Rosenberg approves Morgensen's appeal

By Amy Lieberman

One month after Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies professor Scott Morgensen filed an appeal in response to his tenure denial, he received some good news late Wednesday night: President Brian Rosenberg has approved his appeal. While Rosenberg’s decision does not reverse Morgensen’s initial tenure rejection, it does call for the Faculty Personnel Committee to reconsider his tenure case.

This academic year, seven professors were up for tenure. Morgensen and French professor Diane Brown were the only two who did not receive it.

As of press time Wednesday night, Brown, who, like Morgensen, filed an appeal in mid-March, could not be reached for comment.

Professors can file tenure decision appeals based on either procedural violations or academic freedom. Morgensen implied that he and Brown chose the former route.

“We are not appealing the evaluation of the content of the file, but the process of the review. The Appeals Committee is considering whether there was a violation of proper process,” Morgensen said.

Morgensen’s initial tenure denial and appeals case has garnered an unusual level of publicity in the past few months. Following Morgensen’s rejection, more than 200 students rallied together under the Facebook group “Scott Morgensen lovers” and 60 students sent letters of support to five different administrators, advocating for the professor’s case to be reconsidered.

Morgensen said that he doesn’t discuss his tenure denial in class, but that he is very appreciative of the support his students have shown.

After the Faculty Appeals Committee receives a candidate’s note of appeal, it has two weeks to make a recommendation to Rosenberg. Rosenberg then reviews the recommendation and decides within two weeks if he wants to accept or reject the FAC’s decision. He can also call for the FAC to reconsider the matter and further investigate the case.

As the process is entirely confidential, it is unclear whether Rosenberg acted in line with or against the FAC’s recommendation.

But now that Rosenberg has signed off on the appeals, things are looking up for Morgensen.

The fact that he just won the Educator of the Year award can’t hurt either.

The Academic Affairs Commission annually selects a professor for the award, based off of students’ nominations. AAC chair and MCSG President-elect Alison Tray ’09 said that Morgensen was one of 11 nominees.

“It’s hard to choose just one person, but it came down to Scott. He was the best qualified,” she said.

She said that the committee did not select him because of his tenure denial and appeals case but that the committee members were “all aware of his tenure appeal.”

Morgensen, in return, said that he is “very happy, excited and proud” of the award.

“I’m honored that students would think of me and know my record as a teacher, scholar and servant of the college,” he said.

The AAC is hosting an award ceremony for Morgensen on April 22. Students can contact Tray for more information.