Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, January 20, 2012

Provost voices support for faculty decision on GSRA issue

Provost Phil Hanlon said Thursday that the academic decisions made regarding a graduate student who claimed she was targeted because of her union activities were “justified, correct and appropriate.”

Hanlon, the university’s chief academic officer, said he had personally reviewed the student’s academic record.

“I’m convinced that the academic decisions made by our faculty were justified and correct and appropriate, and that the decisions were made on academic grounds. And so I think that the faculty and department in this case followed a thorough and fair process, and I want to offer my strong support for them,” Hanlon said during Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting.

Hanlon was responding to allegations made during a press conference Wednesday organized by former graduate student Jennifer Dibbern and leaders of the Graduate Employees’ Organization. They singled out Rachel Goldman, professor of materials science and engineering, in their allegations that graduate students were being intimidated in regards to the unionization effort among some graduate student research assistants.

University officials swiftly denied those allegations. “The university does not condone threats, intimidation or retaliation against graduate students for union activity or any other reason,” said university spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald.