What we started to come up with

Angry faculty members are accusing the chancellor of a double standard — suspending a professor for recording video of a Chief Illiniwek portrayer in a restroombut failing to suspend others accused of sexual misconduct.

Religion professor Bruce Rosenstock said at Monday’s Academic Senate meeting that Chancellor Robert Jones violated Illinois administrative statutes by placing media and cinema studies professor Jay Rosenstein on paid administrative leave for an incident Jan. 22 at a men’s basketball game.

Rosenstein, who produced the anti-Chief documentary “In Whose Honor?” admits entering the restroom and recording video of Ivan Dozier but said he was doing so to determine whether university employees were helping Dozier don Chief apparel for an unofficial and unauthorized appearance at the basketball game.

Rosenstock contended paid leave legally is limited to disciplinary action and can last only 10 days. Jones, however, contends the leave is for investigative purposes only.

Other senators compared the handling of Rosenstein’s suspension to how Steven Salaita was blocked from being hired after making controversial social media postings that many regarded as anti-Semitic. Sued by Salaita, the university agreed to pay him $875,000 after initially saying he was hired then not presenting his appointment to the Board of Trustees for formal approval.

Jones said administrators would meet soon with the campus Faculty Advisory Committee to discuss the situation with Rosenstein.

However, senator David O’Brien, a professor of art history and French and Italian, said: “It would seem that what you did kind of ran roughshod over the statutes.”

O’Brien said Jones should have met with the committee before putting Rosenstein on administrative leave.

Rosenstein was arrested at the game, but State’s Attorney Julia Reitz declined to prosecute him for what some consider to be a violation of federal Title IX provisions regarding sexual misconduct.

“What seems curious to me is that it feels like a moving goalpost a bit if we’re putting Professor Rosenstein on administrative leave for this thing . . . but there are other people with active Title IX files on them and they are not on leave,” said senator Kathryn Clancy, associate professor of anthropology and a member of an ad hoc committee on the impacts of sexual harassment with the National Academies in Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

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With a conversation about the university’s controversial mascot history at the precipice of the senate meeting, more conversation was to be had about what the faculty could do about the university’s representation. Chancellor Jones called it a “murky situation,” but also said that the school doesn’t have the authority to stop individuals from displaying the chief in offices or on clothing, adding that he doesn’t want the university to infringe on people’s freedom of speech.

Jones also talked about the strikes that occur frequently on campus. He said that there is always room for improvement in the university, and he and his team are working to negotiate a contract.

When further pressed on the issue, Chancellor Jones declined to  comment any further, citing the issue as a personal matter. “This is the decision that was made in the best interest of the students who were enrolled in the class, the professor, and this University.”

Chancellor Jones’ decisions questioned at recent academic senate meeting

The decision by Chancellor Robert Jones to place professor Jay Rosenstein on administrative leave was at the forefront of discussion at the academic senate meeting on Monday Feb. 5. Rosenstein was placed on leave after he was arrested for filming a group of pro-chief Illiniwek students changing into traditional chief gear at a men’s basketball game on January 22. His charges have since been dropped.

Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion Bruce Rosenstock voiced his strong concern for how professor Rosenstein came to be put on administrative leave.

“You’re not following the Illinois Administrative Code” Rosenstock argued.

With a conversation about the universities’ controversial mascot history at the precipice of the senate meeting, more conversation was to be had about what the faculty should do about the university’s representation. Chancellor Jones called it a “murky situation”, but also stated that the school doesn’t have to authority to stop individuals from displaying the chief in offices or on clothing, adding that he doesn’t want the university to infringe on people’s freedom of speech.

 

 

Rosenstein case fallout is focus of senate meeting

The handling of the sexual harassment case against Professor Jay Rosenstein, especially his place on leave, was centerstage at a Senate meeting Monday night.  Allegations that Rosenstein is banned from campus, and that due process was not followed were raised. Staff talked about the University’s handling of the case as well as the continuous use of the Chief as a symbol on campus.

Rosenstein was arrested for filming a Chief Illiniwek supporter in the bathroom at an Illini basketball game on January 22.

Professor David O’Brien from the College of Fine and Applied Arts and Assistant Professor from Department of Religion, Bruce Rosenstock, both expressed concern that the case was not handled lawfully or fairly. Rosenstock even went on to say that Rosenstein was not even allowed to step or speak on campus, an allegation Chancellor Jones denied.

Staff also talked about Chief Illiniwek, and the former mascot’s continued appearance and influence on the school. This representation continues to bring offense to the Native American community, and even is a form of embarrassment to the school. Jones said that First Amendment rights made it impossible for the school to keep the image from appearing on shirts and other merchandise.

Illinois Faculty Question Universities Decision

Illinois faculty members voiced their discontent at the Academic Senate meeting with the way the university has handled the incident with Professor Jay Rosenstein. Rosenstein is a professor in the college of media, who was arrested after filming a pro-Chief Illiniwek student in the restroom at a basketball game.

The faculty did not believe the university was holding Rosenstein to the same standards they had for other sexual harassment incidents. A professor in the department of religion, Bruce Rosenstock, argued the university was not adhering to the administrative code.

Another professor, Kate Clancy, expressed her concern mentioning that the university put Rosenstein on leave, yet other cases involving sexual harassment had not received the same treatment.

Chancellor Robert Jones ended the conversation saying, “This is the decision that was made in the best interest of the students who were enrolled in the class, the professor, and this university.”

Another part of the discussion was focused on Chief Illiniwek and the way he is still seen all around campus. The chief mascot was taken away years ago, yet he some people still show off the symbol.

Chancellor Jones spoke on the issue, “I intend to put a strong focus on reminding everyone of the real hurt and distress that these inaccurate and insensitive depiction of Native Americans cause to many members of our community.”

He went on to say that he understands it is a sensitive topic because they are not trying to infringe on anyone’s free speech, yet the images cause pain to many. The Chancellor went on to say because of freedom of speech the university is not authorized to stop the portrayal of the Chief on clothing or in classrooms.

Allegations Thrown At Chancellor Jone

Accusations of double-standards in the matter of sexual harassment cases at the university were thrown at the recent Senate meeting. Others were certain that the University was in violation of its own Statues in the Rosenstein case.

During a discussion the recent incident involving Professor Rosenstein, Chancellor Jones fought back against allegations that the professors current non-disciplinary administrative leave was in violations of University code.  Allegations of double-standards were also brought up in reference to the case and similar Title IX cases.

Professor Rosenstein was arrested on the 22nd of January after filming a student in Chief garb in the restroom. Shortly afterward charges were dropped against him and he has been on administrative leave since pending a University investigation.

Chancellor Jones denied claims from Bruce Rosenstock, in the Department of Religion that Prof. Rosenstein was not allowed on campus or talk to university colleagues.

If this were true, it would mean that the action was disciplinary in nature, a regulated act with restriction the University would need to follow. Paid administrative leave under Illinois Administrative Code is reserved for specific occurrences, and have a limit of ten days, according to Rosenstock, of which those ten days were already up as of the meeting.

“Then your not following the Illinois Administrative Code”  replied Rosenstock to Jones’ denials.

Kate Clancy, a professor in anthropology, also voiced concern by bringing up how quickly action was taken to put Rosenstein on leave, while other cases involving sexual misconduct, covered under the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. 

“So what seems curious to me is that it feels like a moving goal post a little bit if that if we’re putting Professor Rosenstein on leave for this thing. . . but then there are people with active Title nine files on them and they’re not on leave,” Clancy remarked.

Jones’ responded by mentioning his limited ability to comment on the matter due to it being current and involving personnel. He also remarked how the privacy aspect of the case made it different from other Title IX cases.

“We’re trying to resolve what was the best course of action to taken based on the information that we had at the time which was information that suggested that,” commented Jones.

 

 

Controversy between Illini faculty at academic senate meeting

Illinois faculty members voiced angry opinions on how the chancellor has handled the suspension of a professor, who was accused of alleged sexual harassment.

Jay Rosenstein is a professor of media and cinema studies. Rosenstein is open about being against Chief Illini Wek and was caught videotaping Ivan Dozier in a bathroom during a basketball game. Rosenstein said he was recording to

Professor of Art History, Italian and French, David O’Brien, argued that the Rosenstein case was not handled lawfully and appropriate steps were not taken. O’Brien stated that Chancellor Jones should have met with the faculty advisory committee before putting Rosenstein on administrative leave.

Chancellor Jones ended the discussion by saying, “This is the decision that was made in the best interest of the students who were enrolled in the class, the professor, and this University.”

The topic of the representation of Chief Illini Wek was also discussed. The Illinois board of trustees banned the use of the Chief in 2007 due to cultural appropriation controversy. Although, many students and even shops on campus still produce clothing and images representing the chief. Chancellor Jones said that the University, due to freedom of speech, does not have any authorization to stop the portrayal of the Chief on clothing or in classrooms.

Bruce Rosenstock in the Department of Religion stated that the subject of the chief still being portrayed on campus is embarrassing, and brought up how the New York Times even released an article about the Chief still being used.

 

Faculty accuse chancellor of breaking Illinois Administrative Code

Faculty members are angry with the chancellor for sending a professor on administrative leave for recording a video of a pro-Chief Illiniwek student in a public restroom while others accused of sexual misconduct are given less severe consequences.

Multiple professors, including Bruce Rosenstock from the Department of Religion, stated at the Academic Senate meeting Monday that Chancellor Robert Jones took disciplinary measures against a faculty member without following official rules. Rosenstock added that a disciplinary administrative leave requires extraordinary circumstances.

Professor Jay Rosenstein from the College of Media was arrested Jan. 22 after he filmed students of a pro-Chief Illiniwek group in the public restroom of the State Farm Center during a men’s basketball game. His chargers were later dropped, and he is currently on paid administrative leave.

Rosenstock made the statement that Rosenstein is not allowed on campus or contact coworkers, which Jones denied.

“That is not true,” Jones said, “I have to stop you; that is absolutely not true.”

“Then you’re not following the Illinois Administrative Code,” Rosenstock replied.

Jones responded by saying that they acted after consulting people in the provost office, as they have a more profound understanding of the statutes. He said that the board was going to meet with the F.A.C. soon.

“You have to meet with the F.A.C. before you put him on leave for teaching,” David O’Brien from the College of Fine and Applied Arts stated.

Jones also talked about the threat of strikes as well as the actual strikes that occur frequently on campus in response to a question from Shawn Gilmore from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Jones said that there is always room for improvement in the university, and he and his team are working to negotiate a contract.

“We must do all that we can to ensure that we continue to be a trusted voice when it comes down to discussing and impacting the issues that impact higher education,” Jones stated.

Illinois Administration Offers Little Clarity on Rosenstein, Chief

University employees overwhelmingly voiced their support for Professor Jay Rosenstein at Monday night’s academic senate meeting. Rosenstein, a professor in cinema and film studies, was placed on administrative leave following allegations of sexual misconduct at the State Farm Center on January 23rd.

The allegations stem from an incident where Rosenstein attempted to film a student allegedly donning Chief Illiniwek apparel in the bathroom during a basketball game. Although Rosenstein was not charged, Illinois administration argued placing the professor on leave was the best decision.

“Placing Professor Rosenstein on administrative leave because of the allegation that he poses a threat to the privacy of students and coworkers using the bathroom facilities on campus but such action is a breach of Professor Rosenstein rights under our statutes.” said Bruce Rosenstock, a professor in the religion department.

David O’Brien,  former chair of the Committee on academic freedom, questioned if correct state and federal statues and rules were being followed in Rosenstein’s case and the decision to place the film and cinema studies professor on leave.

“I’m sure someone has brought your attention to that in the meantime but it would seem that what you did kind of ran roughshod over the statutes” said O’Brien.

Chancellor Jones offered little insight into the case, saying his actions were decided based on the information available at the time while calling the case “a murky situation.”

When pressed further about Rosenstein, Jones ended any further conversation on the matter. “Whether you like it or not, this is a personnel matter. This is the decision that was made in the best interests of the students who were enrolled in the class, the professor and this university,”

Another topic discussed in-depth was the University’s future handling of Native American symbols, a war that has been fought for over a decade.

“I’m kind of tired of being embarrassed sometimes to be a member of this -to be a part of this university, The New York Times article that just came out recently I feel like it’s a pretty stark example of the moments that I’m really embarrassed by our outward image.” said Professor Kate Clancy in reference to an article discussing the sustained presence of Chief Illiniwek on campus.

“I wish there was a simple resolution to the issue.” Jones said, “this is gnawing away at the reputation of  one of the finest universities, and not just in this country but in the world, and if we allow this thing to just persist without finding some way to have a coming together.”

 

Video of meeting to cover

Typically, you would be sent to an actual meeting in person to practice providing coverage. But for your first attempt at a meeting story, we’ll instead let you work from this video.

It wouldn’t take much effort to find that professional media outlets also covered this meeting, but to aid in your learning with this practice exercise, please try to create your own story without seeing what they did.

Your story, posted in this category, is due at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13.