The dismissal of Alzheimer's disease researcher Marguerite M.B. Kay again dominated the call to the audience portion of the UA Faculty Senate meeting on Feb. 7. President Peter Likins sent an e-mail, dated Feb. 4, to the UA Faculty saying that "pending resolution of these matters, Dr. Kay is restored to her former status."
Likins fired Kay in July 1998 after a hearing conducted by the UA Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure (CAFT) validated charges of scientific misconduct. Superior Court Judge Stephen Villareal, in a later decision, overturned the UA CAFT finding, ruling that the UA had not properly followed procedures for dismissal.
Likins also pointed out in his e-mail to the Faculty that Villareal did not "criticize the substantive findings or hard work of the committees and individuals that devoted significant time and effort to the case."
The latest round the Faculty Senate's scrutiny of the firing of Kay included a letter from Carol Bernstein, president of American Association of University Professors, Arizona Conference. In her letter, Bernstein said that Kay had received three notices, one restoring her to her former position, a second that she has been placed on dismissal status, and a third that forbids her from being physically present on the UA Campus. University officials said that they cannot confirm that such notices exist, and that confidentiality laws governing personnel matters mean such matters cannot, by law, be discussed.
Likins, in response to questions about the Kay's banishment from campus, said that he could not comment because the matter is under litigation and involves personnel matters.
An Arizona Board of Regents Policy states that "a faculty member can be placed on leave with pay only if it is determined by the president that the faculty member's continued presence on the university campus is likely to constitute a substantial interference with the orderly functioning of the university or a department or unit thereof."
Three faculty members, two of them senators, spoke in support of Kay. Bill Bickel, a professor of physics, spoke from a prepared statement that he said is about the "consistent denial of due process to Regents Professor Marguerite Kay." Bickel summarized the case's progression in the University administration and asked: "What has happened to the negotiations for professor Kay to receive her Court-ordered due-process hearing?" Bickel said in December that he does not know Kay, but is concerned about the process by which she was dismissed.
Senator Roy Spece called the process "an egregious abrogation of faculty rights," and Senator Andy Silverman called on the Senate to "follow the best procedure we can" in resolving the matter.
Chair of the Faculty Jerry Hogle reiterated Likins words to the faculty, congratulating them for their efforts in resolving the matter.
In other business, the Senate:
- Discussed and then delayed action on the Proposed Amendments to the Bylaws of the General Faculty that would change the nomination and election process for the Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. A motion to hear the matter again in March after the Senate has a chance to review and study the entire document passed on a voice vote;
- Heard a report from Randy Richardson and Betty Atwater on the UA North Central Association Self Study. They report that the document has been published in an abridged version in Lo Que Pasa and is online in its entirety on line at http://www.library.arizona.edu/nca/
- Heard a first reading of the Policy on Ethics in Research and Procedures for investigations of Misconduct in Research by Ralph Fregosi, chair of the Research Procedures Committee.