Prof. Carney also expressed a range of concerns about the ways courses were run, taught, and evaluated, including speaking out against:
· Serious violations, by the institution and by individual teachers, of copyright regulations and licensing agreements connected with the unauthorized screening, distribution, reproduction, and other use of copyrighted material in the classroom, on the internet, and elsewhere.
Beginning in the fall of 2003, under Dean Schulz and Chairman Merzbacher, and continuing for the next ten years under their replacements, Prof. Carney expressed the preceding and many other ethical, professional, procedural, and pedagogical concerns. He cited first-hand experiences he had had; he reported things student after student had told him (e.g., about particular faculty members whose entire courses consisted of showing movies to students while the faculty member went out and drank beer at a local bar); he provided facts and information (e.g., about the lobbying of allegedly "outside" referees in promotion or tenure cases, while concealing their undisclosed prior ties to the Dean or Chairman); etc.; etc. And nothing was done. No discussion was held. No inquiry was launched. No questions were asked. No request for more information was made of Prof. Carney. After several years of receiving no substantive response at the College level (beyond the negative, retaliatory responses that will be described in the following paragraphs--scurrilous attacks on his character; surreptitious efforts to make the performance of his job untenable; attempts to dig up dirt to use against him to remove him; accusations of "uncollegiality" and hits on his pay; etc.), Prof. Carney began relaying his concerns directly to the Boston University Provost and President--via the "Additional Information" sections of his required annual reports and via separate letters written to both officials. [To read two sample letters, one to the Provost and one to the President, see the relevant pages of the March section of the site.] These communications with the most senior levels of the Boston University administration extended over more than six years of reports.
At that point, needless to say, another layer of unethical behavior had been added to the observations and concerns--namely, the fact that administrators (the Dean, the department Chairman, the Film Studies Program Director, and others ultimately including the Provost and President) demonstrably knew that these things were going on--at the junior levels knew them by their own first-hand knowledge since they themselves had done many of these things; or at the most senior levels, if they hadn't been directly involved, knew them by Prof. Carney's report of them--and, at all levels, refused to do anything about them, even to investigate them, even to look into them. At this point, BU administrators were, in other words, protecting their friends and fellow administrators (and protecting themselves) by deliberately looking the other way, by attacking the messenger who was reporting the problems.
It would be an understatement to say that Dean Schulz, Chairman Merzbacher, and their successors did not appreciate Prof. Carney’s raising of these issues. Many of the things he was reporting threatened to reveal improprieties of which they themselves were guilty or, at least, had a turned a blind eye toward, and they felt themselves directly threatened by his reports. They functioned in a culture of casual and almost inadvertent corruption that they hardly noticed and everyone supported because everyone benefited from it. What's not to like? Appointments and promotions were more predictable if you rigged the vetting system. Teaching was easier if you could start a movie and leave the classroom--and students didn't object to getting course credit for sitting in the dark watching a movie. Pay raises were more dependable if you gamed the evaluation system. In the minds of these administrators and faculty members, they were making the system run more efficiently. They were making things easier and better. They were not about to turn themselves in. It was clear to them what the real problem was: not them and their actions, but Carney's whistle-blowing. Carney's statements and observations were mocked, derided, and criticized as being meddling and unwanted; he was yelled at and called names for what he had written; he was told to stop saying such things and submitting such reports. And when he did not stop, a concerted campaign was initiated to punish him—financially, bureaucratically, and personally—and to attempt to minimize the impact of his statements to the extent they reached administrators outside the College by systematically working to undermine his professional stature and credibility, so that senior-level administrators would not take what he said seriously. The punishment process went on for almost ten years, and continues into the present. The 125-page narrative and almost 200-pages of supporting documents given to the university Ombuds provide a detailed account of these acts of administrative punishment, but the next few paragraphs can stand as a brief overview. [Many other pages of this site have more detailed information about some of these actions, and reprint a number of the supporting documents connected with them. See the side menu entries for March for details about some of the specific actions that were taken to attempt to silence Prof. Carney, or punish him if he would not be silenced.]
A personal note: I might as well add that while Shultz got rewarded for his proven misconduct, the Provost subsequently tried to talk me into quitting. Call it bury the evidence; eliminate the witnesses to the crime. He offered me a deal if I would resign and leave BU. Of course I couldn't afford to do it after the hits on my pay. I turned him down. But I had to laugh out loud. It was so poetically ironic. While the plagiarist thug and bully Dean had been accommodated, asked to join the faculty at a high salary, and promoted into the Professoriate, the scholar and master teacher whose courses are adored by his students was being pressured to quit and leave. Welcome to Boston University. It's the BU way.
That is why it should not come as a surprise that meetings similar to the ones Schulz had held in the Dean’s office continued in other offices and places in the years after Schulz stepped down. Many more secret and surreptitious meetings were held by College of Communication administrators (as noted above, the ringleader of much of this unethical activity was the Director of Film Studies, Roy Grundmann) with students—in groups small and large, in classrooms and offices—to slander and malign Prof. Carney’s work, character, and morals, even as Prof. Carney was kept from knowing that the meetings were taking place, let alone from being allowed to defend himself from the fictitious and fraudulent accusations. It was done on the sly, behind Prof. Carney's back, and with no opportunity for him to know about, let alone reply to and rebut the lies and misrepresentations students were told about him. The Film and Television department Chairman, the Film Studies Program Director, and several individual faculty members held a series of meetings modeled on the meetings held by Shultz (they had, after all, learned the technique from him and learned that it was acceptable behavior when one wanted to retaliate against a "difficult" colleague), where students were told a variety of falsehoods about Prof. Carney, and were again pressured to submit complaints—with the Program Director, the Chairman, and at least one senior faculty member not only pressuring the students to do what they told them (at the risk of being denied a necessary letter of recommendation or, in the case of the teachers involved in the plot, risking being given a low grade in a course), but also telling the students what points to make, how to word their complaints, and, in several cases, with the administrator or faculty member actually dictating or editing the letter to be signed by the student, which was then subsequently submitted to senior administrators, with its origins concealed—as if it had freely and independently originated with and been created by the student alone. The involvement of the lower-level administrators in soliciting, manufacturing, and in several cases ghost-writing the letters was kept secret not only from Prof. Carney but from the recipient. Actions that cannot bear the light of day must, of necessity, be performed covertly and surreptitiously. When the administrators in question were later asked about the meetings, they denied they had ever taken place--even as a number of the students who had sat through them, and subsequently regretted that they had gone along with them, confirmed how students’ feelings had blatantly and unfairly been played on. In the description of one of the students, an authority figure had treated them like a lynch mob being incited to take action against one of their teachers. The student was ashamed at what he had been asked to do, and ashamed of the institution that had asked him to do it.