Friday, April 24, 2015

A Formal Request for an Investigation

Subject: A Formal Request for Action

Francine Montemurro
Office of the Ombuds
Boston University
Charles River Campus
19 Deerfield Street, Suite 203
Boston, MA 02215

April 24, 2015

Dear Francine,

I hope you (and the Ombuds office) are thriving. I wanted to send you more material to add to my official file of complaints against Boston University this academic year, to supplement the text of the faculty annual report that I sent you in late February in hard copy via campus mail.

This time the easiest way for me to provide the material is by requesting that you or your assistant please print out the following pages of my blog from the urls I am providing. All were added to the blog in approximately the last 60 days or so, in the postings for February and April. They summarize and update the hundreds of pages of material and documentation you already have. I will give the urls below.

I'd ask for a formal, objective investigation into the actions described in the urls designated as Parts 1 through 6 of the April postings in particular (the most recent set of blog postings). The basic problem is that there has never been an objective, neutral third-party investigation into any of these matters, or at least an investigation that has borne any fruit other than lies and denial on the part of the accused. What the Provost (or the lawyers) have done, all they have done, as far as I can tell, is simply ask the individuals concerned whether what I am saying is correct. Of course, the involved individuals have denied everything, and denied anything happened at all, or that I have been treated unfairly and unethically in any way whatsoever. But that is only to be expected. They would be reprimanded or dismissed if they admitted what they have done and continue to do. So the way to deal with this is not to ask the perpetrators, but to ask the witnesses, of whom there have been many. Or to consult the documents I have provided where, for example, members of my own department wrote me to commiserate with the treatment I received that they witnessed. (I provide the texts of some of those emails on another page of the blog.)

Or as another example, the activities and actions in Part 3 of the April postings ("Slander, Lies, Secret Meetings") were witnessed and in some cases participated in by dozens, even scores of students, over a period of more than ten years. I have students who come into my office every year who tell me about the sneaky, underhanded, unethical smear campaign still being conducted by the Director of Film Studies (Roy Grundmann, now and for the past ten years; though I don't put his name  in the posting, that is who it is). They would be an excellent place to start. The events that took place documented in other sections of the postings were similarly witnessed by others. This is the way to verify these events--not by asking the perpetrators if they are willing to turn themselves in and bust themselves!

Here are the urls. I am requesting a formal investigation by the Ombuds office of the actions documented in Parts 1 through 6 of the first set of urls (the April postings), but please insert in my file and use as background information the material from all of the urls below, including the ones that follow the first six.

This nightmare, this unethical behavior, this egregiously unprofessional mistreatment of a faculty member, must be brought to an end both for me, for my students, and for the good of Boston University. The absolute and complete refusal of university administrators even to talk to me about these issues, to discuss them, to negotiate a resolution to them (which I describe in the final five urls below)--their decision to deny everything (despite the presence of witnesses and independent corroborators), and in fact to retaliate against me for the reports I have filed and am continuing to file is not only deplorable, but actually an extension of and addition to the ethical problems I am reporting in the first place (as I note in the first of the "Negotiating with Boston University" postings). Not to act on reports of ethical violations is itself an ethical violation.

Thank you and best wishes.


Ray Carney
College of Communication
640 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston University
Boston, MA 02215


"Inside Boston University—A Faculty Member's Efforts to Defend Academic Freedom of Expression" --

Ray Carney's observations about academic freedom of expression, the censorship of faculty publications, and bureaucratic retaliation against independent-minded faculty members at Boston University. Prof. Carney reflects on the deleterious effect of corporate modes of organization, business measures of value, and market pressures on the life of the mind, academic research, and course offerings—and on the distortions corporate values introduce into the faculty promotion, pay, and support system.

Ray Carney is the author or editor of: Henry Adams, Mount Saint Michel and Chartres (Viking Penguin), Henry James, What Maisie Knew and The Spoils of Poynton (New American Library/Signet), Rudyard Kipling, Kim (New American Library); The Films of John Cassavetes: Pragmatism, Modernism and the Movies (Cambridge University Press); The Films of Mike Leigh: Embracing the World (Cambridge University Press); Speaking the Language of Desire: The Films of Carl Dreyer (Cambridge University Press); American Vision: The Films of Frank Capra (Cambridge University Press); American Dreaming (University of California Press at Berkeley); Shadows (British Film Institute Macmillan); Cassavetes on Cassavetes (Faber and Faber/Farrar, Straus); Autoportraits (Cahiers du cinema), The Adventure of Insecurity; Necessary Experiences; Why Art Matters; and other books, essays, and editions, published in more than ten languages.