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UCR Cancels Sabbatical, Franklin Fellowship Blocked

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Community and Black faculty concerned

By Chris Levister –

Members of the Dr. Barnett and Eleanor Jean Grier Concerned Citizens of UCR and black faculty met at UCR Tuesday. The group heard from longtime Professor Waymond Rodgers (School of Business Administration). Dr. Rodgers is the subject of controversy after it was disclosed that university officials abruptly cancelled his approved sabbatical (commencing June, 2011) blocking him from serving as a Franklin Fellow at the U.S. Department of State.

“We are more than deeply concerned with what we heard tonight,” said Chairman Sylvia Martin-James of the confidential discussion.

“The U.S. Department of State selected Dr. Waymond Rodgers to serve as a prestigious Franklin Fellow because of his world class research on important matters of foreign policy, ethics and national security,” said Martin James, former president of the UCR Alumni Association.

“It is extremely troubling that at this, the eleventh hour, UC Riverside has chosen to call into question his teaching performance, his commitment to his students, this university and the very research that caught the eye of the U.S. Department of State,” she said.

Timeline of Events

According to documents obtained by the Black Voice News, representatives from the State Department opened fellowship and security clearance discussions with Dr. Rodgers in early spring 2010.

Letter dated August 24, 2010 extended Rodgers a conditional offer to serve as a Franklin Fellow at the U.S. Department of State.

“We are enthusiastic about the richness that you and other Fellows will bring to the foreign policy process….” wrote Carmen G. Cantor, Deputy Director, Bureau of Human Resources.

The conditional offer is based on conclusion of an agreement with the University of CA Riverside.

December 8, 2010 School of Business Administration Dean, David Stewart wrote:

“Acting under authority delegated by the Chancellor, I am pleased to approve your Regular Sabbatical Leave for the Fall 2011 & Winter 2012 quarters at 100% salary.”

March 30, 2011 Vice Chancellor (Provost) Dallas Rabenstein signs U. S. Department of State Intergovernmental Personnel Act Agreement.

March 31, 2011 Rabenstein rescinds his signature citing internal process issues.

April 7, 2011 State Department letter to Chancellor Timothy White:

“Dr. Rodgers will make a valuable contribution to the United States through his work in public diplomacy,” wrote Joanne M. Martin, Franklin Fellows Program. “We are grateful to the University and the School of Business Administration for your commitment to public service, which makes his participation possible,” said Martin.

“We are certain Dr. Rodgers’ students will benefit from his participation… through understanding of new models of partnerships between government and private industry related to foreign policy goals.”

April 18, 2011 Dean Stewart rescinds Rodger’s sabbat ical leave.

“After consultation with senior university administration I am suspending all of your leaves from the Campus including your previously approved sabbatical for 2011- 2012, until resolution of the 015 disciplinary case that the Campus is bringing,” wrote Stewart.

April 20, 2011 University officials file Faculty Code of Conduct complaint against Rodgers.

April 21, 2011 Rodgers, UCR officials enter into formal conflict resolution process.

April 25, 2011 Rodgers receives forwarded copy of Stewart letter to State Department cancelling sabbatical.

“I regret to inform you that the University of California Riverside must withdraw permission for Professor Rodgers to take sabbatical leave during the 11-12 academic year. He will therefore not be able to participate in the Franklin Fellowship during the next year.”

No details have been released about what prompted the inquiry of Rodgers’ teaching and research.

Rodgers who arrived at UCR in 1992 has an extensive resume. He is the only African American tenured professor in the UC’s 6 Schools of Business.

Rodgers and the University will not comment on the controversy, citing policy that prevents discussing personnel matters.

In January 2010 Rodgers told the Black Voice News: “This is an opportunity of a lifetime, a chance for me to accrue equity to my extensive research in corporate social responsibility and ethical decision making principles, spotlight UCR and the nation, as well.”

He has lectured extensively worldwide, written five textbooks and published more than 112 articles in prestigious national and international peer review journals.

He is also the recipient of major research grants from the Brazilian and Canada Research Foundations, Ford Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, the Navy Personnel Research and Development Center and Nordakademie located in Germany, the (first private university founded and funded directly by industry).

Rodgers says his new book Ethical Beginnings: Preferences, Rules, and Principles Influencing Decision Making brings to the global discourse a timely model for ethical decision making in these uncertain times.

“The potential impact of my research in corporate social responsibility is huge in terms of better understanding our allies’ and detractors. It explores pathways to ethical decisions that could potentially diffuse or avoid global conflict reminiscent of that occurring in the Mideast and Africa,” he said.

The Franklin Fellows Program named in honor of Benjamin Franklin was established in 2006 by the United States Department of State to bring in professionals from universities, the private sector and non-profit organizations to work on global issues of vital importance to the U.S. A fellowship enables academic institutions such as UCR to foster a culture of public service by their professionals.

Uncustomary to UCR’s policy of publically announcing distinguished faculty and staff achievements, the university has made no announcement of the Franklin Fellowship awarded to Rodgers.

“Dr. Rodgers’ unique research has the ingredients necessary to effect national and global policy,” said Martin-James. “His work over the past 20 years at UCR may also lead to monies for other noteworthy faculty in other areas of research.”

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