Friday, February 20, 2015

Negotiating with Boston University, Part 3

The effectiveness of reason as a response to irrationality, anger, and fear

This is part three of a four-part account of my attempts to reason with Boston University administrators in the period immediately preceding my decision to go public with these blog postings. Parts 1 and 2 appear on previous blog pages, and the heading to Part 1 gives the background to the text that follows.  —Ray Carney

Want another illustration of how the BU administration responds to faculty needs and requests? Here’s Example #2, involving my submission of a memo:  

A few years ago I wrote an extremely long and detailed memorandum to the university Ombuds (Francine Montemurro), sending a carbon to the Associate Provost, at the end of which I proposed a four-part “solution” to the punishments that had been inflicted on me for filing my reports of ethical violations and professional misconduct. In it I outlined the actions that had been taken against me, documenting in copious detail and with an enormous amount of supporting documentation from impartial witnesses and faculty members, the specific dates, times, places, and individuals (almost all low- and mid-level administrators) involved in various unprofessional and unethical acts of retaliation against me, in attempts to discredit me and force me to stop reporting the ethical violations they were guilty of. I ended the memo with a request for redress and asked for four specific remedies. Since even this part of the memo was long and detailed, I’ll only summarize it here. I requested the following four remedies:

1) Removing provably and demonstrably fraudulent, perjured, and suborned documents from my personnel file (e.g. among them, false statements about me written by faculty members and lower-level administrators whose ethical violations and unprofessional behavior I had reported, most prominent among them the Director of Film Studies and a specific Film Production Professor, who knowingly presented the blatantly fradulent documentation to senior administrators as being originated by and spontaneously written by students in order to discredit my reports of their own ethical violations and professional misconduct).

2) The restoration of a large amount of pay that I have had taken away from me to punish me. (My pay has been docked every year since 2005.)

3) The restoration of my zeroed-out research support. (Every penny of support was taken away in 2008 and has continued to be denied ever since.)

4) A request for reassignment to another administrative unit within the university. (The behavior of my colleagues over a period of many years—including the yelling and verbal abuse directed at me in department and program meetings and in public places in front of students—demonstrates that the atmosphere in my department is so polarized and personally rancorous that there is no prospect that it can be healed.)

I sent the memo, the detailed documentation, and the request for redress and remedy to the university Ombuds and the Associate Provost, and beyond that, I gave the university Ombuds full permission to show any or all of what I had submitted to any university administrator who was interested in reading it and might be able to act on it or be willing to hold a meeting with me to discuss what I had submitted. By this point, I’d assume you can guess the adminstrative response. Silence. Complete dead silence. I’d also assume you can predict the number of administrators at any level who asked to discuss what I wrote with me, in whole or in part, to ask questions about it, or meet with me to resolve the situation. None. That’s how the Boston University administration treats reports about ethics violations and unprofessional conduct from senior faculty members who attempt to enter into negotiations with them to resolve the problems. They ignore the report. They don’t respond.

[Continued on the next blog page]