Dorfsman terminated for ‘gross disregard’ of others
Published: Friday, May 3, 2013
Updated: Friday, May 3, 2013 02:05
The University of New Hampshire has fired Marco Dorfsman, associate professor of Spanish, under grounds of moral turpitude effective May 17, 2013, for altering a colleague’s student evaluations.
Provost John Aber announced the termination of Dorfsman after receiving the recommendation of the Professional Standards Committee of the Faculty Senate, Erika Mantz, director of UNH Media Relations, said in a press release.
“Dorfsman admitted to intentionally lowering the student evaluations of another faculty member,” Mantz said in the press release.
Student evaluations are used by UNH when making tenure, promotion and salary decisions for instructors.
The contract between the AAUP-UNH, UNH’s union for tenure track faculty, and UNH says that when, in this case the provost, chooses to dismiss or suspend a union member without pay for moral turpitude, the Professional Standards Committee needs to send a recommendation to the provost. Deanna Wood, grievance officer for AAUP-UNH, said.
“The PSC members unanimously agreed that Professor Dorfsman’s conduct constituted moral turpitude and ‘evinces a gross disregard for the rights of others, is a clear and intentional breach of duties owed to others and to the university by virtue of employment at UNH and membership in the procession, in which such an act is considered contrary to the accepted and expected rules of moral behavior, justice or honesty, and evokes condemnation,’” Mantz said in the press release.
The Professional Standards Committee ruled five in favor of sanctions other than dismissal, such as suspension without pay, and one in favor of dismissal, said Dorfsman.
Suspension without pay would be for a period of years, not months or semesters, according to Wood.
After the Professional Standards Committee sends their recommendation to the provost, the provost will review it and can proceed with either dismissal or suspension without pay, wood said.
If Dorfsman doesn’t feel that the action he committed warrants the provost’s decision, he can grieve the decision. Grieving will put the decision into independent arbitration. The decision of the independent arbitrator is final, Wood said.
“The provost’s decision reinforces UNH’s commitment to upholding and teaching ethical behavior,” Mantz said in the press release. “Professor Dorfsman’s conduct disregarded the rights of his colleague, undermined the evaluations submitted by our students [a prime source of data for employment decisions for all instructors] and corrupted an important process by which our faculty’s teaching effectiveness is measured.”
In an email sent to colleagues by Dorfsman, he apologized to Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Kenneth Fuld, the rest of his colleagues and the unnamed colleague whose student evaluations were altered.
“I want to apologize to the students as well,” Dorfsman said. “I was definitely wrong.”