Douglas County District Judge Robert Fairchild has ruled in favor of Kansas University in a lawsuit contesting KU’s decision to deny tenure to Albert Romkes, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
The decision, handed down last week, strikes down a lawsuit filed in May 2011 by Romkes, who alleged that KU denied his tenure application even though two university committees recommended its approval. In the decision, Fairchild wrote that KU’s decision to deny tenure was “supported by substantial evidence and is not arbitrary nor capricious.”
Jack Martin, KU spokesman, said in a statement released Thursday, that “the court examined the record and determined the University of Kansas acted appropriately in denying Dr. Romkes tenure based on what the University Promotion and Tenure Committee called ‘a research record that does not demonstrate the development of an independent scholarly agenda and a sustainable research program.’”
Romke’s attorney, Albert Palmer, declined comment on the case.
A website, kualumni4romkes.org, was created in support of Romkes’ tenure application, containing several arguments and documents in support of his position. The site states that Romkes was the only openly gay faculty member in the school. Romkes said that, as far as he knew, he was one of the first openly gay faculty in the school. He added that while he had never experienced open acts of discrimination at the school, he felt he couldn’t rule out the fact that his sexual orientation might have been used against him in the tenure process.