So, yesterday I posted that I had heard some news about the outcome of the investigation into Dr. Edward Feldman’s conduct a UC Davis. Specifically, Dr. Feldman had his veterinary medicine class polled about a pregnant student’s grade.
Today Scott Jaschik posted a statement from Dr. Feldman to UC Davis’s chancellor on Inside Higher Ed. He says:
I accept responsibility for my poor judgment in handling a student absence from my VMD 444 course this past winter quarter. This will acknowledge my acceptance of the sanctions you have proposed, which includes my compliance with your request that I step down as chair of my department. I deeply regret any offense or embarrassment I may have caused the student, the School of Veterinary Medicine, or UC Davis for this incident. Although I had the best interests of the student and the School of Veterinary Medicine at heart, I recognize now that some of my actions were inappropriate.
I’m also quoted in the piece and I wanted to take a moment and elaborate on my comments, because I am not sure my real feelings come through in a few quotes out of context.
While I am pleased with the outcome of the chancellor’s investigation, I am not necessarily pleased to see someone punished. I’m not sure that I have well-defined beliefs about justice or punishment and I certainly have little appetite for retaliation. I think that what is more important is to consider how future events will transpire. I am pleased that the chancellor took this matter seriously and, as I expressed to Scott when he called me last night, I was pleasantly surprised. I think that frequently these types of events are swept under the carpet and kept quiet and I am pleased that the chancellor took these matters seriously. That strikes me as a step in the right direction. Also, given his demonstration of poor judgment, I believe that it is in the faculty and students’ best interests to ask Dr. Feldman to relinquish his position of leadership within the department.
All that said, I think Dr. Feldman has the same right to privacy as his student had and I won’t pursue any further investigations into Dr. Feldman’s other sanctions.
The one thing I think is missing is action from the chancellor to prevent these incidents from happening in the future. Very few of us receive formal training in management and human resources. While UC Davis has formal policies to deal with pregnancy and childbirth, I wonder how well-educated the faculty are about them? Will faculty be educated about these in the future?
What’s funny is that in the course about about 12 hours I went from feeling jaded, to hopeful, to jaded again. I hadn’t given this incident much thought over the last few months because I figured that it would be like a flash in the pan. We’d all talk about it, news media would get excited about it, and then we’d forget. Little would be done. Then last evening I felt hopeful and that maybe I had become overly pessimistic. Then today I read the comments over at Inside Higher Ed.
It didn’t take long for this one to appear….
…why does this article continue to focus on the disadvantage of female academics
and students that happen to be parents? The world has changed a lot from the
days of male professors and stay-at-home wives, and I, for one, have to admit
that being a male parent in a dual academic marriage is not that easy. Honestly,
I think that I have a more difficult time justifying my inability to participate
in some events, etc… based on my status as a parent than than my wife does.