Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

OCS cancels Guatemala program

<rleton-run Guatemala Off-Campus Studies (OCS) program, El Mundo Maya: Anthropology in Guatemala and Chiapas, was cancelled Wednesday, April 5.

The OCS Office and Anthropology Professor Jay Levi, who was to lead the program, said that the program was cancelled due to a low number of applicants.

However, two students, who wish to remain anonymous, recently reported to The Carletonian that they had been involved in a Title IX Adjudicated Response process with Levi and that the process had resulted in sanctions for him. The results of the process were communicated to the students involved on the complaint on the same day the program was cancelled.

Low Enrollment

The cancellation for the winter term 2018 Sociology/Anthropology (SOAN) trip came 12 days before the application deadline.    
Next winter would have been the seventh time the program had run, according to Helena Kaufman, Director of Off-Campus Studies.
Prior to the cancellation, Kaufman said there were complications with program enrollment.

“Last year, already, we had kind of low interest,” she said.

In order to increase enrollment in the program in 2016, Carleton reached out to Knox College for interested students. Although the SOAN program is traditionally a Carleton-only program, two Knox students enrolled, which helped the program meet its budget. In addition to the two Knox students, there were eight Carleton participants.

Kaufman clarified that with 10 students enrolled, the program made the budget, but enrollments lower than that would be unsustainable for the program.

For 2018, there were even fewer interested applicants. As of Wednesday, April 5, the day the program was cancelled, only five Carleton students had started applications and no Knox students had expressed interest in the program.

 “We were worried about that—that there was low interest—because five [applications] basically a week before the application deadline was pretty low,” Kaufman said.

Jay Levi, the faculty member who was set to run the Guatemala program, also commented on the low level of interest.

“There was very limited interest demonstrated in the OCS Guatemala program for next year, (only two students came to the second meeting and only three to four came to the first),” he said in an e-mail.

In addition to affecting program budgets, low enrollment in OCS programs can affect curricula.

“There’s also the consideration of effective pedagogy on the program and group dynamics,” said Kaufman. “It’s like in the classroom, when you fall below eight students, even below 10 in some situations, you just don’t have as good of a discussion.”

Kaufman said that sometimes OCS will run a program with low enrollment if the budget works out, but when low enrollments for a program are repeated, it is a sign that cancellation should be considered.

In the wake of a Carleton OCS program’s cancellation, applicants and interested students are notified of the decision and offered appointments with OCS staff to make alternative plans to study abroad.

“Obviously, that’s not an ideal situation, but we try to help students,” said Kaufman. “We have a lot of resources to deploy.”

If the Guatemala program were to return for 2020, the proposal would need to be submitted by the professor who wishes to lead the program by next January.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the program came back in 2020,” said Kaufman. “Maybe we retool some things. Maybe we change some things. It’s a great program. It really is. There are just lots of options out there, and maybe this year, it just competed with a lot of other programs.”

Levi Takes Sabbatical

Levi reported that he would be taking a sabbatical next year in light of the program’s cancellation. “I have decided to extend the sabbatical I was already scheduled to take in the spring to also include the winter and fall,” said Levi.

“Among other things, this will allow me to return to the reservations in San Diego County near where I grew up in order to work on a long overdue book project provisionally titled: Coyote Takes the Heart: Being and Belonging in the Kumeyaay World – Essays on Religion and Philosophy among a Native California Nation,” he said.

Chair of Sociology and Anthropology Clifford Clark is working with the SOAN department after retiring from teaching. Clark retired after 50 years of teaching at Carleton last August, but in May, he was asked to be part-time chair of the SOAN department. In this position, he organizes leave replacement hiring and helps the department balance staff and faculty sabbatical leaves.

Clark confirmed Levi’s decision to take a sabbatical leave next year. “The Guatemala OCS program didn’t have much of an enrollment, and Professor Levi was already going to be away for two terms. He decided to take sabbatical leave for next year.”

He went on to say, “In professor Levi’s case, he’s built up three terms [of leave], and he’s approaching retirement age. It makes sense to take those leaves before you retire.”

Title IX Process

While the SOAN department and OCS explained that the Guatemala program cancellation is a result of low interest, two students reported to The Carletonian that they had been involved in a recent Title IX Adjudicated Resolution process with Levi. One of the students said, “This doesn’t seem like a coincidence.”

There were eight student reports involved in the complaint against Levi, and one of these students expressed the belief that Levi’s absence next year might have to do with the results of the Title IX Adjudicated Resolution process.

The student said that complainants were informed that sanctions were imposed on Levi, though they were not informed what those sanctions were. They were told that the college is unable to comment on specific sanctions imposed due to the confidential nature of Title IX investigations.

The student said they thought the college did the right thing in its handling of the recent complaint. “The villain in this story is him, and to a lesser extent, tenure,” the student said. “To have him off campus is a victory of sorts.” 

Dean of the College Beverly Nagel declined to comment on personnel matters. “No Carleton faculty member has been suspended for this upcoming year,” she said.

The student shared that Nagel informed them that sanctions had been imposed on Levi, but the nature of the sanctions is confidential.
According to the document titled “Faculty Staff Resolution Procedures,” available on the Carleton Sexual Misconduct website, “Sanctions may include verbal or written reprimands, training, and counseling or other behavioral intervention, and may range up to suspension or termination of employment.”

Mary Dunnewold, Sexual Misconduct Advisor/Investigator and Title IX Deputy for Faculty and Staff, said, “Generally, if sanctions are imposed on an employee, compliance with those sanctions is a condition of continued employment with the institution.”

In explaining sanctions in general, Dunnewold remarked that “severity of offense is a primary factor in sanctioning, but the adjudicator may take other factors, like the wishes of the complainant or past actions, into account, as well.”

The student said they were informed that there were multiple complaints against Levi in the past seven years, but were not informed of the number of reports.

Title IX policy is to destroy records of complaints and proceedings after seven years. Dunnewold explained, “Generally, after seven years, records are destroyed. In some circumstances, information related to employment may be retained.”

Although Title IX records and reports are confidential, data about the complaints and sanctions imposed on students for the past seven years are available on the College Board on Sexual Misconduct’s website. Specific data regarding complaints against faculty and staff is not available online. A request for faculty and staff data from the college’s human resources  department received no response.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *