The College of Communication and the Arts faculty passed a motion to censure Interim Provost Dr. Karen Boroff after a faculty meeting on Oct. 13, a little more than a month after the College of Arts and Sciences faculty passed a motion of no confidence in Boroff.
According to Associate Professor Peter Reader, the Chair Pro Tem for the College of Communication and the Arts, the vote to censure Boroff was cast electronically to allow more faculty to vote. Thirteen voted in favor of the motion, four opposed and five abstained. Twenty-three of 32 eligible faculty members voted on the motion.
The motion stated that Boroff “altered the Faculty Guide rank and tenure process by offering Dr. Martha Easton an additional two years of employment as a probationary faculty member including a requirement to produce additional refereed publications to be reviewed solely by the Provost’s Office and not to be reviewed by any faculty committee,” in order for Dr. Easton to receive tenure.
As previously reported by The Setonian, Easton, a former professor of art history who left the University this summer, was denied tenure earlier this year and was allegedly offered an alternate route to tenure not listed in the Faculty Guide after appealing the decision.
The motion also stated that “all colleagues voting in the rank and tenure process were accused of failure with no due process” and that the “case was addressed with disparaging language that does not reflect Seton Hall University’s values.”
Reader said that the censure motion is a formal criticism of the provost’s actions regarding Easton and the “language the provost used” when responding to Easton’s appeal.
“It is the hope of the COAR faculty that university and the provost’s office recognize the Faculty Guide and its due process by not supplanting the actions of faculty tenure committees with their capricious interpretations of the faculty guide to overturn tenure votes,” Reader wrote in an email.
Boroff wrote in an email that one of her responsibilities as an executive at the University is to guard and advance SHU’s reputation.
“It does not serve our entire community for me to comment publicly – say, about a person’s rank and tenure portfolio, or a student’s work, or how a faculty body may vote, to give a few examples – if my open comments diminish this institution that we all love, no matter how much I want to give ‘my side of the story,’” Boroff wrote in an email. “I have spoken privately, as has President Meehan, to many about the matter, including faculty and administrators. I have shared these very same comments to the members of the Faculty Senate and to the leadership of the SGA.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Interim President Dr. Mary Meehan said she had received no information from the College of Communication and the Arts regarding the censure motion.
Meehan said in an email, however, that she “did submit a report to the Faculty Senate with recommendations regarding the A&S vote of no confidence. While I am not at liberty to share the report publicly, I can tell you that after a very lengthy review I concluded that Dr. Boroff acted well within the scope of her responsibility and authority, and followed the Faculty Guide provisions regarding tenure and promotions.”
Ashley Turner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.