April 19, 2018

Milwaukee SOIS Dean Aman Resigns After Discrimination Charge

By LJ Staff

Mohammed Aman, longtime dean of the School of Information Studies (SOIS),
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), resigned his post effective September
30 but will remain on the faculty. Chancellor Nancy Zimpher’s announcement did
not address reports in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that a faculty member last year filed a complaint alleging Aman engaged in “discrimination against employees on the basis of age, gender, race and national origin and that he also engaged in retaliatory actions against employees.” He was also charged with giving men preference over women in salaries. According to press reports, Kathryn West, an attorney who investigated the complaint on behalf of UWM, concluded that the SOIS atmosphere under Aman “deteriorated” and become “seriously dysfunctional.”

Aman told LJ, however, that “the whole episode took me by surprise. For the past 22 years as dean at UWM, six years as dean at the C.W. Post Center of Long Island University, and three years prior as dean and director at St. John’s University, I have hired many minority, female, and international faculty and staff and changed curricula to respond to the changing needs and demands of our profession. This record speaks louder than what one individual would claim as gender discrimination.” He said added that he was considering his options and was looking forward to continuing his career with “other academic and professional leaders who respect my ethnic and religious background, professional and scholarly contributions, and the high ethical, moral, and academic standards I stood for all my life.”

The most recent UWM senate subcommittee evaluation of
Aman concluded that SOIS faculty considered Aman to be a “visionary leader whose
strengths moved the school to be well-known nationally.” The evaluation form was
submitted to 12 SOIS faculty members, with eight completing the survey, which
asked respondents to rate Aman on a number of factors using a scale that ranged
from “excellent” to “poor.” Overall, seven of the respondents characterized
Aman’s leadership as excellent or good, while one called his tenure
“acceptable.” Aman has served as SLIS dean since 1979 and has authored more than
ten books and over 100 articles and reports.