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Faculty Senate to revisit whistle-blower policy

By Tate Williams
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 22, 1999
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Kristy Mangos
Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA Faculty Chairman Jerry Hogle speaks about the university's post-tenure review process at a Faculty Senate Meeting. The Faculty Senate is scheduled to vote on a revised whistle-blower policy today.

The UA Faculty Senate is scheduled to vote today on a revised whistle-blower policy that would strengthen protection for people who report abuses within UA departments.

Jeffrey Warburton, the University of Arizona Faculty Senate's presiding officer, called the special vote after the Senate failed to reach a consensus March 1.

Warburton said he will do "whatever it takes" to move the revised policy through the Senate without further delay.

Many faculty members have opposed the university's current whistle-blower guidelines because they say it lacks enough protection for employees who report violations by their superiors.

A number of proposed amendments, some formulated by UA law professor Roy Spece, modify wording of the policy and allow for appeals and possible jury trial.

UA Faculty Chair Jerrold Hogle said, "chances are pretty good" that the Senate will approve the new policy.

UA officials put together the revised plan after two bills in the House of Representatives and the Arizona Senate threatened to apply Arizona state law for whistle-blowers to the university.

State public schools are exempt from the current law because they are overseen by the Arizona Board of Regents.

The most recent bill, SB 1396, passed through the Arizona Senate Wednesday. But instead of finalizing the legislation, state officials will create a committee that will further revise the plan, said Carol Bernstein, head of the UA's American Association of University Professors.

Bernstein said she initiated the legislation because she believed a university policy would be ineffective in comparison to the state law that protects other Arizona employees.

While the Faculty Senate will try to finalize its plans today, Bernstein said the issue will persist in the state government regardless of the outcome.

"They think they'll finalize it - maybe they will," she said.

In other Faculty Senate business:

After running unopposed in an election last week, Hogle, an English professor, was granted a second two-year term as faculty chair.

Hogle said he hopes the lack of opposition implies faculty approval of his first term, but added, "I hope I'm not being naive."

Larry Schooley, an electrical and computer engineering professor, also ran unopposed for vice chair of the faculty, which will make him the new presiding officer of the Faculty Senate.

Schooley will replace the current head, Warburton, who will leave his position in May for a sabbatical.

Tate Williams can be reached at Tate.Williams@wildcat.arizona.edu.