Kansas University has censured an architecture professor after an altercation involving a parking ticket.
Dennis Sander, a KU associate professor of architecture, was censured this week after a Feb. 4 incident when he “engaged in unprofessional, threatening, and abusive behavior” toward two student employees and a KU public safety officer, according to the censure notice.
KU Police Capt. Schuyler Bailey said Sander was yelling and cursing at the students over a parking ticket, but the issue was resolved and no criminal charges were filed.
That makes Sander the second professor the university has censured since December 2010. KU censured David Guth, associate professor of journalism, for engaging “in unprofessional, threatening, and abusive behavior towards another faculty member” during an Oct. 8, 2010, incident.
Censure remains relatively rare at KU. Jill Jess, a university spokeswoman, said before those two incidents, the previous time the university censured a faculty member was in 1993.
In both recent cases, notification of the censure appeared in The Oread, the university’s newsletter for faculty and staff, in its “News in Brief” section.
“A ‘News in Brief’ section, whether in print or online, has been the consistent location for such notices to campus,” Jess said.
Censure is the third-most severe punishment a faculty member can receive, behind suspension and dismissal, and requires approval by the university chancellor as outlined in the university’s faculty rights code.
Complaints could come from a variety of sources, Jess said, but any complaint that could result in sanctions is reviewed by the provost. If that review determines that a faculty member could face sanctions, the faculty member is notified in writing and can request a hearing before either the university’s Judicial Board or its Faculty Rights Board.
The board forwards its recommendation to the chancellor, who makes the final decision on disciplinary action.
Jess did not say whether censure was the only disciplinary action taken against faculty members in these situations, calling them personnel matters.