WKU Board of Regents vote NOT to dismiss tenured professor

Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 9:56 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - After more than seven hours of open session and two hours of closed doors, the WKU Board of Regents made their decision whether to dismiss tenured professor Dr. Jeanine Huss.

The voting process went as follows: “I am going to call for a vote of the Board of Regents on action item AA-1. All those for the approval of dismissal for cause of Dr. Jeanine M. Huss, Professor, School of Teacher Education. Signify by saying ‘I’...*pause.” All opposed signify by saying ‘Nay.’ ‘Nay.’”

The WKU Board of Regents unanimously decided NOT to dismiss Dr. Huss, voting against the ‘dismissal for cause of incompetence” that had been recommended to the Board by WKU President Doctor Timothy Caboni.

The University presented multiple anonymous cite evaluations made by students, along with an anonymous email sent to the University by a student who claims an assignment was “inappropriate.”

During their time on the stand, Dr. Susan Keesey, Director, School of Teacher Education, read an anonymous site evaluation made by a student.

The student stated, “It seems as though, and many students agree, that the Board is not looking at these evaluations close enough to value student responses. I believe something needs to change in the program and start listening to students’ evaluations. Especially Dr. Huss’ ineffective teaching. I have to also take her next semester, and I’m even more discouraged by that.”

Dr. Keesey responded to that remark by saying, “I’m thinking, this is my responsibility, I owe it to these students, and yet, it’s been going on, and something needs to be done.”

Dr. Corinne M. Murphy, Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, was also brought to the stand by the university.

In closing argument, she said, “At this point, we affirm to you that the right path for WKU at this time is termination for cause, and the cause is incompetence in the areas of teaching for organization and communication.”

This comes after hours of testimonies brought forward by University Provosts, the Dean for the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, as well as other faculty members. Dr. Huss was put on paid leave after the email was received expressing concerns based on an assignment on February 15th of this year.

Dr. Huss then took action to file a grievance against the Dean for “bullying” her into resigning. Officials say that grievance was not pursued once the motion for dismissal was made.

Dr. Jeanine Huss, the professor accused, made a statement during the hearing.

She said, “My grievance against my Dean was not heard, which is a violation of my due process rights. The administration has not followed the faculty handbook in my case. Putting me on paid leave after one student complained by email is not the way an esteemed faculty member should be treated at any University.”

Nancy Reed was teaching the same Diversity class via Zoom at the same time that the student expressed a disagreement with the assignment. The assignment was to represent a historical figure and make a presentation about them.

Nancy Reed, Course Facilitator, WKU Elizabethtown Campus says, “I heard the student say she didn’t feel comfortable trying to be somebody that she had never been or something to that effect.”

Marc Mezibov, Attorney representing Dr. Huss asks, “Did you hear any other resentment or disagreement with Dr. Huss during that...”

Reed responds by saying, “No, no I did not.”

The vote was unanimous 8-0.

No comment from the university officials was made post-vote, but a statement is expected.

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