Formulation and promulgation of committee policies including the Graduate Council policy on second Ph.D.'s

[Advice to Professor Paul Teller, Department of Philosophy 9/19/2001]

The Graduate Council is governed by Academic Senate Bylaw 330 and by Davis Division Bylaw 80.  Its authority to determine the rules governing admissions to graduate programs is clearly established in DD80 (B) 1.  CERJ nevertheless believes that authority does not permit pure discretion, but can be exercised only in the context of rules that must be established in accordance with the procedures of the Academic Senate and promulgated in such a way that the rules and the authority on which they are based are clearly known to potential students.  DD80(B)1 grants admission to "qualified" applicants.  CERJ believes that there must be some standard of qualification.  This is reinforced by DDB 80(B)11, which assigns the Graduate Council the duty to set "policies and standards".

The question is, then, whether the rule governing second PhDs is properly established and governs the case of the student in question.  In general, committees of the Division are subordinate to the Representative Assembly and to the Division.  Their actions must be reported to Representative Assembly, which may accept or reject their actions and, indeed, which may establish its own policies consistent with a committee's bylaw.  Beyond this general requirement on all divisional committees, ASB 330 explicitly states that the Graduate Council shall "[r]eport and make recommendations to the Division. . ."  The final authority, therefore, rests with the Division represented either by the Representative Assembly or a mail ballot of the membership as a whole.  CERJ believes that no rule proposed by any committee can be binding unless it has been presented to the Representative Assembly (typically in its Annual Report) or the Division for acceptance or rejection.  What is more, CERJ believes that a general principle of orderly governance implies that rules must be published in such a way that the people bound by the rules can reasonably know what they are and on what authority they are based.

CERJ believes that the rule governing second PhDs fails to meet these standards.  It is published only in the Graduate Handbook -- a publication of the Graduate Division, an agency of the Administration, not of the Senate.  There is no indication that the rule is a Graduate Council or Senate rule.  There is no indication of when or how it was put into place.  While CERJ has not exhaustively researched the matter (although we did research it within the limits of what can be done on the web), we can find no indication that the rule was adopted by any proper procedure of the Graduate Council nor that it was submitted to the Representative Assembly for approval.  Professor Calvert, in his communication to you, admitted that he did not know the provenance of the rule.  It was, in his view, an established custom of the Graduate Council.  CERJ, however, does not agree with Professor Calvert that binding rules on these matters can be established by custom or long practice.  As far as anyone knows, the rule is a creature of the Graduate Division and not of the Graduate Council.  There is a long list of failures of the Graduate Division to respect the lines that separate its administrative practices from the authority of the Senate under Regents' Standing Orders.  There is no evidence that this is not another such case.

We conclude that the Graduate Council is incorrect in appealing to or attempting to enforce the rule governing second PhDs.  We strongly urge them to reverse their judgement in this case.