Saturday, March 30, 2013

Their Side of the Story

One of my more faithful readers has made the observation that it would be nice to hear the University's side of the story for a change. I'm a little hurt by that jab because I feel I've been bending over backwards to give them fair coverage. Almost everything I post about them is in the form of their own written communications, and I can't honestly see where any of it is out of context of framed in a misleading way.

At the same time, I feel I've been pretty restricted in what I'm able to disclose about my side of the story. I've posted all kinds of allegations from the other side about outrageous conduct on my part, without responding at all; the part about making a girl cry, the story about ridiculing a guest in the classroom, and a disturbing episode at Professor Bush's residence which I see that I haven't yet discussed in any detail. It's not that I don't want to respond: I just don't feel the time is right, strategically. I'd like to think that someday I'll have my say.

And by the way, the University has had ample opportunity to hear my side of the story. I showed up at my disciplinary hearing on March 23rd with a big file full of documents that I wanted to disclose, but the committee chair, Grace O'Farrell, cut me off shortly after the 30-minute time limit which she had decreed for my presentation, before I had gotten half-way through my presentation. And then the Board of Governors ignored repeated requests on my part to hear my further appeal, even though the University rules seemed to guarantee me that right. So I'm still waiting for my chance to tell my story.

But in the meantime the University's case against me has been emerging in dribs and drabs. The first thing to come out was the Registrar's letter to me summarizing the complaints that the Dean had submitted to him. Remember, I was kicked out of the practicum on Nov. 21st 2011 and the misconduct proceedings were initiated the next day: it wasn't until four days before Christmas that the Registrar finally disclosed the case against me, and even then only in the form of a bare-bones summary. I posted it on my blog last January, and even though the allegations made me look pretty despicable, I didn't post my response. Not because I didn't have a response, but because I wanted them to put their evidence on the table first. I'm still waiting. In any case, here is the link to that letter of Dec. 21st.

I don't think I've been avoiding opportunities to tell the University's side of the story. I was going through everything in sequence last winter until March, when I abruptly stopped blogging. At this moment I'm not quite sure why that happened. I had just gotten up to the point where they had banned me from the campus last winter, and I had asked for the right to appeal the ban. They refused to let me appeal, and they refused to disclose the grounds for the trespassing order. Again, I'd like to tell my side of the story, but at the risk of repeating myself, I don't feel it's in my best interests at this time. So we'll have to leave it at that for now.

In any case, my blog cuts off around that time with no further explanation, and doesn't resume until September, around the time when I launched my lawsuit against the University. Shortly after I filed, the Free Press picked up on the story and ran an article about it. There were a lot of talk-backs to the article, and they were generally pretty hostile. In particular, someone complained that the University's side of the story wasn't being presented. So I replied by posting a link to the Registrar's letter where he lists the accusations against me. As a result, that particular post got more hits than anything else on my blog....496 hits as of today, to be exact. "Ernest Goes to Jail" is a distant second at 279 pageviews. (Interestingly, both are beaten by "How A Motor Works" on my physics blog, with 591 hits.) The point is, I haven't been shy about telling people what the University says about me.
In the meantime, there's a pretty big hole in the narrative, which I see now that I've never gotten around to filling in. So let's see...first of all, the stuff I was posting in March was about things that had happened back in January. So there's a two-month gap that needs to be filled in. Here is the short story. I was suspended from attending class on the afternoon of the 11th, and notified of the trespassing ban later that evening. In other words, if I showed up on Campus, I would be arrested. I pretty much considered that to be a de facto expulsion, and told the University as much in my letter the next morning, when I asked permission to appeal. I said if they weren't willing to allow my appeal, they ought to refund my tuition in full.

My letter was answered by Vice-President Academic John Corlett, who said that the University was not willing to reconsider the trespassing ban, and accordingly he would undertake to arrange for a full refund of my tuition fees. There was a catch: I had to voluntarily withdraw from the program.

I didn't like that very much. If I withdrew voluntarily, wouldn't that mean I would relinquish any right to defend myself against the charges of Non-Academic Misconduct, which were still pending? Corlett assured me that the Registrar would be issuing his findings on those charges as soon as possible, so I decided to wait.

It took the Registrar another nine days to decide I was guilty of misconduct. Not a thing happened during that time interval except for a curious milestone that occured on the seventh of those nine days: the deadline for second-term voluntary withdrawal (without penalty) came and went. The University then calculated my tuition refund on the basis of VW after the second-term deadline. So instead of getting a full refund of my $4200 tuition fees, as promised by the VP, or at least my second-term fees refunded it full, I got instead a check for $1300. Slick move.

But that's hardly the point here. I told you I was going to present the University's case, and that's what I'm coming to. Because when Colin Russell found me guilty, he wrote a report to Lloyd Axworthy which I received a copy of. And that's what I want to share with you.

But let's wait until tomorrow for that. In the meantime, I notice I made an accidental pop culture reference two paragraphs ago which....well, here you go:


  1. I think when people say they want the University's side of the story, they want opinions and perspectives. Not just the what, but they WHY.

    Why do THEY think you're doing what you're doing? Why are they responding the way they are? What's their description of your actions?

    You try (poorly, in my opinion) to make yourself out to be an innocent victim. I'd like to know how they see you.

  2. I still want to know what you are actually hoping to get out of this. Whatever you do get, I have a feeling you won't be satisfied. If I were you, I would spend my energy elsewhere and move on with my life.

  3. To the Anonymous who complains that I'm still not really giving the University's side of the story: I just said I was going to post the Registrar's report about me. Are you saying that's not good enough or what? Because I don't have to post it if nobody is interested in reading it.

  4. I love this reply by Marty. You really have no idea how to converse with people. Your lack of social skills is big reason you are in this mess. Your ignorance and stubborn attitude landed you in jail when it could have easily been avoided. That did not impress anyone, nor are you are not a martyr. No one understands what you are fighting for, I doubt you even know at this point. You are fighting for the sake of a fight. Thank goodness you will never teach a child.

  5. It's hard to engage in a conversation with someone when there are multiple posters using the "Anonymous" tag and I have no way of knowing which one I'm trying to engage with. Anyhow, I still don't know if people (you? the other Anonymous?...) are interested in seeing what the Registrar had to say about me in his report, or if they're just going to complain that I'm still not telling the University's side of the story.

  6. Greetings, Marty:

    I can see that I didn't go far enough back when reading the blog (I only came into it after your recent arrest). Thank you for posting the link to the Registrar's letter-- which contains pretty disturbing (but not necessarily surprising) allegations. My previous observation was meant, in part, to be a delicate hint that blogging about this issue when it's still before the Courts is strategically not a good move. You can't really respond to the allegations against you except to say they're untrue; neither can you transport your readers to the times & places the alleged incidents occurred so that we can see for ourselves whether they're true or not. So, while I understand your need to vent about what *you* perceive to be an injustice; and while I reiterate that some of the university's dealings with you seem--in your portrayal of them-- odd & over-reactive; on the whole, you're not making much of a success of persuading the general public that the university was *wrong* in removing you from the teaching program. You're clearly brilliant at some things, but the ability to get along well with others doesn't seem to be your strong suit. It's absolutely crucial for teachers to have that ability. Your pursuit of this issue seems pretty Quixotic to me and it seems only too likely that it will end in disappointment for you. I am sorry (for you) that society doesn't seem to be able to value you in the way you wish to be valued.
    Best regards,