Originally created 05/07/99

University professor challenges panel's dismissal

ATHENS, Ga. -- A tenured University of Georgia economics professor said Thursday he's not surprised a faculty panel has recommended that he be fired. But he criticized the ruling as the outcome of an overly powerful administration and a department riddled with interpersonal strife.

"I could just fold up and go away; that is an option I'm not willing to exercise," said Nadeem Naqvi. "This biased and unfair trial will not hold up."

A faculty panel recommended Tuesday that Dr. Naqvi be fired for neglecting his teaching duties and sexually harassing an undergraduate last fall.

"The committee unanimously finds that Dr. Naqvi violated the policies of the Board of Regents and UGA," according to the five-member panel's Tuesday report to University of Georgia President Michael Adams.

"The committee has noted that sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advancements and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interferes with an individual's work."

The panel also said if Mr. Adams decides not to fire Dr. Naqvi, the president should suspend the professor for two years without pay. Mr. Adams is reviewing the recommendation. His decision can be appealed to the state Board of Regents.

An award-winning teacher and a tenured professor who has been at University of Georgia since 1987, Dr. Naqvi said the faculty panel was biased because its members would not want to cross Mr. Adams.

"He has clearly made the signal; the president wanted me out," Dr. Naqvi said. "The administration has become more powerful."

Dr. Naqvi said if Mr. Adams recommends firing him, he hopes to win back his post in a federal discrimination lawsuit he intends to file against University of Georgia, claiming bias against his East Indian background.

He said the university targeted him for dismissal after he filed a federal complaint last August claiming the interim business dean labeled him the "2- percent Indian" and singled him out for low raises.

He plans to work at the World Bank as a consultant over the summer and look for teaching work elsewhere in the Southeast.

The faculty panel, which held a rare university dismissal hearing last week, found Dr. Naqvi had sexually harassed one of his students while at a downtown bar Sept. 11, frequently canceled class and failed to return senior papers in a timely manner despite warnings.


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