Judge grants UNH motion to block professor’s return
DOVER — A Strafford County Superior Court judge has granted a motion to stay arbitration proceedings in a case involving the University of New Hampshire and professor Marco Dorfsman.
In early 2013, Dorfsman admitted to intentionally lowering the student evaluation scores of a junior colleague to below acceptable standards and was soon dismissed from his post.
Following his dismissal at the end of the Spring 2013 semester, the university was notified that Dorfsman had filed a grievance and arbitration proceedings began between UNH, the University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees, Dorfsman and the UNH chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
In November, an arbitrator agreed that Dorfsman’s actions represented “moral turpitude” which is cause for dismissal under the collective bargaining agreement with the AAUP and the university, but the arbitrator went on to say Dorfsman should be reinstated.
On Dec. 13, the university filed a complaint in court appealing the decision, the same day Dorfsman, through his attorney, asked the arbitrator to start working towards the terms of his reinstatement.
On Friday, Presiding Justice Kenneth C. Brown granted the university’s motion to stay the arbitration proceedings, bringing a halt to Dorfsman’s reinstatement efforts.
According to the complaint, the university system alleges the arbitrator was not authorized to “substitute his own brand of ‘industrial justice’ for UNH’s determination after finding the misconduct constituted moral turpitude,” a just cause standard for dismissal under the collective bargaining agreement between USNH and the American Association of University Professors, of which Dorfsman is a member.
The university states through its attorneys that the arbitrator exceeded his authority by awarding reinstatement after making a finding of moral turpitude and believes that portion of the award and decision should be vacated.
According to the motion to stay, Dorfsman continues to draw his salary throughout the grievance and arbitration proceedings.
Dorfsman served as an associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts through the end of the spring 2013 semester. Following his admission of guilt in February of that year, he willingly gave up his chairmanship of the Languages, Literatures and Cultures Department and any other committee positions he held.
Dorfsman and the AAUP have until mid-March to respond to the complaint.