UM Asked to Reveal Program Reviewers, Prof. Claims Process was ‘Scandal’
Many questions abound concerning the “prioritization” process used by the University of Montana to rate its programs in an effort to deal with budget woes. U.M. History Professor Mehrdad Kia says in the past, reviewers that rated his program also published their names and credentials, but that this was not the case most recently.
"This is a program, by the way, which has been evaluated by outside evaluators at least twice in the past four years,' Kia said. "Now I get this report with three reviewers whose identities are unknown, whose qualifications are unknown, whose grading is as wide as you can imagine.... I mean, this is an absolute scandal."
Kia’s attorney, Quentin Rhoades has officially requested a ton of information about how the “Academic Program and Administrative Services Prioritization” (or APASP) committee reached their conclusions, including minutes from meetings, how members voted, and their qualifications.
"The Montana Constitution's 'right to know,' we think applies to those documents, so that we know who these folks are," Rhoades said. "We don't really care about their identities, but we want to know what their expertise is, what there experience is, and what their interest might be in regards to a particular program... what their bias might be toward a particular program."
The information request was emailed and physically mailed on December 1st, to University of Montana General Council Lucy French. Rhoades says he expects the information in a few weeks, but also said “a refusal to disclose public information gives rise to cause of action under Montana’s 'right to know' and 'right to participate' constitutional provisions.”