2nd terminated Dixie State University music professor reinstated

DSU Music Director Glenn Webb leads the university’s Jazz Ensemble in a performance with hip-hop composer “Double G,” Eccles Fine Arts Center, Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, April 18, 2013 | File photo by Chris Caldwell, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Glenn Webb, a tenured music professor at Dixie State University who was fired in March for allegedly violating university policy, was reinstated Friday.

Music professor Glenn Webb addresses supporters after he was fired from his tenured position at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, March 2, 2018 | File photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Webb’s reinstatement follows that of fellow music professor Ken Peterson, who was reinstated July 10, after a faculty review board hearing recommended their reinstatement to the Utah System of Higher Education.

“I am glad to be reinstated,” Webb told St. George News. “I have long felt that it was possible and deserving. I am eager to rejoin my faculty colleagues. I can’t wait to get in front of a group of student musicians again.”

Webb was placed on administrative leave and subsequently terminated for allegedly violating “DSU Policy 371.” Exactly what the violations entailed has not been released by the university due to privacy regulations, but Webb and his lawyer argued that his actions did not justify termination.

The university welcomed the professors back to their teaching positions, in a statement Friday to St. George News.

The university is in full support of USHE’s final reinstatement decisions, terms and conditions regarding Dr. Peterson and Dr. Webb’s appeals, and we are pleased to welcome them back as tenured professors at DSU. We understand that the appeal process can be time consuming and difficult for those involved; however, DSU and USHE policies and procedures exist to ensure fairness to and protection of all DSU employees. We are thankful to all those who dedicated their time and resources to assisting with this process. Many of our students have benefited from the talents, instruction and mentorship Dr. Webb and Dr. Peterson have provided over the years, and we look forward to their continued tenure here at Dixie State.

Webb’s and Peterson’s termination led to outcry from students and faculty who said their dismissal has had drastic consequences for the university’s music department.

Read more: Firing of 2 Dixie State University professors will have ‘drastic’ effect on education, students say

“I don’t think it’s a fireable offense, especially someone who’s put 16 years into the music program and has turned out some amazing talent,” former DSU faculty member Christie Nielson said previously.

Nielson was Webb’s secretary and quit in May. “I would have stayed for 25 more years,” she said, “but I couldn’t be with an administration that I couldn’t respect or trust.”

Music student Danelle Sullivan said she decided to transfer to another university after Webb’s firing. She had been working closely with him to complete her degree.

L-R: Dixie State University students David Leavitt, Danelle Sullivan and James B. Hetrick attend a gathering in support of music professors Glenn Webb and Ken Peterson. The professors were fired from their tenured positions at the university before later being reinstated, St. George, Utah, March 2, 2018 | File photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

“I am having to move my family to northern Utah to continue my schooling,” Sullivan said. “My husbands’ roots stretch back over 100 years in Southern Utah, and it is heartbreaking to see him forced to leave so that we can find a more stable educational experience.

“The financial and emotional toll of having to relocate is a heavy burden that is breaking me, and I don’t know how I will recover.”

A similar sentiment of shock was present among students regarding Peterson’s termination, who has taught voice at the university for more than a decade.

“The semester that I needed Ken the most he was ripped away from me three weeks before my senior recital,” said Gwyn Gable, a music student who graduated in May.

Gable and Sullivan both said those in the university administration responsible for the firings should be held accountable for the impact the process has had on students and faculty.

“This will happen again and again if something is not done to protect the faculty, staff and students of DSU,” Sullivan said.

The university is still involved in a lawsuit filed by theater professor Varlo Davenport, a 15-year tenured teacher who was terminated in 2014 despite a faculty review board and the faculty senate clearing him of wrongdoing after a student accused him of pulling her hair, a charge of which he was later acquitted.

Read more: Davenport files $20 million civil rights lawsuit against Dixie State president, others

Another teacher, tenured communication professor Dennis Wignall, remains on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons after nearly six months.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • comments July 20, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    You give people the chance to walk all over you then they will. The names of those who need to be held to account are not hard to find. I got no dog in this fight and could care less, really. Just saying.

    • LocalTourist July 22, 2018 at 6:44 am

      This reminds me of the issues at University of Utah and Huntsman Cancer… where a new administrator with an axe to grind against another, well-respected researcher decided to fire that researcher. It took the Hunstman family threatening to withhold financial support to get the U to take action.
      Makes me wonder what triggered the college to take action to re-instate these educators.

  • Kilroywashere July 20, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    “As the Dixie State Turns” soap opera. The best corporations I have worked for treated their employees as they would want their customers to be treated by their employees. Now, this is academia, but the construct should still apply. THE ADMINISTRATION NEEDS TO REALIZE THE VALUE OF HUMAN CAPITAL. Rather then beating down the faculty as has been the case for the last 5 years, it is time to change, and create an environment where job security is not an issue. The students deserve it, and the administration better wake up. You need to administrate and manage not facilitate and play politics. Too many people’s careers have been tarnished making mountains out of molehills. Not a good working environment based on the the comments I have heard. Time for a change, but it appears the powers that be have other plans. Tis a shame.

  • Neil July 21, 2018 at 8:26 am

    If they really want to make improvements at Dixie State, the staff member that needs to be terminated is Biff Williams.

  • Gary July 21, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Absolutely

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