A professor from the University of Illinois who sent letters to Division I schools requesting they refrain from competing against schools that use Native American imagery said last week that he has reimbursed the university for using its postage to mail his letters.
Stephen Kaufman, a Cell and Development Biology professor, used $270 in university postage and stationary to send the letters, which Illinois officials have said the university did not endorse.
Under Illinois’ Business and Financial Policies and Procedures codes, the use of university assets for anything but university purposes is forbidden, according to a published report in the News Gazette of Champaign-Urbana, Ill. Tom Bearrows, a member of Illinois’ university counsel, sent Kaufman a letter asking the professor for reimbursement.
“The university has received a payment [from me],” Kaufman said in a telephone interview last week. “They have also received acknowledgement that the payment does not connote any wrongdoing.”
Kaufman said he left his payments open to contest in court. The intent of the letters was university business, he said, because he is trying to get the university to follow its own nondiscrimination policies.
“I feel it’s my objective to [force the university] to work to follow its own nondiscrimination policy,” Kaufman said.
Temple President David Adamany received Kaufman’s letter two weeks ago, and has expressed that Temple will not support Kauffman’s statements. Doing so, Adamany said, would require Temple to consider petitions the university receives from other causes.
John Kopp can be reached at email@example.com.