College Board approves settlement terms
Published: Thursday, April 29, 2004
Updated: Sunday, May 17, 2009 19:05
The state College Board approved today a settlement mandating no class time and a two-year salary guarantee for suspended professors Gary Stringer and Frank Glamser.
The announcement came from Attorney General Jim Hood after the board met during a 20-minute closed session.
USM President Shelby F. Thames and the two professors reached the agreement during Wednesday's termination hearing after a two-hour closed-door meeting following Thames' morning testimony.
Both professors were suspended by Thames March 5 for their investigation into the credentials of Vice President of Research and Economic Development Angie Dvorak.
Some of the terms of the settlement were:
â€¢The university will recommend Dvorak not sue the professors, although she can if she chooses.
â€¢ The university withdrew termination proceedings and will compensate both professors their normal nine-month salary for two years, although neither will be allowed to work on campus.
â€¢The university will fund Stringer's research project for two years. Stringer may transfer the project to another university but will not receive USM funds if he does so.
â€¢The professors will not have offices or supplies on campus.
â€¢The professors will not criticize the university over the two-year period.
â€¢The professors are allowed on campus to collect their belongings.
"All three gentlemen helped Southern Miss work through this matter," said Hood. "An agreement has been reached, the matter is settled and the university can move forward,"
Thomas Colbert, IHL board president, said the board felt compelled to address the settlement before the next scheduled board meeting May 19.
"We felt it was imperative to make a decision on this hearing sooner, rather that later," said Colbert. " It's a win, win situation for everyone."
After the board's decision, Thames said he wished the matter had been resolved alternatively but believed the agreement was best for USM.
"In the coming weeks and months, a debate needs not occur who 'won' this matter, " said Thames, in a released statement. "This was never about anyone 'winning,' but rather what was in the best interest of Southern Miss. We must keep in mind that Southern Miss is stronger than any one situation."
Michael Adelman, attorney for both professors, said Stringer was eager to return to his research.
"For the past 25 years, the central focus of his professional life has been his work on the Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne, and this agreement will permit him to assume once again his obligation," said Adelman.
Adelman said Glamser was pleased the charges had been withdrawn and termination proceedings halted.
"Dr. Glamser is disappointed that he will not have direct contact with students, but he feels that this settlement is in the best interest of the University," said Adelman.
"Dr. Glamser also asked me to state that if he is offered an opportunity in the future to work directly with the students, he certainly would consider it."
Some of Glamser and Stringer's strongest supporters were disappointed the professors will not be in the classroom, but said they did not view the settlement as a victory for Thames.
"They are not fired, which is what Shelby wanted to do," said Myron Henry, Faculty Senate president. "They have salaries. Dr. Stringer will be able to continue his distinguished research with full support."
Amy Young, anthropology professor, said some of her students were disillusioned with the outcome.
"They will never support another faculty member again," said Young. "That's what our students are saying."
Other students reacted with uncertainty after hearing the terms.
"It seems like everyone wins in a way," said Phillip Wren, a senior music industry major. "I don't know what to say. My opinion is not completely formed."
Daniel Goodman, sociology and German major, reacted with disappointment.
"Seems to me Shelby Thames got his way," said Goodman, who was a student in one of Glamser's classes this semester. "We wanted to reinstate Dr. Glamser and Dr. Stringer and that didn't happen."