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Fac. Senate suspends support of Brandeis harassment policy

Published: February 8, 2008
Section: Front Page, News

At a Jan. 31 Faculty Senate meeting, Chair Marc Brettler (NEJS) and present faculty representatives unanimously elected to suspend their support of the university’s Human Resources Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy.

This statement by the Faculty Senate comes after a Nov. 8 resolution criticizing Provost Marty Krauss’ response to complaints of alleged racism made against Prof. Donald Hindley (POL) last semester.

The Nov. 8 resolution contended that Krauss had violated procedure set forth by the Human Resources Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy and the Faculty Handbook.

According to that resolution, issues of possible discrimination by faculty are to be dealt with informally and flexibly.

Rights and Responsibilities section 7.3 also states that “Brandeis strives to resolve problems [of harassment] informally whenever possible.”

While not an official resolution, the approved statement reads, “[t]he Faculty Senate objects to the violation of the understanding that was reached between the Office of Human Resources and the Faculty Senate in spring term 2006.”

As such, the Faculty Senate “suspends its support of the existing HR document.”

In turn, “[t]he Senate proposes forming a committee to formulate revisions in the HR document, and to clarify the relationship between relevant sections of that document and the Faculty Handbook.”

The full statement is available in the Jan. 31 Faculty Senate minutes.

Though he did not mention Hindley by name, Brettler explained via e-mail, “the Senate made this decision when it became aware of a case where the HR policy was understood and implemented in a fashion that we felt violated an agreement with the Senate.”

Faculty Senate member Prof. Leonard Muellner (CLAS) echoed Brettler’s comments.

“The administration violated the HR policy and also the commitment that had been made when it was created by the former head of HR to attempt informal resolution of complaints before any formal proceedings,” Muellner wrote in an e-mail.

The current Human Resources policy concerning discrimination was created circa 2002 according to Muellner.

In another allusion to Hindley, the Faculty Senate unanimously approved another statement pointing to the Faculty Handbook’s “guarantee of full freedom of academic scholarship and intellectual freedom of expression,” while encouraging sensitivity and respect for students.

Other members of the Faculty Senate present at the meeting either could not be reached or declined to comment.

Provost Marty Krauss also declined to respond to the Faculty Senate’s actions.

Hindley did not respond to requests for comment.