Friday, October 12, 2012

Why I'm going to win this fight

Yesterday I posted a link to my Statement of Claim, and soon I'm going to talk about it in some more detail. But today I'd like to digress. I've been taking a lot of flak from some people about my attitude. One thing that people often throw in my face is the fact that I declined to attend an informal meeting called by the Dean to discuss the complaints against me.  I still think that was one of the smartest moves I made in this whole campaign.

People think I could have solved my problems amicably if I had just agreed to compromise early in the game. After all, what was the harm in going to a meeting?

What these people don't understand is that by this time, I was already dealing with vicious, unscrupulous enemies who were determined to do me in. At that time, I didn't know this either. I only had my instincts to guide me, and there was something in the tone of the Dean's correspondence that told me I should keep my guard up. So I simply requested that whatever proceedings were being contemplated against me, they ought to proceed by the book, according to the University policies. Since the meeting with the Dean was not part of the formal proceedings, I told the Dean it was not in my best interests to attend. 

I didn't tell him why it wasn't in my best interests, because it wasn't his business. But now I'm going to tell him. When powerful people get together to make malicious accusations against you, they are taking a bit of a risk. Their problem is that depending on how reckless they are, they might accuse you of something that you happen to be in a position to refute with solid evidence. That would be embarrassing to them. So what they try to do is fling a lot of mud at you and hope that some of it will stick. But they absolutely will not commit themselves.

That's why they don't want to put their case on paper. Once they've put it on paper, they're committed. Instead, they want to corner you in a meeting and probe you with this and that, watching your responses to see if they detect vulnerability. They get a sense of where you are confident and where you are on shaky ground. And understand, when I say you are on shaky ground, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have done something's just that you don't have any ready means of disproving the allegation, even though it may be false.

So the secret is to not respond to \anything until they've put it all on paper...and that means, their entire case. That was my strategy all along, and it frustrated the hell out of them, because it undermined their whole strategy of bait-and-switch. You don't think they would stoop to such dirty tactics? Check out the following excerpt from  the letter sent to the Dean by Professor David Bell, where, after accusing me of numerous unspecified instances of rude behavior, he states:

"I have more examples of inappropriate behavior if needed" (italics mine).

That's how these people work. Try flinging some mud, and if it doesn't stick, fling some more. That's why they got so frustrated when I refused to respond until I saw the complaints in writing.

Now they're about to go to court, and they still don't know what I know. They're committed to their side of the story, and they still don't know how I'm going to respond to their lies. The irony is that they had every opportunity to learn my side of the story, and they squandered it. Two days before my final appeal hearing before the Committee of the Board of Regents, I finally got them to release the written complaints. By any standards of due process and fair play, this was an outrage. How could I prepare an adequate response with so little time, especially since it had been five months since action against me was initiated? But despite this, I went to the meeting and attempted to tell my story.

The committee refused to listen! They had already decided that I would be given thirty minutes to speak, and despite my vehement protests, they cut me off long before I had finished. It was a flagrant abuse of power and it was completely unnecessary, because even if I spoke for three hours, they still intended to throw me out as soon as I was done. They cut me off simply because they couldn't pass up the chance to humiliate me face to face.

And so they still don't know what I'm going to say when we go to court. But I do. I know my side of the story and their side of the story. They'd like to go back to Professor Bell and get "more examples of inappropriate behavior" to shore up their case, but it's really too late for that. They threw me out on the basis of the case they put together way back when, and now they have to live or die by that case.

They made their bed, and now they have to lie in it.

1 comment:

  1. Marty, have you consulted with the Ombudsman on this?

    The legal fees on this are going to get large. Do you really want to go there? (If you don't have a lawyer you will be at a distinct disadvantage against the U.)

    While the U may have made some mistakes, they will claim that you did not respond to what they will say was a reasonable request to meet with you. They have been down this road many times before, with other students, so they already know how these things go.

    If you can prove some kind of discrimination, or abuse, then you may be more successful. But, instead you could just put your efforts into something like teaching on contract (in the private sector) and possibly be further ahead in the long run.

    Finally, if you can prove somehow that the U had a Duty to Accommodate you in some manner, and didn't, then that is another possible avenue.

    However, your statement of claim would need to address this. Haven't had a chance to read it.

    Hope you have found a good lawyer. Or better, that you might consider just walking away from this one and going to another school (if you are still interested in teaching in Public School).