The Ohio University Faculty Senate committee tasked with reconsidering its conclusions about whether to recommend upholding the tenure of journalism professor Yusuf Kalyango, who was found by the university Title IX office to have sexually harassed at least two students, has yet to resubmit its final report to the Board of Trustees.
After the Board of Trustees took umbrage with the Faculty Senate Hearing Committee’s initial conclusions, the group was ordered as part of a unanimously approved resolution on March 1 to file a reconsideration of its findings regarding Kalyango’s tenure within 21 business days to be reviewed at the Trustees’ upcoming April 8-9 meeting.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 22 business days following the meeting, the Board of Trustees hadn’t received the document, university spokesperson Carly Leatherwood confirmed in an email.
Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Robin Muhammad didn’t return an email seeking comment as to why the committee, which she presides over, hasn’t submitted its reconsideration. The Board of Trustees, asked directly and through Leatherwood, also didn’t return comment about not receiving the document on time.
Additionally, Kalyango didn’t return a request for comment.
On Monday, Muhammad confirmed in an email that both she and the Board of Trustees were aware of the Tuesday deadline.
Serving as the final arbiter in determining the fate of Kalyango’s tenure, the Board of Trustees at an emergency meeting earlier in the month unanimously objected to the Faculty Senate committee’s original report, which recommended that he shouldn’t lose tenure and immediately be reinstated as a full professor after not being ensured adequate due process by the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the Scripps College of Communication.
The Board of Trustees’ concerns with the original report included the standard of evidence used, the committee’s failure to permit the university’s representative to cross-examine Kalyango, and the committee’s failure to explicitly outline the grounds on which its findings were made.
The document, uncovered by The Athens NEWS, prompted city-wide outrage over its content.
The Faculty Senate hearing committee was tasked in December with reviewing Kalyango’s appeal of tenure revocation through evidence and testimonies from both women who alleged the professor harassed them and from faculty members. After the document was made public, Faculty Senate voted to withdraw the report from the Board of Trustees’ consideration, arguing it was improperly conceived and violated university policy. Many in Senate at the time were also concerned with the evidentiary standard the committee used.
According to the faculty handbook, the Board of Trustees are only required to consider the final document sent by Faculty Senate when determining tenure revocation of a faculty member, but the body pledged to review all relevant evidence in the years long case.
The Faculty Senate committee’s members, Muhammad and Drs. Mark Franz, Sheryl House, Charles Lowery, Lauren McMills, Vladimir Marchenkov and Yehong Shao-Lucas, voted 5-1 in favor of Kalyango’s appeal. Muhammad, as Faculty Senate chair, would have only cast a vote in the event of a stalemate.
Kalyango was suspended in 2018 by the university in consultation with the Scripps college after an investigation by the Title IX office found that he sexually harassed a graduate student. The professor is still employed by the university to conduct research, but doesn’t have contact with students in the role.