MADISON — The Personnel Matters Review Committee of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will hold a hearing Tuesday, May 1, in the dismissal proceedings against UW-Superior faculty member John Marder.

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in 1820 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Dr. The hearing will be held in open session as requested by Marder. After hearing arguments from the professor and UW-Superior Chancellor Julius Erlenbach, the committee will recess into closed session to consider a recommendation.

Erlenbach brought charges seeking Marder’s dismissal in May 1999, citing numerous allegations leveled by students, faculty and staff against Marder, an associate professor of communicating arts who teaches journalism. These include allegations of sexual misconduct with two female students involving stays in hotel rooms in 1994 and 1995; failing to meet effective teaching obligations; abusing fiduciary responsibilities as adviser of the university’s student newspaper; demonstrating uncollegial behavior toward colleagues; and disseminating confidential and misleading information.

Marder exercised his right to appeal Erlenbach’s decision to the UW-Superior Committee on Faculty Terminations, which held a hearing in January 2000. In April 2000 the committee issued a report acknowledging that Marder’s behavior was inappropriate but recommending that he not be dismissed. Instead, it recommended that Marder undergo mandatory professional counseling; he be placed in a different academic department; his annual performance evaluations be conducted by a third party; and the Department of Communicating Arts engage in mediation or a similar process.

Erlenbach, after reviewing the committee’s report and meeting with Marder, said he believed the recommendation was flawed because it did not adequately address the alleged pattern of misconduct and did not present a workable solution. He forwarded his request for dismissal to UW System President Katharine Lyall and the Board of Regents in May 2000, as required under Wisconsin Administrative Code.

The Regents’ Personnel Matters Review Committee was assigned to review the case. The committee recommended to the full board on March 8, 2001, that the dismissal “be discontinued without prejudice with the specific finding that while the charges were advanced with probable cause, the record before the CFT (Committee on Faculty Terminations) does not support a dismissal for cause.”

The committee also recommended informing Marder “that such discontinuation does not preclude the future utilization of his past behaviors … in any new disciplinary proceeding which may be precipitated by future wrongful conduct by him warranting such action.”

The Board of Regents ordered the committee on April 6 to hold another hearing to receive testimony from Erlenbach and Marder. Following the hearing, the committee must submit to the full board “its recommendation for final action on this matter,” according to the board’s April 6 resolution.

The recommendation from the Personnel Matters Review Committee will not be reported in open session, as allowed under state law, but forwarded to the full board in closed session at its May 10-11 meeting at UW-River Falls. The full board could either rule on the case at that time or postpone a decision until a future meeting.

Media Contact

Erik Christianson UW System 608-262-5061