Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Ward Churchill people should take note 

Ever-reliable Jim Paine continues to cover the proceedings of the Ward Churchill Investigating Committee. The committee contains faculty with the same ideological biases that Churchill has, Jim says. He may want to notice how a committee that conducts impartial investigations can work. At the University of North Dakota, a music professor and choral director who claimed the university wanted to fire him because he is gay tendered his resignation yesterday after a faculty committee investigating university charges recommended his termination. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscriber link) provides some pertinent details:
A report the panel issued this month said Mr. Reeves [the faculty member investigated --kb] had focused his recruiting for the music program on top choral students and, in the process, had alienated other students who were not as talented. The report said he had also improperly charged personal purchases on a university credit card, although it noted that he had reimbursed the institution.

Finally, the report said that on a trip to Europe with choral students last summer, Mr. Reeves failed to adequately help a student who had lost her passport or to prepare choral students to sing a cappella.

The report did not mention an earlier allegation that Mr. Reeves had gotten drunk during that trip but said that "all too often," he came "perilously close" to engaging in conduct that impaired the fulfillment of his responsibilities. The panel cited Mr. Reeves's "inability to recognize what is considered acceptable and unacceptable personal behavior for a faculty member of the UND community."

In his resignation letter, Mr. Reeves said that "although I continue to enjoy great support from the majority of my colleagues, from many people in the community, and from an overwhelming majority of my students, the conclusions of my colleagues ... have led me to believe that it would be institutionally divisive ... to attempt to continue at UND."
That's how you do it, people. A professional hearing of his peers (though the CHE article has statements from Reeves' lawyer claiming the hearings were sloppy and did not provide due process, which is for a court to decide) led to a conclusion that had integrity in the eyes of the faculty member accused, and that faculty member did the honorable thing as a result.