Faculty Council continues debate over new Title IX rules

“I think we should avoid going too far down the road without figuring out what we think,” Associate Professor of Law Ben Trachtenberg said. “This isn’t the faculty council on Title IX affairs.”

Faculty Council focused on Title IX procedures and problems in the School of Medicine in its meeting on Thursday.

Title IX

The council discussed the new Title IX procedures approved by the UM System Board of Curators on Feb. 5.

A part of the new procedures prevents the complainant and the accused from seeking an adviser who may ask and answer questions on their behalf. Law professor Frank Bowman authored a letter formally asking the board to amend the new rule. The letter was signed by over 195 faculty members.

Faculty Council Chairman Craig Roberts suggested bringing in a third party to review the procedures in 12 or 18 months. Associate Professor of Law Ben Trachtenberg expressed concern over the plan to wait so long before reviewing procedures.

“That’s an argument made by people trying to delay change, but the change has already come,” he said.

Trachtenberg said the council should come to a consensus and decide collectively what its stance is toward the new procedures so attention can be given to other university matters.

“I think we should avoid going too far down the road without figuring out what we think,” he said. “This isn’t the faculty council on Title IX affairs.”

Nicole Monnier, chairwoman of the Academic Affairs Committee, said she would like to see the conversation go beyond the council and include more faculty members.

“I don’t want to vote on anything in council until there’s been the opportunity for larger campus input,” she said.

The council ultimately tabled the issue to be discussed again at the next meeting.

School of Medicine

Professor of Management Art Jago presented the findings of an investigation of problems within the School of Medicine’s work environment, research productivity and faculty governance.

Jago said while faculty in the school are generally satisfied, the investigative committee did discover a number of problems. He said the school ranks 91st out of 138 medical schools in National Institutes of Health funding and is generally below average in its funding and research emphasis.

Faculty at the medical school were less satisfied than MU faculty as a whole in a variety of categories, including tenure expectations and time, expectations and support for research, according to the university-wide Collaborative on Academic Career in Higher Education survey conducted in 2012.

Jago said there are incentive differences between research faculty with doctoral degrees and clinical faculty with medical degrees. Research faculty members receive “research incentive funds” for grants and clinical faculty members receive compensation based on “relative value units,” or time spent seeing patients.

“This represents a divide between the Ph.D and M.D. faculty,” he said. “It’s a rather deep divide. Each feels that they’re being inequitably treated by the two sources of income that exist for faculty.”

Jago said faculty members interviewed as part of the investigation were concerned about medical school governance and the school’s mentoring program. He also discussed the impact the medical school’s new dean, Patrice Delafontaine, could have on faculty morale.

“Everyone expects the new dean to produce dramatic changes,” Jago said. “Overcoming institutional inertia is a very important impediment to change, but everyone expects institutional changes. Some are terrified by it, and some are welcoming it because they think it’s long overdue.”

Race Relations

Berkley Hudson, associate professor of journalism and chairman of the council’s recently created committee on race relations said he and Roberts will meet with faculty, staff and students to determine who will be on the committee.

Hudson said they are considering the creation of a core group of committee members and another group of experts in various areas to provide advice, and they hope to have a list of names ready by spring break.

“It’s more complex than we thought when we first started, so we’re trying to be thoughtful about how it’s structured,” Roberts said.

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