Dr. David Champouillon secured tenure despite some ETSU opposition

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Several of Dr. David Champouillon’s peers voiced concerns about his behavior as far back as 2003, even recommending against tenure, according to East Tennessee State University records. Despite votes in opposition, East Tennessee State University administrators recommended his tenure application.

Dr. Champouillon’s remained on administrative leave for the six months. The longtime music professor continues to collect his paycheck from ETSU, even though an internal investigation found he sexually harassed two faculty members and behaved inappropriately in front of faculty and students.

Part of the reason the termination process is taking so long is because he’s a tenured employee. ETSU records show the decision to grant him tenure was far from unanimous.

Dr. Champouillon’s tenure form shows the Music Department’s Tenure Committee voted 4-1 against his application (with one person not voting), the department chair voted against his application and the College of Arts and Science Tenure Committee voted 9-1 against his application.

In the midst of praise and letters of support, comments about Dr. Champouillon’s behavior also found their way into his 2003-2004 tenure file.

“It should also be noted that Dr. Champouillon has an image problem among faculty and the community that must be addressed,” the department chair wrote.

“Furthermore, serious issues of unprofessional conduct toward fellow faculty and to students warrant a negative decision by the Committee,” the College Promotion and Tenure Committee said. “In this regard the College Committee notes that both the Department of Music Tenure and Promotion Committee and the Chair of that department assert that Dr. Champouillon has not demonstrated willingness or ability to work with colleagues, or with numerous students or local musicians. The Department Committee is quite negative in this regard and states, ‘Overriding concern regarding his application is the lack of professionalism demonstrated in his relations with music majors, with music faculty and with music alumni who teach in area schools. There are issues of credibility and trustworthiness. He has a tendency to misrepresent, to mislead and to manipulate students and faculty'”

Even with that opposition, the College of Arts and Sciences’ interim dean supported the application, but in the process urged Dr. Champouillon to address his colleagues’ concerns.

“I respect the concerns of the faculty and sincerely hope that Dr. Champouillon will seriously work to address their concerns and improve his relationship with his colleagues,” Rebecca Pyles said.

From there, Dr. Champouillon also secured the support of the vice president and president.

“He was recommended to me, if I recall correctly, through the dean and the vice provost for tenure,” President Emeritus Dr. Paul Stanton said when contacted Monday. “At the time, David was really a liked and appreciated performer in the community. He was bringing in a fair amount of public support. He was bringing in some superb groups from the outside (for performances). He was, I think at that time, already a faculty senator… I certainly think there were signals being sent, but as much positive during that time as negative, so then when you get to the tenure position, it’s a very significant point in time. It’s a pivotal moment in their own job security situation. I don’t think there was much I could have done in 2003 or 2004.”

Dr. Stanton says had Dr. Champouillon not secured tenure then, he would’ve lost his job within the next year.

“If you’re turned down, in 12 months you’re gone,” Dr. Stanton said. “It’s a very significant point in time.”

Per policy, the decision to recommend and grant tenure falls squarely on the shoulders of the president and the Tennessee Board of Regents. TBR accepted Dr. Stanton’s recommendation in June 2004, according to a letter from Dr. Stanton to Dr. Champouillon.

“The awarding of tenure in higher education is a reflection of professional achievement and a signal of high expectation for continued effort and contribution to your discipline,” Dr. Stanton said in his letter. “As such, it should challenge you to continue and improve your professional competence and academic performance.”

ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland told us he will decide Dr. Champouillon’s fate “with due speed.”

The longtime music professor denies the allegations. His attorney previously told us they intend to fight the allegations all the way.

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