Feezel: Jameson’s removal justified

The administration said it’s within its rights to remove John Jameson from his position as chair of the history department.

Jerry Feezel, dean of the College of the Arts and Sciences, said Jameson was removed because he did not notify Feezel of the absence of Julio Pino, associate professor of history.

Feezel said the removal had nothing to do with the controversy that has surrounded Pino in the past year. In March, Pino was accused of contributing to a “jihadist” blog.

“It would have been the case no matter who it was,” Feezel said.

Pino asked Jameson in early September to grant him a six-week leave to travel to the United Arab Emirates. Jameson granted Pino his official leave Oct. 18.

Pino said the trip was a competitive program for 15 Americans sponsored by the UAE government to learn Arabic language and culture.

On Oct. 25, Pino left for the UAE. On Oct. 29, Jameson held a meeting with the Faculty Advisory Committee, which advises the chair on his decisions, and notified the provost’s office Oct. 30.

Feezel said Jameson should have consulted the committee as soon as Pino informed him of the trip in September. Jameson should have then sent a memo to Feezel, including the attachments from the committee meeting, explaining what the project was. Lastly, Feezel would have to send his decision on the trip to the provost’s office.

“One of the procedures and policies which he needed to do, and I had no evidence that had been done, was to take the proposal for the leave to the Faculty Advisory Committee and get their advice,” Feezel said.

Jameson, however, said he didn’t break university policy.

“If you want to really look at university policy, what right does the university have to fire a chair without even the courtesy of saying, ‘Come by the office,'” he said. “What’s the urgency of immediate action?”

Jameson received an e-mail Nov. 7 from Feezel titled “immediate action” saying that Jameson was going to be relieved from his position as chair.

Feezel, who was at a dean’s conference in Chicago, said he tried contacting Jameson multiple times by phone before sending the e-mail, but he did not leave any messages.

“I was respecting his confidentiality,” Feezel said. “(My position) initially was no comment. It was a matter of a personnel thing, and out of respect to Dr. Jameson I didn’t want to make it any more public then was necessary.”

Provost Robert Frank said Pino’s leave probably would not have been granted if Jameson had gone through the proper channels of communication through the dean’s and provost’s offices.

“We don’t normally grant leaves in mid-semester unless it’s a family emergency,” Frank said.

Associate professor of history Mary Ann Heiss said she was notified of Pino’s absence by a concerned student. She told John Stalvey, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, who then notified Feezel of the leave.

“It’s very disturbing for students to have this going on,” Heiss said about Pino’s leave.

Pino said, however, that no students or faculty members made any complaints to him about his trip.

After Jameson’s removal, the university needed to appoint a member of the faculty to fill the position.

On Nov. 8 an e-mail was sent out by Clarence Wunderlin, Heiss’ husband and history professor, to six members of the history department inviting them to his house to discuss “what we as a faculty should do next,” according to the e-mail. He also asked the members to express their support of Heiss as the interim chair.

“I invited my personal friends who reside locally in the Stow/Kent area,” Wunderlin said in an e-mail.ÿ”Unfortunately, that leaves out some of my friends who live some distance from Kent, and I only invite my friends to my house.”

After the Faculty Advisory Committee discussed the position, Heiss met with Feezel on Nov. 15 to assume the interim chair position for the remainder of the fiscal year.

“It makes perfect sense because she was serving at the time as the department’s College Advisory Committee representative,” Wunderlin said in an e-mail. “In that capacity, she was the highest ranking popularly elected member of the faculty within the college’s governance structure.”

Feezel said the department will move on and move ahead.

“Dr. Jameson and I have had differences, but we’ve also had places where we’ve agreed and where we’ve worked together,” Feezel said. “I’m sorry that this really came about.”

Contact College of the Arts and Sciences reporter Angelo Gargaro at [email protected] and academics reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].