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Y. DRAFT POLICY OUTLINES UNIVERSITY, RELIGIOUS ROLES

SHARE Y. DRAFT POLICY OUTLINES UNIVERSITY, RELIGIOUS ROLES

A draft policy on faculty discipline at Brigham Young University attempts to separate university and ecclesiastical roles regarding academic freedom and employment.

"We think this document helps to delineate the two spheres as much as we can," said James D. Gordon, a law professor and vice chairman of the committee that proposed the policy.The 10-page document contains two sections - one on faculty termination and academic freedom procedures, and one outlining grounds for dismissal. It is a companion to BYU's new statement on academic freedom. The proposed policy is open for faculty comment until Dec. 31.

An LDS professor with tenure could be fired for not meeting the requirements to enter temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to the policy. That standard is not new to the LDS Church-owned university, but it has not been uniformly applied. Some department deans and chairmen questioned faculty about temple worthiness during interviews while others didn't.

LDS professors, who make up 98 percent of the faculty, can be dismissed after excommunication or disfellowshipment from the church or for "failure for a reasonable period of time to meet the standards of conduct consistent with qualifying for temple privileges." Other grounds for dismissal based on adequate cause include honor code violations, moral turpitude, incompetence and sexual harassment.

English professor Eugene England said the temple worthiness standard doesn't need to be put on paper because it's always expected. When it's written , he said, "it starts to look like it's going to be used as a tool against you."

The provision clarifies BYU's longstanding expectation of LDS faculty, according to memos written by President Rex Lee, Provost Bruce Hafen and Academic Vice Pres-ident Todd Britsch.

Through ecclesiastical channels, the church will periodically remind bishops and stake presidents that LDS faculty should meet standards to enter the temple. Bishops are to communicate with stake presidents in cases of excommunication, disfellowshipment or for faculty failure to meet temple standards over a reasonable time period. Stake presidents may then contact a single confidential source within the academic vice president's office.

England said he finds that a "little intrusive."

Gordon said the document tries to separate ecclesiastical and university roles.

"The university decides issues of academic freedom and employment. The bishops decided who can go to the temple," he said. Department deans and chairmen should no longer question subordinates about meeting temple standards, Gordon said.

Academic freedom issues that are not part of the standards of conduct for temple privileges are for university, not ecclesiastical, review.

England said the document should include a provision requiring student or parent criticism of faculty to be channeled through the university rather than the church. Critics of a professor will often complain to a bishop or general authority. Some professors have been called for interviews based on complaints to church leaders.

"The scriptures are very clear: You go to the person who offended you," England said.

Despite his mild criticism of the document, England said he's glad it emphasizes resolution of problems at the lowest possible level. The proposed policy calls for academic freedom and employment is-sues to be handled informally. It also sets up faculty review and appeals committees.

England said he's impressed with the level of trust BYU's board of trustees is extending the faculty and administration. The board is made up of general leaders of the LDS Church.

"They've given up some power," he said. "They realize this is an academic institution."