"Banished CU-Boulder philosophy professor allowed back on campus"
Dan Kaufman had been suspended, barred from campus since March 4
May 21st, 2014
Boulder Daily Camera
University of Colorado associate philosophy professor Dan Kaufman is being allowed back on campus more than two months after being placed on administrative leave and barred from the university.
Though it appears plans for Kaufman's return are still in flux, CU's Boulder campus exclusion order has been lifted, according to an email sent to the philosophy faculty and graduate students by department chairman Andy Cowell late Tuesday afternoon.
"I am writing to let you know that the Chancellor (Phil DiStefano) has lifted Professor Kaufman's exclusion order, so he is now welcome back on campus," Cowell wrote. "He will be meeting with the Dean (Steven Leigh) and me very soon for further discussion."
Campus officials have said that, broadly speaking, anyone who violates an exclusion order by returning to campus can be charged with trespassing or unlawful conduct.
"I can't comment on any specific case," CU spokesman Ryan Huff said Wednesday. "But I can say that we would only lift an exclusion order if we felt, after a thorough review, that it could be lifted without posing a threat to the safety of the university community."
Kaufman, who declined to comment for this story, was suspended with pay on March 4 for reasons that have not been made public.
Undergraduate students in one of his introductory philosophy courses said they saw Kaufman escorted out of the classroom by campus police officers. In an email later that day, Cowell informed the faculty to call police if they saw Kaufman on campus.
At the time, university officials acknowledged conducting a personnel action, but would not identify the employee or confirm whether it was related to the philosophy department.
A report by the independent American Association of University Professors released in April alleged that Kaufman was suspended for a joke he made after Cowell asked Kaufman about suicide.
"Kaufman made a 'philosopher's joke' that alluded to a standard philosophy textbook conundrum: He wouldn't kill himself, he was sure Cowell wouldn't kill him, and he wouldn't kill Cowell, unless Cowell were truly evil, like Adolf Hitler," according to the report.
According to the AAUP report, Provost Russ Moore wrote in a letter to Kaufman that the campus found his remarks to be profoundly troubling and completely unacceptable, even as a joke.
Kaufman's suspension in March came a little more than a month after the university released an independent report describing sexual harassment, bullying, unprofessional behavior and other types of misconduct within the philosophy department.
Cowell replaced former chairman Graeme Forbes on Feb. 1 after the report's release.
There was no indication that Kaufman's suspension was connected to the alleged sexual harassment referred to in the report.
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