Tuesday, April 04, 2006

IMPORTANT: Chronicle of High Education Article Available for Viewing for Limited Time

The nationally circulated Chronicle of Higher Education posted an article today regarding Professor Jeffries' lawsuit. It appears that non-subscribers to the Chronicle may view the article for only four more days.

Some points of interest:

Dr. John Stewart is reported to have said that, aside from Dr. Jeffries, no other professors have complained about the gag clause, which is said to appear in all faculty contracts. Furthermore, he denies that such a clause hinders academic freedom. This may be contrasted with Stewart's sworn testimony, which was offered at Jeffries' unemployment hearings and was reported by the Des Moines Regsiter on Sunday, April 2. That article reported:

    At the recent state hearing on his request for unemployment benefits, Jeffries' attorney asked Stewart whether he felt that the threat of having to repay one's salary for criticizing the school created an "intimidating and fearsome situation" for the faculty.

    "It would certainly be difficult, yes," Stewart said.

Perhaps in Dr. Stewart's mind intimidation and fear are not sufficient conditions for hampering academic freedom, but we are not convinced.

As a further note, the Chronicle's article also reports that Professor Jeffries has accepted a position as assistant professor of philosophy at Ripon College. We wish Paul and Ruth all the best, though we cannot help feeling saddened by the fact that they have been forced to start afresh.

29 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me for asking the obvious question but did the Vice President just get quoted as stating "that the proof that But he said the provision prohibiting criticism did not threaten academic freedom because professors could file a grievance related to the prohibition -- something that, Mr. Stewart said, Mr. Jeffries never did."

This is just stupid. If you file a grievance, you will be fired. Apparently if you send an email you will be fired. Sorry, your tenure will be revoked. I am sure honesty is not emphasized at the University of Dubuque, but you are quickly becoming a joke with your fellow colleges in Iowa.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 9:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is important to note that any faculty grievance filed at the University of Dubuque must be approved by the President's Office. Certainly, it should be no surprise that no faculty grievances have been filed since that policy was put in place.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 2:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a retired person living around UD (Galena) who spent 40+ years in higher education. I was sent this blog by a friend and have put off writing anything for months.

Nothing I have read about this situation makes any sense to me.
1. If the facts as summarized by Jeffries are accurite, then the admenistration of UD is evil to a depth that is simply representative if questionable mental health. The story set out by Jeffries and the articles linked here does not make sense. Is the VPAA a scientist? No person with an advanced degreee in the humanities would make such a foolish comment about the Reform Tradition. Did he miss the Reformation? Luther and Calvin both emphasize the centrality of conscience in decission making and action.

2. The setting set out by the University makes no sense. Assuming everything UD says is true, you do not respond to an angry email (or numberous emails that are very rude in tone) by withdrawing a tenure offer. I personally have been involved in over 800 tenure reviews (as well as the revoking of 2 professors' tenure) and have never heard of anything this strange. If Dr. Jeffries warrented tenure in May, he would still warrent tenure in July.

3. I strongly suspect there is an incident that is not getting reported or summarized that is crucial to understanding this situation. I can't imagine that it will be kept quiet unless the parties settle well before trial. Otherwise material from the trial will be known by too many parties (again, personally, I have been involved in 6 cases). University people talk too much.

4. Does UD realize Ripon is a much, much better college than UD? You should keep faculty that can move up and get rid of facutly that can't. Given stories I have heard (very 4th hand) about faculty at UD. Well, they are keeping the wrong ones.

Saturday, April 08, 2006 9:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all who read this, take heart. A Director of the Wendt Character Initiative has been announced.

Now everything will be "all better" and we can get on with doing whatever is supposed to be done regarding the development of character...whatever that means.

Oh, did I mention the new director is NOT an ethicist nor has the person had course work in leadership?

How stupid of me to think that an academic background in morale development and motivation would be requisites for someone in this position. What must I have been thinking?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 4:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone have the time to list the countless ethical problems the university creates for itself when they hire one of the people involved in firing an ethics professor as the ethics professors replacement?

Thursday, April 13, 2006 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the new Went Character director is trained in using punishment to motivate faculty, staff and students. It is no wonder the employees of UD are unhappy. Who what to work in an environment of were punishment is used to control the employees. It is truly sad to see the administration act in such a way. UD has many good things going for it that are now being overshadowed and will be overshadowed for years to come by the actions of the administration.

Thursday, April 13, 2006 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the point of view of Buena Vista with a few friends on UD faculty but as someone that has never been around Paul Jeffries it seems you people have several problems.

The new character person has no background in either leadership or ethics.

The hiring process has been very ugly and involves litigation. She is listed on your webpage and working as an Associate Dean who would have been closely involved in firing the previous ethics professor and would have more than a passing interest in the issue of academic fraud that lurks in the background of all of these conversations.

Were any other candidates interviewed by students and faculty? I am struck by the lack of complaints about how they did not hire the other person. Applicant pools of one are not not interviews, they are appointments.

Can she comment on ethical problems without getting fired? According to all of the linked articles, this issue comes up again and again. She is NOT an ethics professor when she can't freely comment on her environment.

This job has been around for several years as I have seen it posted at least 2 times. How do you search for more than 2 years and then realize the person you want is in-house? Given the litigation involved, this says conflict of interest.

My lunch hour is about over and I have to go back to doing work for a real university.

Thursday, April 13, 2006 12:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In-house candidate for ethic professor? This is not the first time at UD. The president, Bullock, himself was an in-house and only candidate for the presidency. At he time, he was dean of the seminary. The chairperson of the board of trustee claimed he was the best candidate. But how could he have been the "best" candidate when no search was conducted? The UD administrators have been ethically deprived for over ten years--no doubt carrying out the orders of the board of trustees which makes them ethically challenged as well.

Read the UD Mission Statement, that grand plan for the future, and note that the administration and the board of trustees are not mentioned. Evidently, they need no improvement.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 12:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the professor retired in Galena. There is an unreported incident but it comes second hand, so take it for what it is worth. It seems that Jeffries was told that he was tne new Wendt Professor of Ethics and that he was granted tenure by the Board of Trustees effective in the fall. This is the collegial tradition for when tenure takes effect because that academic year is nearing an end. It seems that one of the professors was given the annual award as professor of the year by the Board of Trustees. At the annual banquet of the Board it is customary for this person to accept the award and sit down. This particular professor made an acceptance speech which was recognized by someone in the audience as belonging to someone else. When the administration heard of this plagiarism, it asked Jeffries as the Wendt Professor of Ethics to confront the professor. Jeffries said that as the ethics professor, he could rule that plagiarism was an ethical violation but that punishment was the responsibility of the administration. For this insubordination, the president withdrew tenure and the appointment. As we both know, tenure is granted by the Board and can only be withdrawn by the Board. Technically, Jeffries had tenure and the administration would have to grant him due process in the removal of tenure. A lot of hubris here. These kind of actions by administrators are usually an indication of insecurity which shows itself by a show of power, as was done here.

Another point. To be fair to the Board of Trustees, they meet only two or three times a year and are wined and dined. The real power lies with the Board of Directors, the local "mafia" who run the school no matter what the Board of Trustees pass. They need to be exposed and their names printed in the newspapers so that they can be held accountable.

Saturday, April 15, 2006 12:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The plagiarizing professor, who is still there at UD while Jeffries, who acted ethically, is gone. Justice--ha! This professor has carried water for the administration before. In an article in the local newspaper, he referred to the fired faculty as "mediocre" and now things could start anew. The only problem here is that he came on the faculty AFTER the professors had been fired and could not have known them! He was spouting the administrative line. This tells you something about his character. Did someone say that UD was a "Christian" university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church? Where is the response of the Presbytery to all this for their name is implicated?

Saturday, April 15, 2006 12:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He is the darling of the administration. Who? The professor who plagiarized. If one looks over the top ten salaries paid by the University of Dubuque, it always contained the names of the administrators--until recently. Would anyone believe that this professor who plagiarized is among them? He is. Paid about twice the next salaried professor, I would guess. I note his remarks in the box above he wrote in an article to the local newspaper. Ah, but there is more. The September after almost all of the tenured faculty had been fired, one of the "fired" faculty was given a year's notice but told not to report for classes. Someone else would teach them. But she was also the chairperson of the faculty--a position created by the faculty handbook. Thus, she was still chairperson. But this highly paid professor made a motion at the first faculty meeting of mostly new faculty that the handbook be changed so that she would be replaced. The motion passed. How was the new faculty to know that only the Board of Trustees can change the Handbook? An illegal act was committed. What was the official reaction of the administration of the University of Dubuque to this illegal act? Silence. Thus giving silent consent to an illegal act. Ironic that this is this same administration that appointed the funded Wendt Professor of Ethics!! And then unethically withdrew it illegally. Birds of a feather flock together. What a disgusting president with his flock of harpies! UD will never get any of my money.

Sunday, April 16, 2006 11:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The writer of this section "feels "saddened by the fact that they have been forced to start afresh." Save your sympathy. In the last 20 years, those faculty that have left have improved their situations. Jeffries will find himself surrounded by primarily tenured faculty--unlike UD. When the American Association of University Professors censured UD, it signaled to the faculty of the world that academic freedom is in jeopardy at UD but also that it would be unwise to accept a position there. Jeffries will find himself among his kind and in a setting where academic freedom is valued and not repressively restrained. His mental health will improve tremendously. He has escaped!

Sunday, April 16, 2006 11:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the writer of the entry 2 above...

Please explain what happened again, you story is to confusing.

Try again, what happened?

Monday, April 17, 2006 8:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone asked your new ethics professor to explain the ethics of UD? Maybe some person will ask if it is ethical to take the job of someone you helped fire.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 4:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is not true. Carlson did not get Jeffries fired. Read the material on the blog. She was not involved.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 5:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is tempting to speculate that media articles and this blog are starting to have an effect at UD. The administration seems to be "circling the wagons". Bullock cannot risk bringing someone with serious ethics credentials in at this time. Instead, he tapped Carlson, who has proven herself to be a loyalist, willing to say what she is told, no matter what. Her preparation, of course, is in literature, not ethics. In addition, she comes from the Lutheran tradition, not the "Reformed" tradition that is constantly cited by UD.

Desperate times calling for desperate measures??

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carlson may not have helped get Jeffries fired, but she and so many others were compliant in their silence. I should think that the dean who represents the faculty would want to be more involved in protecting one of her professors from being treated unfairly. Of course, given what i've read about UD, she probably didn't know all that much of what was going on. it is so damn confusing and frustrating.

Friday, April 21, 2006 6:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Robert Reid said...

Sent to What Went Wrong 4/27/06

I am choosing to respond at this point because I, Professor Robert Reid, served as the UD undergraduate and UD graduate school representative on the Wendt Director search committee. I am chair of the Communication Department and Director of the Master of Arts in Communication program. I am commenting because of the misrepresentation of facts regarding the search process for the Director of the Wendt Center for Character Development and the character assassination now being directed against the individual named as the new director.

I can not believe that Prof. Jeffries would find the character assassination of Dr. Paula Carlson here ethically responsible or morally productive. They represent the ad hominem attack typical of the disgruntled and the irresponsible. To the philosophy students and others who gave birth to this dialogue forum I ask: Is this what you wanted to create? In the name of defending one professor have you provided the forum to destroy the reputation of another? I know that you have debated whether to censor blog comments. On this I have no comment. But to let continued character assassination of a 3rd party to occur without commenting on the main page is irresponsible. You need to deal with it by providing some framework for responsible speech.

As a member of the search committee that selected Dr. Paula Carlson to be Director of the Wendt Center I can say that our committee worked intermittently over a two year period. Significant work occurred in this committee. We looked at almost 50 CVs in response two different advertisements for the position. We interviewed multiple possible candidates by telephone and in person. Two offers were made during this search prior to the offer to Dr. Carlson. Neither offer came to fruition for different reasons. I would suggest that such comments as “Bullock couldn't risk bringing in someone with serious ethics credentials” confuses the argument surrounding Dr. Jeffries role as the Wendt University Professor and the Director of the Wendt Center. Dr. Jeffries had initially been appointed to the position of Wendt University Professor—a position that reports to the Director of the Wendt Center currently filled by Dr. Carlyle Haaland, Interim Director of the Wendt Center for Character Education. To suggest that Dr. Carlson is not a “seriously” credentialed person is ludicrous. To suggest that one must have “serious ethics credentials” to be the director of this center is priggish snobbism that we who teach in the humanities would take umbrage with. I no longer have the cvs of the applicants but memory suggests that only about 20% of applicants actually had philosophy credentials. None of them had written or published in the area of virtue ethics. In fact, it was the rare candidate who even had books in print. Less than half the applicants (in my opinion) had the kind of administrative experience required by the job description. Many of the candidates had admirable qualities, but we did not find a person in the applicant pool who brought together the mix we needed.

Let me respond to the question, why it took so long to identify Dr. Carlson as a potential candidate. I think it fair to say that beyond the job description, the committee was informally operating with the assumption that the ideal candidate would be someone who had been or was a professor of philosophy or religion, someone with lots of administrative experience, and someone who could readily work comfortably in the environment of a religiously-related institution of higher education. Only when the committee gave itself permission to ask whether one actually had to have been a professor of philosophy and/or religion, did the choice of an internal hire of Dr. Carlson become obvious to all. Blog responders seem to be assuming that there was a requirement that the person must have a degree in philosophy. Incorrect. Committee work tended to reveal that applicants with these credentials often had less than acceptable experience as an administrator. I have worked closely with Dr. Carlson for six years. I have the utmost respect for her wisdom and expertise both as an administrator and an educator. She comes to this position as an individual who is valued by her colleagues at UD.

Therefore, to those who are attacking Dr. Carlson because of the work of this committee I say: back off. Attacks on her credibility or credentials are both unwarranted and mean-spirited.

What Wendt Wrong began as an interesting experiment to give voice to frustration concerning the events surrounding the "Jeffries Affair”—a matter of pain among many within the UD community. Faculty and staff looked with interest at this forum whether they approved of it or not. As a proponent of free speech, I will look with great interest next fall to see how the trial will proceed and the manner in which the tangential question of whether UD contracts can restrict faculty speech in public in the way they do at present is addressed. That is an interesting artifact of the website and the pending court case. But when the comments section on this website become a forum for vicious ad hominem attacks on anyone who is willing to remain as an educator at this institution or against anyone willing to accept a position associated with the Wendt Center then something has gone wrong with the WhatWendtWrong? blogspot.

At the outset, the blog title may have been a cute double entendre, but you must now deal with the fact that it also set in motion a venue that only invites inventive in the blog comment pages rather than inviting dialogue—something that I suspect you’re your real intention. Is your purpose to invite diatribe or dialogue. You need to set the parameters. So what do you want to model?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 2:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Priggish snobbism" is not an ad hominem attack by Robert Reid? That "20% of applicants had philosophy credentials" and that "less than half the applicaants had the kind of administrative experience required by the job description" only tells me that the pool of applicants was mediocre and that no one should have been chosen and a new search conducted. The committee was willing to excuse the philosophy credentials but apparently not the administrative experience so that someone with an ethics background could be chosen. Very convenient! It should be noted that Carlson had no administrative experience when she was chosen for her administrative post but that must have been a mistake because it was not done here. Which is more important for a position involving ethics, ethics background or administrative background? What was it in Carlson's background that made "an internal hire become obvious to all"? Besides administrative experience (who judges whether she is competent in that position?), what is so outstandingly "obvious to all" that made her the runaway choice? Reid does not say. Maybe the candidate were so outstandingly bad.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 1:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Robert Reid said...

Anonymous' response to my comments, aside, the work of a committe seeking a candidate over a two year period is the work of a committee. The choices committees make in such matters are the choices committees make. The May 3 blogger response appears to assume that the Director job description originally required that the individual be a philosopher or have ethics training in the field of philosophy. The position description for the Faculty Appointment (second person in this area) does have the word ethics in the description. The Director position does not. Bloggers can have their own field day with the original distinction, but I am addressing the work of the committee in searching for a Director as described and redressing misunderstanding that is being perpetuated on this blog that the committee somehow failed to fulfill its assignment by selecting Prof. Carlson.

If this blogger has ever served on a search committee then she or he knows that what committees do is what committees do. Second guessing them is everyone's right. Suggesting that no real process occurred as in earlier blogs by "anonymous" is incorrect.

My purpose has been to provide information about the search process and to suggest that attacks on the person of Dr. Paula Carlson are beneath what I believe to be the purpose of this blog. If Anonymous believes that describing people as holding an inflexible opinion because of standards beyond the norm ("priggish snobbism") rises to the same level as ad hominem character assasination of the kind directed at Dr. Carlson, than I apologize. Students in my argument and persuasion class might wish to debate whether such a statement rises to the level of ad hominem attack, but if personal offense was taken, I do apologize. Perhaps those who have attacked Dr. Carlson's credentials and reputation without bothering to check the actual job description of the position might wish to follow suit and offer their apology to her.

This blogger assumes that it is his right to second guess the search process. It is. He or she has that right. I, on the other hand, am glad to have served on the committee and believe we have arrived at an excellent result. End of comments from Dr. Reid

Thursday, May 04, 2006 9:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A comment that Dr. Carlson does not have serious ethics credentials is a statement of fact. How in the world does it constitute character assassionation? Professor Reid's persistence in using the term is confusing at best, and actually is inflammatory.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discussion of the Carlson appointment has been questioned as irrelevant to the Jeffries case. Keep in mind that the action which triggered Bullock's wrath (immediately joined by Stewart) was the Jeffries refusal to prosecute the plagiarism case when asked to do so. Bullock called this insubordination and considered it a failure to provide the unquestioning obedience that he demands.

Dr. Carlson is perceived by this blogger to have demonstrated the unquestioning obedience that is now required to survive at UD. It seems reasonable, then, to ask how important a factor loyalty was in the decision to turn to Carlson as an internal candidate.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 11:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been claimed that administrative experience was the key factor in the Carlson appointment. In this regard, it should be noted that Bullock rose to his presidency at UD when the previous acting president (and Board chair) cancelled a national search and turned to Bullock as an internal candidate, in spite of very limited administrative, fund-raising, and budgetary experience.

Was it a coincidence that the stage was being set, behind the scenes, for the actions involved in 1999's Transformation?

Thursday, May 04, 2006 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reid tells us that "what committees do is what committees do." Where is the kernel of information in this statement? What is he trying to tell us? "What an assassin does is what an assassin does" is just as informative. There is no attempt at value judgment in Reid's statement nor any information on which to make a value judgment. He teaches "communication"? Wow!

Sunday, May 14, 2006 11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reid informs us that the description of the Director's position does not contain the word "ethics." Director of the Wendt Center for Character Education--that person should know something about character. Webster offers one definition of character as "the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person . . . " I would say the committee erred in NOT including the word "ethics" in the description for that position. This tells us something about the competence of the search committee that no one on the committee saw this fatal error. Typical UD.

Monday, May 15, 2006 12:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Professor Reid says
"We interviewed multiple possible candidates by telephone and in person. Two offers were made during this search prior to the offer to Dr. Carlson. Neither offer came to fruition for different reasons. I would suggest that such comments as “Bullock couldn't risk bringing in someone with serious ethics credentials” confuses the argument surrounding Dr. Jeffries role as the Wendt University Professor and the Director of the Wendt Center. Dr. Jeffries had initially been appointed to the position of Wendt University Professor—a position that reports to the Director of the Wendt Center currently filled by Dr. Carlyle Haaland, Interim Director of the Wendt Center for Character Education"

Can someone tell me if this is true? My memory is that Jeffries applied for the Directorship and was a finalist. Shouldn't Reid know this?

Thursday, June 15, 2006 3:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After asking around I have been told that the committee voted to interview Paul and that no interview took place. Maybe Professor Reid will explain this.

The person that told me this also pointed out that this means that hiring committee did not have any authority either. Professor Reid can't have it both ways. If the committee voted to interview Jeffries, did the interveiw take place? If not, Professor Reid can't claim the committee had any input and Carlson was managements person. Which is it?

Calvin

Monday, June 19, 2006 1:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For anyone following events in Dubuque, the intimidation and vindictive action against those who dare to speak out, that is being used by Finley Hospital against its nurse's union, reflects the fact that many of the same people are on both Boards (UD and Finley). The law firm of Hammer and Simon has represented both institutions. Coincidence??

Thursday, July 06, 2006 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The approach of another fall semester raises a question: when will the cloud hanging over the University of Dubuque (shutdown of academic freedom, intimidation, vindictive action against dissenters, no real tenure, and the like) begin to seriously hamper the hiring of new faculty members? This is probably a major factor in the University's paranoid reaction to the blog.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 3:51:00 PM  

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