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Senate Chair: Aprikyan was wronged.

Originally posted 17 Jan.  Updated Jan 24 because of a comment that may interest others.  Please read comments.

Ed Note:  This is copied from the UW Senate Blog.  Unfortunately, and  I suspect  illegally, that blog is protected from public view.  UW staff, however can access the blog directly at this link.

From my point of view, the decision of the Senate Executive Council is an important step.  I assume the document approved by the Senate Executive Committee will end up playing a major role in the upcoming court case in Superior Court.

I still ask, however,

“What next?”

The report clearly says that the administration violated Andrew Aprikyan’s rights to due process.  If such a finding has no affect on how we are governed, doesn’t that raise disturbing questions about the value of anything in the Faculty Code?

The future course of this affair also worries me a great deal.  It is now in a “court of record.”  In other words, the rulings of the Superior Court may have the force of law.  Does this mean that future issues like this, issues that SHOULD be managed by a faculty process, will now all become matters for attorneys and attorney fees?

Who does that help?

Report on adjudication regarding cases of academic misconduct

At the 10 January 2011 meeting of the Senate Executive Committee (SEC), Miceal Vaughan presented a report of the Advisory Committee on Faculty Code and Regulations (a.k.a. the “Code Cops”), requested by the SEC in November. The report, as circulated to the SEC, is available as Exhibit G in the SEC agenda materials. It may be revised slightly by the Committee, and will soon be posted separately.

It’s a thorough and thoughtful report. Its findings include:

  • “These stages of the proceedings are quite explicit and unambiguous in integrating the two parts of the Handbook: proceedings up to Code Section 25-72.D.2. are preliminary to those in Executive Order 61 [in the Handbook as Volume 4, Part 9, Ch. 1]; AND the inquiry and investigation under EO 61 are preliminary to those in Code Section 25-71.E.”
  • “The foregoing account of the relations between Section 25-71 and EO 61 makes clear that a dean’s decision [regarding academic misconduct] is only preliminary to action taken by the Provost by means of the Adjudication procedures spelled out in Chapter 28 [of the Code].”
  • Faculty Code Section 28-61.D. requires the President to ‘include[e] specific findings as to why the decision of the Panel was arbitrary or capricious, or why the procedures followed by the panel in reaching its decision were materially and prejudicially unfair…’ when reversing or amending an adjudication decision. This clearly requires the justification to be more specific than a simple statement that in the President’s judgment the panel was, e.g., ‘arbitrary and capricious.’”
  • “Any ‘disciplinary or punitive actions’ proposed by a dean that involves ‘dismissal, reduction of salary, or suspension for more than one quarter’ (Section 25-71.D) specifically requires the matter to be sent to the Provost (Section 25-71.E) for processing under Chapter 28. Any lesser punishment or discipline imposed by a dean or other administrative official which the faculty member does not accept also becomes subject to adjudicative review under Chapter 28 upon petition by the faculty member.”
  • The report noted that a broader review is needed, and that both the Office of Scholarly Integrity (OSI) and the University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO) have been formed since Chapter 28 was last rewritten. “If nothing else results from this review of the relations between Section 25-71 and EO 61, we recommend that the SEC go on record to require a thorough reconsideration of both these sections of the Handbook, and a concerted effort to regularize their underlying policies and procedures.”

The SEC formally accepted the report.

The SEC considered whether to develop a formal “interpretation” based on the report. The SEC ended up agreeing with Miceal Vaughan that the report was asked to cover too many issues to be the basis for a single “interpretation.” The report is clear and complete enough to stand on its own, accepted by the SEC.

The SEC formally requested the Faculty Council on Faculty Affairs (FCFA) to conduct a review of the relevant portions of the Faculty Code and propose revisions based on that review.

The SEC directed the Senate Chair to invite the President (through her designees on FCFA) to participate in this review and make any amendments to EO 64 that might be needed to align these two parts of our guidelines.


2 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Levon #
    1

    How UW administration is planning to address the situation that resulted in violating “Andrew Aprikyan’s rights to due process” as was called out by the UW Senate?

  2. theaveeditor #
    2

    Levon,

    I wish I knew!

    My impression is that this mess is a result of a bureaucratic mistakes and then good people not being able to find a way to undo what they have done without harming themselves or the school.

    I also suspect that the problem is LAWYERS. The ethics of lawyers and the ethics of academics mix very badly. Academics are taught that the truth is more important than personal gain. Attorneys are taught to consider truth as less importance than what is determined in the courtroom. In practice, attorneys make judgments in dollars.

    Since Andrew is suing Emmert and Wise, the UW attorneys likley see their job as defending these individuals as clients. Since Emmert and Wise speal for the University, these clients also have an inherent conflict of interest. Put another way, your question about what the Administration will do can not be disentangled from what these individuals will do.

    I see a few outs, none of which is good for the UW and some of which are unlikely.

    1. The UW attorneys do NOT work for the UW. They work for Attny General McKenna. He is running for governor and might be wise to look at this case to show his good judgment.
    2. Hopefully, we will soon have a new President. He or she could use their new status to ask for a delay and then negotiate a settlement out of court with Aprikyan.
    3. The Senate could exercise its authority. The Code is not clear on what actions then Senate can take that are not subject to an over-ride by the Administration. However, the Code is also not clear on the limits of the Senate’s actions. I believe the senate could file an amicus curiae with the court, independently of President Wise. That brief could suggest (and should suggest) solutions that would, for example, have the Superior Court remanding the case to District Court with an instruction to include the Senate Chair in that Court’s deliberations.
    4. The Superior Court could find the Faculty Code has no standing. This is frightening and would leave the faculty with a need to negotiate some sort of contract in the midst f the current fiscal chaos.
    5. The Superior Court could make a decision that faults Aprkyan’s claim on some technical basis. This was essentially what the District Court did, asserting, as I understand it, that Aprikyan had to sue the UW not Emmert and Wise. My guess is that nthis is the intent of the UW lawyers. The result would be bad for Aprikyan since reflilng would be very exp4ensive, leave the misconduct of the administration with no response, and creeate major problems in the future. The sad thing is that legal ethics condone this abuse of process by the side haviong more money.


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