Then What Happened?
and students have been asking for an
update on Brand NU's ongoing retaliation for my commitment to academic
integrity in the university and my department. This post notes
the absence of any disciplinary charges and links to court documents.
number of folks in the Faculty Senate had been told that Brand NU
planned on a mediation this summer. Settlement discussions
are confidential, but Brand NU noted in a public court filing of July
2017 requesting a delay that the parties had been in "discussions about
scheduling" a mediation. None occurred or were even scheduled.
And exactly a week before, on July 24, 2017 "someone in the
Provost's office" informed the Buffett staff to stop their planned move
of the Deportation Research Clinic office from 1800 Sherman into the
Scott Hall basement. The Clinic is now in boxes. We learned
two days ago that the move supposedly will go ahead at some unnamed
date before classes start. I'll believe it when I see it. Once
again my work is entirely disrupted.
is responsible for this? I don't know.
"Someone-in-the-Provost's-Office" told my colleague at Buffet not
to reveal to me either the reason for the delay or the name of the
person ordering this. Secret orders from "the Provost's Office"
that again interfere with my work do not inspire confidence that Brand NU's administration
really wants a settlement. (The "Clinic in the News"
link highlights some of our work this summer, including the first
systematic review of immigration court cases adjourned based on claims
of U.S. citizenship, with a dataset from January 1, 2011 through June
As for the rest of the year? The quick
version is that a few weeks after lifting the ban, Dean Adrian Randolph
sent me a letter threatening to pursue disciplinary charges against me
if I did not agree to behavioral coaching and moving out of the Political Science Department.
I received the letter the evening of Friday, October 7,
2016 and was given until noon three days later to reply. The
carrot was $7,500/year in research funds.
I knew I
had violated no policies and refused to banish myself from my department..
at noon came and went. Then the next Monday. And the Monday
after that. And then weeks and months of Mondays.
Despite Al Tillery's and Sara Monoson's inflammatory claims that I was uncivil and a threat to campus safety, no one provided a
single, specific event to back up the
ban or the forced office move over the winter break. And, not a single disciplinary charge was
This is further evidence last year's ban was
only because of my reports of unprofessional conduct by colleagues and
effectively challenging NU's administration and Board on its
pro-military policies. The absence of charges also redeems the
faith of those who wrote on my behalf.
In early September, 2016, for those who knew neither Brand NU nor
me, it would have been reasonable to infer that I must have done
something horribly wrong to elicit this strong response.
of you were familiar one or both parties and wrote letters that I
know saved my job.
what else happened during 2016-17: NU's Faculty Senate Committee on
Cause and Faculty Appeals Panel Executive Committee, as well as
the American Association of University Professors
sent a recommendation to the Provost's office and a letter indicating
that keeping me in a decrepit building on
the campus perimeter and thwarting access to research funds were
sanctions, and thus should require charges before being implemented.
NU's response? Then-Provost Dan Linzer -- now heading off into the desert to run a small science foundation
after the Chair of NU's Board complained about the handling of the
Eikenberry appointment -- disregarded their findings and personal
from faculty who made them.*
Science Department Chair Sara Monoson persisted with unprovoked
harrangues during incidental encounters and telling colleagues to stay
away from me.
links below are to the lawsuit that Tillery filed against me and those
I was forced to file in response and to address ongoing
retaliation, all part of the
For a description of events occurring between
"the ban" Dean Adrian Randolph ordered on July 29, 2016
and lifted on September 19, as well as the subsequent office
move, please go here.
The three lawsuits are:
1) Alvin Tillery v. Jacqueline Stevens
2016-L-010676, October 28, 2016. Tillery sued me for defamation
and false light invasion of privacy. The judge on April 28, 2017 dismissed Tillery's complaint without
At the hearing, the judge questioned Tillery's attorney as
to why she was pursuing a
case that was such a poor use of everyone's resources. "Do you really
to ask 12
people to spend their time on this?" he asked. Tillery
apparently thought "yes," filed a largely identical amended complaint,
and I filed a renewed motion to dismiss and my counter-claims, all of
which are pending.
2) Jacqueline Stevens v. Northwestern University
March 9, 2017. In this lawsuit I seek
enforcement of my contract's indemnification clause, which requires
NU to provide faculty members with advance payment of fees and
costs incurred when they are sued for actions taken in the course of
3) Jacqueline Stevens v. Northwestern University and Susan Sara Monoson
, 2017-L-007067, July 13, 2017, seeking
a remedy for breach of contract from NU and tortious interference with
contract from Monoson, to restore research funds and office.
Alvin Tillery v. Jacqueline Stevens, 2016-L-010676, October 28,
May 10, 2017.Stevens v. Tillery Counterclaims
1, 2017. (This has claims that also appear in the more expansive
lawsuit against Monoson and Brand NU--in other words, you can save time
if you read the one filed at #3.) Stevens' 2d Motion to Dismiss
, May 31, 2017.
2. Jacqueline Stevens v. Northwestern University
2017-CH-03456, March 9, 2017, complaint seeking enforcement of broad
indemnification protection in NU's contract: “The right to
indemnification conferred in this Article shall be a contract right and
shall include the right to be paid by the University the expenses
incurred in defending any such proceeding in advance
of its final disposition . . . .” (emphasis added).NU Answer
June 27, 2017, alleging as an affirmative defense that I failed to
appeal to a non-existent "Faculty Grievance Committee," and ignoring the numerous appeals I
did make to our actual committees.Stevens' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
, July 19, 2017- if you are interested in faculty self-governance you need to read this.NU Reponse Opposing Motion for Judgment on Pleadings,
August 24, 2017. NU claims that they do not have to adhere to the
statements in their own contracts and that the expectation they name a
committee NU actually has for requiring my appeal is "hyper-technical."Stevens Reply,
September 14, 2017. Attorney Kapitan points out NU misrepresented
case posture in their response brief and shows legal and interpretive
flaws in NU response.
3. Jacqueline Stevens v. Northwestern University and Susan Sara Monoson
, 2017-L-007067, July 13, 2017, seeking
a remedy for breach of contract from NU and tortious interference with
contract from Monoson, to restore research funds and office.NU Motion for Extension of Time
July 31, 2017, arguing that they failed to schedule a mediation or
negotiation since May and therefore need more time to pursue this
before filing a response. We will be opposing this motion.
Their main rationale -- the case is complicated and there are
related lawsuits -- are reasons to deny the request. NU's legal team is
already familiar with the underlying facts and therefore should be able
to focus on a response to this particular complaint expeditiously.
Nothing has prevented them from arranging a mediation or
negotiation in the fall, winter, spring, or summer.
was supposed to be a hearing on this motion yesterday, but the
judge wasn't there and the hearing was postponed until August 15.
INDEMNIFICATION: THE WEEDS
Brand NU contracts provide extremely broad coverage promising advance payment
legal fees for employees who face a range of legal events that arise
out of their University work. Alas, when it comes to faculty,
not the trustees and administrators who drafted this for
their own benefit, Brand NU apparently forces faculty who are out of favor with the administration to sue and then
exorbitant fees on its own outside counsel to litigate to avoid paying faculty attorneys. In a 2011 indemnification case
won by Professor Franck Mauvis-Jarvis, Brand NU hired Sidley Austin LLP, a firm with four lawyers on NU's Board of
in a failed effort to avoid paying Mauvis-Jarvis's attorney.
My own lawsuit is just beginning, but if you
want to a glimpse of Brand NU's scorched contract policy, you can see
it in these key filings from Professor Franck Mauvis-Jarvis's
successful lawsuit demanding preliminary injunctive relief for attorney
fees incurred in proceedings arising from his employment at NU.
Mauvis-Jarvis v. Northwestern University
, Indemnification complaint, July 21, 2010.Mauvis-Jarvis Reply to Motion to Dismiss
, February 7, 2011.NU Answer
, September 11, 2011.
that Northwestern pay Mauvis-Jarvis attorney fees in
advance, entered May 19, 2011.
posting these court documents because they are not available online and
others forced to sue Brand NU to pay for their attorney fees may find this
experience emblematizes a strategy created by university and corporate
attorneys networked through the National Association of College and University Attorneys
The previous leader of Brand NU's Office of
General Counsel, Thomas Cline, was its president and NACUA recently
feted Katheen Rinehart, the contract attorney who wrote the report
alleging I was a threat to safety. A number of left faculty punished
for academic speech are at institutions with attorneys active in NACUA.
The basic idea is to circumvent tenure by
just firing people, or if that doesn't work, stigmatizing and marginalizing them. It doesn't matter if there are no legal
grounds for this. Professors don't have multi-billion dollar
endowments and can't pay for attorney fees after they're fired and don't have a salary.
The university wears them down until after a year or so they
agree to settle and go away. A further advantage of this strategy
is that remedies for breach of contract by law tend to exclude
attorney fees. So after the dust settles, the most the tenured
professor wins is reinstatement and compensation, which for the university
advancing multimillion dollar agendas of their corporate boards is
a small price to pay for keeping the trouble-maker out of their hair
for a few years or, in most cases, forever.
approach is directly antithetical
to the integrity we expect from taxpayer subsidized institutions of
higher education that promise independence to their faculty but lack
meaningful oversight when trustees and administrators break this
promise. Faculty governance bodies need to
follow their policy documents. Alas, Brand NU seems to have a
fraudulent relation to its policies--by holding them forth as evidence
of good academic citizenship and then flagrantly violating them.
Consider Brand NU's recent banning and then firing a faculty
murder. Wyndham Lathem's attorney asserts his client is innocent
of murder and of fleeing, and yet Brand NU simply fired the guy
and presumably cut off his salary, without giving him any rights in the
Faculty Handbook: "Lathem was terminated for the act of fleeing from police when there was an arrest warrant out for him
Was this discipline? Is there anything in the Handbook that
says you can be fired at will when the police allege a crime but it has
not been proven? Why not allow Lathem to appeal the
termination to the Committee on Cause before
it is implemented, as the Handbook requires? The Handbook gives
on 20 days for an appeal, so the termination before 20 days has elapsed is
an obvious procedural violation.
(Brand NU also announced Lathem is banned from campus, though in the same earlier statement
spokesman Al Cubbage said there was no indication Lathem posed a risk
to the NU community. That got my attention. I was not accused of
anything in particular, much less murder, and yet Brand NU claimed I
was a threat to safety.)
Of course it never looks
good when a dead body is found in one's apartment. I have no
idea if Dr. Lathem is Mr. Hyde or someone with really, really bad luck.
But I do know that every time NU 's administration shreds its Faculty
Handbook it provides more evidence that the folks in charge care only
about a brand and nothing more, especially what it takes to educate our
students and our society about integrity, following the rules, and avoiding
*The total assets of Linzer's new organization Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement
(RCSA) are about 7% of Brand NU's annual operating budget.
According to its 2015 public tax return, RCSA spent $2,550,746 on
its ten highest paid employees to distribute
$3,532,666 in grants, mostly in the form of repeat payments to about a
dozen univeristies and colleges of about $17,5000 to $25,000 as well as
payments for conferences and miscellaneous donations to unrelated
organizations. I mention this because we all need to be a lot
clear-eyed about how nonprofits are fleecing taxpayers and
incentivizing financial parasites who manage these organizations'
exempt wealth. It looks like they are "earning" money for the the
nonprofit endowments but beneath the ledgers what's really
happening are networked elites and their attorneys hoarding credit
and preventing the release of funds tied up in corporate busy-ness to
meet desperate public needs in the present. RCSA's second
and third employment services expenditures are for the investment
management firrm Angelo, Gordon, and Co. ($333,706) and Capital
Guardian and Trust ($213, 223). The CEO last year earned
622,794 in salary and an additional 93,110 in taxable benefits as
well as $59,200 for an "expense account" that is presumably tax-exempt.