Faculty members at the University of Montana are expected to complete a new discrimination prevention tutorial by the middle of next month, though some have said they’re reluctant to do so and wonder why the U.S. Department of Justice needs to know who they are.

Required by the university’s resolution agreement with the DOJ and the Office for Civil Rights, the new tutorial looks to help faculty members understand the university’s newly written regulations and better serve students reporting incidents of sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination.

But at a Sept. 12 Faculty Senate meeting, faculty members voiced concern over the tutorial and a little-known segment of the school’s agreement with the DOJ requiring it to provide the agency with names and titles of employees who fail to participate in the training.

That was followed by a Sept. 19 letter from six other faculty members to UM President Royce Engstrom reaffirming the concerns.

“What information do you regard yourself as obliged to report to the DOJ about those employees who undergo the tutorial and those who fail to?” their letter reads. “How do you understand that the DOJ intends to use this information?”

Faculty members also asked Engstrom what additional employee information the school would provide the DOJ if the agency made any follow-up requests.

Faculty Senate Chairwoman Liz Putnam believes the concerns are valid and are shared by other faculty members who didn’t sign the Sept. 19 letter to school administrators.

“I support the faculty being concerned — they’re important facts to raise,” Putnam said. “We have to deal with it (the DOJ agreement). We can voice objections and concerns, but I don’t know there’s anything that can be changed.”

***

Lucy France, UM legal counsel, said she was aware of concerns expressed by some over the DOJ’s requirement that UM provide the names of those who fail to participate in the training.

While the mandate isn’t unique to the DOJ and is required in many resolution agreements, France said, the university was working to address the concerns.

“I’m optimistic that the university can work with its employees to ensure that they understand their obligations under Title IX to address allegations of sex-based harassment, as well as show that they are familiar with the university’s policies and procedures regarding discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking and retaliation,” she said.

“I’m also optimistic that we can work with the DOJ to provide verification that our employees have this knowledge without providing the names of particular employees,” she added.

According to Section 9 of the resolution agreement, under “Training and Professional Development,” UM must provide the DOJ with the sign-in sheets of each employee by name and job title for each training required under other sections of the agreement.

The university also must provide “a list of any university employee who failed to participate in such training by name and title,” the agreement says.

The university must provide the sign-in sheets by Dec. 31, and again for subsequent training by May 31, 2014, May 31, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2015.

“They need to learn what the university’s policies and responsibilities are,” France said of UM faculty members. “We’re working with them to achieve that. We have to abide by the DOJ agreement.”

Putnam said the requirement concerns some faculty.

“It’s the fact that the DOJ would even have a list of names, one way or another,” she said. “I don’t think the point is there’s a list of people who have or haven’t completed it, but rather, there’s a list of names being turned over to DOJ.”

Reporter Martin Kidston can be reached at 523-5260, or at martin.kidston@missoulian.com.

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(21) comments

raptor53

providing names if you fail to cooperate sounds rather "Big Brother-ish!" so then what, you get audited by the IRS ? is the faculty the problem here ? can the faculty be a solution here? This is another example of government and leadership by knee jerk reaction. It's anything goes under Holder and Eng-strum. Big Brother knows what is best and you must comply and bend to our will, plebes.

Proud Missoulian

I realize that headlines have to be of limited length, but this should read "Small Minority of UM Faculty..." The rest of us (faculty and staff) completed this simple, 10-20 minute task without complaint.

Nikki's Niece

Dear Donald M, John Weber, and Thinkin’ Conservative: Unfortunately, you seem completely confused regarding the faculty members who have refused to take the tutorial and are standing up to the arbitrary tyranny exhibited by the university. They are neither left-wing Marxists nor have they ever supported the UM president and the administration. These are hardworking independent-minded individuals who are defending their basic constitutional rights as Americans and as Montanans. Instead of resorting to simplistic generalizations, you need to talk to these faculty members to understand what the fight is all about. I am certain that after talking to them you will reach the same conclusion I have, that they care deeply about their students, colleagues, and university staff, and that we should all support them in their fight against the run-away and incompetent administration at UM.

Thinkin Conservative

You are the type of individual that won't acknowledge anyone else's opinion as a form of FREE expression. You know that "simplistic" document that you have no problem mentioning - when it works for you. Take the tutorial. What harm will come to you, if you do. Even if you feel you are above such a simple task, do it anyway. You might learn something.

DonaldM

What beautiful irony! The left-wing faculty of UM has voted for and supported this Marxist tyrant for over 5 yrs now, and are upset that Marxist tyrants do what Marxist tyrants do? Just as rattlesnakes do what rattlesnakes do-it's in their DNA.

Some of these faculty were among the complainers against the UM that brought about the "investigation" in the first place. The rules aren't supposed to apply to loyal leftists, just the others. Suck it up guys and gals; you brought it upon yourselves.

If you don't comply the DOJ will have your name and you might just be visited by the IRS or Homeland Security for your suspect behavior.-maybe they will send in Lois Lerner to check you out.

I find it curious that there have been so many rapes at MSU this fall that the Admin suspended 2 fraternities. Where is the news coverage and public clamor about this? I know, it's only at UM where it's not ok to rape female students and the public pastime is to disparage UM.

I love the irony.

JMontana

Well said Donald - There have allegedly been twice as many rapes at MSU over the past 3 months, than there have been connected to UM in the past 3 years... Where is the investigation? News reports? Public outrage? Firings? Interesting...

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Florio is gone pursuing her mystery novels. Interesting how the Missoulian let her fabricate and exaggerate things to sell papers and it wasn't until the Federal Entities were pressured to step in and found there truly was "Nothing to see here folks....move along" that Florio skipped off into the sunset leaving behind the mess I believe she (along with this newspaper) had a big part in starting.

Thinkin Conservative

Nikki's Niece - You don't have a clue what you are talking about. Anyone can find out the name of faculty and staff at the university. Its called a website. These individuals are public employees and if some faculty want to pout about taking a ten minute tutorial, that is their problem. While all of the DOJ mandates may not be desirable to all, they are put in place to help make positive changes at the university. So what do they think the DOJ is going to do with there names? Put them on the most wanted list. Faculty need to spend their energy and time teaching and supporting their students.

BillK
BillK

You're missing the point, apparently deliberately because you're neither "thinkin" nor are you a "conservative." Where in the Constitution is the Department of Education enabled to involve itself in this? In fact, where in the Constitution is there a requirement that the Department of Education even exist?

Nice false flag attempt, though.

Dr Kenneth Noisewater

Student enrollment
faculty morale
both dismally low

Engstrom salary
negative news
both record highs

so we got that going for us
which is nice
go football?

Roger
Roger

The Obama Administration continues to wield the heavy hand of the federal government. Faculty members are right to be concerned about UM providing the DOJ with their names. Who knows what would be done with the names, but it probably wouldn't be good.

John P Weber
John P Weber

While I don't think the DOJ should know who doesn't take the training, at the same time none of the faculty should worry since they are employee's of the U system they have to abide by any agreements made by a unit of the U system. And the only ones who should be worried are those faculty who would be primed to sexually assault male or female students on campus. These overpaid and underworked faculty members should just follow the agreement and hang their heads for their lack of caring about the welfare of their students is showing. the yare more concerned with themselves than the students at UM.

DoItRight
DoItRight

I think that the headline should have been “sexual assault PREVENTION training."
If you want sexual assault training, then you call it GRIZZLY FOOTBALL.

JMontana

Good call Gwen. There was after all, one, singular sexual assault in the history of the program. The headline should actually read "DOJ still unable to find any serious wrong doing of any kind in witch hunt; Faculty confused". That would be more accurate.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

Funny how people to this day, still take Gwens word for the truth even after a (combined several years) of investigations by the Federal Govt found this University and this City weren't what she made them out to be after all.

walter12

When you invite Obama's and Holder's Stalinist type thugs in, you find that you cannnot get rid of them. It is UM's own fault.

student4

Stalin killed twenty million people. Obama creates top heavy government, class warfare, huge debt due to his spending, and poverty pocket dependency. Holder is a joke, moronic and fails to enforce laws as equally, shows political favors. UM is a good school I like to think does not particulate the way of the others. John Kerry is simply a hack(h

Nikki's Niece

In a previous comment, I expressed hope that between them President Engstrom and his vice-president for integrated communications could keep UM out of the news for one full week. Yet, once again, UM is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Here is the sequence of events in this latest self-inflicted crisis: First, to save his job, Engstrom threw the athletic director and the football coach under the bus. Second, it quickly became clear that sacrificing these two individuals was not sufficient. He then threw the faculty and the staff of the university under the bus to save his job, by signing agreements without consultation with the university community, that is, without consulting elected representatives of the faculty and staff. Third, both Engstrom and his legal counsel are out of their depth; numerous organizations and attorneys have contacted Lucy France regarding the illegality of the mandatory nature of the so-called tutorial, the fact that the definition of sexual harassment as stated in this agreement conflicts with established legal precedent, and that reporting of the names of UM employees to the Department of Justice violates their right to privacy—all concerns ignored by the Missoulian reporter. Like deer caught in the headlights, Engstrom and France are now desperately hoping for a way out.

Bittersweet
Bittersweet

"Engstrom and France are now desperately hoping for a way out."

............

What a wonderful World that would be.

familytruckster

AMEN! Perhaps they need help finding the door...?

MiddleFinger
MiddleFinger

Umm....We're gonna need a bigger bus!

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