2 thoughts on “What’s Gone Wrong in Wisconsin?

  1. Pingback: The End of Tenure in Wisconsin? | As the Adjunctiverse Turns

  2. Maybe it is time to revamp tenure… especially when it protects & promotes abusers
    much as the Catholics once did with pedophile priests.


    I once had a mentor who sat me down and tried to explain to me “that PhDs aren’t for everyone,” and that “some people just should not have them.” Having been in science for some 30 years prior to this discussion, I was to say the least dumb-founded by her thesis.

    In the run-up to this conversation, I had recently suffered severe verbal abuse from a professor. This professor would only act this way in the presence of other students (for example, during her lectures). In the presence of other faculty, she showered me with praise. She would at least once per lecture single me out, and hurl unfounded, scathing accusations at me. So severe were these attacks that other graduate students frequently took me aside to express their concern. This professor also failed me on a term paper (worth 1/2 the total grade)- not because of any flaw or failure to adhere to stated requirements but, because in her mind I “violated the spirit of the assignment”. Apparently I was supposed to read minds instead of literature… .

    Well, the abuse became so blatant that I attempted to withdraw from her coursework and remove her from my thesis committee. My mentor resisted, eventually forcing me into a corner. My mentor was aware I was a survivor of PTSD, and I communicated to her and others the abuse exasperated the condition, making me unable to perform for this person. That was when my mentor explained “some people, such as those with disabilities, should not have PhDs.” I was so stunned and offended I did not bother to reply to such an insulting remark. Eventually, my mentor placed me on an unfair academic probation, stipulating I would be terminated if I did not work with the abuser.

    And mind you, this mentor spent her entire life lobbying for gay marriage, continually asserting she and her partner were discriminated against, mistreated & abused by society. I appealed the probation, and my mentor immediately resigned and pulled all of my funding, and fired me from my paid research position. Her stated reason? I “went over her head”.

    Don’t ask Alice… and lemme tell ya, Don’t ask “Prof A.”

    How’s this for a wee bit of evidence. Prof A placed me on an unlawful academic probation because of my inability to work with the abuser. In addition to forcing me to work with the abuser, she also specified I was not allowed to miss work or assignments on the basis of illness or injury. When I asked her to clarify these points, here is what Prof A had to say:

    Inquiry to Prof A, requesting confirmation of written orders stipulating I was prohibited from missing assignments due to illness or emergency:

    From: [me]
    Date: Fri, 27 May 2011 09:11:37 -0600
    To: Prof A
    Subject: RE: probation letter

    Would documented weather emergencies where I live and documented illnesses provide expemptions to these criteria? Also, my father, now 79 yo, has significant health issues. I do not believe I would travel for any of that as others are proving support, but were he to pass in the coming year, I would need a week to travel, etc to attend to family matters.



    From: Prof A
    Sent: Friday, May 27, 2011 4:53 PM
    To: [me]
    Subject: Re: probation letter

    We can discuss this, but the answer is no.

    Less than 2 weeks later, Prof A forced me to work surrounded by wildfire, with no protective gear, even after the US Army ordered my evacuation. My lungs were permanently damaged. Immediately following that, I became food poisoned due to deplorable and unlawful work site standards imposed by Prof A. Prof A stated I would be terminated if I left the work site for medical care. Then, less than a month following these events, Prof A with intent sabotaged my PhD program.

    When I think of filth, I don’t think of Alice, but I sure as heck am reminded of Prof A.

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