Temple University has changed its grievance procedures in the wake of hearings that Pennsylvania legislators held earlier this year to investigate whether the state's public colleges indoctrinate students in left-wing ideology and discriminate against conservatives.
The changes, approved Wednesday by the university's Board of Trustees, make the process through which students can file complaints more uniform throughout the university's various colleges.
The move comes nearly a year after David Horowitz's so-called academic bill of rights prompted Pennsylvania lawmakers to begin holding hearings across the state. The bill of rights is a proposal that Mr. Horowitz, a conservative activist, believes will make universities more "intellectually diverse." One of the legislators' hearings was held at Temple in January.
David Adamany, then the university's president, told lawmakers at the hearing that Temple could do a better job of streamlining its grievance procedures and making students aware of them. Mr. Horowitz, however, testified about the need for his proposal, which sets out a specific set of principles colleges should follow in making tenure decisions, developing reading lists for courses, and taking other actions (The Chronicle, January 20).
"We did not adopt David Horowitz's bill of rights," said Mark Eyerly, a university spokesman, on Wednesday. "What we did, as we pledged at the hearing -- we took a look at our policies and procedures and found that we had 17 different procedures and 17 different colleges. We made it uniform across the university." Mr. Eyerly said that officials also planned to make all students aware of the changes.
The revised policy, which takes effect August 1, calls on officials to report all grievances to the Board of Trustees, a move with which Mr. Horowitz is especially pleased, he said in an interview on Wednesday. He has long maintained that, of all college constituencies, trustees are the best able to rein in liberal bias.
Mr. Eyerly said Temple's trustees would periodically review the effectiveness of the grievance procedure, which says that students who believe their academic rights have been infringed upon should complain first to the faculty member in question; then, if the grievance cannot be resolved, to a student ombudsman; and next to a dean or dean's representative. "It's not that the trustees will be making decisions on individual cases," he said.
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