A colleague tells me that Alvin Tillery posted a statement
on FB stating that "the University's
investigation, which Professor Stevens requested, cleared me!"
Like much of Tillery's narrative, it is misleading. The
university administration may be covering up what Tillery did to me,
but he has yet to be "cleared" by any independent investigative body.
Moreover, the full report of the administration's paid
attorney, which Tillery seems to have been referencing, has yet to be
The truth is that Northwestern's attorney Stephanie Graham mandated
this investigation weeks
requested NU indemnify me against Tillery's April 6 demand letter, per
contract. Tillery, without approaching me advance, without requesting a
mediator (as I have, repeatedly), without filing a formal misconduct
complaint requesting disciplinary action through the university,
threatened to sue me if I didn't retract the accurate information I
about him yelling at me and slamming the door.
NU on their initiative, not mine, brought
in a corporate education attorney colleagues have criticized
because of her pro-corporate, anti-free speech, anti-faculty endeavors.
attorney, Kathleen Rinehart, told me she is close with the NU
attorneys and has frequently worked for them. She is in the OGC at St.
Xavier University, co-authored
an article on how to fire tenured faculty
unsuccessfully, to require faculty traveling among St. Xavier campus
sites to submit to mandatory, random
Rinehart, who bullied and insulted me during her meeting with
me, failed to note
what the student
who heard Tillery yelling at me told her
and confirmed the account
consistent with her friends in NU's OGC trying to push me out.
quotes Sara Monoson, the Political Science Department
Chair, as stating that "Prof. Stevens' research and political views
have no bearing on this matter whatsoever." Her position is that
the fact I question her for, say, cancelling the department's election
for Faculty Senate is not related to my research or my political views,
and that such questioning proves my "incivility," as she recently
stated in an email to my colleagues.
Not only is Monoson wrong to depoliticize faculty self-governance --
the main allegations of "incivility" are related to questions I pose in
the context of department business --
she disregards the connection between Tillery's and others'
antipathy toward me and the fact that this finds traction at the
University level. The Chronicle
quotes Tillery stating he finds my behavior "creepy," and
that this is why he feels unsafe around me, actually, why he fears
might shoot him! (I know the article also includes his allegation
that I hysterically fantasized he was yelling at me when he was not,
but since I know this didn't happen, the only possible basis I see for
his claims about fearing I will shoot him is that he finds me
find colleagues who gossip publicly and
scheme to drive out those whom they dislike instead of doing research
and working constructively to resolve petty interpersonal antipathies
are the real creeps. Were it not for the fact I have embarassed NU for
its creepy behavior, NU's lawyers would have told Monoson and
Tillery to focus on their own work and leave me alone.
Should we be afraid of asking questions, being queer, placing a
high value on integrity, because Sara Monoson -- and two colleagues who
are key to this and have managed to pull the strings without their
names being public as of yet -- might state this is uncivil, or because
Al Tillery might find those questions unsettling? In short, Monoson
wants me out because I question her questionable activities; Tillery
wants me out because I trigger his insecurities; and NU is working with
them because the trusteees who produce missiles for cluster
bombs are threatened by my research and publications, not because
I am going to shoot someone.
Monoson is known for her close ties to the lame
duck Provost, Dan Linzer, apparently ousted for screwing up
the Eikenberry appointment. Indeed, Monoson, in coordination
with Linzer, recruited faculty to sign her April letter on
behalf of Eikenberry. I am aware of no Buffett working
groups to which Monoson belongs and have never seen her at any Buffett
events. Why did she bother undertaking this campaign on Linzer's and
Eikenberry's behalf, one she hid from most of the Department until the
letter was released at the Faculty Senate meeting that reviewed a
last-minute motion on Eikenberry's behalf?
Why are some of my colleagues in Political Science going
to sign a letter to the Dean on behalf of Tillery? Other than the patronage politics at play in NU, I suspect
the reason some colleagues dislike me is the same as the reason
many appreciate me, including those in my department. While I
am a social being and value collegiality, I understand collegiality,
especially in a university, to require honesty and integrity.
I value these qualities more than I value people liking
me. I do not set out to alienate people, but if I come to
seem alien to them, it may be because I do not
(over) value their desire for my conformity, in research,
in scholarship, and in pedagogy. Just as they earned the right to advance
professionally by following tacit rules, my PhD earned me the
prerogative to challenge these rules.
Monoson finds it outrageous that I might question her integrity. But where's the integrity in sharing
my March 8
complaint about Tillery with Tillery, with whom Monoson is close
friends, but never sharing with me his allegations about me? No
one, including Rinehart, had the decency
to let me respond, including to request a retraction,
per Tillery's demand letter to me. Not until reading The
last night did I first encounter Tillery's absurd narrative and rationale for banning me.
It was evident in that time frame, from statements made by Rinehart and
another colleague, that NU's lawyers were working closely with Monoson
and Tillery. If this wasn't a set up, and was a legit, fair
approach to a disputed
incident, why not at least share with me Tillery's complaint
about me? Why not investigate my complaint about him when I first
made it, per normal procedures, which would involve Human Resources,
and not NU attorneys in the OGC bringing in their crony and
anti-faculty university attorney months later?
Also, if Monoson is concerned about disruption, why abandon her
normal obligations to run the department to indulge a witch hunt that
escalates off the charts the faculty and student anxiety, insecurity,
intimidation, disorientation, frustration, and general
chaos that comes from banning me in violation of common sense and
If Monoson is concerned about students, then why
disrupt their research and learning? I have heard through third
parties my students are extremely
upset to have their needs entirely disregarded.
If Monoson is such a professional as to pronounce me unprofessional, why not affirm my proposal to at
least try to resolve our differences with a
mediator? (My hunch is that they realize that if they shared the
underlying substance of our disagreements with an objective third
party, the pro-ban folks would come off as whiny bullies, petulant
about being called out on their harassment and abuse of me.)
Okay, that's it for now, except to express the deepest gratitude to my
colleagues, NU alumni, and students who have been writing the Dean (email@example.com
copying my attorney Rima Kapitan, firstname.lastname@example.org
. I will be posting later some
excerpts of their analyses. A common theme seems to be that NU's
policies are foreign to U.S. norms of academic freedom and due process.
People recognize them in the policies of Turkey, Qatar, and
other Gulf States, where one can discuss only events that occur
elsewhere and also must never question leaders or their prerogatives.
These letters have been coming in from far and wide, from the
adult son of a colleague, a graduate student whom I'd first encountered
when he was in elementary school in California, to a grad student I
taught in Istanbul in 2003, to people I've never met but have endured
similar experiences elsewhere around the world, including Sweden and
New Zealand, where neo-liberal corporate university policies also are
finding a foothold.