If you care about student safety, tenure rights or university corruption you should understand this issue.
Chancellor Dennis Shields is trying to fire my wife, Dr. Sabina Burton, on bogus and false charges.
Sabina’s appeal hearing will be open to the public. - Time and Location TBA. After Oct 30, 2017. Send me an email to let Sabina know you plan to attend: email@example.com.
“I love teaching. There are so many good people at UW Platteville; faculty, staff and students. They deserve protection from the few bad apples.” - Dr. Sabina Burton
UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields suspended Dr. Sabina Burton, banned her from campus. I believe he wants to fire Sabina because she advocated for a student victim of sexual harassment and complained of the retaliation she received for her advocacy (sburtonstmtofchrgs-Rebuttal-3-30-17).
Shields wrote in his charges against Sabina: “You have publicly misrepresented the facts of a 2012 alleged sexual harassment incident to students (as exemplified by the “disappointed student” email.)” However, Dr. Burton tells the true story with hard facts and evidence: (TheSolicitousNote). Shields has yet to identify any statement Sabina has made that he believes to be inaccurate.
As of 10-10-17, Nobody has identified even one single statement I have made in this website as being untrue. – Roger Burton
Former dean and provost Throop said “What Dr. Burton has listed as her qualifications are really very important qualifications about her amazing abilities as a teacher. I think there is no question that her presence in the classroom is absolutely astounding. From what I can tell she is an inspired teacher.” (A13 - Grievance - Throop - 12-2-13 – 10:05), (Grievance-Throop-Transcript – 10:05).
Something needs to be done about corrupt administrators and corrupt attorneys who seem to care more about keeping the university’s sex harassment/violence statistics low than about protecting our children from predators and retaining inspired, caring teachers.
Sabina is very ill as a result of the stress she is under and the stress is a result of the unfair treatment she has been receiving. I don’t think a fair hearing wouldn’t stress her as much, because she has truth on her side, but the university has done much to add stress and deny her a fair hearing. Lies, policy misinterpretations, forged investigation reports without signatures, gag-orders, veiled-death-threats, violations of policy and law, denials of reasonable requests, disappearing witnesses, ignored requests, testimony outside the scope of the charges, bogus and false charges, suspension, banishment from campus and the university’s “spin” have all added to Sabina’s stress.
This photo was taken on 6-12-17 just prior to Sabina’s endoscopy which revealed that her severe ulcers are still a life-threatening problem. The administration was aware of her condition but continued to pressure her unnecessarily. How does she keep going? It is touch and go. She needs encouragement and support.
As a Marine, I have great respect for authority and I have come to expect good leadership. I enthusiastically followed my superiors’ orders that put me in harm’s way in the Gulf War, and I would do it again. I am surprised and shocked when I see bad leadership. Corrupt leaders bring disgrace on the position to which they have been entrusted.
I have great respect for the office of the Chancellor of UW Platteville but Chancellor Dennis Shields has acted outside his authority and is a disgrace to his office. He seems to believe that leadership and intimidation are synonymous. He seems to believe that cronyism and dishonesty are good leadership practices. He seems to believe that employees of UW Platteville are his personal servants that he can fire whenever he wants to, for whatever reason he chooses.
Shields is trying to fire my wife on bogus and false charges. Sabina has followed all of Chancellor Shields’ directives yet Shields still pushes for Sabina’s termination on bogus allegations, shaky reasoning and fabrications. Shields based his charges on an investigation report that he admits is not signed by the investigator. He made no attempt to get a signature from the investigator. I believe Shields knows the investigation report is a forgery. Though I respect the position of UW-Platteville Chancellor, I don’t respect or trust Dennis Shields. Chancellor Shields seems to believe he is in a Thunderdome with Sabina; that either Sabina loses her career or he loses his. Chancellor Shields seems to be willing to lie to get the Regents to fire Sabina.
Chancellor Shields accused Sabina of discussing her disputes in class with students writing “You have discussed your personnel concerns during class when they had no relevance to course topic.” (sburtonstmtofchrgs-Rebuttal-3-30-17). However, a student in Dr. Burton’s class wrote that Dr. Burton “did not share knowledge or facts pertaining to any pending/ongoing legal cases that she was involved in.”
Another student wrote “If it were not for Watchdog and the emails sent out by the Criminal Justice department, I would not have even known there were any problems.”
Another student wrote “Dr. Burton is one of the rare people who can walk a fine line between professor and friend. She is an amazing mentor with high standards and always does what is right and just. She goes out of her way to make sure her students’ needs are being met and exceeded. Her character and integrity are unquestionable. The fact that UWP officials are now attempting to attack Dr. Burton’s character proves they know they made a terrible mistake in the handling of the original issue. Instead of learning from their mistake, they’ve decided Dr. Burton’s presence at the school will be a constant reminder of this failure for all those involved-and that is not fair to her. Dr. Burton was doing her job to make sure all students feel and are safe on campus. The others should be doing the same. I stand with Dr. Burton.” We have signed statements from six of Sabina’s former students that prove Shields’ accusation is false - (Burton-no-speak-in-class).
If Lattis and Shields are willing to do these things, what will stop them from forging documents, threatening people and using university funds to bribe Sabina’s colleagues? Transparency and Accountability brought down the Berlin wall. I hope they will work to clean up some of the corruption at UW Platteville.
On 3-4-17 Chancellor Shields delivered to Dr. Burton a document he called “Dr. Petra Roter’s report.” (Rebuttal-RoterReport3-4-17). But is it?
Tellingly, the report is not signed. Tellingly, Dr. Roter has not confirmed that it is her report and has not responded to multiple requests for her authentication of the report. Tellingly, Dr. Roter seems to have vanished and the administration can’t, or won’t, produce her to testify about the investigation report that bears her name but not her signature.
Chancellor Shields wants to fire my wife on bogus and false allegations and bases his decision on an investigation report that is not signed and whose alleged author, a former UW Chancellor, has mysteriously disappeared.
Isn’t it interesting that Dr. Roter is also named as a defendant in a lawsuit (Case No.14-cv-1020)? Why did Chancellor Shields choose someone to investigate Dr. Burton while that person was under investigation herself? Did Shields pull strings to get Roter out of her own tight spot? I don’t know, but somebody should look into this.
Chancellor Shields seems to be putting together the legal equivalent of a turd sandwich to feed to the UWS Board of Regents, hoping they will swallow it quickly, before their gag reflex causes them to spew it back into his face.
If Chancellor Shields had not refused Sabina’s Aug 9, 2013 request to meet, the ingredients of this sandwich could have been a gourmet half-million-dollar Cyber-Security Program (Dkt 53-49). Why didn’t Shields meet face-to-face with Dr. Burton to try to resolve this issue but to give her no option than to file a complaint with the EEOC (exhibit EZZZZZJ-1)?
Why did Shields decide “not to weigh in” on Jul 10, 2013 10:28 PM (exhibit EZZZZJ-1)?
Why did Shields publicly blame Dr. Burton equally with Dr. Caywood, who “admitted that he poorly handled the student complaint,” after a grievance committee recommended that steps be taken to “restore Dr. Burton’s professional reputation?” Shields knew about the “dysfunction” within the CJ department since April 19, 2013. Why didn’t he provide the recommended communication training?
Why did Shields refuse to consider Dr. Burton’s complaint that Dean Throop violated policy and law [UW-P 004010]? The grievance committee agreed that Throop had violated policy and law but nothing was done to correct the violations. Even Dean Throop later agreed that an election should have been held. Why did Shields “applaud” Dean Throop’s violations?
What was the outcome of Dr. Caywood’s grievance against Dean Throop that he was “improperly removed” from the chair position [UW-P 005324]?
Dean Throop wrote that she wanted Dr. Caywood to get training so he could run the CJ department at a “minimally acceptable level.” Is “minimal acceptability” also Chancellor Shields’ goal?
Who deleted incriminating emails from Dr. Burton’s email account (see 1/1/14 on Public_Timeline)? Did this have anything to do with Shields’ belief that “emailing is problematic?” Did Chancellor Shields order Dr. Burton’s email account “hacked?”
Why did Shields ignore and deny Dr. Burton’s complaints, on Oct 2, 2014, Oct 11, 2014, and many others but in contrast, quickly order investigations into Dean Throop’s allegations against Dr. Burton - Jan 15, 2015, Deb Rice’s allegations against Dr. Burton - 8-8-16 and Throop/Gormley’s complaint against Dr. Burton - 12-19-16? Isn’t that disparate treatment?
Why didn’t Shields tell Dr. Burton who filed the false allegation that Dr. Burton had cancelled class? Why didn’t the investigation name the informant? Why did Dean Throop, under oath, claim the informant was Deb Rice but Rice, under oath, claimed she didn’t do it (perjury)? Why are there so many holes in Shields’ findings?
Did Chancellor Shields order the Public Information officer to deny Dr. Burton’s requests for documents based on a Wisconsin Statute that guarantees her access to those documents (DenialofAccess-12-2-16), (Erickson.Denial11.30.16)? Why did Dr. Burton need to ask for these documents four times (ResponsetoChancellorLtr-8-31-16), (InvestigationReport-request-for), (Investigativereport11-30-16), (RqstforInvestigation-AG-12-9-16)?
Why isn’t Dr. Barraclough’s investigation report, dated Nov 24, 2015, signed? (Barraclough_Report), (Barraclough_Report-Rebuttal). Why was this report, into allegations that could get Dr. Burton fired, not provided to Dr. Burton until December 9, 2016?
Why isn’t the Burke investigation report signed? Why isn’t the Roter report signed? How many investigation reports has Shields forged?
I have so many more questions like these.
Dennis Shields and Attorney Jennifer Sloan Lattis seem to be very good at standing behind others to limit their own liability. I wish people would stop lying for them.
I wish people would stop blindly acting on Lattis’ misinterpretations of laws and policies. I wish they would read the laws and policies themselves, and act accordingly.
Ray Cross said: “Without civility it is virtually impossible for the university to pursue its mission: the pursuit of truth." I wish administrators at UW Platteville would listen to Ray Cross.
If Sabina loses her job she will find another job. If we lose everything, we’ll start over. What they do to Sabina and me is harsh and it hurts but I’m not exposing corruption to regain anything. I oppose corruption for students’ safety. I oppose corruption for my own daughters’ safety. That’s a big deal to me. I oppose corruption in hopes that I can make a small dent in it and protect some innocent people from corrupt administrators. I oppose corruption with its most potent virus, transparency, and hope that someone will finally hold corrupt administrators accountable for their misdeeds. I don’t want to harm anyone and I certainly don’t expect to gain from this experience. I want the UW Platteville administration to stop harming my wife, her fellow employees and students. I expect to suffer more pain and expense and I expect that, and pray that, eventually, truth will finally win over lies. But I wonder why we must go through this painful process. Sabina is a good, caring person.
Case #1 – Dr. Burton’s first case (2012-2014) was dismissed in summary judgment. It may seem to be old news but the verdict was not based on all the evidence Sabina presented to her former attorney. Sabina’s former attorney Tim Hawks seems to be responsible for sabotaging the case by excluding key information in the briefings and failing to dispute false information provided by the defense. In short, I believe Hawks misrepresented Sabina’s case and that is why it was dismissed on summary judgment.
Dr. Burton asked Governor Walker for help but received none. In fact, her request seems to have been a reason for her former attorney’s misrepresentation IMHO.
Case #2 – Sabina filed a second lawsuit on Jan 17, 2017. This case complains that Sabina’s due process rights were violated. She asked for grievance hearings but her requests were denied, in violation of law and policy. Her due process rights were violated because she helped a student report an incident of sexual harassment and complained of retaliation.
Case #3 – Sabina expects to file a third lawsuit, or amend the second suit, concerning Chancellor Dennis Shields’ decision to suspend her, ban her from campus and process her for dismissal. Sabina is speaking out about corruption and exercising her right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Is Academic Freedom dead in America?
What is the definition of “Just Cause” to fire a tenured faculty member?
At the beginning of the 5-25-17 appeal hearing, which was conducted in the appellant’s absence due to severe illness, Attorney Lattis told the hearing panel “The standard of dismissal … that the Board of Regents uses for termination of a tenured faculty member is whether that faculty member is engaged in behaviors that impair the efficient functioning of the university. That is the definition of just cause” (Hearing-5-25-17). Spoiler alert: UW System Policy has a very different definition of just cause to fire a tenured faculty member (JustCause-Standards).
At the end of the May 25 hearing Attorney Lattis told the hearing panel “I remind you again that the standard of just cause for termination of a tenured faculty that the Board of Regents will apply, because it has applied it in every other case, is that the behaviors of the faculty member have impaired the efficiency of the operation of the workplace.” Attorney Lattis seems to blame the Board of Regents for her misrepresentation of the standard of just cause. Has Attorney Lattis advised the Board of Regents that this is the standard of just cause to fire a tenured faculty member? Did they believe her? Has the Board of Regents fired tenured faculty members using this standard of just cause, as Attorney Lattis alleges? Did they do so because of Attorney Lattis’ misrepresentation of the standard? Should there be an investigation to determine if other tenured faculty members have been unfairly fired due to misapplication of the standard of just cause?
Will the Board of Regents apply Attorney Lattis’ standard of just cause in Sabina’s appeal or will they apply the standard in UPS OPERATIONAL POLICY - GEN 14? I ask the Board of Regents to please explain to Attorney Lattis that she should not be saying such things at a video recorded appeal hearing the appellant couldn’t attend. I don’t see how my wife can get a fair hearing if Attorney Lattis is allowed to influence the appeal panel by making misrepresentations of law and policy. I ask the Board of Regents to please assign a different attorney to represent UW Platteville in this matter. I think Attorney Lattis is too personally involved to be fair.
Fraud Waste and Abuse
As of this writing Dr. Burton, one of the best instructors on campus, is being paid to sit at home wishing she could teach our students. Chancellor Shields suspended Sabina, with pay, on bogus and false charges after spending tens of thousands of dollars to produce investigation reports that aren’t even signed (sburtonstmtofchrgs-Rebuttal-3-30-17). Seriously, none of the investigation reports are signed. Shields spent $9,682.38 on one investigation that could have been resolved, at no expense to the university, with a grievance hearing (BurkeInvest-invoice-3-8-17). Shields dropped the charges against Sabina and quickly ordered another investigation against her. I estimate that the time and legal costs to the university and the state amounts to at least $300,000. Why is Shields wasting these resources on what appears to be a personal vendetta against my wife?
Fraud Waste and Abuse on steroids
Dr. Burton was very close to winning a half-million-dollar grant to build a cyber-security program at UW Platteville that would have helped our graduates get high paying jobs in the cyber-security industry or law enforcement agencies (Dkt 53-49), (Dkt 101-4), (Dkt 101-5), (exhibit 648-see pg26/30). Shields decided to ignore Dr. Burton’s cries for his help against other administrators’ efforts to destroy her ability to obtain the grant. UW Platteville could have been a leader in cyber security training but Chancellor Shields decided instead to waste university and state resources to try to fire one of the best instructors in the university. Why?
Appeal panel composition is under protest:
Sabina has argued repeatedly that the appeal panel was selected in violation of policy and asked that it be re-constituted in compliance with policy (AppealRights-Highlights), (AppealPanelViolations). I think Chancellor Shields failed to provide Sabina with the procedures for appeal, as required, because he didn’t want Sabina to know that he planned to hand-pick the appeal panel in violation of those procedures. This seems like jury tampering to me. The panel chairs refused to render a decision about this issue until finally, the panel made a decision, on 9-19-17, to deny Sabina’s request. Maybe we will win this argument in court but for now, we proceed under protest.
Policy allows deliberations could take several months to complete. But it seems the administration wants to get Dr. Burton fired quickly and quietly without giving her fair due process. The administration has piled tons of bogus and false allegations and testimony on Sabina’s head. How can someone address so many bogus and false charges when their time is so limited? We are doing our best.
The hearing panel, to its credit, has agreed to one more three-hour hearing. It took us three hours just to cross-examine Chancellor Shields. Now we have only three more hours to cross-examine Dr. Strobl, Dr. Throop, Dr. Solar, Dr. Fuller and Dr. Burton and any other witnesses we call. Obviously, three hours is not enough time but at least it’s something. We are accustomed to the administration using time against us so this is nothing new. The panel could have decided not to give us any more time at all so, I guess it is good that we have the three hours. It’s better than nothing.
If we can address all the charges they will fall like a line of dominoes. Starting with Dean Throop’s Letter of Direction.
– Will Sabina be fired on Bogus and False charges?
– Is tenure meaningless?
– Who will advocate for Students if Sabina is fired?
I believe that any reasonable and unbiased hearing panel or jury would understand that the charges against Sabina are bogus and fabricated if they get the whole story.
The panel members are:
- Dr. Abulkhair Massoom,
- Dr. Barbara Barnet,
- Dr. Sheryl Wills
- Dr. Richard Bockhop
These people were all taught right from wrong when they were little.
The panel members are probably afraid that their own jobs are in jeopardy if they give Sabina fair due process. The irony is that the tenured panel members should be afraid that their jobs are in jeopardy if they don’t act fairly. If the panel allows the administration to deprive Dr. Burton of her due process rights, and the rights that should be guaranteed by tenure, they will be setting a precedent that effectively voids everyone’s tenure, including their own. They would be shouting to other faculty members that standing up for student rights, and for your own rights, will result in your termination. They would be telling students that their rights are not protected. They would be stifling academic freedom.
These five hearing panel members have:
- opportunity to benefit from corruption;
- risk of retaliation;
- a moral obligation to oppose corruption;
- the legal mandate to follow policy and law.
I hope the panel members realize that:
- benefiting from corruption carries its own risks;
- threat of retaliation is dispelled when good people stand arm in arm against corruption;
- one person opposing corruption counts;
- At some point, somebody has to start doing the right thing or society will collapse.
Misinformation from UWP to the media
Dr. Peckham, former chair of the protested appeal hearing panel, informed the editor of the Platteville Journal that Chancellor Shields issued an order “dismissing her (Sabina) for cause from her tenured faculty position” (Peckham-Burton-5-17-17). But the Chancellor doesn’t have authority to dismiss a tenured faculty member; only the Board of Regents can do that.
The editor of the Platteville Journal, Steve Prestegard, does not seem to be interested in publishing this story, or even notice about the open hearings. The editor’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would you want a Criminal Justice department chair talking to your son or daughter this way?
In Nov 2014 Deb Rice told a graduate student, and others, that Dr. Burton was mentally ill and spread other false rumors (Dkt 48-145). The graduate student told Dr. Burton about the rumors he had heard. Dr. Burton complained about Deb Rice’s rumors to CJ department chair Dr. Dalecki. Instead of disciplining Rice, Dr. Dalecki called in the graduate student for what Dalecki called a “mentoring” session and told him to apologize to Deb Rice for sharing the information with Dr. Burton. The graduate student audio recorded the meeting and here it is: (Dalecki-grad-student). The grad student was fired shortly after this meeting. He and I both believe the reason he was fired is because he was loyal to Sabina.
Sabina gave him a letter of recommendation and the former grad student is now working as an aide for a republican senator in another state.
I just learned a new word. Gaslighting is “a form of intimidation or psychological abuse, sometimes called Ambient Abuse where false information is presented to the victim, making them doubt their own memory, perception and quite often, their sanity” (urbandictionary.com). I have many examples of the administration victimizing Sabina this way, but I didn’t know it was called “gaslighting” until 9-25-17. Maybe I’ll make a short story to highlight the examples when I have time. Maybe “Gaslighting a Whistleblower” would make a good title for the book I am writing. It is kind of catchy. I’m also considering “The Taming of the Whistleblower,” “Whistleblowing for Dummies,” “They Blame You, for the things They Do,” “Stay Confident, or Give-up Early,” “What to Expect when you Blow the Whistle,” and “A Whistleblower’s Mind.” Let me know which title you like best.
I just learned a cool new word: “Imbroglio” means “an extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation.” Somebody used this word to describe the situation Sabina has found herself in. How about “University of Imbroglio” or “Imbroglio University” for the book title? That’s catchy.
I hope my website, and the book I am writing, will become a guide for civic-minded people who seek to expose corruption and make society a better place. I plan to try to form a network of whistleblowers so new whistleblowers can be vetted and connected within the network.
Consoling broken victims will not protect our society from destroying itself from within. We need champions like my wife, but they are few. The book I am writing is intended to inspire, encourage and aid other champions to rise to their occasions.
“People expect you to do what they would do in your position.” - Roger Burton