“Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” Mahatma Gandhi
How people become corrupt
Some of what I’ve learned about corruption in the past four years:
Some people fall into corruption out of fear while others, like Dr. Dalecki, really enjoy it. Sometimes a person becomes corrupted gradually, first they let a piece of paper go through without a date on it. Then they are instructed to take a person’s title off of correspondence or to move a name from the top to the bottom of a list. Later they might be asked to exclude someone from a meeting or two. Little, seemingly benign things can trap you on a slippery slope when you are shown the trail of corruption that ties you to your master in a way that can only be untied in death or betrayal. Then they might be ordered to seriously retaliate against someone. People hear lies upon lies and begin to believe them without doing their due diligence because they fear they too will be targeted. They follow orders.
Corruption can tie tight bonds, like the roots of a tree that hold to the earth and to each other with fierce rigidity until the right conditions come and rip it out of the ground and expose its roots, old and new. This tree cannot grow tall and straight because the roots choke out the nutrients and only the roots thrive. An indication of old corruption is that the skeletons are buried in very shallow graves that are easy to uncover. People get complacent. When I dig for dirt on corrupt people at UW-Platteville I seem to be able to find something pretty easily. They have too many people lying too freely to effectively cover their individual lies. They rely on the systemic corruption to allow them to commit their crimes, in the faith that the next level of corruption will help keep them covered. But what happens when that next layer of corruption is preoccupied with covering their own acts from the prying eyes of an investigative reporter? What if a victim has kept detailed evidence of a long list of illegal acts and exposes them to hundreds of other victims that previously were easy to keep in the dark and didn’t even realize that they had been victimized? What happens when those other victims begin to relentlessly demand answers and changes? This scenario could become a perfect storm with heavy rain to saturate the soil and loosen the tree roots and heavy wind to topple the gnarled tree of corruption, exposing its twisted roots.
I hope we will be able to rip the most important roots out of the ground. I hope that those roots will be an example to the other roots that the old way of doing things won’t work anymore. Then maybe we’ll have a year or two before we need to address the issue again and again and again to keep a lid on corruption. A daily commitment to accountability and transparency will produce an environment where integrity, justice and honor can walk alone at night and where fear and betrayal are ridiculed.
Sometimes corruption creeps in by sheer volume of lies. We are all wired to believe something we hear many times.
Sabina and I have spent countless hours over the past four years cataloging the violations committed against her. We have shored up the arguments we felt were weak by collecting more evidence. We have spent time strategizing about how we can set up the dominoes in a line that will lead to some very big dominoes. With Dr. Strobl stepping down from the chair position we have seen the first of the dominoes fall. We hope she will point fingers that will help make the next domino fall and so on.
One of our strategies has been to target the pawns in the game. We believe it is important to discredit the little corrupt people so they won’t want to protect their masters anymore. Once the corrupt bosses run out of pawns they lose their protection and can finally be exposed. An example of this is the statement released by Asst Chancellor Smyrski which was released with erroneous information on 11/3/16 (see timeline). The facts discredit Smyrski and embarrass her. She will probably (hopefully) not want to publish false information again because it makes her look like the person responsible for lying to the public. In fact, she is the person responsible because she is the person who made the statement. She probably got her false information from Provost Throop but Smyrski’s name is on the press release. We can’t target the seat of corruption until we’ve convinced their lieutenants that their best interests are served by telling the truth. We do this by holding them accountable for their own actions. Chancellor Shields and Provost Throop have shielded themselves from exposure yet again by ordering Smyrski to release the erroneous statement and she did it. In similar fashion Nazi concentration camp operators obediently escorted thousands of Jews into murder machines because they were told to do it. At the Nuremberg trials “I was told to do it” was not a legitimate excuse and it should not be here either. Asst. Chancellor Smyrski is guilty of publishing lies to the press and ultimately to the public and to the students. She should be made to correct her errors and apologize publicly to Dr. Burton for attempting to discredit her unfairly. Hopefully she will think twice about blindly following orders the next time. A decent person does not follow an order to commit a crime against another person.
Other examples of those responsible for corruption hiding behind their pawns are the forum that was cancelled on 11/2/16, which was to be hosted by Staci Strobl and Dean Gormley and the meeting that was held on 11/10/16, hosted by Dean Gormley and Dean of Students Nivens.
Dr. Strobl called a forum that she cancelled at the last minute. According to Dean Gormley the decision to “postpone” the meeting was not something that originated with Strobl or her. In other words, it was postponed by someone above them but they are not allowed to say who. The next people in line would be Provost Throop and Chancellor Shields. But Gormley couldn’t say their names; it was like she was talking about Voldemort. Listen to audio A36-EmergDeptMtg-11-4-16 at 10:22-13:00. Dr. Strobl took the heat for cancelling the forum. She resigned. She took a bullet for Chancellor Shields. Students were rightly angry with her and she was forced to step down, giving as reason the “lack of institutional support.” That probably means Provost Throop and Chancellor Shields (but she can’t say their names). The administration set her up and she took the heat for things she was likely ordered to do. Now that she has stepped down the administration has lost a layer of protection. The first domino has been felled by the power of the first amendment.
Where is the Chancellor and Provost? They are hiding behind their pawns in the game. They are hiding behind the lie that they are not allowed to offer statements because there is a pending federal lawsuit. That didn’t stop Chancellor Shields from ordering a sham investigation against Dr. Burton. Why does it stop him from making some statements to people who deserve answers? The administration wants students to believe that the administration’s silence is just a common, normal, upright thing to do. “We can’t talk” they will say. But that is not the case. A court wants to hear the truth. If you speak the truth you can speak all day and there will never be any inconsistencies. But when you begin to integrate lies and deceit into the story you need to continually adjust your story. When you have many people integrating lies into the collective story the facts become very difficult to identify. That is why the lawyers have told the university not to talk publicly, because they are trying to find a way to present all the lies that the administration has told in a way that makes sense and doesn’t make them look corrupt. They won’t find it. They do not have answers that will stand scrutiny. That is why they did not allow Dr. Burton to be heard in a fair grievance hearing. That is why they are withholding their statements. That is why they scheduled the forum at a time when Dr. Burton was teaching a class. Do they think their explanations will be any better in court? No. They are hoping to get the case thrown out of court on a technicality. They thought they had accomplished this in summary judgment but they did not think Sabina had enough in her to appeal the unfair ruling. We will win the appeal (unless it is rigged). Even then, we will file another suit and win that (unless it too is rigged). We have plenty of evidence, as you can see in this website, to convince any reasonable jury that Sabina was illegally retaliated against for reporting a student sexual harassment incident.
Listen to this audio recording. Does this seem like a harmless mentoring session to you or did Dr. Dalecki threaten this graduate student to keep him quiet? The graduate student was fired a short time after this meeting. This seems like a clear sign of corruption to me.