Ohio University Faculty Senate discussed at length Monday the committee decision to recommend journalism professor Yusuf Kalyango have his tenure reinstated.
“The hearing committee submitted a report to the president, which was also made available to the faculty member’s legal counsel,” Robin Muhammad, chair of Faculty Senate, said. “The matter now rests with the Board of Trustees.”
A resolution to remove the report from the consideration of the Board of Trustees was presented by Jennifer Fredette, professor of political science, and Devika Chawla, professor of communication studies. The Board will make the final decision on Kalyango’s tenure.
The resolution stated the report of the Faculty Senate special committee should be set aside by OU President Duane Nellis and not sent to the Board of Trustees for consideration, given that committee violated university policy.
“Policy 03.004 clearly states in Section H that the Title IX coordinator has primary responsibility for coordinating Ohio University's efforts related to the investigation and resolution of formal complaints,” Fredette said. “So, by reinvestigating the facts, we're concerned that the Faculty Senate specially-convened committee on the loss of tenure violated that OU policy — 03.004 — and undermined that TItle IX office.”
Following the presentation of the resolution, the senate discussed it at length with some disagreement.
“As a faculty member, I was shocked when I read about this committee's decision,” Sarah Webb, senator from the College of Health Sciences and Professions, said. “I think that this decision itself sends a message to our campus community that we don't believe survivors and that we don't trust our own systems and policies. So, I want to say that I do believe survivors. I believe you, Ms. Herman, and I believe you, Ms. Boyle.”
Jacqueline Wolf, senator from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, disagreed with the special report being disregarded, along with the idea Kalyango’s tenure should be threatened.
“I'm not sure why you would want to eliminate other evidence and another position, and I don't understand how censoring a faculty committee strengthens your position or protects students or faculty,” Wolf said. “And I really don't want to see us go toward weakening tenure. I don't understand how this faculty committee threatens anyone's rights, or doubts anyone, and to wipe out the rationale and the decision of an entire Faculty Senate committee strikes me as a very very dangerous precedent.”
After the extensive discussion and slight rewording, Faculty Senate passed the resolution, asking the Trustees to disregard the special committee’s report regarding Kalyango and his tenure.
In addition to the resolution, the senate spoke with Janelle Coleman, chair of the Board of Trustees, and Cary Cooper, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, regarding shared governance.
Several senate members voiced concerns regarding lack of shared governance and communication between themselves, the Board and OU administration.
Coleman and Cooper assured senate members the Board is in constant communication with administrators and is listening to and taking into account the concerns of faculty members.
“We have received your feedback, your comments and your input,” Coleman said. “The Board is working to create an environment where all voices can be heard, but at the same time, as a board, we are charged with upholding President Nellis, his leaders and the rest of the Ohio University community accountable for the success of the university.”