Ten Years of Administrative Ethical Abuse,
Misconduct, and Denial
hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, know-no-evil administration
Every year prior to 2005 without exception: Prof. Carney's annual performance evaluations, assessing his teaching, research, collegiality, and professional contributions to the university, awarded by his department Chairman and College Dean, are consistently and without exception among the highest of any faculty member at Boston University.
At various points during the 2005-2006 academic year, the Dean holds additional meetings with Prof. Carney’s students, without Professor Carney’s knowledge, telling them they should not be studying with Prof. Carney, in an attempt to further undermine his standing and authority as a teacher and a mentor and kill the enrollments in his courses. (See "Sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind," below for one of the results of this course of action.)
Starting this year, the Dean and department Chairman "zero-out" Carney's annual performance evaluations and pay increments, and tell him they will not improve until he stops speaking up (and subsequently stops reporting ethical violations). His evaluations stay bottomed-out for the next ten years, and continue that way at present.
May 2005: Ray Carney resigns his position as Director of Film Studies, to protest the unilateral and unethical imposition of admissions, grading, and curricular changes on the program by the Dean of the College of Communication without free and uncoerced discussion, debate, and approval by the full-time faculty. The Dean secured the changes by making financial threats against specific faculty members and threatening to abolish the program if approval of his proposals was not forthcoming.The Dean is delighted with Carney’s resignation and hand-picks his replacement, a professor who in future months and years will work will hand-in-glove with the Dean to spread unfounded rumors and slanderous gossip about Carney to undermine his academic status and stature.
2007 and the following years: Prof. Carney's teaching schedule and classroom assignments become part of the Dean's and Chairman's punishment regimen. Prof. Carney's film classes are assigned to media-unfriendly classrooms (where films have to be viewed on a small television in the front of a large room, making subtitles on foreign films unreadable), the least popular times (8 in the morning and 9 at night), unpopular parts of the day (late Friday afternoons and early Friday evenings), and grueling durations (a teaching schedule strung out to create a 13-hour teaching day) to punish him, limit his enrollments, and try to force him to quit. His requests for normal rooms, days, and times are ignored or ridiculed. He is also assigned massive course overloads, being forced to teach up to twice as many courses as he is supposed to be responsible for.
Spring and Fall 2008: “But Wait, There’s More (Punishment in Store)” Category: All of Prof. Carney's previously granted and promised research support is withdrawn by the Chairman of the Department of Film and Television in the spring and, and after Prof. Carney appeals the decision as a violation of a set of earlier written agreements, the withdrawal of support is endorsed by Assistant Dean Maureen Mahoney and Dean of the College of Communication, Thomas Fiedler, in the fall. The withholding of all university support for Prof. Carney's research continues into the present day.
January 2009: In a meeting with Prof. Carney, the Dean of the College of Communication, Thomas Fiedler, tells Prof. Carney that his reports of ethical violations, procedural irregularities, and other professional misconduct (including serious failures to perform their assigned duties by specific classroom teachers) are of "no interest" to him and will not be acted on. The Dean makes it very clear that the only "problem" he sees is the reports themselves, not the ethical violations or misconduct they describe, and tells Prof. Carney that he regards him as "a troublemaker" for filing them, and that he does not want him to file similar reports in the future. A series of veiled (and not-so-veiled) threats are issued by the Dean at this meeting and in several subsequent meetings and memos about the negative financial and bureaucratic consequences on Prof. Carney's career if he continues to "make trouble" (the Dean's term for filing an ethics report) by filing similar reports in the future. Carney continues reporting the major ethical violations and egregious acts of professional misconduct he witnesses.
In the months and years that follow, Dean Fiedler (with the assistance of Film and Television Department Chairman Paul Schneider) follows through on the threats. Prof. Carney is administratively retaliated against and financially punished for filing his reports—making it official: It is the avowed and acknowledged policy of the administration of Boston University President Robert Brown to retaliate against faculty who report ethical violations and acts of professional misconduct.
Spring semester 2009: Sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind.The effect of the “hear no evil, see no evil, know no evil” Robert Brown administration as the successor to the “reign of terror” John Silber administration: There are a series of death threats as a direct consequence of the more than four years of shameless and irresponsible lies and vicious personal attacks against Prof. Carney by BU administrators. To learn more about the results of this kind of behavior, consult the Old Testament.
2008-2010: Ray Carney is excluded from attending Visiting Day, Open House, and Orientation events by the Chairman of the Department of Film and Television.
2009 and following years: Guilt by association as an official intellectual policy. Ray Carney is told by the faculty organizer of the College of Communication Department of Film and Television Visiting Speakers Series (the BU Cinémathèque) that he is not welcome to attend events and that anyone he personally recommends being invited to speak will not be invited. Over the course of the following years, Prof. Carney is told by filmmakers and critics in his circle of acquaintance that when they innocently name Prof. Carney as a friend to the faculty member who runs the event and/or express admiration for Carney’s writing, they are told that there are “problems” with their visits, which are then cancelled.
October 2010: Actions that cannot bear the light of day are always done in secret or with a demand of secrecy. How to get rid of "troublesome" ethical reports by buying off the reporter and getting rid of him: In a formal memo he sends to Prof. Carney, the Dean of the College of Communication, Thomas Fiedler, asks that Prof. Carney consider renouncing his tenure and resigning his position, and attempts to secure his agreement by offering him a semester free of teaching if he immediately agrees to quit–but adds that the offer, which the Boston University Provost has already approved, must scrupulously be kept secret. Prof. Carney is not to reveal the deal to shut him up and buy him off and not to tell anyone that the Dean has written what he has to him. Just as he has refused to be silenced by years of bullying threats and retaliatory punishments, Prof. Carney turns down the bribe and continues filing his reports.
October 2011: “Censoring What Boston University Faculty Are Allowed to Say in Interviews” Department: The Chairman of the Department of Film and Television, Paul Schneider, informed Professor Carney in writing that he wanted formally “to go on the record” to caution him that he is not allowed to speak about his treatment by university administrators and his overall situation at Boston University when doing interviews with the media. His discussion of the history of the censorship he had experienced (and continues to experience) at Boston University is officially being censored. Chairman Schneider offered the dubious legal justification that since Boston University is paying Professor Carney, the university had the right to control what he says in interviews.
September – December 2012: Continuing the Dean’s announced policy of monitoring faculty emails, and penalizing faculty for writing things he doesn't agree with, the Dean of the College of Communication reads and distributes to other university administrators, without Prof. Carney's knowledge or permission, copies of personal and confidential emails he wrote to an individual unconnected with Boston University, and severely criticizes what he has written and penalizes his evaluations, pay, and perquisites for the content of the emails, in which, among other things, Carney criticizes the Dean’s ethics. This action, like so many of the other actions the Dean and Chairman have taken against Prof. Carney, is approved by the University Office of General Counsel (the BU lawyers), in the person of a university lawyer named Erika Geetter.
November 2007 – Present: For more than seven years and continuing into the present, the Director of Film Studies (Associate Professor Roy Grundmann) plays a variety of calculated “dirty tricks” on Ray Carney, intended to destroy his reputation and drive his course enrollments to zero—including telling Film Studies and American Studies students not to take courses with Prof. Carney, telling them he will refuse to work with students who ask to have Carney as their thesis reader or director, and attacking or making damaging insinuations about Prof. Carney’s character, morals, competence, and the value of his teaching and research. (This last accusation is all the more ironic, almost to the point of comedy, coming from someone who himself has done little or no original and important research, and who administers a Film Studies program where virtually none of the professors other than myself have published any important or original critical work, a program where many of the Film Studies professors who teach graduate students do not even hold the Ph.D. degree.) He does this in a series of private meetings he holds with students in his office, in the performance of his formal administrative duties as Director of Film Studies, as someone who advises and approves students’ course selections. Everything he tells the students is a lie, calculated to discourage or prevent them from taking Prof. Carney’s courses or working with him. Knowing no better, and needing the approval of their designated adviser (and letters of recommendation from him), many students innocently and unquestioningly believe and accept the lies and misrepresentations. Even those who are shocked by the demonstrable falsehood of what they are being told, or who are independent-minded enough to question why it is being said, don’t dare express disagreement for fear of jeopardizing their job or graduate school recommendations, since Grundmann has an established record of retaliation against students who express independent views. When the tactic succeeds, after a short period of time, Grundmann enlarges the game and tells a series of similar bare-faced lies to faculty members in the American Studies program and the Department of Film and Television. The Chairman of the Department of Film and Television (Paul Schneider), Dean of the College of Communication (Tom Fiedler), and Boston University Provost (Jean Morrison) refuse to do anything to address, correct, or reprimand Grundmann's egregious professional misbehavior.
October 2011 – January 2013: Ray Carney sends a series of memos and emails to Boston University Provost Jean Morrison documenting numerous serious ethical and procedural violations he has observed, appealing to her for action and redress for the retaliatory treatment he has received for filing these and other previous reports with more junior administrators. He also carbons her on memos he sends other administrators. No action is ever taken, and not a single memo, carbon, or other communication is responded to or replied to. Provost Morrison makes no request for more information from Prof. Carney, no request to meet and talk with him, and never even acknowledges with a token reply that she has received, or read, anything he has sent her.
The cover-up within the cover-up: Over the course of many years, dozens of Prof. Carney’s students are appalled by the treatment he is accorded and, spontaneously and without his prompting, seize the initiative and write letters to the Chairman of the Department of Film and Television, the Dean of the College of Communication, or other administrators and staff members describing and protesting the disgraceful behavior of College of Communication administrators and faculty, including the meetings held by administrators to slander and defame their teacher. Most of their letters, which indict and incriminate some of the very individuals who receive them, are destroyed or thrown away by the recipients. They are not forwarded, as they should have been, to higher levels of the university administration. They are not shown to the Boston University Provost and President. The cover-up must be maintained.
March 13, 2013: After more than eight years of keeping his reports of ethical misconduct, violations of academic freedom, and egregious professional misbehavior at Boston University strictly confidential and private, filing them strictly within the official university reporting system, and not receiving a single meaningful or substantive response from a single Boston University administrator—let alone being informed of a single serious attempt to investigate the issues raised or rectify the situation, following a face-to-face meeting with Paul Schneider, the Chairman of the Department of Film and Television, in which Chairman Schneider, in direct answer to Prof. Carney’s inquiry, tells Prof. Carney that no response will be forthcoming, that nothing will be done to remedy the situations he has reported, and that there are no plans to lift the university censorship order or allow Prof. Carney to resume hosting a faculty web site on the BU server, Prof. Carney creates a blog at Blogspot.com and makes his first posting.
Present: Prof. Carney's student teaching evaluations continue to be among the highest and most complimentary, and his publication record the largest and most distinguished, of anyone on the entire Boston University faculty—while his annual performance evaluations and pay continue to be among the very lowest of all tenured Professors with his rank and seniority. The ethical violations, rigging of the pay, promotion, and tenure review system and teaching evaluation system, and the wide-range of pedagogical and administrative misconduct and egregiously unprofessional behavior he has reported for almost a decade continue in full force, uninvestigated and unabated. Easier to shoot the messenger than face, or admit, the problems.
The blog has more than anyone (including my correspondent on the top of this page) wants to know on this subject. Three blog pages that deal with administrative spying on faculty emails and attempts to control what faculty write students and others are: "How Marketing and Branding Considerations Limit What Teachers Can Tell Their Students—or Suggest That They Read at Boston University" (March 2013), "Violations of Privacy and Confidentiality—A Continuing BU Saga" (May 2013), and “The Monitoring and Control of Faculty Emails, Phone Calls, and Personal Expression in the Boston University College of Communication.” (March 2013). Emails are only the tip of the iceberg of course when it comes to controlling thought and expression at BU. There is more information about other attempts to monitor and control faculty expression at Boston University on many other blog pages. See "Censorship, Punishment, Abuse, Threats—Being Banned in Boston" (March 2013) for starters.—R.C.