Faculty Senate is
considering revisions to the Faculty Handbook. The Political Science
Senate Representative invited us to send comments to two
members of the committees proposing the revisions. On May
30, 2018 Alvin
Tillery sent a long email to
the entire Faculty
Senate. It contains disturbing and even bizarre falsehoods
about me contrived by him and a few disgruntled colleagues.(For the
full story, start here: http://brandnu.world.)
Quick background: In the spring of 2016 I sent the Department Chair
a complaint about Tillery
yelling and slamming a door, concluding with a statement that I hoped
we could work it out. However, instead of apologizing for his outburst
moving on, Tillery threatened to sue me for defamation and then
conspired with the Department Chair to have me suspended from my
position on the claim I was a threat to campus "safety." After their
plot to remove me from the Department failed, Tillery initiated a
defamation lawsuit against me, in response to which I filed
counter-claims. Although the litigation has been resolved,
Tillery is seemingly unable to move on.
I have been a long-time thorn in the side of NU, which is run
by some of the world's most odious titans
of military trade, finance,
and Big Pharma. Instead of
honoring NU's contractual obligation to indemnify me, the
office (run then by Daniel Linzer) and Office of General Counsel worked
with Tillery and Monoson, Tillery's close friend. They concocted a
story claiming they feared I might physically harm them.
The script for banning a tenured professor that NU followed, after
hiring for its pseudo-investigation none other than the script's actual co-author,
attorney Kathleen Rinehart, results
in the targeted professor being fired. But of course I was not fired.
As Tillery is well-aware, the key findings of the report were
ultimately discredited by other witnesses, colleagues, and truly
independent professionals, as opposed to a contract attorney close to
NU's own Office of General Counsel.
and findings became public
that derailed NU's campaign to remove me from the
Department and University based on Tillery's allegation
that I was a violent lunatic -- he
told the Chronicle for
Higher Education, "Do I think she might shoot
me? . . . Absolutely.” -- Tillery and
his pals, and NU's administration,
jettisoned their psycho-killer claims
and concocted new stories that in time also were disproven.
In 2017, a judge threw out Tillery's first defamation
complaint against me. (This guy filed a lawsuit claiming
he did not yell and slam a door.) I
filed a cross-complaint and Tillery filed an amended complaint. I also
filed separate lawsuits against the Chair Sara Monoson and
Northwestern because they had suspended me, forced me to undergo a
psychological examination under threat of termination, banned me from
campus, moved my office, and refused to indemnify me in response
to Tillery's litigation, all
in violation of NU's policies.
The Rinehart Executive Summary
Tillery distributed on May 30 was part of my lawsuit as evidence to support my claim
that Tillery, Monoson, and those operating under NU's authority,
including Rinehart, were liars who had defamed me.
It is unconscionable of Tillery not to have made this clear
and to imply that I in any way was crediting its claims.
some point, Tillery must have realized he was going to lose.
the most important fact that Tillery kept from the Faculty Senate is
that for months he had been asking me to settle the
litigation he initiated and in
March, 2018, we did so.
of the reasons I agreed to Tillery's request to settle is precisely
because of the statements by him and his
cronies now in the public record that are provably false based on
Tillery's own admissions and court filings.
one needs a trial and depositions to demonstrate all this.
absence of any disciplinary charges against me, statements and findings
from third parties, and
Tillery's own admissions to reporters, vindicated the sworn statement
of the student witness and my own
contemporaneous report without the need for wasting further time in
court to prove Tillery yelled, slammed a door, and lied about it. (The court
documents are here.)
happy to release the settlement if
Tillery agrees. (Oh, and in the meantime, matters involving Monoson,
NU, and me have been amicably resolved.)
post updates the defamation litigation Tillery initiated and
provides further evidence of falsehoods in
Tillery's statements. The comments track the fictions in his
e-mail to members of the Faculty Senate, many of which he has stated to
the media as well. He also has added a new twist. Now Tillery is attributing colleagues not believing his
falsehoods to the Faculty Senate's lack of what Tillery calls "diversity."
is no public listserv for the approximately 90 representatives to the
Faculty Senate; those who received his missive have marveled at the fact
Tillery appears to have entered each individual
name manually. I'm respecting the Faculty Senate's request to keep the
proposed policy changes confidential. However, Tillery
himself did not mark his own e-mail "confidential." And even if he had,
he has no prerogative to expect much less demand secrecy of those who
received his unsolicited bilious screed in violation of
the stated protocols. (Indeed, it appears as though he wanted people to spread his false and misleading statements.)
Here is what I hope will be the final
statement of the events and narratives of March 8, 2016, when Tillery
yelled, slammed a door, and lied about it.
evidence to prove his statements
The defamation complaint Tillery
filed against me in October, 2016 was tossed out in 2017.
During the hearing in which he dismissed the first
Gillespie castigated Tillery's attorney for filing it in the first
place. The judge also strongly advised
against filing another complaint. Tillery was
seated there. Despite hearing all this, he filed an amended
anyway. I filed counter-claims. As more motions were filed,
including our second motion to dismiss his amended lawsuit, which had
retained most of its original errors, Tillery initiated a request to
settle and in March, 2018 we did so
and the case
The student witness, NU's own forensic psychiatrist, and the fact
no disciplinary charges were ever filed, not to mention Monoson's own
temper tantrums and bullying of me (the administration has statements
attesting to these as well) meant the Rinehart document over time
lost credibility. To anyone who was paying attention it had
become obvious that NU had hired an anti-faculty attorney to get rid of
me and that she was using a few faculty who nursed grudges to get the
Incredibly, Tillery a couple weeks ago distributed
Rinehart's "Executive Summary" as though it were factually accurate.
withholds student witness
Tillery omitted from the documents he circulated to the Faculty Senate
filed with the court
from the student who
heard Tillery yelling
and slamming the door.
am redacting his name because
there is no need to make him further vulnerable to retaliation from Tillery and his cronies. (Note the court stamp
proving the statement was indeed filed.)
The Declaration was signed on August 15, 2016,
about two weeks after I received Rinehart's false claims. The affidavits Tillery
circulated were signed in late August, 2017, over a year later.
3. Tillery lies about being afraid of the student.
Although Tillery previously admitted he did NOT fear
being attacked by the student who witnessed his outburst, Tillery now writes to the Faculty Senate:: "What
I did worry about was the thinly-veiled threat of
third party violence—by her student 'on the wrestling team'..."
And he states that he "made
three requests to Dean Randolph and Vice-Provost
Chase-Lansdale: (1.) temporarily relocate my office until they could
ascertain the seriousness of these threats of third-party violence;..."
Poor guy. He can't keep up
with his own public statements.
When reporters for the Daily
Northwestern told me in 2017 that Tillery was claiming
asked to move his office because he was allegedly concerned about the
was stunned and asked the reporters to go back to Tillery with a
few questions based on standard protocols for bona fide
Tillery was so nervous, then why didn't he contact campus security or
the police about the student in
March, 2016? And why would an office move months later address the alleged worry? Wouldn't Tillery need to go into
hiding in March, if he
believed someone really were targeting him for an attack?
who saw him in his office in the spring, as I
had, later expressed shock when reading he had been requesting another office
elsewhere. (Tillery even opened a locked Scott Hall exterior door
me in the same time frame he later claimed to have fears I might kill
The reporters followed up. On
November 8, 2017 they reported: "Tillery
said he was relieved to learn a
few days after the March 8 incident
that there was no evidence indicating a student wanted to physically
harm him" (emphasis added).
The article continued, "However,
Tillery said he wanted to distance himself from Stevens and asked
administrators to move his office from Scott Hall."
This admission is especially important because of the timeline Tillery
shared earlier with different
reporters. An article
published in September, 2016 reveals that Tillery requested
office move a month after claimed not
to be worried about the student: "Tillery
requested a different workspace in an email to administrators on April
writing that he was afraid Stevens’ behavior might
lead to violence
against him by her or another person" (emphasis added).
Tillery realized the
student posed no threat to him a few days after March 8, 2016, then of
course the student could not be the basis for a requested temporary
office move on April 12, 2016 to assess his threat, as Tillery
just alleged to the Faculty Senate. Operating
under the desperate necessity of his various stories being knocked down
one by one, Tillery has spun so many false accounts that cannot keep
track of all of them.
why did Tillery file this request on April 12, even though this was a
full month after he "claimed not to be worried about the student"?
It followed shortly after April 6, the date Tillery
first threatened to sue me for reporting that he yelled and slammed a
door, with his email feigning fear of the student and me providing
atmospherics he apparently thought might bolster a lame lawsuit.
Also, Tillery from spring 2016 through
fall, 2016 had been claiming that I
was the one from whom he feared a violent attack. (After all, only I
was banned, not the student.) He told
that to the administration, to NU's contract attorney Kathleen
Rinehart, and in September, 2016 to the national
On September 15, 2016, the psychiatrist NU hired for my
mandatory "fitness for duty" interview immediately found I posed no
threat to Tillery's safety, based
on our interview and also his review of my personnel file and
Rinehart's Executive Summary, the document that Tillery says
vindicates him and that was filed by me as evidence Tillery had defamed
Adrian Randolph, on receipt of the psychiatrist's findings, cleared me to teach in the fall quarter and
never filed disciplinary charges against me. Further, on
March 12, 2018 Randolph sent
me a letter stating that on September 15 a "neutral third
party determined that you did not pose a safety risk to
Northwestern University students or faculty. I further acknowledge that
since that date, through and including the date of this letter, the
University has not changed that determination." (Tillery has stated
to reporters in late 2017 that he had refused to sign a similar
statement because "it would have undermined his ability to preserve his
reputation." On Tillery's own account, such a statement by the
Dean appears to further shred Tillery's credibility.)
In sum, now
that Tillery's claim to have been afraid of me because I was psychotic is on the growing heap
of his discredited nonsense, he is back to claiming he was afraid of
Finally, my contemporaneous complaint referenced a student's brief,
and singular statement to reflect
the intensity of Tillery's eruption, that it was so palpable that it
triggered the student's reflexive and protective chivalry based on
circumstances the student himself observed and not anything I said.
Tillery's conduct was alarming and I was illustrating this.
Tillery had not yelled and slammed the door, then there is
no basis for the student to have had this visceral and fleeting
is ONE alleged witness statement, not three. The one alleged witness statement is false, was NOT filed with any court,
and further discredits Tillery. There is no
Tillery alleges he has "exculpatory testimony" in the form of
"witness statements submitted by Professors Karen
Mary Dietz, and Daniel Krcmaric to the Cook County Circuit Court as
part of Case No: 16-L-10676" and he attached these to his email.
This is a blatant lie. The affidavits Tillery sent to the
Faculty Senate are not
stamped as actually filed with the Cook County Court, unlike the
student witness statement linked above. That's because they were never filed.
After I learned of Tillery's claim, my attorney requested filed,
stamped copies of the affidavits from Tillery's attorney. The firm told
her they could not locate these. I personally reviewed the case
docket in the Cook County Courthouse and the affidavits simply are not
This falsehood on the part of Tillery is extremely important. By
claiming they were filed he implies they have evidentiary value.
Since they were not filed, one is strongly invited to infer the
If these statements are so "exculpatory," then why didn't
Tillery's attorney file them with his court case? (In a second you'll
see why-- they are either irrelevant or they contradict
Tillery's own statements.)
why didn't the affiants
sign their sworn "witness" statements
contemporaneously, and not in August, 2017, well over a year
after I reported that
Tillery yelled and slammed his door and a student witnessed
(Are there other affidavits they signed
earlier and when evidence disproved their statements, new ones were
drafted and signed over a year later? What about earlier provably
about my mental fitness or threat to their safety? Is that why
Tillery's attorney didn't file the affidavits, because in an
actual trial the contradictions would
Second, Tillery misled the Faculty
into believing that the affiants' inflammatory statements, including references to a
by name, are part of a public court record.
infer that however uncomfortable it was to read them, they are part of
a public court proceeding and therefore legitimate for Tillery and his audience to circulate to the broader public.
Third, these three faculty members are
not disinterested parties. Alter,
along with Sara Monoson, violated Department norms and procedures in the time frame when NU
was trying to remove me. Alter and Monoson
took offense when questioned, and created a pretext for their
retaliation. Both have been relentless in their hostility. Monoson, the Chair, has a long and documented
history of yelling at me, and, as third parties have
reported, bullying me. Independent bodies
assessing these events have supported my characterizations of the
Department leadership, which included
Alter, and have not endorsed the account of me Tillery is circulating.
(I have a number of witness statements and offers for
in depositions that I am not circulating out of respect for third
Alter's rambling, self-involved, self-important, and irrelevant
affidavit claims that as the Director of Graduate Studies she received
student complaints about me. However, referring
to the same events, a spring 2016 email
from the Associate Dean of Student Affairs for The Graduate
gets it right: "We have no records about you
at TGS that are in any way negative. This situation seems to
be a conflict between you and your department..." (Alter has
especially public and vehement in her retaliatory and unprofessional
attacks on me.)
Third, only one of Tillery's affiants alleging to have heard no noise
from Tillery's office on March 8, Mary Dietz, asserts she was in her office when Tillery met with me. Alter provably was
not in her office for the entire day: for part of it she was
with me in a committee meeting on the second floor, which began within
minutes of my leaving Tillery's office. When I arrived, Alter
was already in the room. When I left Tillery's office
shortly before the 2 pm meeting with Alter downstairs, the doors of the
offices for Alter, Dietz, and Krcmaric were all closed.
(Alter herself told
me within days of Tillery yelling at me that she was not sure where she was when this happened.)
Over seven billion people could sign a statement that on March 8, 2016
they did not hear Tillery yell and that would be as exculpatory for him
as the testimony of Alter and Krcmaric, even more so since
Alter and Krcmaric had specific ulterior motives for their gratuitous
statements not shared by the rest of earth's inhabitants.
Dietz, providing the lone account purporting to actually corroborate
Tillery, had been plotting to
remove me from the department for quite some time. I'm not
going to rehash the connivances of Dietz and her husband Jim
Farr -- next to them the Underwoods of "House of Cards" look like June
and Ward Cleever -- but I am going to review some more contradictions.
Dietz in her affidavit of August 28, 2017 states, "Over the course of
the afternoon on March 8, 2016, I heard no 'yelling' or anything that
might be taken for the same (e.g., 'raised voices'; 'shouting';
'berating'; 'shrieking'; 'screaming' or otherwise.)" Dietz
emphasizes that were such a disruption to have occurred, she would have
heard it: "[T]he walls are thin."
Dietz, like Tillery, truly doth protest too much.
Tillery's narrative, as told to a reporter
in November, 2017 and in his own complaint, was that during
our meeting I "erupted
in an outburst."
Dietz not only is claiming she heard no yelling but that any
voices," "berating," and so forth would have attracted her attention.
Dietz goes out of her way to claim not to hear anything that might be
associated with one who had "erupted in an outburst," as Tillery
Tillery has offered a few different accounts of our meeting with other
contradictions. However, to this day, he has never released
his contemporaneous account, though he states one
exists. The portions I gleaned from my meeting with Rinehart
in 2016 were preposterous and easily falsifiable. I believe
he has withheld it because his first version of what
transpired highlights his malice toward me and further reveals his
lack of credibility.
lied about why he wanted to change my teaching schedule. And two years
later, he changed his story and told a reporter a new lie.
is not mentioned in the email to the Faculty Senate but it is worth
pointing out that there has never been any motive given as to why a
student and I would simply invent independent reports that Tillery
yelled and slammed a door. (I have documentation that after our
initial conversation on March 8 in the wake of the yelling and
door-slamming we both had just observed, I did not speak with the
student about the incident until after he was interviewed by Rinehart.)
Rinehart, Monoson, et al. finessed this by claiming I was psychotic and
that I would frequently have "breaks with reality," and hence had
imagined Tillery yelling at me when he was not.
The findings by the NU-appointed psychiatrist and letters from
colleagues and students that demolished the original rationale for my
making a false
claim about Tillery not only left me bereft of a motive for filing a
false report. My proven sanity also meant that what I take to be
reason for his meeting became a problem for Tillery et al.
Tillery when we met on March 8, 2016 told me he was changing
teaching schedule because of "Department policy" to have assistant
professors teach Introductory survey courses in the fall quarter in
particular. And he told this to Rinehart, as well: he
was moving my "Introduction to Political Theory" from the Fall to the
quarter. Rinehart wrote, "Tillery again
stated that the change in the teaching schedule simply would
be a rotation of courses in the fall and winter quarters..."
This is correct. This is what Tillery requested when we met.
problem they confronted was that I showed reporters course schedules
from the Department web page. These proved that no assistant
professor ever had been
asked to teach an Introductory survey course in
the fall quarter for as long as the Department had records on this.
I think Tillery et al. knew this all along and initially weren't
worried about the falsehood being revealed because according to their
original narrative I was a kooky psycho-killer and thus it would be
fine to lie to me.
What was the real reason for the request? According
to correspondence by Chair Monoson sent in May to the Dean of Faculty,
by March 8, 2016 the plan to have
me removed from the Department was well along. It is more likely
Tillery moving my lecture course to the winter quarter was an attempt to
reduce the number of students affected by my removal in the fall. If their plan worked, I'd be gone and they would simply cancel the winter course.
once they had to dump the psycho-killer narrative, and the pretext was
shown to be just that, then Tillery abandoned the story about new
assistant professors needing to teach in the fall quarters and told a
reporter this past spring, 2018 that he had offered me a course plan in
which I would not be teaching the Introduction to Political Theory
for 2016-17 at all and
instead teach "Deportation Law and Politics." An article
in the student magazine North
by Northwestern that published Tillery's lies (and that
later had to include more than 10 corrections online), states, "Tillery
says he called Stevens into his office and offered a deal he thought
she would love: trade an introductory political theory course ... for
her seminar on deportation."
Again, Tillery's own statement to Rinehart shows that he never
proposed that I teach a seminar instead of the lecture class but only
that the same courses
be taught in different quarters and for a reason
that was pretextual.
Tillery and Mr. Livid
It is true that Tillery often comes off as affable. I myself
this in my own report of his outburst. The generalization
only is irrelevant to his conduct on a specific afternoon, but it was
wrong. When in the summer of 2016 I described my
email to a colleague, he interrupted when I mentioned my
statement about Tillery's outburst as "out of
character." He said, "It's not out of character," and described a
specific recent interaction that tracked the one I'd had. If the case
had gone to trial, this colleague would have been deposed and his
be part of the record. I am withholding this and other
statements because those making them to me requested confidentiality
unless the case continued and they were deposed. There are
a number of people at NU and elsewhere familiar with the
in this who would come forth and speak the truth, i.e., discredit
Tillery and his pals. But the litigation has settled and I see
no reason to foment more hostilities just because Tillery is a sore
falsely claims I withheld objections to Rinehart until after I received
the report on June 22, 2016
Tillery writes, "Since
Professor Stevens had agreed to the investigation,
and even signed off on the third-party investigator that was hired by
the university, Kathleen Rinehart, she was given a full copy of the
report (which is attached as Appendix 2)."
Wrong again. During the interview with Rinehart I quickly realized she
was not the person Stephanie Graham, NU's Deputy General Counsel,
represented to me when I agreed to the investigation for purposes of
obtaining indemnification against Tillery's ridiculous lawsuit.
On May 5, 2016, the very day Rinehart met with me, I wrote:
I want to share some concerns about my meeting this morning with Kathleen Rinehart.
I was quite surprised by the confrontational tone, and also by the fact that she met Al first. I also did not realize that she frequently works with your office. I am struggling to understand the idea of an "independent" investigation if the person has regularly employment by NU. I am not familiar with the protocols for such investigations. Perhaps this is normal. I do appreciate the fact she shared this with me but it does raise concerns for me and I wish you had let me know this when we first were making these arrangements.
I followed university policies for reporting unprofessional conduct and the email I sent to Sara and Edward do not fit the charges in letter threatening to sue me, and yet for the entire meeting she was pushing his agenda, that is, challenging that he had an outburst and that he slammed the door. My email is pretty good evidence of my state of mind and attitude about the event: I clearly said Al's outburst was out of character and that I hoped we could work it out.
By ignoring my email, Monson and Gibson violated University policy for
handling such events and, I believe, contributed to Al's anxiety that produced this demand letter, as I explained to Ms. Rinehart.
Second, I had prepared a binder with numerous documents indicating earlier
outbursts by Sara Monoson and her own effective retraction of her complaint
against me last year, after she charged at me and slammed the door in my face and then concocted for the Chair a story about feeling threatened by me, which was false and defamatory and that she herself walked away from with me personally. I did not have an opportunity to review these documents. Even though we met for almost two and a half hours, I felt that a large chunk of that was Ms. Rinehart lecturing me on defamation law and trying to persuade me to back off from my honest account of what happened. Based on this, I am very concerned about her taking this approach with the student who witnessed the event, [REDACTED}. Is it possible to record this interview? I would ask that you not share this email with Ms. Rinehart as I am concerned this might prejudice her against me.
Rinehart did not record the interview with the student. And NU
administrators, including Sara Monoson, repeatedly refused to allow me
to record our meetings. Anyone who is telling the truth and
has the law on their side should welcome evidence of their innocence.
Why are NU administrators so allergic to objective documentation?
Second, Tillery correctly points out that I agreed to the investigation
on the condition that I receive a copy of the full report when it was
concluded. However, NU
has refused to release to me
a "full copy of the
report." The document Tillery distributed and that I
attached to my cross-complaint is an "Executive Summary
and not the full report.
Third, Tillery inaccurately claims that I failed to bring up my attacks
tying my predicament in the Department to NU's military board until
after the investigation. He writes, "Once it became clear to her that the report did not
substantiate her false allegations, she began to manufacture
narratives in campus and national media outlets that suggested that
she was the victim of retaliation for her role in derailing the
appointment of General Karl Eikenberry."
The truth is that among the documents I brought with me to the May 5
meeting was documentation of retaliation because of my
published reporting on trustees. I told Rinehart that Monoson
in early fall,
2015 prevented me from running for the Faculty Senate, and that a
rationale for this included
telling me that my recently published article's unflattering portrait
of NU would cause problems.
Of note is that the same day Monoson failed to hold the planned
election for the Faculty Senate at the Department's first faculty
meeting of the fall, 2015, I attended the Faculty
Senate's first meeting of the
year as an observer. The conversation on governance prompted me to
raise my hand and at the very first
meeting I indicated my concern about the plan by to hire Karl
to run the Buffett Institute. The Provost's office and the Office of
General Counsel send assistants to monitor these meetings and would
have been on notice about my participation.
have email from
October, 2015 of
Monoson informing the Secretary to the Faculty Senate that she was
planning to hold an election. Tillery later told me he and
Monoson originally planned for him to take this position. The
Faculty Senate requires an election and they thought it would be by
acclamation. I learned this after I expressed my interest in
running and frustration that Monoson cancelled the election. I
asked Tillery in his capacity as Associate Chair to bring this matter
to the attention of the Department Advisory Committee. He refused
and explained that he was close personal friends with Monoson and that
he had been planning to run against me.
Monoson reneged on the proposed election and instead prevailed on an assistant
professor on leave in France to continue as the Department
representative, thus forcing her to attend electronically at midnight and
completely isolating the Department from any discussion of matters
before the Faculty Senate, including the hiring of Eikenberry.
Monoson, who has never had any affiliation with
the Buffett Institute, leaned into then Provost Dan Linzer's last-ditch
effort to save the Eikenberry appointment and circulated a letter she
drafted and was read out loud in the Faculty Senate in support
of Eikenberry. Tillery and Alter were among the small number
of political science faculty who signed it.
was my supervisor!
Tillery writes, "In other words, what is the incentive for
victims—particularly those at lower ranks than their abusers—to
take part in your investigations, when there are no guarantees from
the university that they will be protected and that abusers will be
" I read this and my jaw dropped. What abuse? And second, far
from being my
Tillery was the Associate Chair and, as he stated in his lawsuit
against me my supervisor: "
From September 2015 to present, Dr. Tillery supervised the Defendant within the
(¶26). He was the one determining my
schedule, not vice-versa. He participated in having me banned from campus and then sued me! My lawsuit against
him was over a year later and in the form of counter-claims.
Tillery last year became the founding director of the Center
Diversity and Democracy
housed within the Political Science
Department. (Anyone who wants evidence on the corrosive effects of
corporate branding on the agendas for race scholarship should check out the website.)
The Center's seed funding was from Weinberg
assume Tillery controls the budget and thus has attracted more resources to his cause than most of our
colleagues in the
In short, Tillery imputes I have power over
him because I am a Full Professor and he is an Associate Professor.
The truth is that I never have had any supervisory
authority over Tillery
or any other faculty. Tillery, however, not only
me, he also
prevailed on an Assistant Professor to sign an affidavit testifying to
Tillery's "integrity." If you are having a junior faculty member sign an affidavit in a
messy public dispute and it has so little probative value that your
attorney does not actually file it, but you circulate it
anyway, the adjective that come to mind is not
embodies thoughtless, anti-critical "diversity" corporate
Tillery appears to take umbrage at the
difference between Tillery's race and that of the President of the
Faculty Senate, who was one member
of several independent bodies that reviewed these events and the
dynamics of the
Political Science Department. Relatedly, Tillery's
how will you make sure that your investigative
committees will have the appropriate diversity to guarantee that
persons who occupy marginalized positions within our community are
not quickly misjudged, dismissed or simply ignored by your
First, what exactly is Tillery's "marginalized position within our
community"? Tillery is a tenured faculty member
who directs a research center in a large department and was part of the
department's leadership. Here's how he introduces himself on
the Center's web page: "Associate
Professor Alvin B. Tillery, Jr. travels throughout the United
States, talking to universities and companies on issues of
diversity. He is a frequent commentator on diversity issues in the
What "diversity" does Tillery believe "appropriate" for investigating a
whether someone yelled and slammed a door? Does Tillery mean
that the committee should have included physicists? Psychics? Past Presidents of the Society for
Anachronism? Seems doubtful. What Tillery calls
"appropriate diversity" appears to mean, "Hey, where are the African-American,
faculty like me?" i.e.,
people who share his (reductionist understanding of ) identity, a
concept at the core of his
, one seemingly unaffected by decades of critical theory,
including critical race theory.
Also, what do we make of the fact that the individuals he has singled out by name as supporting
him are all White?:
Alter (White); Chase-Lansdale (White); Dietz (White); Krcmaric
(White); Randolph (White); Rinehart, the
lead administrative investigator (White); and the graduate student
(White). Meanwhile, Tillery seems also to be criticizing the
Counsel, headed by Philip Harris (African-American). Harris
spectacularly unqualified to run this office, not because of his race
but because of profound conflicts between what's good for the
family, General Dynamics, and Jenner and Block (the law firm where
Harris was a partner and that has a revolving door with the Crown
family's General Dynamics) and the interests of higher education.
Tillery produces zero evidence of racism in the handling of his case. What sort of
social scientist plays the
"diversity" card when he dislikes the findings of some White colleagues
while trotting out the views of other equally if not especially White
colleagues to claim he is a victim? And of course what about
the many other "diverse" colleagues who do not believe Tillery and find
his profile advertising his expertise on "diversity" to corporations an
Questioning Tillery for dressing up old-fashioned identity politics
through the paradigm of "diversity" does not
believes we inhabit a post-racial society. Especially if one
cares about race and racism, and the obscene concentration of unearned
wealth among Chicago's plutocrats and kleptocrats who use patronage and
non-profits to thwart meaningful redistribution of their ill-begotten
assets and have eviscerated Chicago's public sector, then the
"diversity" euphemism for distributive/patronage
identity politics requires a rebuke and has received it from many
quarters, not just this one.
branding might earn him a research budget and promotions. It will
not deter NU trustee J.B. Pritzker from selecting the so-called "least
offensive African-American," as occurred when Pritzker urged then Governor Rod
Blagojevich to pick Jesse Owens for
Obama's then vacant Senate
seat. Those of you who followed the Illinois primary know
Pritzker, an important boss at the University that employs Tillery,
advised that the appointment "covers you on the African-American
thing" and would open up to a
White person the position of Secretary of
State ("the key spot...that controls jobs, etc.," Pritzker said).
Some campaign workers and politicians were aghast and resigned in anger from Pritzker's gubernatorial
campaign when the recording was released. Others stayed on, including those tied to Chicago's, and thus NU's, power elite.
Again, Pritzker is an NU trustee and therefore among a small
group of people hiring the leadership of this university in particular.
Pritzker's comments motivate important albeit
awkward questions about administrative hires at all levels in the institution he helps run
and the "diversity" implemented under Pritzker's leadership.
am not saying that Pritzker's minions hiring sexual minorities, people
of color, or Goths to positions of leadership at NU are less
likely to offend Pritzker than anyone else. I have enormous
respect and appreciation for colleagues of all sorts of
backgrounds and expertise who through their service administer policies
and run programs at NU and do my best to insure these colleagues are aware of this.
I am saying that appointments
based only on crude demographics will not produce meaningful diversity
and the flourishing of an independent and confident
faculty necessary to cultivate the love of knowledge
and collective intelligence our world needs to locate and unsnarl
knots of injustice the Pritzkers, Crowns, and other leaders of NU
create. As long as those motivated by avarice, especially
the profits of war, are controlling the faculty and devoting
enormous resources to centers of commerce, engineering, and propaganda,
and as long as those in other parts of the university stay in our safe
silos where we may accrue professional accolades independent of
producing genuine knowledge, we will continue to reproduce the
idiocracy that is not just manifest in the Tillery debacle at NU -- on
which I blame the trustees and Philip Harris -- but events far more
reaching and of much greater magnitude, for which these same parties