Students Come to Aid of Popular African American Law Professor
S tudents and alumni at the University of Kentucky’s College of Law are throwing their support behind a popular African American law professor who was denied tenure.
Darlene Goring, one of three Black faculty members at the college, was being considered last month for tenure and promotion from assistant to associate professor. Goring specializes in property and real estate law.
Goring, who has been at the college for six years, says she was denied tenure on the basis of “inadequate scholarship.”
Law school Dean Allan Vestal, who is in his first year at the position, stands behind his position. “I believe, given the information of this case, I have made the right decision.”
The move has prompted 80 students to organize a petition and letter-writing campaign in support of Goring. The students plan to circulate the petitions and write letters to Dr. Elisabeth A. Zinser, chancellor of the Lexington campus.
Under university policy, nontenured faculty have six years in which to earn tenure and are evaluated in their second and fourth years on their progress toward meeting the tenure criteria.
Goring says she had received favorable evaluations the first two times.
In the university’s law school, when a professor is ready to be considered for tenure, a dossier is prepared to chronicle the candidate’s research, teaching and service. The college’s tenure and promotion committee then considers the proposal. It can report favorably, negatively or not at all on the case.
The proposal then is considered by the college’s tenured faculty, who make a recommendation to the dean. The dean has veto power and can decide whether to send the request on to the chancellor.
Goring says she received a positive recommendation from the faculty, and says she will hire a lawyer and appeal the decision.
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