Friday, December 10, 2010

Did the University of Minnesota

Throw Ms. Himle Under the Bus

or Did She Take One For the Team?

I am in disagreement over who bears the primary responsibility for the Troubled Waters fiasco and don't think that it is entirely the fault of Ms. Himle. I think that the president and the academics involved share a major part of the blame. I note that just because the emails from Bruininks are inconclusive does  NOT mean that other communication did not occur. Most of us have been aware for some time that email can be dangerous. There are old-fashioned methods that are a little more difficult to track: personal conversations and the telephone, for example. One of the emails from Levine indicated that the President was aware of the decision to pull the film. Why didn't he prevent this from happening?

It would be best if this whole matter were independently investigated,
since the president, the provost, the administration including the Office of the General Counsel, and several deans are involved. Having them do the investigation is what is called a conflict of interest and it is unethical.

In support of this claim, please see the post:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

(Who will guard the guardians?)


"Mr. Rotenberg said he is the lawyer; his clients, the President and the Provost, have already answered the question." Faculty Consultative Committee, Oct 22, 2010.

"If the clients of the general counsel are the president and the provost, then a conflict of interest prevents the general counsel from conducting an independent investigation and from advising any other groups, such as the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee or the Faculty Consultative Committee."


Rule 1.7 (a) of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct (formerly known as the Canons of Ethics).

"Except as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest.

A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:

(1) the representation of one client [president and provost] will be directly adverse to another client [the University]; or

(2) there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients [the University] will be materially limited by the lawyer's responsibilities to another client [president and provost], a former client or a third person, or by a personal interest of the lawyer [a general counsel who may serve at the pleasure of the president]."

A mechanism for independent investigation has been suggested: A Call For An Independent Investigation of Troubled Waters at the University of Minnesota | Community Voices: Star-Tribune


William B. Gleason, faculty and alum 

No comments: