UB dean of Ar­chi­tec­ture and Planning avoids cen­sure

The Buffalo News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Jay Tokasz

Univer­sity at Buf­falo fac­ulty mem­bers de­clined Tues­day to cen­sure the dean of the School of Ar­chi­tec­ture and Planning over the 2016 non­re­newal of an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor’s con­tract.

Fol­low­ing lengthy de­bate, mem­bers of UB’s Fac­ulty Se­nate voted, 43-15, against a res­o­lu­tion to pub­licly cen­sure the dean, Robert G. Shi­b­ley.

The res­o­lu­tion ac­cused Shi­b­ley of ig­nor­ing school poli­cies and pro­ce­dures in de­cid­ing not to re­new the con­tract of an un­named as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor.

More than 100 fac­ulty mem­bers turned out for the vote, and more than a dozen spoke in fa­vor and against the cen­sure.

Af­ter­ward, Shi­b­ley ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment that the mea­sure had got­ten as far as it did, and he main­tained that nei­ther he nor the school had done any­thing to war­rant a cen­sure.

The ra­tio­nale for the cen­sure was based on the van­tage point of a sin­gle fac­ulty mem­ber who was on a term ap­point­ment and “does not pro­vide a com­plete view of the School of Ar­chi­tec­ture and Planning process around the re­newal or non­re­newal of fac­ulty mem­bers,” Shi­b­ley said. “The al­le­ga­tions in the cen­sure res­o­lu­tion have not been es­tab­lished as fact.”

A com­mit­tee of fac­ulty mem­bers pur­sued the cen­sure vote af­ter Shi­b­ley and other ad­min­is­tra­tors re­fused to dis­cuss the cir­cum­stances of the non­re­newal, cit­ing the con­fi­den­tial­ity of per­son­nel de­ci­sions.

While a cen­sure would have had no bind­ing au­thor­ity on the dean and would not have forced him to al­ter his de­ci­sion, it would have been an em­bar­rass­ing mo­ment for univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Within a cam­pus gover­nance struc­ture, cen­sure is considered a fac­ulty’s last re­sort in ex­press­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with univer­sity lead­er­ship.

The as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor, now 71, re­ceived a writ­ten non­re­newal no­tice on June 22, 2016, and com­plained to the United Univer­sity Pro­fes­sions, the union that rep­re­sents fac­ulty mem­bers. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the union found no grounds to file a griev­ance be­cause they said there were no rec­om­men­da­tions made to the dean in the case of the as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor, who was then re­ferred to the Fac­ulty Se­nate ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, which has ju­ris­dic­tion over aca­demic mat­ters.

The woman told an in­ves­tiga­tive body of the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee that nei­ther the dean nor the in­terim chair­woman of the ar­chi­tec­ture depart­ment had re­ceived a twoyear re­view let­ter from her men­tor­ing com­mit­tee be­fore mak­ing their non­re­newal de­ci­sion, as per the school’s typ­i­cal op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure.

That re­view let­ter was not com­pleted un­til June 23, a day af­ter the writ­ten no­tice, the in­ves­ti­gat­ing sub­com­mit­tee found, which meant that cer­tain aca­demic poli­cies of her con­di­tion of em­ploy­ment were not fol­lowed.

Mem­bers of the in­ves­ti­gat­ing sub­com­mit­tee rec­om­mended that Shi­b­ley ex­tend the woman’s con­tract un­til a new em­ploy­ment re­view was com­pleted ac­cord­ing to the poli­cies and pro­ce­dures of the school.

Shi­b­ley and other univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tors dis­re­garded the find­ings of the panel.

“I sup­port the dean and the provost on this mat­ter and I feel the poli­cies and pro­ce­dures were fol­lowed,” UB Pres­i­dent Satish K. Tri­pathi told fac­ulty mem­bers prior to their vote.

Shi­b­ley and fac­ulty in the ar­chi­tec­ture depart­ment were in­structed by univer­sity ad­min­is­tra­tors not to dis­cuss the non­re­newal case with the fac­ulty in­ves­ti­gat­ing panel.

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