Friday, January 27, 2012
Why Didn't I Just Go to the Meetings?
It would be six weeks from the time the Dean first asked me to meet with him before I was finally given a letter indicating the nature of the allegations against me. In my next post I will reveal what was in that letter. In the meantime, I’m sure people are wondering about those meetings. During those six weeks I was asked on numerous occasions to attend meetings, supposedly so I would have a chance to tell my side of the story. So what was my problem? Why didn’t I just go to the meetings?
It’s funny that of all the people who ask me why I wouldn’t go to the meetings, hardly any of them ask why the University wouldn’t just put its allegations in writing. It’s a matter of due process and natural justice. I really shouldn’t have to explain the ABC’s of due process, but it goes something like this.
There are two possibilities in a situation like this. Either the University is represented by sincere, well-meaning people who really truly just want to hear my side of the story. In that case I ought to go to the meeting. The other possibility is that the University is represented by vicious, unscrupulous people who will stop at nothing to ruin me. In that case it is against my interests to reveal anything until they have laid all their cards on the table. Which will it be?
What “due process” says is that as the accused person, I am entitled to treat my opponents as though they are Type B; and furthermore, they are not allowed to draw any adverse inferences about my guilt through the fact that I choose to regard them that way.
I know we’ve all watched the movies where the “bad guys” get away with murder because they take advantage of the rules. What “due process” says, unfortunately, is that you’re not allowed to assume I’m a “bad guy” just because I take advantage of the rules. It’s the job of the university to make their best case against me, and it’s not my job to help them make that case. That’s why I wouldn’t go to their little meetings until they disclosed their evidence.
It’s funny how everyone still thinks I’m a badass because I take this hard line. What about the University refusing to disclose their evidence? Why do they get a free pass for their behavior? If anything, doesn’t it show that maybe they really are the malicious, unscrupulous people that I am entitled to assume they are?
I know what the University is thinking right now. “How dare Marty impugn our integrity, we refined, dignified educated people who have been put in a position of trust by society to administer its institutions of higher learning? Those rules are meant to protect people from the excesses of racist police officers, ambitious prosecuting attorneys, and corrupt government officials. No one needs rules to be protected from us, because we would never abuse anyone’s rights.”
Unfortunately, it is just this smug attitude of our-shit-doesn’t-smell that makes those same people capable of the most outrageous excesses.