Monday, May 24, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
From Page 1
According to the Faculty Hearing
Committee's report, the commit-
tee found evidence that University
officials violated Borisov's rights to
personal and academic freedom and
intellectual property. Additionally,
the report says the officials broke
established University policies sur-
rounding academic integrity, wrong-
fully damaged Borisov's reputation
and retaliated against him.
The reports' findings stem from
an incident in 2008 in which Borisov
was allegedly forced to resign in a
meeting with his department chair
and two University Police officers.
According to a pending lawsuit
Borisov filed against the University,
officials at the University retaliated
against his allegations of scientific
misconduct within his department
by claiming he was not bringing in
enough outside funding to support
his research. Prior to the allega-
tions, Borisov had reported that his
research collaborator had begun
claiming Borisov's work as his own
after receiving tenure and had ille-
gally reduced Borisov's effort on
their grant. This reduction, which
Borisov alleges in the suit was done
illegally, made it appear as though
Borisov was bringing in less money
for his research.
The chair of the Faculty Hearing
Committee confirmed that the com-
mittee accepted the report's findings
last month despite SACUA's vote not
to accept the report.
And while SACUA, the leading fac-
ulty governing body atthe University,
chose not to adopt the report, it did
draft a memo that included aspects
of the report to send to University
Provost Teresa Sullivan.
SACUA President Ed Rothman
told The Michigan Daily he would
not comment on SACUA's letter to
Sullivan because he felt it was a
"A letter was created and sent off
to the Provost's Office in lieu of the
report," Rothman said. "It takes
the elements of the things that
were agreed upon and sent those
off, and left out those elements
that we didn't agree upon. Beyond
that, I can't tell you because it was
a letter that was from SACUA to
the provost and wasn't addressed
to the general public."
Rothman also said he didn't
believe that formally accepting the
report presented by the Faculty
Hearing Committee - of which he
was a member - would be in the best
interest of current faculty members.
"We all have the same purpose and
that is to make this a better institu-
tion and to protect the faculty who
are here and that purpose was not
well served by taking that report
and sending it to a bunch of people -
that's why it wasn't accepted," Roth-
man said. "You can imagine that if
you're tryingto affect changes so that
other people are protected and treat-
ed properly, having a report released
that presents a narrow view of what
really happened can undermine your
ability to negotiate change."
Referencing ongoing litigation in
the matter, Rothman said, "It isn't
that we didn't accept what was there,
it's that there's a lot that is left out
and by its very omission undermines
what we wanted to say."
"The Provost's office and SACUA
are not in opposite camps on this
issue, we agree," Rothman added.
University spokesman Rick
Fitzgerald declined a request for
comment on behalf of the provost
about the letter from SACUA.
"The Provost has nothing more to
add on this topic," Fitzgerald wrote
in an e-mail.
When comment on the report
endorsed by the Faculty Hearing
Committee was sought, Fitzger-
ald told the Daily that because the
full body of SACUA did not vote to
approve the final draft of the report,
he didn't feel there was basis for
"There's really no report to com-
ment on," Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald also declined to com-
ment on the copy of the report that
was accepted by the University's
chapter of the AAUP.
Sullivan had previously reviewed
a draft of the Faculty Hearing Com-
mittee's report sent to her by then-
SACUA Chair Michael Thouless.
The draft included several recom-
mendations to University adminis-
trators, including that compensation
be awarded to Borisov for economic
damages, efforts be made to rehire
him, the trespass order that bans
Borisov from campus be lifted and
that the Michigan State Police be
called to further investigate the inci-
The draft also recommended that
appropriate disciplinary measures
be taken against those who allegedly
broke University policies - includ-
ing Valerie Castle, the chair of the
Department of Pediatrics and Com-
municable Diseases where Borisov
worked. Castle was reappointed to
her post as the Ravitz Foundation
Professor of Pediatrics and Com-
municable Diseases last week by the
University's Board of Regents.
After reviewingthe draft, Sullivan
sent a one-page letter back to Thou-
less in which she said that she was
against formalizing the report as it
could be harmful to SACUA and some
tenured members of the faculty.
"As I read the report, I came to
the conclusion that the report would
be damaging to the reputation of
SACUA and potentially (and unfairly)
damaging to the reputation of one or
more tenured faculty members," Sul-
livan wrote in her response letter.
In an interview with the Daily in
March, prior to the formal adoption
by the Faculty Hearing Committee
of the final report, Sullivan said the
report overlooked the other perspec-
tives underlying the issue.
"When this faculty group was
empanelled to begin the investiga-
tion, no litigation had been filed.
Shortly after the panel started its
work, a number of people from the
University were sued," Sullivan said.
"And so, as was completely foresee-
able, counsel said you can't speak
to this faculty panel. So the faculty
panel has heard one side of the story."
Sullivan continued by saying she
believed there was another side to
the story, but that she wouldn't com-
ment on the report.
"The first thing you learn as an
administrator is there's more than
one side to every story, and there
aren't even just two sides to every
story, you know, there are many sides
to every story," Sullivan continued.
"That tends to be true in personnel
situations as well, so both because it's
a personnel situation and because it's.
a litigation situation, I'm not going to
be inclined to talk about it."
However, when responding to fol-
low-up questions from the Daily, Sul-
livan called the report problematic.
"I think inevitably, the report can
talk about what they heard," Sul-
livan said. "As I said, the first thing
you learn as an administrator is that
there is more than one side to every
story so almost by definition when
one side can't speak to you, you're
hearing one side of the story. I think
that's a problem."
In an interview with the Daily
earlier this month, Charles Smith,
the past president of the University's
chapter of the AAUP and a profes-
sor in the University's Pharmacol-
ogy Department, confirmed that the
AAUP's report would be forwarded
to the regional chapter of the AAUP
- which covers all schools in the
state of Michigan and is led by Smith
as its president.
From there, if the regional chap-
ter adopts the report, it could be
forwarded to the national AAUP for
consideration, Smith said. However,
consideration from the national orga-
nization may not be easily gained
given the number of cases they
receive each year.
Smith explained that the national
AAUP typically only takes four to five
cases each year, addingthatthey typ-
ically are cases that can have "enor-
"That does not mean that the
AAUP would not take the Borisov
case because it involved one person
who's not a tenured faculty member,"
Smith said. "If they find that what-
ever happened in that case violates a
principal of the AAUP ... they could
take the Borisov case."
However, Smith explained that
the National AAUP is already aware
of the Borisov case, saying the orga-
nization has been in contact with the
"I understand that the National
AAUP Committee A staff sent a letter
to the University of Michigan," Smith
said. "They did receive a response
from General Counsel and the gen-
eral counsel said do not do anything,
because SACUA has now created a
faculty hearing committee and you
should wait until the faculty hearing
committee has completed its deliber-
ationsbefore you do anything, before
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