MILWAUKEE — The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, meeting today at Milwaukee’s Miller Park, voted to dismiss UW-Superior professor John Marder.
After meeting in closed session, the board approved a motion 11-3 in open session to dismiss the associate professor of communicating arts who teaches journalism. Voting against the motion were Regents Jonathan Barry, Patrick Boyle and Gregory Gracz.
“In bringing this matter to a close today, I hope that neither side will claim victory,” said Regent President Jay Smith before the vote. “What is important now is to close this chapter and go forward in a collegial and supportive manner. We must ensure that Professor Marder’s past misconduct with students, which has been established and punished previously, never occurs again on any UW System campus.”
UW-Superior Chancellor Julius Erlenbach brought charges seeking Marder’s dismissal in 1999. Erlenbach cited numerous allegations of unprofessional and uncollegial conduct leveled by students, faculty and staff against Marder.
Marder appealed the action to a campus faculty committee, which acknowledged that Marder’s behavior was inappropriate but recommended that he not be dismissed. Erlenbach overruled the committee and forwarded a request for dismissal to UW System President Katharine Lyall for a final decision by the Board of Regents. Marder has continued to teach at UW-Superior.
The Board also adopted a resolution that states, in part, “Erlenbach has at all times acted according to the highest professional standards, solely with the interests of his campus and its students in mind.” The resolution adds that Erlenbach “has acted with courage and personal responsibility, and with appropriate consultation with legal counsel in all his actions involving the proposed discipline of a senior member of his faculty.” The Board expressed its “respect and appreciation” for Erlenbach, because of his “willingness to forthrightly address this difficult issue.”
The lengthy process in this case culminated in an open hearing on May 1 before the Board’s Personnel Matters Review Committee. The committee presented a recommendation to the full Board at its May meeting at UW-River Falls. The Board took no action at that meeting, and the Personnel Matters Review Committee met twice more during the intervening month to prepare more detailed findings for the full Board.