Michigan State News

February 3, 1969


Dick Stoimenoff

"Garskof questions ‘irregularities’"


"My transgression was that I had a group", Bertram Garskof said Friday concerning his contract termination by the Psychology department.

Garskof, speaking to a group of faculty members and students in the Union Friday afternoon, said the "irregularities" cited in the letter in notifying him of his dismissal were that he was teaching a group session of Psychology 490. The MSU catalog specifies, however, that the course is intended as an individual research class.

"But", he said, every add card signed by me was also signed by the dean (of the college) and the chairman (of the department)."

Garskof related the events which led up to the letter notifying him of his termination. He said he had been offered another two year non-tenured contract instead of the normal three year tenured contract offered to instructors with his experience. He had asked if this was a punitive measure and had been told that it was.

"But I have not been told where I have violated anyone’s academic rights," he said.

He added that enrolling a large number of students in an individual research class had been done before but the guilty professor had been reprimanded, not fired.

"It’s a total mystery to me", Garskof said. "O’Kelley (chairman of the psychology department) rewarded me by reopening the class to several students who had requested it, but then he stressed the irregularities of the class in his statement."

Garskof said that O’Kelley had also said he would nominate him "Teacher of the Year", an award which includes a $1500 bonus.

Charles F. Wrigley, professor of psychology, spoke for the psychology department at O’Kelley’s request.

"The two year contract offered Garskof was an indication that he was performing too well to be terminated but not well enough to be reappointed," Wrigely said.

Wrigely said that what happened between the time of the contract offer and the letter of termination took place behind closed doors and that he was bound by the secrecy of those meetings, which were conducted with secret ballots.

"The tenure committee judges re-appointments from four factors," Wrigely said. He listed these criteria as research production, performance in teaching, administrative service to the department and extension work outside the University."

Garskof admitted that he had been weak in administrative service to the department "but one weak area is not enough to terminate," he said.

Garskof defended his actions, saying that all the topics of study decided upon by his class were relevant to psychology.