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Wednesday, June 29, 2005
The University Weighs In
Posted 7:13 PM by Brian D.
Much of the readership of this blog has been waiting for the other side(s) of the story. Prof. Roisman has presented her side below. Now the university has provided an official response to the Ruth Holladay article published this Sunday. It is unknown if and when the Indianapolis Star will publish this response. Interim Dean Mead has forwarded this letter from William Plater, Executive Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties at I.U.P.U.I., to everyone on the school list-serv.

I only ask if anyone comments to please do so respectfully.


June 29, 2005

Dear Editor:

A recent column in the Indianapolis Star by Ruth Holladay leaves readers with wrong impressions regarding the status of IUPUI Professor William Bradford and the manner in which promotion and tenure decisions are made at IUPUI.

As the chief academic officer of the campus and the person responsible for administering promotion and tenure policies and procedures, I would like to offer a few clarifying comments.

After reading the column, some readers concluded that Professor Bradford has been denied tenure at the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, which is not so. Professor Bradford has not presented his case for tenure. He is not yet eligible. There has been no vote on tenure.

However, he was granted a promotion this year to associate professor, which is an affirmation of his work. He also received for the second rear in a row a special dean’s fellowship in recognition of scholarly excellence. It is clear from personnel actions taken by the law school that his teaching and research are highly regarded by his colleagues.

Because the process for granting promotion and tenure is performance-based and subject to evaluation at the school, campus, and university level by both peers and administrators, there is no reason for concern that Professor Bradford will be subject to unfair treatment when his case for tenure is presented for review.

Unfortunately, without any basis, the column suggests otherwise.

In fact, the column goes so far as to unjustly attack two tenured law school professors – Professors Mary Mitchell and Florence Roisman – suggesting the two professors have voted against tenure. This is simply not true. Professors Mitchell and Roisman have not voted on tenure for Professor Bradford at all. The column goes on to assert that they are out to block Professor Bradford’s academic career at IUPUI because he disagrees with their views on the war on terror and other issues. Personal views on such issues have no place in personnel decisions, and both professors have said that Professor Bradford’s views on war and other issues are not a factor.

According to the column, disagreeing with the views of others makes Professor Bradford “uncollegial,” which will harm his prospects for obtaining tenure in the future. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Collegiality at IUPUI is designed to encourage, not stifle, intellectual debate. It enables faculty to pursue a common mission while disagreeing--with civility--on many issues, procedures, and policies as well as intellectual perspectives, methodologies, and even facts. Collegiality is not a criterion for promotion or tenure, and disagreements over issues should never be considered in evaluating a colleague for advancement.

The promotion and tenure process at IUPUI exists to ensure academic freedom. It is not uncommon for faculty to express differences of opinion. That widely diverse viewpoints exist in our law school is something we value, not regret. Indeed, a free and democratic society depends on our capacity to disagree passionately yet retain a shared commitment to a civil community that can accept and tolerate difference.


William M. Plater
Executive Vice Chancellor
and Dean of the Faculties


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