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Board: professors can keep jobs despite extended sick leave.

BATON ROUGE, La. -- After hearing opposition from faculty advocates, a university governing board has decided not to fire two tenured Delgado Community College professors who are spending years on sick leave.

Board members for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System voted 5-5 with one abstention on the dismissal request from Delgado Chancellor Terence Kelly. The motion failed because board rules require nine members' approval.

Kelly said the extended use of sick leave by math teachers Michael Shiber and Donald Eppling has created management problems. Officials said they would look into tightening rules governing use of sick time. Kelly said he would drop plans to fire the ailing professors.

Shiber, 67, has been on sick leave since he suffered major injuries in a June 2000 car accident, and does not plan to return to work.

Eppling, 59, who has health problems stemming from arthritis and a heart attack, has spent roughly two years on sick leave and said he does not know whether he will return to work.

Neither has used up sick leave accumulated in decades of work at Delgado. Both have delayed retiring because pension income would be substantially lower than the full pay allowed for sick professors.

Delgado argued that sick time is meant for people who plan to resume work and that accrued leave does not carry property rights.

But Delgado's Faculty Senate and statewide advocates for professors said the professors are entitled to use up earned sick leave and, since they are tenured, they should have been granted a termination hearing.
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Publication:Community College Week
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U7LA
Date:Sep 30, 2002
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