Barrows'discipline determined unjust

Barrows' lawyer tells state lawmakers: Keep your mouth shut\ 

 

Following months of controversy, a faculty committee decided Friday that proper cause was not met for punishment given to former Vice Chancellor Paul Barrows after allegations of sexual harassment. 

 

Barrows was removed from his position for sexual harassment accusations in fall of 2004 and given a lower-paying job instead. 

 

""I've been in the eye of the storm for over two years,"" Barrows said after the Academic Staff Appeals Committee open session vote. ""I'm determined to move forward and find justice.""  

 

His attorney, Lester Pines, said they would like to pursue the case further and see it taken up by the Board of Regents. Pines also said the committee's unanimous conclusion was objective, because it heard personal testimony from most people involved, and its findings should not be questioned. 

 

Pines made accusations against Chancellor John Wiley, former Dean of Students Luo Luo Hong and state legislators, saying they should have examined information more closely before making judgments about Barrows' conduct. He called the Chancellor's decision a ""career-ending accusation"" and said Wiley made ""serious errors."" 

 

""Until you know what you're talking about, keep your mouth shut,"" Pines said to state legislators, who he said became involved in the Barrows case and pressured Wiley to fire him. 

 

Former Provost Peter Spear, who demoted Barrows from his position to a lower-paying job after allegations surfaced, issued a statement reiterating his original decision and citing his disappointment after the verdict was announced. 

 

""In my view, the letter of reprimand was warranted to make it clear to Dr. Barrows that inappropriate behavior would not be tolerated,"" Spear said. ""In addition, it wasmy responsibility to make the administrative correction of replacingsick leave that was used inappropriately with remaining vacationhours.""  

 

He also said Barrows should have attended the ordered training about sexual harassment. 

 

Spear testified on the first day of hearings with the two women who accused Barrows of harassment. 

 

""I … want to thank the women who came forward to testify under very difficult circumstances,"" Spear said. 

 

Pines mentioned recent statements by companies who refuse to hire students from UW-Madison because of lack of diversity on campus, and he attributed that in part to the University's decision to demote Barrows. 

 

""He is one of the major figures of achieving diversity on this campus, and he has not been able to participate in this process,"" Pines said.  

 

He called on the University to restore Barrows to a job equal to his former position.  

 

According to University Communications Director Amy Toburen, the committee will now write its report to submit to Provost Patrick Farrell by May 5. He then has 30 days to consider their recommendations and make his final decision. 

 

 

 

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