Friday, September 5, 2014

Another one at CU-Boulder?

"CU-Boulder investigating yet another philosophy professor -- Brad Monton"

Associate professor Monton subject of report written by outside investigator


Sarah Kuta

August 25th, 2014

Daily Camera

The University of Colorado is investigating yet another professor within the beleaguered philosophy department on the Boulder campus.

Associate professor Brad Monton is the subject of a report by Denver-based attorney David Fine for university administrators, according to an email from an account that appears to be Fine's.

Monton is the latest professor to come under scrutiny in the philosophy department, as one professor is in the midst of termination proceedings and another has threatened to sue the university. All this comes after the university made public an independent report that found sexual harassment, bullying and other misconduct within that department.

"I wanted to let you know that I am finalizing my report regarding Professor Monton," according to the email, which was sent July 29 to one of the parties Fine interviewed. "After reviewing all the information gathered, we determined we could not responsibly ignore the totality of information presented in this matter in light of the concerns expressed by you and others."

The email also said the university may reach out to witnesses in the future if anything they said was "relevant in proceedings related to the report."

CU declined to provide the Camera with the results of Fine's investigation and would not disclose the nature of the probe, citing confidentiality around personnel matters.

For the same reason, campus spokesman Ryan Huff declined to comment for this story. Huff said earlier this month that CU retained Fine to perform services, including independent sexual harassment investigations.

Fine said it would be inappropriate for him to speak publicly as the investigator on the case.

Monton confirmed that he is not teaching classes this semester. He would not say why, but said he is not being punished and is still completing service duties within the department.

He declined to comment further.

Monton had been scheduled to teach an introductory philosophy course and a course in critical thinking and writing philosophy, according to a fall 2014 course catalog.

Though not teaching, Monton is receiving his regular salary of $83,818.

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The inquiry into Monton comes to light several weeks after the revelation that the university initiated termination proceedings for tenured philosophy professor David Barnett, who has taught at the Boulder campus since 2005.

Another professor within the philosophy department, Dan Kaufman, is seeking $2 million in damages from the university after it barred him from campus for more than two months.

Many philosophy faculty members have said they fear the administration will dissolve the department for alleged incidents of misconduct summarized in an independent report released in late January. The university has not yet decided whether it will reopen graduate admissions into the philosophy department for the 2015-2016 school year after suspending admissions for 2014-2015.

CU initiated termination proceedings for Barnett after paying a graduate student more than $800,000 to settle claims that Barnett had retaliated against her after she reported being sexually assaulted by a fellow graduate student. The woman claims that Barnett conducted his own investigation into her alleged assault, and in the process, had conversations with other students and professors about her sexual history and behavior.

Barnett staunchly denies accusations that he inquired into the woman's past sexual history or that he made generalizations about her character.

According to a notice of claim the woman filed, Fine also looked into Barnett's investigation and issued a report about that case on May 5, 2014.

Fine also was hired to review the university's investigation into the alleged sexual assault involving the two graduate students. Fine concluded that the Office of Discrimination and Harassment, the office tasked with investigating claims involving university employees, acted appropriately and had followed university policy.


Monton, who has taught on the Boulder campus since 2006, specializes in the philosophy of science, religion and time, according to his curriculum vitae.

CU awarded him an arts and humanities fellowship in 2007-2008 that reduced his teaching load, and another fellowship in 2008-2009 to teach honors courses on campus.

In April, the state and local chapters of the American Association of University Professors alleged that Monton was forced to resign from the Boulder Faculty Assembly and was banned from participating in university committees and services responsibilities.

The AAUP claimed that Monton was pushed out of the faculty group for comments he made about an independent report that found sexual harassment, bullying and other unprofessional behaviors within the philosophy department.

Monton had said that several university administrators pressured him into retracting the opinions he expressed during a meeting of the faculty group's executive committee. His comments about the philosophy department report were erased from the meeting minutes.

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