Engineering professor Matthew Burge, who was removed as an instructor from all his classes over two weeks ago, is still a university employee, UB spokesperson John DellaContrada said in a statement to The Spectrum.
DellaContrada says the university does not comment on “personnel matters” or “rumors or allegations,” but added that “the university is committed to investigating all potential violations of UB’s policies on consensual relationships and nepotism.”
Burge was removed from instructing all of his classes on Oct. 11, according to an email that Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department Chair Francine Battaglia sent notifying Burge’s former students.
Burge answered a phone call from The Spectrum on Tuesday but abruptly hung up after learning he was speaking with a Spectrum editor.
Other professors were assigned to teach Burge’s classes, including Fluid Mechanics and Aerospace Engineering Lab. Classes formerly taught by Burge have a total enrollment of 228 students this semester, according to the MAE Department class schedule.
UB’s Consensual Relationships Policy bars employees from forming “romantic and/or sexual relationships with students or employees for whom they exercise professional responsibility” and requires that they disclose pre-existing relationships with students or co-workers. Its Nepotism Policy requires that university employees “make decisions regarding employment, academic, research, and procurement situations free from the appearance of favoritism or impropriety that can result from family, personal, or romantic relationships” and to make disclosures when they “cannot reasonably be perceived to be neutral.”
According to his Curriculum Vitae, Burge had taught at SUNY Stony Brook as a teaching assistant from 2011-12 before being employed by UB in 2016. He served as the MAE Student Mentor from 2017-18, held MAE freshman orientation in June 2018 and served as a member of the Student Excellence and Diversity Committee from 2016-19.
Burge also volunteered with WiSE and TechPREP Mentor Program, where according to his CV, he “assisted in leading underrepresented middle school females in completing creative, engineering-type activities to promote interest of younger girls in the STEM fields.”
During his time at UB, Burge has taught Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer, Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Practice and Aerospace Engineering Lab, among others.
Read the full statement from the university:
As a matter of practice, the university does not comment on personnel matters.
Separately, regarding the question of Mr. Burge’s employment status, we can confirm that he currently is employed by the university.
Although the university does not comment on rumors or allegations, we can assure the UB community that the university is committed to investigating all potential violations of UB’s policies on consensual relationships and nepotism. The university’s policy on nepotism in part reads:
“The University at Buffalo (UB, university) is committed to maintaining an environment in which employment, academic, research, and procurement decisions are made with the highest degree of integrity, and to promoting a positive academic and work environment free from the appearance of favoritism or impropriety.”
This is a developing story. Check back for further updates.
Grant Ashley is the managing editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kayla Estrada is a senior news/features editor and can be reached at email@example.com
Grant Ashley is the managing editor at The Spectrum. He is a political science and (mediocre) Spanish double major. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on Twitter @Grantrashley.
Kayla Estrada is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. She is an English major who enjoys rainy weather, “Bob’s Burgers” and asking people who they voted for. When she’s not writing, she can be found hunting for odd-looking knick-knacks at the nearest thrift store.