Sunday, March 31, 2013

How (Not) to Conduct a Meeting—Shouts, Name-Calling, Personal Attacks, Threats, Punishments

Boston University administrators have a unique (and memorable) way of chairing and running meetings. If someone says something they disagree with, the person is told to “shut up,” called a liar, berated, ridiculed, told that he is mentally ill, called names, or in some other way has his morals and character attacked. At least that is how Film Studies Program Director Roy Grundmann, two department Chairmen (Charles Merzbacher and Paul Schneider), and two Deans (John Schulz and Thomas Fiedler) have responded or encouraged individuals under them to respond, over a period of more than six years, when I have said something they disliked or disagreed with. I would note for the record that, in each and every instance, I scrupulously avoided responding in kind to the shouted insults, abuse, and personal attacks on my morals, sanity, and character. In each and every instance of abuse, I have chosen to sit silently and not reply with more than a few quietly uttered appeals for respect, civility, or fair treatment. (The page titled “Public Shaming as an Administrative Technique,” available in the side menu, gives a fair description of my general mode of response to the verbal abuse I have endured—abuse in the instances cited on that page that took the form of my Dean and my department Chairman shouting at me and criticizing my morals and character in front of groups of students deliberately to humiliate and embarrass me, and to attempt to undermine my standing in front of my charges to try to force me to quit.)

To keep the abuse from appearing in the minutes of the meetings, my program Director (Roy Grundmann), Chairs (Charles Merzbacher and Paul Schneider), and Deans (Thomas Fiedler and John Schulz) have adopted one of three policies—either not to have minutes taken at all; to edit the minutes to remove the personal abuse; or to impound and suppress the minutes so that no official record survives. (For an illustration of how meeting minutes have been doctored or suppressed by Boston University administrators to eliminate incriminating evidence, see the end of the site page titled "Censorship, Punishment, Abuse--Being Banned in Boston," available in the side menu.) 

However, given the fact that the sessions of verbal abuse have taken place in public forums, in front of many others (which of course adds to the professional inappropriateness of the event), the screaming/shouting/name-calling/personal attack sessions have been witnessed by numerous other faculty and staff members. In many cases, records of the events have survived in a series of emails exchanges I have had with colleagues who were present at the meetings.

Though the emails and memos I have chosen to reprint below mention only a tiny fraction of the abuse I have been subjected to at meetings, I thought I would share this small sample with my readers. I could fill the entire site with emails and other contemporaneous written descriptions of these events. Note that though the College of Communication Dean, Film and Television Department Chairman, and Film Studies Program Director still, to this day, deny that any of these events—these loud, protracted, public bouts of name-calling, character-assassination and screaming abuse—ever took place, not a single one of my correspondents expresses the least bit of confusion or doubt about what I am talking about or referring to when I write to them. They (and dozens of other faculty, staff members, and students) were there to witness the nastiness first-hand since it was conducted in public areas (to maximize the shame, intimidation, and pressure on me to stop filing my reports of ethical violations and professional misconduct). They have no doubts about whether all of these things really happened. 

This is how Boston University administrators ran meetings I was present at (and how they still run them, as is proven by the fact that much of the material below describes meetings that took place in recent weeks and months)--as confirmed in writing by other faculty members who were present and saw and heard it all happen right in front of their eyes and ears. The John Silber past is still very much alive in the BU of Robert Brown and his administrative buddies. Alas. —Ray Carney

Post Script: For another illustration of how meetings are conducted at Boston University, see "Negotiating with Boston University, Part 2," available in the side menu under the listings for February, 2015.

* * *

I wrote the following email to a colleague to thank him for not participating in the barrage of verbal abuse directed against me at a Film and Television department meeting a day or two before. There were twelve other individuals present at the meeting, including the department chairman, and he was the only one who did not call me a name, yell an insult, or launch a personal attack on my character or morals in the course of the meeting. —R.C.

Dear xxxxx,

It may fall into the "thanking the Lord for small mercies" category, but I wanted to thank you for not joining in the "kick Ray Carney around the block" contest the other day…. I have no idea how you feel about these issues (and deeply respect your right to think differently from the way I do and freely to speak your mind about them or anything else at any time and in any future meeting), but I left the meeting feeling so beat-up and bloodied by the unanimity and violence of the onslaught … that I simply wanted to acknowledge (and thank you!) for not adding to the chorus of criticism. That's why I turned to you at the end of the meeting and touched your shoulder and made a joke.

If you don't mind me saying so: You showed yourself to be just as restrained and thoughtful as you have for the fifteen years I have known and worked with you. (And you were the only one in that room I can say this of.) It's one of the reasons I continue to value you as a colleague. Whatever comes of this, your seriousness and the gravitas of your judgments make a real difference month after month, year after year. I thank you for that.

All best wishes,


P.S. As a macabre joke, I told someone that I left the meeting feeling that if only I had brought a bag of stones, everyone could have pelted me to death and gotten it out of their systems more quickly and efficiently. Maybe I'll bring a sack of them to the next meeting, which promises to be more of the same. Or encourage everyone else to bring a pack of baying dogs to chase me down. (Forgive the black humor, but I need a way to find a little laughter in this whole dark experience -- and in many of the others that have preceded it that you could not be aware of, in terms of the way I have been treated many other times in private by [department Chairman] Charles [Merzbacher] and others for the past four or five years.)

My colleague responded:

Dear Ray,

Thank you for your kind words, though I don't think I deserve them. Proverbs is very much to the point in these matters: "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin; but he that refraineth his lips is wise." I'm sorry you came away so battered. I was certainly taken aback by how the meeting turned out.


* * *

I wrote the following note to a departmental colleague whose retirement party followed months of department meetings largely devoted to calling me names and attacking my character and morals for interviews I had given and other material I had published. —R.C.

Dear yyyyyy,

I wanted to express my "regrets" that I shall be unable to attend your retirement party in May. I'm sorry. Genuinely sorry I can't be there to toast you and wish you well. I wish you all the greatest success and happiness in the future (of course), but, as I trust you understand, it's just impossible that I could go to [Department Chairman] Charles Merzbacher's house and make happy-face chit-chat with a group of people who devoted the majority of the time in this year's Film and TV Dept. faculty meetings to yelling at me, calling me names, excoriating my ideas, my work, and my publications (and passing a resolution to have all vestiges of them removed from BU web site), and attacking my morals, my character, and my personality (e.g. in [Professor] Sam Kauffmann's words on more than one occasion, which not one person expressed any disagreement with: I'm clearly a "pathetic" and "sick" person) --- all of which was done with not a single syllable said by a single individual in any of the meetings in defense of my character, my morals, or my right to free intellectual expression.

Given the foregoing, it would be just too painful for me to attempt to pretend that none of that had happened and that it didn't matter. Too painful and too hypocritical.

Could I ask one favor, though? I'd appreciate your treating my explanation for my absence in confidence. I am being completely open and honest with you, but I have every reason to conclude that, given the way I have been treated in the past, my candor in this email -- if revealed to my colleagues -- would itself only become the source of more attacks on my person, my morals, and my character by them. And I have no desire to increase the onslaught, the attacks, the verbal abuse, the all-round nastiness.

All best wishes. I sincerely hope you have a great retirement.


My colleague replied:


I understand perfectly. Thank you for writing. I have been greatly disturbed by the whole matter. You and I have been through a lot together in earlier days. Let's meet privately ourselves and have our own quiet time together. What days are you on campus?


* * *

A few days later, I wrote an email to the colleague who was organizing the retirement party, telling her that, in good conscience, I would not be able to attend. —R.C.

Dear zzzzz,

Forgive the delay in responding to your so kind and thoughtful email. FYI: I've known yyyyy for almost 20 years now and esteem him highly -- In fact, I may be his longest-term "friend" at BU as of this date -- but I (reluctantly) have made separate arrangements with him to "celebrate" his transition into a higher sphere on some other occasion than the dept. gathering. I've explained to him, and he's expressed his complete understanding of the situation – why it is impossible for me to attend a gathering and make happy face small talk with people who have so vehemently, persistently, and publicly attacked my character, my personality, my honor, and my morals (calling me "sick," "pathetic," and all the rest--I'll spare us both the repetition of the invective). I'm just not enough of a hypocrite to be able to pull it off, I'm afraid. I trust you understand.

Please forgive my absence. I assure you I would have loved to have participated in shared toasts, laugher, and commemoration to my dear friend, if the past year's circumstances had been different.

All sincere best wishes to you…. I hope you have a restful and restorative summer.


My colleague replied:


I'm sorry that things have worked out this way but I can certainly understand your choice to skip [the department event]. I hope you enjoy the summer.



* * *

The following exchange refers to a long-term policy on the part of the Film Studies program Director (Roy Grundmann) to upbraid me and criticize my conduct in front of junior colleagues during meetings he chairs. I spoke with him privately on numerous occasions asking that he treat me with a modicum of professional respect and that, if he felt he absolutely must criticize me, he do it in private, and with a degree of politeness and professional respect; but my requests have been to no avail. After a number of years of taking the abuse passively and silently in front of others (never once replying to his angry, sarcastic words with anger or sarcasm, never responding to his rudeness and incivility with rudeness or incivility) following a series of angry public dressings-down during a particular meeting, I wrote a colleague to explain why I had decided to politely bow out of attending future meetings. I just couldn’t sit there and allow myself to be treated so disrespectfully any longer. (For more information about the program Director's and other administrators' and faculty members' concerted efforts to pressure students to create suborned, fictitious, fraudulent complaints about my work and teaching, in an attempt to force me to resign my position, see "Part 1: Ten Years of Administrative Retaliation..." available in the side menu.) —R.C.

Subject: A personal note

Hi xxxx,

I just wanted to tell you that I won't be at the meeting tomorrow (assuming one is scheduled, I've lost track), or whenever the next one is. I've had it up to here with [program Director Roy Grundmann’s] treatment of me (which has been the reason I absented myself from meetings in the past)--the snarky comments, the beratings, the insinuations that I am a liar (at earlier meetings you might remember). I've spoken to him about all of it (almost pleading with him for civility) a number of times, and to my astonishment, as at the last meeting, still find myself berated, upbraided, criticized more or less every time he interacts with me or replies to anything I say in a meeting.

I'd emphasize that you have only seen the tip of the iceberg in a few [Film Study] meetings. There has been much other verbal abuse--from being told off in emails and having my character attacked in conversations and being called names, to [I have removed material at this point that includes the names of other faculty members and allusions to instances in which the program Director personally met with students to say bad things about me, discouraged students from taking courses with me, and actively pressured students to submit complaints about my publications and teaching, all the while concealing the fact from the recipients of the complaints that he himself had personally suborned the complaints and told the students what to write or dictated the complaints himself.] Yep, it's that vicious and gratuitous..... Anyway, I'm sure you remember [program Director Grundmann’s] treatment of me at the last meeting. The nastiness, the anger, the sarcastic smart remarks.... It's not right. It's not professional. It's not the way a senior, tenured faculty member should ever be treated [let alone in public, at a formal meeting].

I refuse to submit myself to more abuse by sitting there silently and taking it (as I always have). Something must be done, and the only way I feel I can generate any action (since my pleas for civility have been ignored for years) is to absent myself….


My colleague replied:

Thanks, Ray, for the message. I really appreciate keeping in touch about these things, and keeping in touch in general.

I'm really sorry about the problem. I wish you and Roy could reach a civility truce. It's so good to have your voice in meetings - and I think everybody feels this way and feels that it matters. [Material naming others is omitted.]

All best,


* * *

I wrote the following email to my department Chairman about a department meeting he organized and chaired at which I was subject to a more or less continuous barrage of shouted personal attacks. Since I reprint the complete text of the email on a page of the site devoted to the censorship of my publications (see near the bottom of the page titled “Censorship, Punishment, Abuse--Being Banned in Boston,” available in the side menu), I only quote excerpts from the beginning and end of it here. —R.C.

To: Charles Merzbacher, Chairman of the Department of Film

From: Ray Carney


Well, I must say that yesterday's meeting was an eye-opener. In many different ways. Not least of all in how a meeting can be run. If you set out to create the most irrational atmosphere possible, the most emotional-fueled and heated but factually uninformed discussion on the basis of partial and incomplete information, you succeeded admirably. The surprise handouts from the web site (I call them a "surprise" since a discussion of my web site and publications was not mentioned in the agenda and neither I nor anyone else was given any notice that this material would be the entire focus of the forty-minute "discussion" that followed my apology and plea that we put aside our differences and fears and work together for a common good), which, since they were given out in the middle of the meeting with no preparation for them, people then had to skim and leaf through "on the fly" while other people were talking, and which provided only brief excerpts, paragraphs taken out of context, never a complete page or full presentation of an entire essay or section of the site, was a theatrical masterstroke. You caught me and I dare say the entire department faculty (except for those who may have been tipped off in advance) completely off-guard and the result was, predictably enough, demagoguery at its finest, most furious, and most destructive. Extreme emotion with little or no time for thought and reflection. Faculty members who clearly had never visited my web site or read a word posted on it in the past were reduced to shouting insults, vituperation, and name-calling.  (The fact that the insults, yells, and name-calling were directed at me is, in my view, actually unimportant. No matter who they had been directed at, or what subject they had been nominally attached to, they were not, even remotely, a form of dispassionate, intellectual discussion and debate, but an embarrassing expression of emotions of the most uninformed, ignorant, and insulting sort.) ….. [The event you scripted, organized, and presided over] was, beyond all doubt or dispute, in my twenty-five years of serving as a faculty member at four different institutions, the most abusive, insulting, and unprofessionally chaired meeting I've ever been present at. 

* * *

I’ll end with excerpts from two lengthy memos, one dated January 2013 and the other February 2013, I wrote my department Chairman and College Dean protesting the profoundly disrespectful and unprofessional treatment I experienced at a Dec. 13, 2012 meeting chaired by College of Communication Dean Thomas Fiedler--a meeting at which Dean Thomas Fiedler, Associate Dean James Shanahan, department Chairman Paul Schneider, and university Counsel Erika Geetter were all in attendance. (I have a briefer account of this same meeting on the site page titled “L'Affaire Rappaport: A case study in faculty treatment at Boston University.”) —R.C. 

Notwithstanding the stated purpose of the meeting, less than an hour in all was devoted to allowing me to present information or to answer questions. The rest of the time involved subjecting me to a wide-range of verbal and emotional abuse, attacking my character, ideas, and publications, and indulging in different forms of name-calling and character assassination. (Without any prompting from me, the lawyer I had brought with me stopped the meeting dead at one point and heatedly denounced the entire event as a “Star Chamber Proceeding.” No one on the other side of the table replied or denied his accusation.)

Specifically, I was told by Chairman Schneider that I was a liar and that I had clearly perjured myself in a court filing. To say the obvious, my Chairman has absolutely no legal training or competence, and no detailed knowledge of the legal case he was so freely generalizing about. But he clearly did not feel that those facts or limitations in his knowledge should prevent him from telling me that I was guilty of a criminal act for which I could go to jail. I was told by Associate Dean Shanahan that I had deceived the filmmaker in question, lied to him, and concealed where a body of material was stored. Yet one more university administrator who knew almost nothing about the details of the legal situation, but who unhesitatingly took a vehemently negative view of my motives and character, clearly based on what he had read on the internet. (Are BU administrators really this dumb? They believe what they read on the internet? I’m afraid the question answers itself.) I’d emphasize that the preceding statements were not framed as questions to elicit information from me, but were offered as conclusive, final judgments, after I had spoken (to the extent that I was allowed to speak, since I barely got more than a sentence or two out without being interrupted or being told that something I said was wrong—because the internet said something else!). I cite these two examples, which were in every way representative of the tone and content of the first hour of the meeting, to indicate how interested the parties actually were in hearing “[my] side of the story,” how open-minded and fair the university inquiry was, and how respectfully I was treated. To summarize: I was informed that I was, in the view of one BU administrator a criminal, and in the view of another a liar.

I was shocked less at the mountain of mistaken assumptions, than at the extent to which I was being treated as guilty until proven innocent. I was even more shocked when I attempted to answer the questions, and was barely able to make a point before [Chairman Paul Schneider] or Mr. Shanahan would quibble with a word or phrase I used, or cite a line of some document which it was then repeatedly alleged I was misrepresenting or misquoting. Perry Mason would have been proud.

Another lengthy part of the meeting consisted of Chairman Schneider launching a range of personal attacks on my character, morals, ideas, and publications. Chairman Schneider read the text of something I had written six or seven or more years before, and told me that he disagreed with it and that I should not have written it. He also told me that I was wrong to have published the film blog material (the material Dean Tom Fiedler had already objected to and called offensive). He also delivered a speech attacking me personally for continuing to work at Boston University, posing, at one point, a cascade of deliberately insulting and demeaning rhetorical questions ranging from: “Why do you work here? Why do you stay? Why don’t you quit?”—to asking whether I was at BU “only for the money.” As the rhetorical questions clearly indicate, these were not statements about the performance of my duties or the adequacy of my teaching and mentoring, they were ad hominem attacks on my character and morals—and (most surprising to me of all) my money-grubbing. (Chairman Schneider brings in a substantial outside income as a producer, and based on these comments, I gather has a low opinion of academics like me who need their salaries to put food on the table.)

When I attempted to frame a reply to these deliberately insulting, profoundly disrespectful, and egregiously unprofessional attacks (not to forget: including attacking things I have written and published), Chairman Schneider and Associate Counsel Geetter responded by telling me that I was mentally ill (in their words: a victim of paranoia). This was not said as a joke or with a smile. At another point, they dismissed something else I said, [a very serious point I was trying to make about important ethical violations I had observed], by telling me “that’s ridiculous.” Again, not a joke or smile in the room. (But what could possibly be funny about calling a colleague mentally ill or ridiculing him?) How do remarks like that fit in with President Brown’s commitment to making the “new BU” a place where people are treated respectfully?

Of course if you call someone a name or attack their morals, character, or mental condition, you don’t have to actually listen to them or frame a reply to anything they have said. This meeting was not the first time I’ve observed how convenient verbal abuse is to the abuser. My departmental colleagues have demonstrated that in meeting after meeting (many of them even more verbally abusive than this one, alas). To ridicule what someone says, or to attack their character or motives, means you don’t have to respond to what they are saying.

Needless to say, there was no factual basis for any of these attacks on my honesty, integrity, morals, character, or mental competence—nor were any facts cited. Nor were these profoundly disrespectful and insulting comments elicited by anything I said to prompt them. Even in the heat of being attacked, I never made the least counter-accusation against the morals, character, or mental state of my attacker or anyone else, displayed the slightest degree of anger or irritation, or raised my voice in response—just as I have not in any of the many other department and program meetings in which I’ve been subjected to similar or even more vicious verbal attacks and ad hominem name-calling. (My spring 2012 blog posting [reprinted on this site as parts 1 and 2 of “Ten years of Administrative Retaliation for Speaking Up to Defend the Freedom of Academic Expression Inside and Outside the Classroom”] is the relevant reference on this subject—if anyone at BU actually bothered to read it and ponder the events it described, rather than devoting all of their brain-power to thinking up ways to punish me for having told the truth about what my experience of BU has been.)

Dean Tom Fiedler, the meeting Chair, and Erika Geetter, the university Counsel, never once intervened to moderate the deeply disrespectful nature of the attacks or to declare a personal remark inappropriate or out of bounds. Dean Fiedler sat there and smiled throughout the barrage of comments about my character, morals, and mental state. 

* * *

Forgive me for saying it, but I thought it was almost a Saturday Night Live sketch. The comedy was that the treatment I have described (including the accusation that I was “paranoid,” the blithe dismissal of acts of unprofessional conduct that I have provided detailed documentation of as being “ridiculous,” and the speech wondering why in the world I worked at BU, and speculating that I was here “only for the money”) was presented as an effort to assure me that the disrespect, name-calling, character-assassination, and prejudicial treatment I had experienced was a thing of the past! [And, I might add, that the disrespectful treatment I had described on numerous occasions had never occurred--even as it was continuing to take place in front of my eyes. Talk about someone being blind to his or her own tones, attitudes, words. I was being verbally abused and personally attacked in the interests of telling me that there had never been any verbal abuse or personal attacks. I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing out loud. ]
* * *

I gather I did indeed “prove myself innocent” by the end of the meeting; but, believe it or not, in my view my innocence (which, as far as I was concerned, was never in doubt for a second), matters less than the process. And the process is hateful, insulting, and deeply disrespectful. Is this the way BU treats its faculty? Well, the question answers itself. I fear for the next faculty member subjected to the Star Chamber treatment, when some lie is told about him on the internet. Why would a faculty member choose to work at BU? Anger, accusations, and ultimatums (in meetings or in emails) are not the right way to respond to faculty concerns or problems. BU must do better.

* * *

[Perhaps an historical background will help clarify the situation:] There were something like thirty years of administrative retaliation and financial punishment directed against faculty who had minds of their own when John Silber was President, but it is high time that punitive and threatening practices were curtailed. (I will not name names, but part of the problem is obviously that many middle-level managers and staff members appointed by Silber who were hired because they shared his attitudes toward faculty and who learned their jobs under his tutelage still remain at BU, and continue his punitive practices and attitudes.) I assume you, [Chairman Paul Schneider,] know what I am talking about, since the punishments connected with my own situation have, at this point, gone on for more than eight years: the punishingly low evaluations; the pay freezes; the bouts of being shouted at (and shouted down), called names, and having my character and morals attacked in meetings; the “whispering campaigns” conducted by administrators and colleagues where students were told not to take courses with me; the acts of berating and criticizing me, publicly, in front of students; the attempt by Dean Thomas Fiedler to control my email communications with my students; the criticisms of me as being “uncollegial,” “disgruntled,” or “negative” when I have not played the go-along-get-along promotion game and suggested that a particular departmental candidate does not merit promotion or tenure; the unethical smear campaigns conducted by administrators and colleagues to besmirch my reputation with my students; the censorship of the content of my BU faculty web site; the department motion to force me to remove it from university server. (I was glad to have the opportunity at the December meeting to correct your obvious misunderstanding of what took place on this front, Paul, but I have to admit that I was still extremely dismayed that you seem to see nothing wrong with censoring a faculty member’s publications—whether published on the BU server or elsewhere—and with docking a faculty member’s pay, as you [Chairman Paul Schneider and his predecessor Charles Merzbacher] and the Dean [Thomas Fiedler and his predecessor John Schulz] have done for years, when a faculty member writes something the administration disagrees with.) There have been many more punitive actions, but I better stop before I can’t. They have gone on for too many years and have taken too many different forms for me to list them all.

What’s most wrong with administrative punishments is not that I have better things to do with my time than write or respond to ultimatums. How many previous memos similar to the current one I’ve been given deadlines to respond to over the past eight years—Chairman Merzbacher wrote piles of them to me—and what a waste of my spirit and time that could have gone into my real work for BU. And Dean Tom Fiedler and you [Chairman Paul Schneider] surely have better things to do than to write such memos and hold such meetings. Nor is the deepest problem the fact that the threats, ultimatums, and punitive actions only make the situation worse. Bringing a faculty member to his knees financially, bureaucratically, and pedagogically is most assuredly not the way to bring him “on board” but instead is almost guaranteed to drive him to more extreme and, if nothing else suffices, ever more public words and actions to protest his treatment. What’s most wrong with this way of treating a faculty member is that it is not the way to run a university—an institution which is specifically intended to be devoted to free inquiry, expression, and communication. The protections of the tenure system become meaningless when the administration chooses to punish tenured faculty who speak their minds and defend their principles. The tenure system becomes worthless when an administration chooses to listen to only one side of the story—the views of other administrators, whose goal, understandably enough, is to force the “problem” faculty member to shut up. The administration must face the fact that there may be, that in fact there almost always are, valid reasons that a principled faculty member is willing to stick his neck out by speaking up, and that shooting the messenger is never the right response.

I have reported a number of serious pedagogical problems in my department [including discussing the fraudulence of having courses taught by unqualified faculty who lack the training and knowledge to teach them, who are in effect cheating and defrauding students, particularly grad students, of the educations they are paying so much to receive]; I have documented a series of troubling ethical issues; I have written a large number of memos documenting professional misconduct (including serious violations of procedure in tenure and promotion reviews), all of which I have personally observed or experienced in the College of Communication. I have devoted untold hours to preparing lengthy written accounts to support my observations (the “Additional Information” sections of my annual reports for the past six or seven years summarize many of these events, and the reports I have provided to the university Ombuds provide even more detailed descriptions of these events with names, dates, and lists of participants). I have done this confidentially and privately, working within the system. And all I have ever received in response from the BU administration has been a more or less continuous stream of abuse, accusations of being “uncollegial,” campaigns of character assassination conducted by colleagues against me with my students, lowered annual evaluations, the cancellation of support for my research, and pay freezes and other negative effects on my salary.

* * *
The entire BU administration has been in wholesale denial about the retaliatory actions that have been inflicted on me and many other College professors, over the past seven or eight years, for daring to “think differently” and speaking their minds. Continued punishments, threats, lowered evaluations, and even pay freezes or salary cuts are not going to solve the problem or force me to stop reporting serious educational and ethical issues (as I have been told to do, to my amazement, by more than one BU administrator!). BU cannot continue down this road and succeed in the future in attracting the best faculty (who are always going to be the ones who think for themselves and don’t simply go along to get along and curry favor with administrators). There must be a less confrontational, less hostile, less adversarial—and above all less punitive—way of dealing with thoughtful, principled differences of opinion.

I’d remind the reader that the complete and unedited text of the preceding material reporting and objecting to the deeply disrespectful treatment I received at a December 2012 meeting chaired by Dean Thomas Fiedler, like the vast majority of other material posted on this site, was submitted as a confidential internal memo to the line of administrators above me at Boston University (including being sent to Provost Jean Morrison, explicitly requesting a meeting with her to discuss the problems it reports and the issues it raises). It only adds another layer to the profoundly unprofessional treatment I (and many other BU faculty members) have been accorded by the current administration that neither the university Provost nor any other BU administrator not only did not agree to meet with me to discuss the issues in this memo, but did not even offer a token reply or acknowledgement that they had received my communication. There was no “Professor Carney, I appreciate your thoughts ….;” no “Prof. Carney, I am concerned about what you have reported…;” no “Thank you for your input, Professor Carney, I shall look into the issues you raise….” There was no acknowledgement or reply whatsoever—just as there has been no meaningful or substantive reply to any of the dozens of other memos or reports I have submitted to university administrators over the course of almost a decade. (Needless to say, I do not count my Chairman's or Dean's mockery, verbal abuse, lowering of my evaluations, hits to my pay, or attacks on my publications and ridicule of my statements, my sanity, and my decision to continue to work at BU as meaningful or substantive replies.) Totalitarian regimes have the category of "nonpersons" or "former persons" for individuals they don't want to deal with or bother replying to, and, based on my experience, Boston University has something similar. I and my reports simply don't exist--or merit reply or even acknowledgement that the reports have been submitted. It's an important institutional lesson. That is how senior levels of the Boston University administration treat reports of unprofessional and unethical behavior below them--and treat requests by senior faculty members for meetings to discuss them. They don't even acknowledge that they received them, let alone reply to them. The Provost and other senior administrators simply ignore the faculty member and the report; they blow them off; they pretend they never happened; they stonewall them; they hide behind a shroud of institutional silence and implied denial. That is the reason, at this late date in the process, after almost ten years of submitting these confidential internal reports and having them ignored by all of the administrators above me (when I haven't been punished for submitting them), I am finally making a small fraction of them public for the first time. There will be more to come in the future. Many more. — Ray Carney