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Fix sought in Purdue’s disciplining of faculty

– A group representing Purdue University faculty says it is encouraged by discussions with President Mitch Daniels about how the university handles disciplinary cases but says changes in policy are needed to ensure professors accused of wrongdoing get fair hearings.

The American Association of University Professors has sent a string of letters in the past year criticizing the university’s due process and asking Daniels to institute changes to policies they say often make administrators judge and jury.

“The way in which Purdue regulations operate, it appears that Purdue faculty members are guilty, then need to prove they are not,” B. Robert Kreiser, the association’s national associate secretary, told the Journal & Courier. “If the administration wishes to impose a severe sanction on a faculty member ... it should prove them all in a hearing in front of a faculty body and demonstrate body of proof for the cause of the severe sanction.”

Purdue administrators have rejected the accusations of bad policy by the AAUP, a national group representing faculty.

Purdue paid nearly $1.6 million to law firm Stuart & Branigin for “legal issues resulting from administration action against any staff or faculty member” between April 2011 and December 2012, according to documents by the Journal & Courier.