Like many of the UNB law school issues, the search process for the dean of law that ended with the hiring of Jeremy Levitt was kept confidential.
Although dean search processes usually include a presentation to students, the search for the dean of law omitted this step. The names of the candidates were not released to law students or the wider UNB community.
“Given the probability of having high-profile candidates to whom confidentiality during the interview process would be essential, the search committee decided at the outset that this search would be conducted in confidence. The process did include presentations by candidates to which members of the law faculty were invited,” said UNB spokesman David Stonehouse.
The hiring process for the dean of law began in the fall of 2013 and ended in March 2014. It followed the same timeline as the searches for the dean of engineering and the dean of nursing.
The search committee recommended Levitt after a process which included on-site visits by the candidates and a presentation to faculty.
Stonehouse said that an offer to Levitt was made after a “360 reference check” by a search consultant which is “an industry standard in such searches.”
Student senator and law student Lyle Skinner requested a special meeting of the UNB senate to address UNB senate search committee processes.
“A review of Senate Search Committee practices should serve to improve any future process for hiring senior administration whether they are deans, vice-presidents, or the president of UNB,” said Skinner in his document to senate.
The special senate meeting will be held on March 23.
Levitt is the “distinguished professor of international law” of Florida A&M University College of Law.
According to the database of Florida State University System Employee Salaries, Levitt received $187,430 at Florida A&M. At UNB the dean of law position falls within the $150,000 to $174,999 pay band, according to information from 2013.
Levitt is currently on a two-year unpaid leave from Florida A&M. He has also been on an unexplained leave of absence from UNB since January.
In the weeks following Levitt’s leave, it has been revealed that dean is facing unproven allegations of harassment made by the AUNBT on behalf of law professors.
A response to an RTI submitted by AUNBT president Miriam Jones to UNB requesting “the complete cost of refurbishment and renovation of the office and bathroom of the Dean of Law between January 1, 2014, and the present” revealed that $25,837.20 was spent on new furniture for the Dean of Law’s office.
External Investigation of UNB law concluded
The results of the external investigation on the UNB law school fiasco were reported to UNB vice-president academic Tony Secco on Monday.
The investigation, conducted by law professor emeritus Neil Gold of the University of Windsor, was initiated on the request of the university to help resolve the recent issues at the law school.
“Prof. Gold … has spoken to a number of individuals at the law school as part of his review of allegations by faculty and staff involving Dean Jeremy Levitt,” said Secco in a memo to law students.
“I will be taking time to review the report carefully before deciding on what action is required to ensure a respectful and collegial work environment at the law school.”
Secco also said that once a decision is made, it will be communicated to the UNB community but to “[keep] in mind that sensitive and confidential personnel matters are involved.”
A previous version of this story stated that Levitt faces allegations from former colleagues. New information has been brought to the Brunswickan that the allegations have been dismissed. We have removed these passages and will report accordingly.