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AWM Statement on Dispute Resolution


To judge the relative merits of mathematicians is not an easy task. Whereas people of good will may differ on the substance of decisions concerning hiring, tenure and promotion, most would agree that such judgements are best made within the mathematics profession, rather than in courts of law. Unfortunately, situations arise where faculty feel that they have not been fairly treated and that inappropriate considerations have entered into the deliberations of their colleagues or of administrators. If an impasse has been reached, some institutions have found that a useful technique is to form an outside review committee consisting of those with expertise in the field of the faculty member who is challenging an adverse personnel decision. For example, two persons might be chosen by each side to the dispute, and those four might chose a fifth person. Although an outside committee can only make recommendations, with the institution retaining the authority to grant promotion and/or tenure, the advice of knowledgeable parties not directly involved may lead to a solution satisfactory to all.

AWM recommends that referral of a dispute to an outside review committee be considered as an alternative to resolution by the courts.

The above statement was approved by the Executive Committee of the Association for Women in Mathematics in February 1992. [statement drafted by Mary Gray]

The above statement was reaffirmed by the Executive Committee of the Association for Women in Mathematics in March 2011.