GSD Faculty Amends Procedures For Hearing Hartman Appeal Case
The Graduate School of Design (GSD) Faculty approved on May 14 new ad hoe procedures to handle the appeal case of Chester W. Hartman, former director of the Urban Feld Service, whose contract was terminated last June.
The procedures-introduced by Peter P. Rogers, associate professor of City Planning-have brought strong objections from several faculty members who feel that the new guidelines undercut Hartman's right to a fair hearing.
Hartman's appeal has been pending since last spring, when he contended that the decision by Maurice D. Kilbridge, dean of the GSD, not to renew his contract was based on personal and political considerations and constituted a breach of academic due process.
A special committee; headed by Rogers, was established at the time to develop interim regulations for retention, promotion and the granting of tenure at the GSD. The GSD Faculty passed the so-called Rogers Motion last May 11.
But now, nearly a year after the adoption of the Rogers Motion and five months after Kilbridge abandoned attempts to establish a review committee under the original motion, the GSD Faculty has instituted new procedures to deal with Hartman's appeal.
Hartman, presently a member of the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley, has repeatedly criticized the delays and Thursday described the latest effort by the Rogers Committee as "totally unsatisfactory."
The objections to the ad hoe procedures stem largely from the fact that they modify and supplant Section 7 of the Rogers Motion in such a way as to preclude consideration of Hartman's claim that academic due process was neglected in the non-renewal of his contract.
Section 7-entitled "Non-renewal of Faculty with Term Appointments-provides that if a faculty member "alleges that considerations violative of academic freedom significantly contributed to a decision not to reappoint him or the decision was reached without adequate consideration, his allegation will be given preliminary consideration by a committee selected by the faculty (with at least one member of the committee acceptable to the individual involved) which will seek to settle the matter by informal methods."
The new procedures provide, in accordance with the Rogers Motion, that a five-man-review committee make up of faculty members outside the GSD Faculty will be selected by the GSD Faculty to handle Hartman's appeal.
But the procedures charge this committee only with determining. "whether there is substantial reason to believe that considerations violative of academic freedom significantly contributed to the decision not to reappoint [Hartman]." There is no mention of adequate "consideration" or academic due process.
Rogers refused Thursday to outline the reasons behind the change, saying that the Hartman case is "still very much an issue at the GSD" and that discussion of the ad hoc procedures could influence those persons who will consider Hartman's appeal.
Kilbridge himself has been unavailable for comment since Tuesday, but a memorandum written by him on December 31 and entitled "Difficulties with the So-called Rogers Motion" lays out most of the logic behind the change.
Kilbridge cites inconsistencies in interpreting Section 7 and a hazy definition of the review committee's function as the chief problem of the original motion.
As for Section 7, he says it confuses the protection of academic freedom "with almost any complaint about non-renewal that a faculty member wishes to bring up." Kilbridge contends that the phrase "the decision was reached without adequate consideration" is "meaningless, unless to say consideration to what."
He also holds that sections of the Rogers Motion "involve the president and Governing Boards in the procedures at several points in manners in which they may very well wish not to be involved."
Hartman challenged the omission of the clause covering "adequate consideration" Thursday, saying that almost 60 per cent of his brief appealing the non-renewal of his contract deals with the question of academic due process.
Hartman sent a memorandum to the GSD Faculty in anticipation of the ad hoc procedures, in which he said the exclusion of the notion of academic due process "clearly, and totally without justification, deprive [s] me an important area of appeal which the faculty specifically included in the original guideline."
The clause concerning "adequate consideration" was included in the Rogers Motion of last May after it was proposed as an amendment and adopted by the faculty.
Hartman also criticized the manner of selecting his review board in his memorandum to the GSD Faculty. "An arbitration or review mechanism which does not make itself sufficiently independent of the original decision-making body is inherently unfair," the letter said.
Hartman said Thursday, "I feel it is very unfair to have a procedure in which the faculty selects the members of a review board to hear the appeal of one of its own members whose contract has not been renewed."
"It is equally unfair to establish ad hoc procedures to handle specific cases," Hartman said. "When the whole faculty adopts certain procedures, such as the Rogers Resolution, they should apply to everyone or to no one."
One GSD faculty member last week objected to another phase of the ad hoc procedures which, he says, subverts an amendment to Section 7 of the original Rogers Motion.
In the motion adopted by the GSD Faculty, an amendment made clear that any committee selected to handle an appeal must have "at least one member... acceptable to the individual involved." The amendment was intended to insure that the individual would have one person on the review committee whom he considered objective, not necessarily to insure that he have an advocate on the committee.
In the ad hoc procedures, which serve in lieu of Section 7, the complainant and the GSD administration are each allowed one challenge to the review committee "without stated cause." "These challenges are to be made simultaneously and not serially," the procedures state.
However, there is a loophole because the complainant has only one challenge; he no longer has the right to reject nominees for the review committee until one nominee is acceptable to him.
"The right to knock one person off the list [of proposed committee members] is absurd," the faculty member said. "After one challenge, Hartman is entirely subject to the whims of the faculty which approved the termination of his contract."
The list of potential committee members is made up of assistant professors, associate professors and full professors outside the GSD Faculty who were proposed by the Rogers Committee. The list is augumented by faculty members suggested by the GSD Faculty and by Hartman.
Kilbridge's memorandum in December came after initial efforts at setting up a review committee consistent with the guidelines of the Rogers Motion failed.
Of the top 12 candidates selected by the Design Faculty for the Hartman Committee, Kilbridge says, only two agreed to serve. Several refused to participate on grounds that the Motion presented "an unclear mandate," especially in Section 7.
One GSD professor Thursday criticized the fact that, in both the original Rogers Motion and in the ad hoc procedures, the review committee reports its findings only to the dean-the same person who makes the decision not to renew a faculty member's contract.
The committee's hearings and its final report are confidential. Having received its report, the dean makes "such recommendations as he deems appropriate," including no recommendation at all.
"It is of course a foolish notion that the same man who terminated the contract will act objectively on the findings of the review board," the faculty member said.