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Published: Saturday, 12/4/2010

UT union, board close arguments

Lawyers for the University of Toledo's faculty union and for the UT Board of Trustees wrapped up closing arguments Friday in a court case that could help redefine the power a university president has over the structure of its academics.

In mid-October, the board approved a massive reorganization of UT's academic colleges, a blueprint proposed by President Lloyd Jacobs the previous month.

The university's chapter of the American Association of University Professors objected, saying Dr. Jacobs violated the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, which required Dr. Jacobs to consult with faculty leaders before making such wholesale changes to the university's academic landscape.

The union filed a grievance and wants an external arbitrator to decide the issue. But in late October, the union also filed a request in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for a restraining order to block the reorganization and allow the labor grievance process time to play out.

The most dramatic change recasts the century-old College of Arts and Sciences into three new colleges — each with a fresh name and narrower academic mission. The 20-some departments are now reorganized as the College of Language, Literature, and Social Science, College of Mathematics and Science, and College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Another controversial change is the melding of the Judith Herb College of Education and the College of Health Science and Human Service into a single education college still named after Ms. Herb. The university says it's moving forward and planning to name new deans on Monday. Judge Gary Cook's ruling could come out anytime.

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