the Provost’s office.  The results, a recommendation of a finding of guilty, were sent to the Dean of the School of Medicine.  Dean Ramsey assigned this to an Associate Dean who brought two  more faculty into the process and recommended a finding of guilty.  This entire process literally took several years, raising serious issues of due process.  The administration of a scientific misconduct trial by an attorney, rather than by a faculty member, and by the Dean’s office rather than by the Department, also raises serious concerns about due process. The Provost and the President fired Dr. Aprikyan.  He appealed under the Faculty Code, and a very imre4sive faculty committee, after hearing expert witnesses, determined that Dr. Aprikyan’s rights to due process had been violated by the School of Medicine.  Nonetheless, President Emmert overrode the Faculty panel, and described their actions as arbitrary and capricious. ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS ARE IN THE Ave Library.   There is also a review of the case by a previous Dean of the SOM, on THE-Ave.  A similar issue at UW Tacoma.

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  1. Steve Schwartz #

    A fellow member of the faculty has emailed me about this post. Unfortunately, like many of the UW faculty, this professor is unwilling to talk in public.

    The Aprikyan affair illustrate one outcome of this shyness. Next month the Superior Court could over rule the entire way the UW is governed in a time when we really are in danger of massive disruptions due to the budget issues. The court may do this because neither they nor the public understand what is at risk.

    In theory, and in Code, the UW has a shared governance, with the Faculty, through the Senate having the major responsibility, under the President and the Regents, for academics .. including the code of behavior AND oversight of what and how we teach. This is pretty impressive when you realize that UW is not just a state school, we are the 16th highest ranking university in the wo0rld, outranking all foreign schools other than Oxford and Cambridge.

    Our politicians should be proud of that, an achievement that obviously reflects the stature of our faculty. Sadly, they do not really know we exist, much less our role in how the UW is governed. mI do not think the Senate, for all good intent, really has much effect on the politicians. Most regard it as a weakened version of a union and are unaware of the intent of the Code that the Senate actually governs the UW.

    Don’t believe me? When did you last hear any politician address herself or himself to the 20,000 or so folks in the faculty, grad student and community? … or to the Senate.

    The lack of authority of the Senate is not just a matter of image outside our gates.
    Wise and Emmert have privately told people that they consider the Senate at best as an advisory body. I have heard similar comments directly from the med school administrators, including from attorneys who have been appointed over the faculty.

    Unfortunately, our community lacks the sort of easy communication that could make the Senate and its councils effective. As one example, even if the SEC rules against Wise in the Aprikyan affair, the Senate can not hire attorneys and it has no way to participate in the upcoming Superior Court hearing. I rather suspect that “our” interests will be represented by the UW attorneys as if they were representing us.

    This lack of a voice for such a highly regarded faculty is why THE-Ave, including its blogs, pubic resources, the library, blogstand, and video venue, are all open to anyone who wants to use them. We will, by the way soon be adding a new feature, a “map” of blogs and forum on campus or very relevant to the campus. … this currently includes about 20 sites covering divers subjects.

    So, to my colleague, I hope you continue to read THE-Ave and, as we grow, will join us as a contributor.