campus security: [March 2010]

Rights of the Accused Debated in Sexual Harassment Protocol
From "Rights of the Accused" by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, February 12, 2010

Faculty members at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale are working to ensure that new sexual harassment protocols include protections from charges that are deemed "insufficient." Last fall, the Carbondale Faculty Senate criticized a draft of the university's Sexual Harassment Complaint and Investigation Procedures, passing a resolution recommending that certain sections be changed. The professors objected to the thought that, in the event of a harassment allegation, the associate chancellor could put professors on administrative leave for up to 30 days without sharing certain details about the accusations being brought against them. The Faculty Senate also objected to the fact that while the draft procedures allow the accused to appeal any reprimand handed down by the associate chancellor following an investigation, they empower the associate chancellor to pick the members of the appeals panel.

The faculty says the administration ignored its recommendations. The faculty union is currently negotiating changes to the procedures as part of its collective bargaining agreement, said Mary Lamb, an English professor who serves as secretary of the Faculty Senate and vice president of the faculty union, but it has little leverage since the probability that the union would strike over the matter is low. Deborah Nelson, associate general counsel for the university, acknowledged that the administration had not taken all revisions suggested by the faculty senate. She said the university should be able to remove professors from campus, even prior to a formal investigation, if safety is a concern.

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