LAWRENCE -- A thorough monthlong investigation by the University of Kansas' chief academic officer has found no validity to allegations against Professor Dennis Dailey by State Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, regarding his teaching of a human sexuality course.
In his report to Chancellor Robert Hemenway, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Shulenburger wrote, "I find that Prof. Dailey's materials and his teaching methods are not obscene" and "that Sen. Wagle's complaint does not have merit." He added that, "On the basis of the evidence provided to me, I did not find occurrences of sexual harassment."
Shulenburger was charged with investigating nine allegations filed April 6 by Wagle under a Kansas Board of Regents policy on external complaints. Wagle said her charges arose from comments to her from a KU student, later revealed to be her intern.
"I concur with the provost's findings," said Hemenway, who received the report May 9. "The charged nature of the allegations drew great attention but they do not hold up under careful review. This regrettable and unwarranted attack on Prof. Dailey and the university should cease so that KU can focus on educating our students and serving the state."
For his report, Shulenburger reviewed class documents, Dailey's qualifications to teach the course, Dailey's response to the allegations, testimonials from students and alumni who had taken the class, and Dailey's teaching evaluations for the past five years. The provost conducted an hour-and-a-half interview with Wagle's student intern and reviewed the McGraw-Hill textbook and audiovisual materials used in the class.
Other findings of the report:
No audiovisual materials used in the class fit the senator's allegation of child pornography.
All audiovisual materials were prepared by educational agencies and were intended for the classroom. Materials used by a professor as part of an approved course or program of instruction at a public, private or parochial school, college or university are not obscene under Kansas statute (KSA 21-4301).
Dailey categorically denied that he advocates pedophilia in his class or in any manner conveys to students that this criminal activity represents acceptable behavior. None of the audiovisual materials or other class documents advocates pedophilia.
Dailey's teaching evaluations for the past five years are "remarkable." On a scale in which 5 represents excellence, Dailey's mean scores were never below 4.74. In response to the question, "Did [the instructor] show respect for students?" a total of 1,368 students rated his performance "excellent"; three students rated it "poor."
The provost found no cause for action against Dailey. Until spring 2003, not one of 3,355 students who had taken the elective course during the past five years had made a single formal complaint about course content to the chief academic officer, the social welfare dean or the Office of Equal Opportunity (the proper conduit for sexual harassment charges). "This lack of any formal complaint concerning content or sexual harassment is consistent with the many comments by former students about the great value of the class to them, both at the time they were students and in their later lives," the report states.
The course, with Dailey as its teacher, has been held in such high esteem that 10 religious organizations have sponsored the offering of the class to the Lawrence community for at least five years.
The class syllabus warns students to assess their readiness to take the course and states that viewing the audiovisual materials is optional.
Dailey's responses to Wagle's allegations were corroborated by many unsolicited letters and e-mail messages from students and alumni who had taken the course.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed an initial Wagle-sponsored amendment that could have eliminated $3.1 million in state funding from KU's School of Social Welfare budget. The legislature passed a subsequent Wagle amendment that directs regents universities to adopt certain policies related to the teaching of classes on human sexuality. The governor has not yet acted on that legislation.
The text of the provost's full report and related documents is available for the public to read at www.ur.ku.edu/News/sw303/report.html. Given the nature of the allegations, some of the content in the report is explicit in nature and is not intended for minors.
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