CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire’s highest court said Wednesday that an arbitrator went too far when he said the University of New Hampshire couldn’t fire a professor who changed student evaluations given to a lecturer.
Marco Dorfsman was an associate professor and chair of the Language, Literature and Culture Department at UNH in 2012 when he lowered the evaluations given the lecturer. The university fired him in 2013, saying the actions constituted “moral turpitude.”
Dorfsman and the UNH chapter of the American Association of University Professors grieved the termination and the arbitrator, while agreeing that the conduct met the “moral turpitude” standard, determined the university shouldn’t have fired Dorfsman.
A lower court ruled the arbitrator exceeded his authority and the university was within its authority to fire Dorfsman and the Supreme Court upheld the firing in an opinion released Wednesday.
The Supreme Court noted that the union’s collective bargaining agreement said if charges involving moral turpitude are sustained, the union member can be terminated immediately.
“The arbitrator may not rewrite the labor contract,” the court wrote.
Dorfsman’s lawyer immediately returned calls seeking comment. A number listed in his name in Little Rock, Arkansas, was out of service.
A spokeswoman for UNH said the university was pleased with the court’s ruling.
“We believed from day one that the university was well within its authority to dismiss him,” said Erika Mantz.
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