To the editor:
As both a Lawrencian and a Kansas University alumnus, I decided it was my duty to respond to your article titled “KU ranks low in statewide faculty governance survey,” published Nov. 16.
I would first like to say that I am not surprised with KU’s ranking in the state survey. Considering the treatment of professor Albert Romkes’ case in the last two years, it is clear that the university has had no interest in maintaining the standard of faculty governance that it professes to exercise. The administration has too much power to call the governing system fair.
Second, the statement in your article that “Romkes sued ... and lost” is factually inaccurate. Romkes did not sue the university; rather, he submitted his case for judicial review. Tenure decisions are not matters of law, but rather of university practice.
Lastly, I would like to make note of the fact that Robert Fairchild, the judge conducting the review, had a conflict of interest. Fairchild is going to be teaching a class at the KU law school next semester (LAW 860). His participation, let alone oversight, in Romkes’ review is ethically unsound and potentially illegal. His lack of recusal is disturbing in the pursuit of justice for this case.
As the flagship university for the state of Kansas, KU is granted much immunity. However, the political underpinnings of Romkes’ denial must be brought to light if KU is to represent itself as a progressive institution.