Saturday, September 27, 2008

Smoking Gun: Committee Member Releases Report Silenced by SIU Bosses

Mark Schneider, Professor Emeritus (Sociology) contributes the following:

With regard to reforms of SIUC’s sexual harassment policy proposed by the Office of Legal Counsel:

SIUC constituency groups have been asked to comment on the proposed changes to SIUC’s policy, even though Legal Counsel offers no insight into the problems that both complainants and respondents experienced with the administration of the previous policy. These problems caused constituency groups, in 2006, to propose reforms that Legal Counsel saw fit to ignore in its new proposed policy. Let me admit that reforms to the policy, even were they to remedy the destructiveness of those proposed by Legal Counsel, will be of little effect, since SIUC administrators consistently ignore policies when it suits their interests. But further context might be helpful as the community responds to current proposals by Legal Counsel that lack context.

Fortunately, the SIUC Faculty Association described two cases in which complaints by women faculty against male administrators were ignored by supervisors. I know of another in which a woman faculty member filed a “hostile environment” charge against her chair. Being apprised of it, the Dean of the College, Shirley Clay Scott, immediately commiserated with the chair and indicated that legal advice to fight the complaint would be provided—all this without knowing the specifics of the complaint. [Diversity Chancellor] Seymour Bryson, upon advice of the Office of Legal Counsel, declined to investigate the complaint, the existence of which was, far from being kept “private,” announced in the departmental newsletter (sent to alumni around the world) as part of the Chair’s campaign of harassment against the faculty member, who was named as the complainant. So much for Interim Chancellor Goldman’s interest in “privacy.”

During 2005-06, I served on both University committees that recommended reforms to the policy. When the Sexual Harassment Subcommittee of the Affirmative Action Advisory Committee forwarded proposals for reform to Seymour Bryson, he demanded a rationale for them. What follows is the response that the committee provided him in 2006. While it is very long, it should add significant context necessary to an intelligent discussion of reform proposals.

[MODERATOR: Last year, coauthor Leonard Gross and I posted a link to this report in the Daily Egyptian but the advantage of the Internet is that you can click below for the full report and Schneider's final letter to Diversity Chancellor Seymour Bryson]

Readers mights be particularly interested in the case study that begins with the bracketed [***] inserted by the moderator (p. 2). If "war is the continuation of politics by other means" [von Clausewitz], the warfare here is based on a sexual harassment code twisted for political agendas, or so it would seem. No names, no report--who can tell?]

The Committee report: click on this link.

Schneider's final letter to Diversity Chancellor Bryson: click on this link

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