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Professor may face university sanctions

By Menaka Fernando and Charlotte Hsu

March 13, 2005 9:00 p.m.

Students in the Academic Advancement Program are expressing
support for their organization’s director, who could face
sanctions for allegedly violating University of California policy
by having a relationship with a student.

Adolfo Bermeo had been involved with a student and apologized
for it this quarter to his Chicana/o studies M124 class, said a
student who has worked with Bermeo and asked not to be named in
this story.

Bermeo, who is also UCLA’s associate vice provost for
diversity, declined to comment Tuesday. He did not respond to phone
calls and e-mails placed since Friday.

“Bermeo is a very respected man on campus,” said the
student, who speculated that the AAP counseling program housed in
Campbell Hall would be a “mess” if Bermeo had to give
up his post.

AAP is a UCLA tutoring program that aims to help its
approximately 6,500 students attain academic success.

The university would not discuss whether it was investigating
Bermeo or what actions, if any, it would take against him.

According to an e-mail Friday from UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton
quoting UCLA spokesman Lawrence Lokman, someone recently informed
the university of “misconduct” by an employee.

Lokman said UCLA immediately began a “thorough review of
the matter” and takes seriously any breach of policy. He
added the university does not intend to comment until the inquiry
is complete.

Though spokespeople provided the statement in response to a
question about Bermeo’s situation, Hampton declined to name
the employee involved. He also said he did not know when UCLA would
finish its investigation or whether it would provide further
information later.

The UC Board of Regents amended its systemwide policy regarding
faculty conduct in July 2003 to prohibit faculty from having
“a romantic or sexual relationship with any student for whom
a faculty member has, or should reasonably expect to have in the
future, academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or
supervisory).” The ban includes consensual relationships.

According to the UC Faculty Code of Conduct, violations of
systemwide policy can result in written censure, reduction in
salary, demotion, suspension, denial or curtailment of emeritus
status, or dismissal from the university.

The Teacher’s Guide, a summary of UCLA policies published
by the Office of Instructional Development, discourages
student-faculty dating, saying such relationships could seriously
compromise the academic environment. That was the standard in place
at UCLA before 2003.

Bermeo is a faculty member of the Chicana/o studies department
and focuses his study on Latina/o immigrants and their cultural,
political, social and economic experiences in the United

He is widely regarded as a well-respected member of the campus
community, and in 1998 received the Chancellor’s Fair and
Open Academic Environment Award, which honors those who promote a
fair, open and diverse academic atmosphere.

According to archives on AAP’s Web site, in presenting the
award to Bermeo, Chancellor Albert Carnesale said, “Working
with you and our colleagues at AAP has been among the most
rewarding experiences of my first year at UCLA. Your dedication,
determination and ability are truly outstanding, and are enormous
assets to the university, to the community and to the AAP student

Bermeo earned his doctorate at UCLA in 1981 and began working at
the university in 1985. Having been AAP director for two decades,
Bermeo is credited for building the organization from “a
program of remediation to one of excellence,” said Judi
Smith, vice provost for undergraduate education in the UCLA College
when Bermeo received the award, according to the AAP site.

With reports from Charles Proctor, Bruin senior

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