By Keren G. Raz
DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
President Pete Likins listens as Provost George Davis speaks at yesterday's Faculty Senate meeting. Senators discussed a plan to allow faculty and staff to document disruptive students.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday December 3, 2002
Proposal aims to allow faculty to drop any student who is documented to be threatening
If a student is considered threatening or harmful, faculty and staff could document the student's behavior and faculty member could drop the student from class if a proposal discussed yesterday by faculty leaders is adopted.
If the proposal goes through, a box would be added on administrative drop forms that would note a faculty member is dropping a student from the class "with prejudice."
The proposal aims to ensure the safety of students, staff and faculty on campus ÷ a concern that has been central to faculty and staff since October's College of Nursing shootings that left three professors dead.
Faculty and staff came together after the murders at the nursing college to write the proposal, assistant humanities professor and undergraduate council chair Jennifer Jenkins said at yesterday's Faculty Senate meeting.
"The concern is that there is no centralized tracking system for incidents that might be escalating," she said.
Robert S. Flores Jr., the student responsible for the shootings, was identified as "clearly on the edge" by a UA adviser seven years before the crimes, records show.
"Faculty feels that their experience with disruptive students has not been sanctioned enough," said Donald Davis, professor of hydrology and water resources.
Under the plan, faculty and staff would not only document the incident on the drop form, they would also file a Code of Conduct Complaint Form that would assist in tracking the students who are alleged to be disruptive.
Student body president, Doug Hartz, raised concern is that there be a due process mechanism that ensures faculty members cannot get rid of students with accusations, he said.
However, Jenkins said that there will be due process safeguards.
"If the student went to the hearings court and the hearings court found there is no case, then the process would be reversed," she said.
The office of the dean of students will continue to review accusations against students, said Veda Kowalski, associate dean of students.
However, students can be dropped from their class while a review is underway, Davis said.
The proposal is only in its developing stages, and there was extensive discussion over whether or not the policy should allow students to be "immediately" expelled if they are dropped twice because they threaten or harm faculty or staff.
President Pete Likins proposed that the policy suspend rather than expel students if they are dropped from a class twice.
Douglas Jones, a UA librarian, said the use of the word "immediate" should be eliminated because there needs to be an investigative review before the student is expelled.
It seems that there will be techniques to evaluate students who feel unjustly treated, said Hartz.
"As long as safeguards are in place to ensure that the system is not abused, anything that promotes safety on campus is something that I promote and something I think most students would support," he said.
Early in the meeting, Provost George Davis gave faculty senators an overview of the size of the budget cuts that the Legislature passed in its special session one week ago.
The legislature cut 5.3 percent of UA's budget, he said.
Originally, administrators had planned on a 5 percent cut that would have added up to a $16.7 million cut.
Now administrators have to cut an additional $1.15 million cut to give back $17.8 million to the legislature.
Jose Ceja contributed to this report.