Brandeis Faculty Senate Excoriates Administration, Revolts
March 26, 2008
by Adam Kissel
The recently published minutes of the March 13, 2008, meeting of the Brandeis University Faculty Senate show continuing animosity against Provost Marty Krauss over issues relating to the case of Professor Donald Hindley.
The Brandeis faculty's Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (CFRR) already had explained in detail, numerous times, the failures of the Brandeis administration in Hindley's case. One result has been that the CFRR has been refusing to hear new faculty grievances. Since the Provost has challenged the CFRR's authority, what else could it do?
Several CFRR members have met with the Faculty Senate "to discuss the breakdown in the system of faculty dispute resolution." A quotation from a February 28 CFRR memo was read into the minutes:
At issue now is whether the Brandeis faculty can have confidence in our formal grievance process. Will faculty members now avoid that process, believing that the administration simply will not abide by Handbook rules? Can the R&R Committee continue in good faith "to render judgments," when basic rules on substance and process can apparently be waived by administrative discretion? It is difficult to see how we can. And finally, can the Senate, as the focal point for faculty governance, find effective ways to strengthen the authority of the R&R Committee? If not, then it may be time for the Senate to explore alternative methods for resolving faculty disputes.
As a result, the Faculty Senate unanimously passed this resolution:
We confirm that the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities is an important instrument of faculty governance at Brandeis University, and we object as a Senate to the administration's actions and statements that have undercut its authority. We call upon the administration to reaffirm that the CFRR is an important instrument of faculty governance.
The Faculty Senate also unanimously passed another resolution asserting the CFRR's authority and similar matters.
Then, the Faculty Senate unanimously proposed a change to the Faculty Handbook asserting the CFRR's authority (not the Provost's, notably) to interpret the handbook.
The minutes show that the faculty also recently requested that Brandeis budget "a standing fund of $10,000, to be used for access to outside legal counsel when deemed necessary by the Senate Council on behalf of the faculty," but Provost Krauss denied even this meager allocation.
It seems to me that the faculty is now in open revolt against Provost Krauss. A meeting is scheduled with the president. I predict that the faculty will eventually win. After all, faculty members tend to outlast presidents and provosts.