Byrd reviewing Gubanc’s last internal appeal


by Ben Frotscher

Junior Sarah Harriman just wanted to show some support for a faculty member who has made a difference to her at Simpson.

That’s why Harriman went to talk with President John Byrd as he contemplates the last internal appeal from Susanne Gubanc, assistant professor of communications. Gubanc was denied reappointment in January and has already appealed and been denied by the Faculty Personnel Committee.

“My main intention was to show my support, not to retaliate,” Harriman said. “By supporting Susanne, I want her to continue as an educator.”

Harriman, who was one of around six students to discuss Gubanc’s situation with him, said she told Byrd what she thought of Gubanc as a professor.

“I basically told him why Susanne was a good educator and her impact on my Simpson experience,” Harriman said.

Because Gubanc is still awaiting a decision, Byrd couldn’t comment on her appeal specifically. He said other appeals would require the same level of privacy.

He did say that an appeal to the president generally involves reviewing all of the relevant documents, interviewing persons relevant to the appeal, ensuring that processes and procedures have been followed and then making a decision based on all the information that has been gathered.

“Basically, at the end of an appeal, I’m going to have looked at everything I can get my hands on and assure myself that, one way or another, I have the information I need to make a decision,” Byrd said.

Through an anonymous source, it was learned that Gubanc would receive Byrd’s decision on May 5.

Gubanc confirmed this information. In a letter to Gubanc, Byrd set this date. “Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I anticipate reaching a final decision no later than May 5, 2006.”

Gubanc said the late deadline, as well as the whole process, has been frustrating.

“It has been frustrating since September 28 of last year when all of this began,” Gubanc said. “It’s a long process and I’ve taught an overload each semester, so on top of trying to teach classes, there has been a lot of work that I have put into this process.”

She hopes her hard work will benefit her in the end.

“I hope he [Byrd] turns over the decision and that I am given a reappointment contract,” Gubanc said. “I hope that I have created an argument and found reasons and evidence to have this decision overturned.”

Gubanc admitted history isn’t on her side.

“If you’re looking at history, you would say, ‘boy, you’re really trying to push that stone uphill,'” Gubanc said. “On the other hand, there are amazing things that happen. Even as I sit here looking at all the precedents, I have to think that this could be the day, this could be the day that we change that tide.”

The presidential appeal began on April 5 when Gubanc met with Byrd and turned in all necessary materials.

“I’m believing that he wants to do a very thorough investigation and that does take time,” Gubanc said. “He asked for at least 30 days to review all of the materials.”

With the appeal still ongoing, Gubanc said she hasn’t signed her contract for next year. The contract was due March 31, but per her request, Byrd is letting her wait to sign it – or not sign it – until he makes a decision.

Gubanc said she honestly doesn’t know if she’ll be back next year.

“I have no idea,” Gubanc said. “That is the reason why I didn’t sign the contract. I just don’t know. It is my most sincere desire that I may continue on for many years at Simpson. Teaching is my vocation.”