Editor:

 

In the October 2 issue of the Gazette you gave excerpts from an

adjudicator's decision in the dismissal case of Professor Adrian

Bondy.

 

Having read the full report with care, I give my verdict: the report

is seriously flawed and its conclusions should be rejected by every

fair-minded member of the university community.

 

The flaws include so many errors of both fact and reasoning that I

cannot possibly enumerate all of them. I restrict myself to listing

ten points below.

 

1. On page 34 of the report the adjudicator claims that Bondy took a

position at both universities "knowing full well that that would be

unacceptable to either of them". Yet no evidence is adduced by the

adjudicator that the Bondy's action was unacceptable to Universite

Claude-Bernard Lyon 1. To the contrary, I have in my possession an

e-mail message dated September 25 1995 from Bondy's supervisor at Lyon,

Maurice Pouzet, director of the Laboratory for Discrete Mathematics at

Universite Claude-Bernard Lyon 1. Pouzet expresses his dismay that

Lyon's attempts to hire Bondy would have resulted in such a quagmire.

Pouzet emphasizes that Bondy has a reputation for "total integrity"

among his professional peers, and his "behavior of the past year at

Lyon has only confirmed this reputation" [my translation from the

French]. This letter is not mentioned by the adjudicator.

 

2. On page 46, the adjudicator claims that Bondy's absences "well

exceeded the norm to be expected of a tenured professor", yet no

evidence is adduced to support this claim. No statistics are presented

to demonstrate that Bondy's absences were substantially greater than

those of other tenured professors. No standards for these absences

were codified in policy at the time. In fact, many tenured professors

at other North American universities are absent for large portions

of the year, pursuing research opportunities elsewhere. Most

universities recognize that permitting professors to pursue research

at other institutions increases the visibility and reputation of the

home institution. Even at Waterloo, professors in some fields are

often away for nearly the entire summer doing field work.

 

3. Also on page 46, the adjudicator claims that Bondy's treatment by

the university was "...generous, perhaps to a fault, and thoroughly

understanding of his personal circumstances." Yet the evidence

presented in the adjudicator's own report shows precisely the

opposite:

* Bondy's annual evaluation by Chair Colbourn was so harsh that

it even had to be revised by the Dean (pp. 11-12).

 

* Bondy's request for a half-sabbatical was denied (page 7),

and even the Faculty Grievance committee concluded this

"outright refusal was too harsh" (pages 12 and 14).

 

* Bondy's request for a part-time appointment and the

possibility of early retirement was denied by the Dean (page

5).

 

* Bondy's request for a leave without pay was denied (pages 23

and 39).

 

It defies reason to call this "generous" behaviour.

 

4. On the question of fairness and equal treatment, the adjudicator,

summarizing the argument of Bondy's lawyer, notes that Chair Colbourn

"who is now in the process of leaving the University, is taking a

sabbatical leave in his last term" (page 41). The adjudicator fails to

note explicitly the *entire point* of the lawyer's argument, which is that

such an arrangement would be in flagrant violation of Policy 3, which

reads, "A faculty member who is granted a sabbatical or other leave is

expected to return to duties in the University for at least one

year... Unless there is a reasonable expectation of return, sabbatical

leave will not be granted."

 

If Bondy's lawyer is correct about the details of Prof. Colbourn's

leave arrangements, then this apparent policy violation needs to be

investigated.

 

5. The adjudicator often speaks of Bondy's state of mind in a

disparaging manner. For example, he decries Bondy's "adversarial turn

of mind and self-serving attitude" (page 48). Yet the clear evidence

of an adversarial turn of mind on the part of administrators does not

receive any similar criticism.

 

6. With respect to Bondy's request for parental leave, the adjudicator

calls the interpretation (which seems likely and reasonable to me) that

Bondy learned of his right to do so at the last minute "simply

implausible" (page 54). But no evidence is presented in support of

this claim. The alternate explanation advanced by the adjudicator --

that Bondy delayed his request until the last minute only as part of a

Machiavellian ploy in order to fulfill his responsibilities at Lyon --

is not supported by the evidence. The adjudicator even contradicts

himself on page 54 when he claims Bondy "had no intention to use his

parental leave to be freed from work to stay at home with his child".

But on page 53 the adjudicator agrees that that Bondy's intention was

to return "to Paris to be with his wife and child on weekends".

Without being freed from work *at Waterloo*, how could Bondy possibly

have spent weekends in Paris with his child?

 

7. With respect to the discussion (page 58) of the omission of the

word "primarily" by Bondy in his letter to the President Downey (page22),

I find the adjudicator's claim that the word "primarily" was a

"critical qualifying word" unsupported. The entire point of this

paragraph of Bondy's letter is evidently in support of the claim that

the particular details of how Bondy should spend his partial leave

terms, other than to pursue research, were not spelled out. The word

"primarily" means "for the most part", i.e. more than 50%. The

adjudicator has not presented any evidence that Bondy did not engage in

research for more than 50% of his time in France. It is difficult to

explain the adjudicator's failure to consider the number of hours

required for Bondy to fulfill his teaching responsibilities at Lyon.

 

8. The adjudicator chooses a very strange interpretation of the phrase

"of such a serious nature as to render the faculty member clearly unfit

to hold a tenured appointment". He claims without justification (page

62) that "normal cannons [sic] of construction would suggest that what

is contemplated is that the unethical behaviour of the professor in

question be of such a serious nature as to render that faculty member

`clearly unfit to hold a tenured appointment' AT THE UNIVERSITY OF

WATERLOO" (emphasis mine). No supporting evidence is provided for

choosing this interpretation.

 

9. The adjudicator does not give sufficient reason to believe that

Bondy's failure to inform his superiors that he had taken a paid

position elsewhere merits the harshest

possible penalty, the so-called "capital punishment" of labour

relations -- dismissal. In the Gazette of October 16, we learn of

a professor at Tornto who "misused research funds and billed for

services not rendered". His academic penalty? Repayment of the

funds and a one-month suspension!

 

10. The report, and the fact that the decision was released on April 25,

while the report itself was not submitted until September 16, give

the strong impression of an author who made his decision first and then

assembled a case in support of that decision.

 

Furthermore, Policy 53 clearly states that "The [adjudicator's]

decision AND reasons shall be provided to the University and to the

faculty member with a reasonable time, not to exceed two months from

the close of the hearing." (Emphasis and insertion mine.) The last

hearing was on February 3, so the adjudicator took more than seven

months to complete what was mandated in two. What will be done

about *this* violation of policy?

 

Jeffrey Shallit

Computer Science