U of M math Prof. Gábor Lukács has been suspended for three months without pay after he launched a court challenge to the university's decision to award a PhD to a student he claims wasn't qualified.
The university says the court action amounts to harassment of the student, and that Lukács violated the individual's personal privacy by disclosing his name in court documents. Lukács has been warned he faces further discipline.
March 2009: The student failed for the second time the PhD candidacy exam in analysis, and according to U of M regulations was required to withdraw from the PhD program.
June 2009: The student appeals to John Doering, the dean of graduate studies, saying he has a text/exam anxiety disability, which he had not declared before.
July 2009: Doering reinstates the student in the PhD program and requests the math department to provide the student with an alternative to the four-hour exam.
August 2009: The math graduate studies committee and the U of M's disability services department offer the student the opportunity to write the exam in two parts on two different days and be given twice the amount of time to write it.
Doering rejects the accommodation, directing the math department to give the student an oral exam by examiners Doering will appoint and ensures the student can take the exam again if he fails it a third time.
September 2009: Doering waives the requirement for an exam altogether after the math department's graduate studies committee opposes the oral exam directive.
Lukács joins the graduate studies committee at that point and challenges Doering's decision, arguing the dean doesn't have the authority to hear academic appeals, taking the issue to the university legal department, the vice-president of academics, and the U of M Senate, which all side with Doering.
January 2010: Lukács is given a letter of reprimand, which states his appeals amount to harassment of the student and a violation of his privacy. But by then he starts an eight-month research leave.
March 2010: Eleven professors in the math department sign a petition protesting the letter of reprimand given to Lukács.
August 2010: The math department's graduate studies committee discovers the student is also missing course work required for the PhD. Doering, despite the committee's opposition, suggests one of the student's undergraduate courses be upgraded to a doctoral-level program to meet the PhD requirements.
September 2010: Lukács files court action seeking to prevent the U of M from awarding the student a PhD until he completes all the necessary academic requirements and challenges the authority of the dean of graduate studies.
October 2010: The student is awarded a PhD in mathematics without having completed the academic requirements.
The U of M suspends Lukács for three months without pay.