Michael Egbert, St. George News, File

Dixie State University responds after professor rejects reinstatement offer

By Devon Dewey, KSL.com | Posted - Aug 10th, 2018 @ 10:55am



SALT LAKE CITY — A Dixie State University professor who was fired in March has rejected a reinstatement offer from the school.

“If I ever were to sign this, which I won’t, I would forever have a gun pointed at my head,” Ken Peterson said, speaking metaphorically, in an interview with St. George News.

Peterson was fired for allegedly violating university policy regarding confidentiality and slandering school faculty, according to St. George News. Peterson and his supporters denied those claims and the professor began a lengthy appeal process to get his job back.

The university agreed to reinstate Peterson, but only on the condition that he sign a “Last Chance Agreement,” which Peterson posted to social media.

“The people who know me best are the people who find this document laughable,” Peterson told St. George News. “People who don’t know me at all would think I’m a criminal after reading this.”

The university issued a statement explaining that the terms for the “Last Chance Agreement” came from an independent reviewer who determined “Dr. Peterson’s actions violated DSU policy.”

“Dr. (Elizabeth) Hitch reviewed the evidence and testimonies presented at the Dixie State Faculty Review Board hearing and, in accordance with Dixie State University policy, made the final determination of reinstatement contingent that certain terms and conditions be included in a Last Chance Agreement,” the statement reads.

Peterson said he is rejecting the offer and looking to move elsewhere to start a new chapter in his life, according to St. George News.

Here is the university’s full statement:

Dr. Peterson’s appeal of his Notice of Intent to Terminate his tenure appointment began with a Faculty Review Board hearing. The recommendation for reinstatement with a verbal or written warning from the Faculty Review Board, a recommending body, then went to an independent reviewer for a final decision. President Williams, being a party mentioned in the investigation, elected to recuse himself as the final decision maker to avoid any possible conflicts. President Williams was not involved in the initial determination to terminate Dr. Peterson, nor was he involved in the hearing, the final determination of Dr. Peterson’s employment, or the drafting of the Last Chance Agreement.

The University selected Dr. Elizabeth Hitch, Associate Commissioner for Academic & Student Affairs for the Utah State Board of Regents, as the independent reviewer. Dr. Hitch reviewed the evidence and testimonies presented at the Dixie State Faculty Review Board hearing and, in accordance with Dixie State University policy, made the final determination of reinstatement contingent that certain terms and conditions be included in a Last Chance Agreement. The terms of the Last Chance Agreement are based upon Dr. Hitch’s independent determination that Dr. Peterson’s actions violated DSU policy.

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Updated: Tuesday August 21, 2018 7:13 am