Thursday, September 01, 2005

An article regarding Perry Mills in the Whatcom Independent, 26 August 2005 issue:


WWU moves to fire tenured prof

Drama revolves around whistle-blowing
over lab fees


BELLINGHAM - Western Washington University (WWU) is pursuing legal action against one of its tenured faculty members, which may result in the loss of his job and pension. Perry Mills, a tenured professor in the Drama Department, has been charged with making remarks to students and other faculty members, which some listeners found offensive. Mills contends the charges are retaliation for his objection to student lab fees being spent inappropriately.

Mills has been suspended since October 2004. According to WWU administration, the suspension is due to complaints by faculty and staff concerning Mills' behavior. WWU delayed filing written charges until June 2005, even though the university's procedure specifies that charges should be filed before any suspension is imposed. During the intervening time, Mills has been on paid leave, but has not been allowed on campus nor allowed to teach any classes.

Mills contends the charges are trumped up, and brought about because he objected to student lab fees being spent inappropriately. The intended use of the lab fees, totaling over $20,000, was to purchase instructional videos. Instead, Drama Department Chair Mark Kuntz used the funds for general purposes, Mills stated in court documents.

Mills has been on the faculty since 1980 and tenured since 1994. The charges for his suspension are based on testimony involving three incidents in 2004, and others stem from incidents several years ago.

On August 12, the WWU Board of Trustees moved to indemnify Provost Andrew Bodman in his individual and official capacities in this lawsuit. A hearing in the case is set for September 9 before the U.S District Court in Seattle. The hearing will address Bodman's request for a dismissal of Mill's suit. Neither of the principals nor their attorneys could be reached for comment as of press time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perry Mills verbally attacked me in class in the early 1990's when I was unfortunate enough to have taken his theater class. He was ridiculously rude and inappropriate often. I'm not at all surprised he in trouble and shouldn't be on paid leave. That's a crime!