Special hearing board Palmer’s appeal

By Susie Snyder

With the first steps of due process completed, the special hearing board for CHANCE counselor Martha Palmer has scheduled an appeals hearing to begin at 2 p.m. on Dec. 14.

Leonard Mandell, assistant dean for the College of Law and chairman of Palmer’s special hearing board, said Thursday that the special board of seven no-rank faculty members has concluded that Palmer’s situation warrants a hearing.

Palmer was informed in June that her contract will not be renewed later this month and has made allegations that the non-renewal was a “racist and sexist firing.”

After the board members reviewed the correspondence Palmer had submitted to them alleging the reasons behind her dismissal, the board concluded that the issues presented could not be developed and resolved without a hearing, Mandell said.

He said he contacted Palmer’s academic adviser, philosophy Professor Sherman Stanage, and Palmer’s two direct supervisors, Tendaji Ganges, educational services and programs director, and CHANCE Program Director Leroy Mitchell, on Thursday with letters informing them of the specific reasons about why the situation warrants a hearing and information about a pre-hearing on Dec. 13.

The letter states, “The purpose of the (pre-hearing) is to clarify the scope of the issues and address any remaining questions concerning the hearing.” The letter also states that assuming the concerns of Palmer and her supervisors are addressed on Tuesday, the actual hearing will begin as scheduled on Wednesday.

Palmer said she had “no comment” about having been granted a hearing.

Mandell said the board is “trying to do everything they can” to complete the hearing procedure “as soon as possible.” He said he does not know whether the university will decide to extend Palmer’s contract if the procedure is not completed before her contract expires on Dec. 28.

NIU President John LaTourette was asked to comment during a Board of Regents committee meeting at NIU on Nov. 30 about whether a contract extension for Palmer was possible.

LaTourette said at the meeting that he had no comment on the proposal because the Palmer matter had not been extended to him. He said he will make a decision if the question arises.

After the hearing board members arrive at a decision about the Palmer issue, they will submit a recommendation to LaTourette, who, within 10 days, will make the ultimate decision about the issue.