Committee rules in favor of professor

Anne Buie

The Faculty Grievance Hearing Committee released their report on the investigation of sociology professor Jammie Price Tuesday, siding with Price regarding her actions in the classroom.

Chancellor Kenneth Peacock will have 30 days to respond to the report.

“If the chancellor accepts the report, I keep my job,” Price said in The Watauga Democrat. “If he rejects the report, they start termination. I can appeal. But success of appeals [is] unlikely.”

Price was placed on administrative leave with pay March 16 and was put on a professional development plan April 7 after complaints from four students, according to the report.

The students alleged that Price made inappropriate comments about student athletes, discussed personal information in class, refrained from following the syllabus, criticized administration repeatedly and showed a documentary about pornography called “The Price of Pleasure” in an introductory sociology class.

Price released a petition June 13 disputing the administrative leave and the professional development plan. The Committee accepted the petition and numerous hearing meetings were held between Aug. 31 and Sept. 25.

The Committee concluded that the current faculty handbook does not “address administrative leave with pay for the purpose of investigation,” according to the report.
In addition, not allowing Price to bring the matter to the Faculty Due Process Committee was a violation of due process, according to the report.

The Committee said that placing professors on a professional development plan does not “constitute a serious sanction.” But the events leading up to March 7 were an “illegitimate basis for imposition of a professional development,” therefore a violation of Price’s academic freedom, according to the report.

The report also criticized parts of the investigation conducted by the university.

Two student athletes who complained about Price’s comments did not submit written statements, a requirement by the ASU Policy Manual, according to the report.

The report released for the investigation by Equity Office Director Linda Foulsham was “entirely hearsay,” according to the Committee’s report. The report released by Foulsham summarized quotes from the student athlete’s instead of directly quoting them, which “always opens up opportunity for bias,” according to the committee’s report.

The respondents of the report were Provost Lori Gonzalez and Vice-Provost Tony Carey.

“[The] FGHC report is a personnel record, and university officials cannot discuss it or the hearing process publicly,” Gonzalez said. “We are required by state law to keep most personnel records, including the report and other information regarding the hearing, confidential.”


Story: CHELSEY FISHER, News Editor