The Corner

Education

Standards for Student Discipline Versus Standards for Faculty Discipline

James Madison University Lawsuit: Sexual-Assault Treatment Targeted

Student-discipline cases have been quite prominent in recent years, due almost entirely to the spate of Title IX accusations. We seldom hear anything about faculty-discipline cases, except those involving Title IX.

The difference in how student misconduct and faculty misconduct is handled is the topic of Professor Lou Buttino’s Martin Center article today. His conclusion: Procedures for students are far more clear and fair than procedures for faculty members.

Buttino writes,

Federal and state guidelines exist in higher education concerning student behavior. For example, in 2011, the Department of Education required a “preponderance of the evidence” as a standard for all Title IX cases. The 1972 federal law prohibits gender discrimination in any federally funded education program or activity. (The act also requires colleges and universities to develop procedures to respond to claims of sexual harassment.) More relevant here, however, is a North Carolina law that permits an attorney or a non-attorney advocate to represent students charged with misconduct.

Although the federal guidelines have been widely denounced as unfair, at least they’re knowable. In contrast, when professors are accused of wrongdoing, it’s a chaotic mess.

Regarding his own experience at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW), he writes,

The standards and processes UNCW employs for the faculty fall far short of the student process. There is nothing online nor elsewhere that permits a faculty member to know what to expect upon entering the hearing process. Some information trickled out before the process began, but not enough to be meaningful. It seemed the Faculty Professional Relations Committee (FPRC) was making up the rules as we went along.

An especially noteworthy difference between student- and faculty-misconduct cases is that there are reports of the former, but not of the latter. If a professor is found to have committed some impropriety — plagiarism, for example — that information usually stays hidden.

Professor Buttino concludes,

While there are standards of education, training, knowledge, and skills for professors, there is no accountability. And this is the bottom line of any entity that wants to claim it is a “profession.” UNCW has lofty ethics policies but offers a mirage in terms of executing them. We are the keepers of public trust regarding our students, but not ourselves.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Wheels Begin to Come Off in the House

The Republican House has never been particularly functional, but Ryan has managed to hold it together admirably — until now. The Freedom Caucus took down the farm bill last week to pressure for a vote on a hawkish immigration bill, while a discharge petition is gaining ground with the support of Republican ... Read More
World

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Wins, America Loses

Derek Scissors of AEI has a sour take on the latest turn in U.S.–China trade talks: If there’s good news, it’s that the Trump administration has fallen silent on whether the U.S. will bend our law for China in the ZTE case, which got so much attention last week. That would be a big step backward. But even ... Read More
Culture

Jonathan Swift in a White Suit

In 1965 Tom Wolfe visited Princeton University for a panel discussion of "the style of the Sixties." The author of The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, published that year, was scheduled to appear alongside Günter Grass, Allen Ginsberg, and Paul Krassner. Grass spoke first. The German novelist's ... Read More
World

In Appreciation, and against (Too Much) Nostalgia

To put it a little self-pityingly: It seems that my gurus are going, and the world’s. Richard Pipes, the great historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, died on Thursday; Bernard Lewis, the great historian of the Middle East, died yesterday. We had them both for a long time. Pipes was born in 1923, Lewis way ... Read More
Culture

Comedians Are Catching On

The comedians are beginning to catch on. Over the weekend -- just one week after featuring a bevy of top-line Hollywood stars impersonating members of the Trump administration, as well as a cameo by a vengeful Stormy Daniels asking for President Trump’s resignation -- Saturday Night Live finally acknowledged ... Read More
PC Culture

The Nature of Progressive Insensitivity

Former vice president Joe Biden is back in the news yet again. For a second time, he seems surprised that poor residents of the inner city are capable of doing sophisticated jobs: We don't think ordinary people can do things like program, code. It's not rocket science, guys. So, we went and we hired some folks ... Read More
Culture

The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys

Let me share with you two troubling — and, I believe, closely linked — news reports. The first, from this weekend, comes courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry. In one chart, he highlights the dramatic and growing gender gap in higher education. In short, women are dominating: ... Read More