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UND aims to ax professor convicted of assault, DUI

UND has plans to fire a classics professor who is serving jail time for assaulting a nurse, but he is appealing to prevent such a move, university spokesman Peter Johnson said.

University officials have sent a letter to Daniel Erickson, telling him they intend to terminate him because he is unable to teach classes, Johnson said.

Erickson, 52, is being held at the Grand Forks County jail and is not part of the facility's work-release program.

On Thursday, Erickson and his attorney spoke over the phone with members of the University Senate Committee on Faculty Rights in a hearing that was closed to the public.

University officials would not comment on what was discussed during the hearing. In the past, cases in which faculty members have appealed to keep their jobs have required multiple hearings over the course of months before a resolution was reached, Johnson said.

The committee will eventually make a recommendation in Erickson's case, and UND President Robert Kelley will make a final decision, Johnson said.

Erickson, who specializes in Latin and Greek languages and literature, has worked at UND for more than 10 years.

Messages left for Erickson's attorney, Ralph Carter, were not returned Thursday.

On July 16, Erickson grabbed a nurse's hair and yanked her around while he was receiving psychiatric care at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, authorities said. During the same incident, he reportedly threatened another nurse with a telephone receiver.

Erickson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of assault and menacing, and in a case stemming from an Oct. 3 traffic stop, he pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge.

He was sentenced on all those charges Nov. 10. At his sentencing, he told the judge he has struggled for years with an alcohol addiction and that he wants to live a sober life.

The judge ordered Erickson to spend eight months in jail, serve two years on supervised probation and undergo a substance-abuse evaluation. At the time of his sentencing, he was given credit for having already spent 67 days in jail.

Erickson is set to be released April 6, according to the county jail.