Email scandal occupies center stage

Urbana-Champaign Senate members continued to question University President Michael Hogan’s ethical choices Monday afternoon.

Some senators suggested at the meeting that a Dec. 10 email from Hogan to Board of Trustees chairman Christopher Kennedy contained several erroneous facts about the nature of the University Senates Conference’s discussions on enrollment management.

Hogan said in his email that the Chicago and Springfield representatives are in agreement with each other, while the Urbana campus is opposed. He added that the Urbana delegation “is trying to pressure others to accept (their) report as the official response with the aim of forcing a confrontation.”

However, Michael Biehl, Urbana’s enrollment management task force chair, said that is not true, saying that the only reason the Urbana’s review report was used as the template for the University Senates Conference was because of a lack of time.

He added that the Chicago representatives to the task force agreed “line b­y line” with what the template report said. Springfield voluntarily withdrew its delegates from the task force because they did not agree with how discussions were handled.

“(Chicago representatives) are essentially a little concerned that they are being portrayed as led around by us and coerced by us,” Biehl said. “(Hogan’s message in the email) was falsely described with a particular aim.”

According to senate vice chair Joyce Tolliver, Hogan then called Don Chambers, University Senates Conference chair, and attempted to pressure him to change the review recommendations. The University Senates Conference was preparing to issue a critical report of Hogan’s financial aid and admissions suggestions, citing caution before implementing them.

Chambers described Hogan as “irate” during their conversation, according to Tolliver.

“I think we were both a little irate,” Hogan said last week. He declined to comment further on the specifics of that conversation. But he did say that he never acted on the information that was leaked to him.

Tih-Fen Ting, a representative who resigned Friday after a vote of no confidence by the Springfield senate, forwarded information regarding the University’s Senates Conference’s discussion on enrollment management.

Hogan said this was not the first time a member of the University Senates Conference or campus senates contacted him about senate business.

“It happens all the time. It probably should. I don’t see anything wrong with it,” he said.

However, Tolliver questioned Hogan defending Ting’s actions, saying that it raises questions of whether Hogan’s “ethical bar is set too low.”

Hogan formally apologized to faculty leaders at the Senate Executive Committee meeting last Monday, taking responsibility for the embarrassment the anonymous email scandal has brought the University. Even with the apology, the full senate passed Monday a “statement on ethical leadership and shared governance.”

Hogan has maintained that he was not involved, saying on several occasions that he will let the investigative report speak for itself. The report concluded that he had no knowledge of the actions of his former chief of staff, Lisa Troyer.

University spokesman Tom Hardy said after the meeting that while some senators do not want to acknowledge the findings of the “high-quality” investigation, the important thing now is to move forward and put the University’s interests at the forefront.