Ban lifted from UH professor - Hearing set for D'Andrea's defamation claim


Ban lifted from UH professor - Hearing set for D'Andrea's defamation claim


Issue date: 4/23/07 Section: News
By Rachel Manuel
Ka Leo Staff Reporter

A ban imposed on a tenured professor prohibiting him from entering campus and from speaking with his students, was lifted after the University of Hawai'i made an agreement during a court hearing last week.

Michael D'Andrea, a professor in the Department of Counseling Education at UH's College of Education, was banned from campus and from contacting individuals at the college after receiving a letter from Interim Chancellor Denise Konan notifying him of his immediate reassignment to work at home.

After arguments made on behalf of D'Andrea and a recess in the hearing before U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor on April 16, attorneys for UH volunteered to restore his freedom to communicate with students and faculty about the grievance process and complaints made against him, according to D'Andrea's attorney Eric Seitz.

UH agreed to lift the ban while allegations that D'Andrea bullied students and faculty at the College of Education are investigated. A July hearing is scheduled to look at D'Andrea's claims for damages and defamation.

On April 12, D'Andrea had filed a lawsuit against the university for what he called an infringement of his constitutional rights. According to the letter sent from Konan to D'Andrea, there were concerns about his "alleged intimidating, hostile and bullying behavior."

UH officials issued a statement that the university is committed to and has an obligation to provide a safe and healthy working and learning environment for faculty, staff and students.

The agreement reached last Monday that was entered into by UH also granted that current and former students, faculty and staff know that they have a right not to say anything to D'Andrea, according to UH attorney Gregory Sato.

Sato had argued that UH feared D'Andrea might engage in bullying when communicating with students and faculty while Seitz argued that the ban imposed on D'Andrea was unconstitutional and an infringement of his rights of free speech.

Following the hearing, D'Andrea, who is also represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai'i, wrote an open letter to UH's Board of Regents to address what he called "the crisis of administrative leadership" and the violation of faculty members' free speech and due process rights.

After his removal from campus, D'Andrea wrote in the letter that he was subjected to a number of disciplinary actions, without due process.

He wrote that he believed other administrators and possibly BOR members approved of his removal. D'Andrea asserted that this action was based on attempts to repress his rights to free speech and his public stance on social justice and peace issues particularly including protests about President David McClain's recommendations for a proposal to establish a University Affiliated Research Center at UH.

Some issues D'Andrea wrote he has and continues to address include the administrations refusal to investigate complaints he had filed regarding problems of institutional racism and sexism at the university, the high crime rates on campus, the continuing problems gay and lesbian people encounter on campus, the unsafe dormitory rooms and the increasing tuition costs. He cited that in addition to the attacks upon his rights, these issues are some of the problems at UH, illuminating the "crisis of administrative leadership."

D'Andrea said in the letter that although it is important to support the right of all people at the university to engage in discussions about the issues, "The University Administration has crossed the line of ethical and professional behavior in my recent court hearing."

He states that at the hearing, UH's attorney tried to compare the allegations made against him for "bullying" and "intimidating" behavior with the murders committed at Virginia Tech University and the Xerox killings in Hawai'i. He wrote that since the attorney "represents" the university, he finds it reprehensible that Vice Chancellor Neal Smatresk and Interim Dean Donald Young, both of whom were present, would allow such tactics to be used to serve the university's interests.

D'Andrea continued that, "These disrespectful and insensitive comments represent the self-serving interests of an administration that has lost its moral compass and professional respectability."

Vice President for Legal Affairs and University General Counsel Darolyn Lendio responded to D'Andrea's open letter upon review and wrote, "It is clear that your allegations and the remedies you seek are intrinsically connected to your pending legal and contractual claims. These legal and contractual claims derive from personnel actions made by the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and have no relationship to alleged issues that involve the UH system administration or the Board of Regents."

Responses from Smatresk and Director of Public Relations Gregg Takayama were unavailable at the time of publication.

D'Andrea also listed in his letter some individuals who had been retaliated against for raising social justice issues and/or other concerns about unjust personnel actions and mismanagement by administrators at the university.

Lastly, he made a set of recommendations of actions to be taken to address present social injustices. They include:

- An immediate investigation regarding those who were involved in the order to ban D'Andrea from campus and the other disciplinary actions taken against him

- A written apology from UH for the manner in which its administrators allowed D'Andrea's case to be compared to the Virginia Tech massacre and the killings at the Xerox Company in Honolulu

- An investigation into possible violations in UH BOR polices and professional ethics that may have been manifested by Smatresk and Young

- The establishment of a special committee to investigate problems of racism and sexism at UHM

- The development and implementation of a plan to reduce crime and violence on campus without resorting to the arming of security personnel

- The development of an immediate plan of action to address structural problems that prevent people with disabilities from fully accessing campus buildings.

Social-justice and peace advocate works

Dr. Michael D'Andrea, a tenured professor at the University of Hawai'i at M?noa, had been teaching at UHM for about 18 years and during that time, had authored more than 200 scholarly publications, including six books. He had also received numerous awards for his contributions in areas of counseling and psychology. Some of his works include:

Book chapters related to social justice issues:

- D'Andrea, M. (2006). In liberty and justice for all: A comprehensive approach to ameliorating the complex problems of White racism and White superiority in the United States. In M. Constantine and D. W. Sue (Eds.), Addressing racism: Facilitating cultural competence in mental health and educational settings (pp. 251-270). New York: Wiley

- D'Andrea, M. (2003). Expanding our understanding of white racism and resistance to change in the fields of counseling and psychology. In J. S. Mio & G. Y. Iwamasa (Eds.), Culturally diverse mental health: The challenges of research and resistance (pp. 17-34). New York: Brunner-Routledge

Journal articles related to social justice and organizational issues:

- D'Andrea, M., Skouge, J., & Daniels, J. (2006). Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: Expanding the multicultural-social justice family to include persons with disabilities. Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 21, 70-78.

- D'Andrea, M., & Daniels, J. (1996). Promoting peace in our schools: Developmental, preventive, and multicultural considerations. School Counselor, 44, 55-64.
Other scholarly works and publications:

- D'Andrea, M., Arredondo, P., & Daniels, J. (2005, March). Multicultural advocacy and community service. Counseling Today, 47, 40-41.

- D'Andrea, M., & Arredondo, P. (2000, August). Speaking truth to power: Dealing with difficult challenges. Counseling Today, 43; 30, 37.

- Arredondo, P., & D'Andrea, M. (1997, February). Counselors' role in combating institutional racism and sexism. Counseling Today, 39(8), 34-35.

- D'Andrea, M. (1994, October). Promoting the dignity and development of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students. Counseling Today, 37(4), 24.


Original Source: The Voice - Ka Leo
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