Provost Frank leaves meeting after heated exchange



Britni Williams

After a heated conversation, the members of the Provost’s Office left the Faculty Senate meeting Monday.

Provost Robert Frank, followed by other members of his office, left the meeting after a heated exchange with Faculty Senator Donald White over a policy that provides a procedure to hire distinguished academic ranks — faculty with special recognition.

Frank’s office rewrote the proposed University Policy and Procedures Regarding Distinguished Academic Ranks that the Professional Standards Committee submitted previously.

White said that most of the proposed policy had been changed.

“There were 38 words out of a two and a half page document that were left unchanged,” White said.

White also said the Provost’s Office was attempting to override the committee’s ability to write policy.

In response, Frank called White’s remarks “inappropriate.” After further intense exchange, Frank left with his staff.

The discussion continued, but they made no decision regarding the policy.

Senate Chair Mack Hassler conducted the conversation in the absence of Frank.

“It is unfortunate that the Provost hasn’t remained to hear this discussion,” Hassler said.

The committee completed the first version of the policy in February 2010 said Deborah Smith, Chair of the Professional Standards Committee.

“Our Professional Standards Committee has worked at some length to draft policy language on the appointments of distinguished ranks,” Hassler said. “We have had some differences with the Provost over language.”

The Provost and the Faculty Senate had another tense discussion over a separate policy last November concerning the hiring of an associate provost.

New cheating policy not voted on

Faculty Senate members did not vote on a new cheating policy as previously planned. The policy was tabled because of a concern about faculty’s rights to apply sanctions.

Vice Chair Linda Williams said the way the cheating and plagiarism policy stands now, students caught plagiarizing go through two channels: judicial affairs and academics.

The proposed change would streamline this operation, Williams said.

Under the proposed policy, Williams said, students would have to meet with an academic hearing board, which would consist of two faculty members and one student. The faculty members would ideally be from a sister discipline from the department in which the offense was committed. The student would be of the same academic standing, either an undergraduate or graduate student.

Williams said the policy also adds another academic sanction. The three academic sanctions that are currently used are the student can redo the assignment, fails the assignment or fails the class based on the professor’s judgment.

The new academic sanction would be plagiarism school, Williams said. It is supposed to help students learn what plagiarism is why it’s important to not do it. This new option is intended for students who professors feel didn’t plagiarize on purpose.

Contact Britni Williams at [email protected].