In light of the recent terminations of two tenured Dixie State University professors, the University wants the campus and community to understand that such decisions are deeply difficult, meticulously investigated, and carefully weighed. DSU fully understands that our employees are our greatest asset and makes every effort to support, invest in, and advocate for our faculty and staff. To protect our employees and students and maintain the integrity of our institution, DSU follows policies and laws placed upon us by federal, state, and local governments, the Utah System of Higher Education, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and the University itself.
Dixie State University takes all personnel matters seriously. When concerns are made, thorough investigations are conducted with multiple checks and balances in place. If policy is found to be violated, the employee is subject to disciplinary action as outlined in DSU Policy 372: Corrective and Disciplinary Action. Appeals of certain disciplinary actions are also outlined within University Policies 372: Corrective and Disciplinary Action, 151: Staff Grievances, and 371: Faculty Termination.
Per policy, vice presidents issue terminations, and President Williams is not involved in the initial investigation, decision-making process, or termination in order to stay impartial for any potential appeal process. Accordingly, each of the involved parties will have the opportunity for due process and to appeal these decisions to ensure a fair and balanced decision.
To protect the privacy of faculty and staff, the University cannot disclose personnel information, the nature of a dismissal, complaints, investigation evidence, or witness affidavits in accordance with DSU policy and the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA). Because DSU is bound by GRAMA, the information the University uses to make these complex employment decisions is not made public, often resulting in one-sided reports. Also in accordance with GRAMA, termination letters are a summary of findings from the investigation, and cannot include the protected, confidential evidence discovered during the investigation. All University employees are bound by all university policies. Any failure by faculty, staff, or administration to abide by the law opens the University to liabilities.
The University understands that when professors are terminated, it can be a difficult time for those who were taught, mentored, and influenced by these individuals. Policy violations do not erase professors’ legacies and all of the good that has been achieved over the years. The University is working on securing faculty to take over the workload of these professors for the remainder of the semester. Dixie State will continue to support students, faculty, and staff and abide by DSU, state, and federal policies and procedures to ensure a fair and safe environment for all.
* Updated on March 12, 2018.