November 9, 2007

Assistant provost, or ad hoc class observer

When I wrote a few weeks ago about the dangers of ad hoc investigations of student complaints, I didn't know that I would have a specific case from Brandeis to illustrate my concerns. Accordingto the IHE article, an assistant provost is sitting in on Donald Hindley's political science class (or maybe classes) after students complained that he had used the term wetback in a pejorative sense (rather than in the sense of describing historical racism, which is his claim). Hindley made the investigations and observations public, the faculty senate expressed its concern about procedures, and the department chair was clearly on the defensive when called by the reporter.

The lesson I take from this: folks, you have to talk about what to do before allegations surface, or you will be forced to invent investigation procedures that are inherently flawed because they are ad hoc.

Listen to this article
Posted in Academic freedom on November 9, 2007 7:35 AM |