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February 21. 2012 11:45PM

Student Senate says UNH prof should quit


LARKIN 
DURHAM — The University of New Hampshire Student Senate is sending a clear message to Professor Edward Larkin: Resign.

The body voted unanimously Sunday, with one abstention, in support of a resolution to be delivered to the professor of German, calling for his resignation and to communicate to him that the Student Senate opposes his continued employment at UNH or any other educational facility, now or in the future.

Larkin was convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure after he exposed himself to a mother and daughter in Milford in July 2009. He was suspended without pay for the fall 2011 semester, but returned to campus for the spring semester.

University officials previously sought to remove him, but an arbitrator ruled that Larkin's offense did not meet the standard laid out in the contract, which says a professor may be fired for “moral delinquency of a grave order.”

The arbitrator noted that “grave order” was an unusual phrase that set the bar particularly high.

Erika Mantz, director of media relations for UNH, said the administration is seeking agreement from the American Association of University Professors, the faculty union, to modify clauses in the contract related to the issue.

“Those negotiations are ongoing and the issue remains active,” Mantz said.

Larkin is on a three-year probationary period that prohibits him from teaching classes or meeting with students.

His duties consist primarily of administrative and independent scholarly work, Mantz said.

“University officials stated early on that they were disappointed to learn the arbitrator did not find Professor Larkin should be terminated for his conduct but recognized that appealing the arbitration finding would only be successful if there was an error in process or plain factual mistake,” Mantz said.

Student Body President A.J. Coukos said the resolution asking for Larkin to resign was proposed by first-year student Sen. Bryan Merrill, a freshman.

“Students feel that those in his classes would be uncomfortable,” Coukos said. “Thoughts are given to those one-on-one situations where a student might be alone with a professor that would perhaps make them feel uncomfortable.”

Coukos said of the resolution: “We hope for a certain outcome, but we don't expect any particular one.”

A message left at the Larkin home on Tuesday was not returned.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, Mantz said Larkin was still employed by the university.

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