Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Committee Wants to Re-read My Term Paper

To recapitulate, I had appealed my failing grade on the final project in Philosophy of Science Teaching, and the Departmental Committee had denied my appeal. After many inquiries on my part, the Senate Committee finally agreed to hear my appeal; and Danny Blair, the chair of the committee, had agreed to ask the Departmental Committee to provide their written reasons for their decision.

That was when I got this surprising letter from Colin Russell, the registrar:

Hello Marty,
The Education Department Review Committee has asked to see the original copy of your assignment, as you offer to provide below, not because of concern over the veracity of the date, but rather to see the notes and markings that Professor Bush made on the paper, to which you refer in your explanation. Hopefully if the comments are hand-written they are legible enough in a pdf or photo-copy for you to provide one. Please let me know if you can email a pdf or mail a hard copy of the original assignment to me.

Well, as far as I had been told, it was Danny Blair who was responsible for handling the grade appeal, not Colin Russell. So I wrote back, with a copy to Blair:

Dear Prof. Russell:
Please tell the DRC to forward all requests through Danny Blair.

Blair did not respond to this. Instead, I heard back from Russell:

Dear Marty,
This request is coming from the DRC in response to your grade appeal, and the Registrar is designated to receive material from appellants for this purpose, so I will be the person to facilitate exchange between you and the DRC.
 Why was Russell asking me to submit additional material to the DRC? I was not asking the DRC to change their grade. Danny Blair had requested them to provide reasons for their decision. Any new information I gave them would only give them a chance to come up with new reasons, and I wasn't about to let them do that. I wrote back to Blair:

Dear Prof. Blair
It is now three weeks since you undertook to provide me with the DRC's written reasons for their decision rejecting my grade appeal. That decision was final, and there is no provision in the University Regulations for them to attempt to change their decision pending my appeal to the Senate. According to your ruling as chair of the Senate Committee, I am entitled to the reasons for their decision, and I must insist that they provide those reasons forthwith.
I would also appreciate if you would tell Colin Russell that he has no jurisdiction to demand further documentation from me in this matter.
marty green
 Little did I know I was wasting my time. Unbeknownst to me, Danny Blair had been replaced as Chair of the Senate Committee.

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