I also took advantage of the Dean's claim that BU was a “top tier” program (and not a “second tier” one as, in his view, I had mistakenly asserted) to raise a series of issues about the overall quality of the film program. I honestly still can't decide if he really believes that the BU film program is equivalent to something like the UCLA one; it would be incredibly silly to think that, but administrators get funny ideas about the programs they administer, and of course the faculty have every reason to mislead the Dean about the quality of their own teaching and creative work. To call BU second-rate on both fronts is to compliment it. The faculty of the Boston University film production program (with a single exception) and the courses they teach are third- or fourth-rate at best. At best.
P.S. I would emphasize that the incident described above (and replied to in the memo below) is far from the only time that my present Dean (and his predecessor) and my department Chairman have spied-on and attempted to control my presumably private email communications with others. There have been numerous similar instances, and the situation continues right up into the present. Only a few weeks ago (in Spring 2013), in fact, I wrote a memo to my Chairman and Dean protesting their admitted monitoring of emails I had sent to an individual not connected with the university, emails which both of them had read without my knowledge or permission, and had subsequently called me on the carpet for having written. (An excerpt from this memo is reprinted on the following site page: "Violations of Privacy and Confidentiality--A Continuing BU Saga.") Is this the way all Boston University administrators treat private communications by faculty members with third parties, inside and outside the university? Do faculty have any privacy in what they write others? Is any confidentiality left? Do administrators have the right to monitor (and control) all faculty communications? And even if they do claim this right, is this the right thing to do--the way professionals should be treated? In short, is Boston University a university or a banana republic? It's not only that there is no respect for the privacy and confidentiality of faculty communications with others by university administrators, but, based on my own personal experience, university administrators feel that they have the right to grill and criticize (and punish) faculty for anything they say when they write others, if the administrator does not agree with what has been said.
For a more general consideration of this issue, including other forms of monitoring and control--including the monitoring of faculty members' use of their computers, their telephones, and other forms of communication with students and individuals outside the university, see another page on the site: "The Monitoring and Control of Faculty Emails, Phone Calls, and Personal Expression in the Boston University College of Communication."
September 20, 2011
[A note to the reader of this blog: I have more detailed descriptions of the acts of censorship and suppression of my ideas and publications and attempts to control my communications with my students by Boston University administrators, which extended over the course of many years, on three other site pages. For a quick overview, see the introductory headings to the following site pages: "Censorship, Punishment, Abuse, Threats--Being Banned in Boston," "Making a Living or Making a Life--The Purpose of an Education," and "Losing Consciousness--Losing Invaluable Ways of Understanding," all available in the side menu.]
As I noted in the text of the first letter on this page, my Dean's sole response to the preceding memo was to criticize me for having written it, saying that he regretted that I had sent it to him, and telling me that my pay would be frozen for the upcoming year because of the trouble I repeatedly made and the problems my reports, words, and actions caused, including this particular report on the state of the department. He did not take up my offer to meet with him or to provide more information, just as he has not taken up similar offers I have made many other times. Better to shoot the messenger than listen to the message, or try to find out more about it. --R.C.