Letter to Dan Simmons Re: APM 700-10
To: Dan Simmons, Chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate
From: Ian Kennedy, Chair, Board of the Davis Faculty Association
Subject: Formal review of draft APM 700-10
Date: May 8, 2006
The Davis Faculty Association Board is aware of the current formal review of proposed changes to APM 700, 710, 711 and 080. While many of the provisions in these are related to medical leaves and medical separations, the proposed new section APM 700-10 is much more general. This addition to the APM section on leaves adds the new concept of “presumptive” or “constructive” resignation. It proposes that if an academic appointee is absent without an approved leave or does not return to assigned duties after an approved leave, the University may presume that the cademic appointee has resigned from his or her appointment with the University. While we certainly agree that faculty should not be making excessive or inappropriate use of leave, we are concerned by the vagueness of the proposed policy and by the absence of proper safeguards or any mention of appropriate Senate review.
This section was specifically noted in the Academic Council comments during the informal review last year, when it was referred to as 700-16. The August 3, 2005 Council letter by Chair Blumenthal contained the following comments:
“In addition, I wish to point out that during my own review of these policies, I noted that the proposed revision of APM 700-16, suggesting that the chancellor may make a final decision on a separation, contradicts the Standing Orders of the Regents and Senate Bylaws governing early termination, which require that the Divisional Privilege and Tenure Committee be notified prior to the intended action, and that the affected faculty member be given the opportunity for a hearing before the Privilege and Tenure Committee. This represents a major oversight in the draft policy that will need to be rectified.”
“There should be a specific minimum cutoff point designated for an absence without leave, beyond which continued absence would prompt separation proceedings.”
“The thirty-day response limit is too short for an action as serious as termination.”
The April 25, 2005 UCEP letter comments:
“The APMs should include explicit language outlining appropriate Senate involvement in the separation procedures for faculty falling under these provisions.”
“The APM language should explicitly state that the right to grieve such an action should automatically trigger Senate review through Senate Privilege and Tenure committees.”
“In addition, we believe it would be useful for the APM language to designate a specific, minimum cutoff point for an absence without leave, beyond which continued absence would prompt separation proceedings. This would help prevent proceedings from being triggered if an individual forgot to deliver official notification about a conference trip. Members made suggestions of both 30 days and 3 months for a cutoff period.”
To DFA Board members, it appears that the new draft APM 700-10 falls far short of incorporating the suggestions from the Academic Senate. The language is vague and still does not specify the appropriate Senate role. If adopted in its present form, the policy would allow widely varying interpretations and selective enforcement. The potential for misunderstanding and unnecessary conflict is evident.
The DFA Board wishes to draw your attention to these issues as the Academic Senate deliberates changes to the APM. We believe that this is a matter of concern for all Senate members, and we trust that the Senate will give it due consideration.
Ian Kennedy, Chair
Davis Faculty Association
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