Professor Robinson’s April 3 Response to Charges Officer Seeking Info Re: Formal Charges

Professor Robinson’s April 3 Email to Charges Officer Martin Scharlemann Requesting More Information Regarding Formal Charges If Any

3 April 2009

Professor Martin Scharlemann
Academic Senate
Charges Officer
University of California-Santa Barbara

Dear Professor Scharlemann,

I am in receipt of your March 25 letter informing me that you have
decided to constitute an ad hoc Charges Committee to investigate
allegations against me.

In the first place, I have not received any notification whatsoever
from you as to what charges will be the basis of an ad hoc Committee
investigation.  As you must be aware in light of the position you
occupy as Academic Senate Charges Officer, allegations such as those
submitted by the two student complainants have no institutional weight
except to trigger charges if the Officer believes they have merit.  It
is then the responsibility of the Charges Officer to identify charges
that will form the basis for investigation into possible violations of
the Faculty Code of Conduct.  The Faculty Code of Conduct is explicit
in listing types of unacceptable conduct.  The “Campus Procedures for
Enforcement of the Faculty Code of Conduct [Revised 6/1/06]” states
that it is required “that the accused of a formal complaint knows what
he or she is being charged with.”  I expect you to produce a charges
sheet immediately; otherwise you will have failed to discharge your
duties, the investigation which you propose will be void of substance,
and your conduct will appear as entirely arbitrary and in violation of
“Procedure.”

In the second place, in my letter to you of 9 March and in my email of
12 March I raised a number of concerns and have yet to receive a reply
from you on any of them.  I will remind you that, among other items, I
requested from you: 1) an explanation as to why you summoned me to
write a written response to these charges prior to any charge having
been ratified by an advisory or ad hoc committee, in accordance with
the stipulations laid out in “Procedures?”; 2) whether or not you
referred the two student complainants to the chair of my department or
to the dean of social sciences when they first approached you with
their informal complaint, as indicated in “Campus Procedures?,” and if
you did not route the students to the chair or the dean then an
explanation as to why not; 3) a clear and specific answer to my
question as to whether you advised the complainants to seek from me an
apology, as one of the complainants claims – in writing and
specifically in the letter that constitutes the formal complaint –
and which would have been an egregious act that calls into question
your competence to engage in this process.

Lastly, as stated in my detailed letter of 9 March to you, I find this
complaint to be a patent, ominous, and politicized violation of
academic freedom.  My right in accordance with the Code “to present
controversial material relevant to a course of instruction” is being
flagrantly violated and I am under harassment.  The essence of the
students’ complaint as they themselves state it is that my
introduction of material into my course critical of Israeli state
policy constitutes anti-Semitism and this is the only argument made by
the complainants to substantiate their charge of anti-Semitism.  In
accordance with the “Procedures” it is your responsibility to “explain
to the complainant the need to substantiate any complaint that is
made.”  I will remind you that it is, in its own words, “the intent of
the Faculty Code of Conduct to protect academic freedom.” Your
decision to find the complaint as contained in the two student letters
to be non frivolous and serious enough to not refer them in the first
instance to the department chair or to the dean and to decide to
constitute an ad hoc committee for further investigation makes you
complicit in this attack on academic freedom.

Sincerely,

William I. Robinson

c.c., w/attachments
Chancellor Henry Yang
Professor Verta Taylor, Chair, Department of Sociology
Professor Melvin Oliver, Dean of Social Sciences
Professor Gene Lucas, Executive Vice Chancellor
Ms. Stephanie Smagala, Academic Senate Analyst
Yousef Baker, Coordinator, UCSB Committee to Defend Academic
Freedom
Richard Appelbaum, Professor, Sociology and GISP
Dick Flacks, Professor Emeritus, Sociology
Lisa Hajjar, Professor, Law and Society
Susan Mazer, Chair, Academic Senate Committee on Committees
Members, Academic Senate Committee on Faculty Welfare and
Academic      Freedom

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