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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA Allegations of a violation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in effect between the

FORMAL CONTRACT GRIEVANCE University and the University Council-AFT must be filed on this form. See the MOU, Article XXXIII
NON-SENATE INSTRUCITONAL UNIT Grievance Procedure, for details regarding the filing of grievances.

GRIEVATWS NAME, Last, First, Middle GRIEVANTS CLASSIFICATION TITLE/WORKING TITLE


Keith Fink Lecturer
GRIEVANTS DEPARTMENT?PROGRAM)LOCATION GRIEVANTS WORK TELEPHONE
Communication Studies N/A
ADDRESS TO WHICH REQUIRED CORRESPONDENCE IS TO BE SENT TO GRIEVANT:
Holly Craig-Wehrle, UC-AFI Local 1990, P.O. Box 35618, Los Angeles,CA 90035
Article(s) and Section(s) of MOU alleged to Isave been violated:
Article 2.A-B, Article 4.A, Article 7b.F
Action being grieved and manner in which action violated the above cited provisions and adversely affected the grievant.
Please attach any relevant materials.

The overarching basis for this grievance lies in the fact that the University deliberately violated numerous
sections of the Unit 18 MOU during its excellence review associated with Keith Finks initial Continuing
Lecturer Appointment. As it became clear that the University blatantly and brazenly had no respect for the
terms of the MOU and other governing rules, further violations associated with Keith Finks prior
mistreatment by the school were also discovered. Each of these violations independently had an adverse

affect on Mr. Fink. They caused him to spar with administrators to correct their violative actions the very

same administrators who would later be administering his Excellence Review. These violations also thwarted
Mr. Finks academic freedom. These violations consumed Mr. Finks time (at significant expense to him, as
the principal partner of a law firm). Fortunately for UCLAs students, however, Mr. Fink took this time away
from his firm duties and not his teaching duties. In fact, his average instructor ratings for Winter 2017 and
Spring 2017 were 8.58 and 8.79 the two highest ratings hes achieved in ten years teaching at UCLA.

Similarly, his average course ratings further enhanced his stellar teaching record: his ratings were 8.55 and
8.76 in Winter 2017 and Spring 2017, respectively again topping his own record of excellence in teaching.

Cumulatively, however, these violations resulted in Mr. Fink being denied advancement to Initial Continuing
Lecturer, effectively ending his teaching career at UCLAs Communication Studies Department. Department
Chair Kern Johnson is quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education saying the bar is extremely high, but
by her own admissions and by Mr. Finks most recent reviews, Finks teaching is among the best in (if not the
best) in the Department.

Mr. Fink has also been adversely affected by public statements made by university officials that undermine
his professional credibility. Most relevant is Vice Chair Greg Bryants statement to the Chronicle of Higher
Education that Mr. Finks review was handled by the book. For the reasons set forth below, Mr. Bryants
statement is beyond false.

Article 7b F(1) [Timely Notification of Review Process]


Article 7b F(1) stipulates that the University shall notify the NSF in writing of the review, its timing,
criteria, and the procedure that will be followed. Such notice shall be no less than thirty (30) calendar days,
when practicable.

Although the University did notify Mr. Fink in writing of the review, it failed to timely notify him of the
reviews timing, the criteria, and the procedure that would be followed.

Timing: The University did not notify Mr. Fink within thirty (30) calendar days of the Review.
Communication Studies Department MSO Jane Bitar notified Mr. Fink of of his impending excellence review
process on January 25, 2017. Pursuant to the calendar attached to Ms. Bitars email, Mr. Fink had until
February 2,2017 to respond and acknowledge the email, and until February 8,2017 to submit his first set of
information (list of student names, bias list, CV, optional materials, etc.). This falls far short of thirty (30)
days notice.

Additionally, throughout Mr. Finks Excellence Review, the Department of Communication Studies
repeatedly changed the timing of the review calendar without providing timely notice Mr. Fink. For instance,
only after a set of materials were due (e.g., letters and additional materials due on March 15,2017) would the
Department disseminate to Mr. Fink an updated review calendar. This occurred numerous times throughout
the review process, and effectively deprived Mr. Fink of the ability to present his case.
Criteria & Procedure: The University repeatedly invented criteria, policy, and procedure on the fly to
suit their own interests, often citing to unwritten departmental practices governing certain aspects of the
review. Examples include giving less weight to student evaluations solicited by Mr. Fink, giving no credence
to the bias list despite asking for one, inventing policy governing faculty recusal, and treating certain
documents as merely advisory when not presented as such at the outset.

Article 7b F(2) [Due Consideration of Relevant Materials]


Article 7b F(2) stipulates that the [alili relevant materials shall be given due consideration and proceeds
to state that [t}hese may include: (a) student evaluations; (b) assessment by former students who have
achieved notable professional success; (c) assessments by other members of the department, program or unit,
and other appropriate faculty members; (d) development of new and effective techniques of instruction and
instructional materials; and (e) assessments resulting from classroom visitations by colleagues and
evaluators.

Student evaluations were apparently given no consideration despite Chair Kern Johnsons letter conceding
that Mr. Finks evaluations were among the best in the department. Had these evaluations been given due
consideration, the outcome of Mr. Finks review would have been different. For similar reasons, assessments
by former students were apparently given no consideration, too.

Likewise, assessments by other members of the department (e.g., Thomas Miller) were apparently disregarded
in their entirety. It was evident from Chair Kern Johnsons letter that such materials were given zero
consideration.

Additionally, no consideration was given to Mr. Finks development of new and effective techniques and
instructional materials.

Had the University given due consideration to these relevant materials, the outcome of Mr. Finks excellence
review would have been entirely different.

Article 7b F(4) [NSFs Provision of Letters of Assessment 1


Article 7b F(4) stipulates that the [am NSF being evaluated may provide letters of assessment ... which
shall be included as part of the evaluation process. Those from whom letters
may be provided include but are not limited to: ... (4) students.

On February 12, 2017, Chair Kerri Johnson violated the MOU by writing to Mr. Fink that she had become
aware that Mr. Fink was arranging for letters from prior students to be submitted by him. She incorrectly yet
in no uncertain terms told Mr. Fink, that [i]n case it was not clear, all solicitations must originate in the
department for them to be considered part of your dossier. Johnson copied staff from the Office of the Dean
of Social Sciences on this email. Only after Mr. Fink corrected Johnson by citing Article 7b F(4) did
someone from the Dean of Social Sciences office respond confirming Mr. Finks position (while also noting
that letters solicited by Mr. Fink would be given less weight than letters solicited by the department a -

position that is supported nowhere in the MOU or university procedure).


Article 7b F(5) [Membership of Excellence Review Committee]
Article 7b F(5) stipulates that the lal committee shall review and make recommendations about NSF
performance pertaining to the Excellence Review for Continuing Appointments. Such committees will be
...

comprised of academic appointees with sufficient knowledge of the NSFs field of expertise. The membership
of the Excellence Review committee is not confidential .

First, the Excellence Review committee was comprised not of a single academic appointee with sufficient
knowledge of Mr. Finks field of expertise. None of the ladder faculty in the Department are familiar with
First Amendment jurisprudence, employment law, contemporary social issues, or entertainment law.
Although there are some NSF in the department with passing familiarity, none of these members sat on the
Excellence Review committee. The Excellence Review committee was devoid of any academic appointees
with sufficient knowledge of the NSFs field of expertise despite Mr. Fink providing the University with a
list of individuals he believed to be qualified to assess his teaching.

Secondly, the membership of the Excellence Review committee was never fully disclosed; it was described
as all ladder faculty and an NSF representative. Among the 10 ladder faculty available, it was later
discovered that one did not participate due to sabbatical leave. The identities of the nine ladder faculty
participants were never made available to Mr. Fink.

Article 7b F(6) [Participation of a Qualified NSF on the Excellence Review Committee]


Article 7b F(6) provides that that the at a qualified NSF will participate on such review committees. Mr.
Fink was notified that Steven Peterson was appointed to the committee (composed of all Communication
Studies Senate faculty),but according to Chair Kern Johnsons letter summarizing the committees discussion
and vote, Mr. Peterson was denied a vote because of his NSF status, in violation of this MOU. Since the vote
was a 3-way tie, Mr. Petersons vote likely could have broken the tie.

Article 7b F(7) [Suggested Peers from Whom Input May Be Solicited I Bias Listi
Article 7b F(7) provides that that the The NSF being reviewed may provide a written list of suggested peers
from whom input may be solicited and/or identify qualified persons from
whom input may be solicited. The NSF being reviewed shall be afforded an opportunity to raise concerns
about possible bias on the part of individuals involved in their review.

Kern Johnson, Jane Bitar, and Zenia Kim violated this section of the MOU repeatedly throughout the process.
Although Mr. Fink provided a written list of suggested peers from whom input may be solicited, it is apparent
that the University gave zero credence to this list and indeed solicited input from none of the individuals
identified.

Additionally, Mr. Fink repeatedly raised concerns about the possible bias of Kern Johnson, Laura Gomez,
and Greg Bryant throughout the review process. The University clearly made no effort to address these
concerns of bias indeed, Kern Johnson authored the departments recommendation letter (a letter that
ironically was devoid of any actual recommendation). Greg Bryant conducted the classroom observation
report, despite the fact that other ladder faculty were available to do so and would have done so if asked.
Laura Gomez effectively served as the tie-breaking vote. Instead of recusing herself due to bias as requested
(and to give at least the appearance of transparency), she indeed served as the tie breaker, resulting in the
adverse action against Mr. Fink. In effect, not just some but all of the key players resulting the the adverse
action against Mr. Fink were identified as biased at the outset of the process and the University made no
efforts whatsoever to address Mr. Finks concerns of bias.
Article 7b F(2)g F(4)
1 and F(5)
Article 7b The Department failed to solicit letters from Mr. Finks initial list of students, timely provided at
the request of the University, in violation of Article 7b, Sections F.2, F.4 & F.7.

After discovering that the University had failed to timely contact any of the students on the list initially
provided my the candidate, Mr. Fink repeatedly contacted the Communication Studies Departments MSO,
Jane Bitar to clarify that the review process was still occurring on-schedule and to request a one-week
extension to provide supplementary materials. Ms. Bitar ignored these emails until it was too late at 9:55pm

on the day of the deadline and only after Mr. Fink had submitted supplemental information. After pointing
out that the Department had solicited not a single evaluation from Mr. Finks original list, he was asked to
provide a second list of students from whom the Department could solicit letters. While the Department did
contact these students, the single best student evaluation was omitted from Mr. Finks file.

Most lecturers do not have an endless list of student advocates from whom they can rely upon to submit
favorable reviews, but as Mr. Fink is an excellent lecturer, he was able to provide a secondary list.
Nevertheless, failing to request letters from and subsequently give less weight to letters authored by
students on Mr. Finks first list prejudiced him insofar as it prevented him from being able to have his strongest
student advocates opinions given due consideration.

Although, the department did ultimately solicit letters from the second list of students, it quickly became
obvious (upon review of the file) that several items were missing.

When Mr. Finks Excellence Review file was sent to him for review on April 3, 2017, he promptly noticed
that several items provided by him were missing (including statements from him explaining how Johnsons
attempt to bar him from soliciting student letters and Bitars poor communication interfered with his right to
a fair review). On April 4, 2017, Mr. Fink asked requested Zenia Kim to provide a complete copy of his
Excellence Review file.

Although Mr. Fink knew that some items were missing from the file, he subsequently discovered that his
complete file was conspicuously six pages longer than the original file he received on April 3,2017. After
examining the new file to ascertain why it was longer, Mr. Fink discovered that the department omitted the
single strongest department-solicited letter from his dossier. It is difficult to believe that the omitted letter
was accidentally left out of his file the letter was simply too strong for it to be a mere coincidence. It also
contradicts virtually everything Bryant says in his classroom evaluation. Had Mr. Fink not requested a
complete copy of his review file, this letter would likely have vanished and never been included in his dossier.
Article 2 * A lAcademic Freedom]

Article 2 A (Academic Freedom) states that [ajcademic freedom will extend to NSF through applicable
provisions of the Academic Freedom Policy in effect at the time at the location of the NSF.

As articulated above in support of the alleged violation of Article 7b F(7) [Bias List], Chair Kern Johnson
requested Professor Bryant, an individual identified by Mr. Fink as biased against him, to provide an
objective evaluation and to conduct Mr. Finks classroom observation. The process by which Professor
Bryant was chosen to conduct this critical task is unknown. What is known, however, is that at least one
qualified and tenured faculty member was available to conduct the review if asked. He was never asked, and
had he been asked, he would have been willing to conduct Mr. Finks classroom review.

Indeed, Professor Bryant criticizes Mr. Finks analysis of UC policies and Dean Kangs implementation of
these policies, and suggests that Mr. Finks political views and criticism of UC undermined his teaching.
Under APM 10 and Article 2 of the MOU, NSF are protected by the Universitys commitment to academic
freedom, including freedom of teaching. As noted in the footnote of APM 10, although competent
scholarship requires the exercise of reason, this does not mean that faculty are unprofessional if they are
committed to a definite point of view. It means rather that faculty must form their point of view by applying
professional standards of inquiry rather than by succumbing to external and illegitimate incentives such as
monetary gain or political coercion. Professor Bryant validated Mr. Finks concerns that he could not provide
an objective evaluation of Mr. Finks performance, yet the Department took no action to ensure an objective
observation could be included in Mr. Finks review. The Department of Communication Studies and the
Division of Social Sciences has committed UCLA to curtailing freedom of teaching by denying Mr. Finks
Continuing Appointment, in violation of APM 10 and Articles 2 of the MOU. Additionally, the basis of this
academic freedom violation extends to a violation of Article 4.A, which protects Mr. Finks right to political
affiliations without adverse action by the University.

These violations of the review procedure, of Mr. Finks academic freedom, and of his protections from
discrimination on the basis of political affiliation reflect a department-wide and dean-overseen opposition to
Mr. Finks public criticism of UCLA and his other controversial political viewpoints in and out of the
classroom and culminated in the termination of Mr. Finks employment by the Dean of the Social Sciences
Division.

Date of Occurrence or date grievant had knowledge of alleged violation:


6/27/17
REMEDY REQUESTED
University to cease and desist in all discriminatory practices, including discrimination based on academic
and political viewpoint; to cease and desist from curtailing academic freedoms; to re-do Mr. Finks
Excellence Review outside the Department of Communication Studies and overseen by a Dean outside the
Division of Social Sciences and to review him solely on the basis of his performance; and to otherwise make
Mr. Fink whole.

IF THE GRIEVANT IS REPRESENTED IN THIS GRIEVANCE. THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION REGARDING THE REPORESENTATIVE MUST BE PROVIDED
REPRESENTATIVES NAME UC-AFT REPRESENTATIVE REPRESENTATiVES TELEPHONE NO.
Holly Craig-Wehrle (310) 592-8849
YES X NO_____

REPRESENTATIVES ADDRESS (City. Stale. Zip) UC-AFT GRIEVANCE


P.O. Box 35618, Los Anacles, CA 90035

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