UW Platteville proceeds with appeal hearing without the Appellant

 

UW Platteville hearing panel chair Dr. Susan Hansen, with Kangaroos, Animal, Kangaroo, Hopcounsel of Attorney Brian Vaughan, decided to hold a hearing session on May 25, 2017, even though Dr. Sabina Burton, who requested the appeal, was absent due to severe illness.  I informed them of Sabina’s illness in person that morning.   Attorney Jennifer Sloan Lattis argued that Sabina had “waived” her right to a hearing but Sabina did not waive any of her rights.  I believe Hansen deprived Sabina of the right to cross-examine and confront the witnesses in violation of law UWS 4.05. 

 

 

The panel heard witnesses talk about things that were way outside the scope of the charges and investigation against Dr. Burton.  

 

The Appeal Hearing of 5/25/17

At the hearing, which Sabina could not attend, the administration presented witnesses who did not stay within the scope of the charges against Sabina (Hearing-5-25-17-Rebuttal).  

 

Here are some of the problematic statements made at the hearing:

 

The panel chair, Dr. Susan Hansen, said “does either party wish to request that witnesses be sequestered until such time as they may be called to testify?”   Remember, Sabina wasn’t even there to confront or cross-examine witnesses or to object to improprieties.  The witnesses were all allowed to hear all of the other witness’s testimony because nobody objected.  Sabina couldn’t object because she wasn’t there.  Who was Hansen talking to?

 

The “witnesses” barely even talked about the charges against Sabina but strayed way outside the scope of the bogus and false charges against her.    

 

Attorney Lattis said: “The standard of dismissal that you will -- 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.”  

 

Lattis said this at the beginning of the hearing and left the panel with the same message at the end of it.  However, the real standards for just cause for dismissal are very different (JustCause-Standards).   This seems to be a serious breach of professional ethics by Attorney Lattis and is an example that shows how the protections provided by tenure may not be protection at all.  Tenured faculty members should be very concerned about this.   

 

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?   

 

Chancellor Shields said that Dr. Burton “misrepresented the breach experiment in order to frighten students, and some students even suggested that she was using her class time to discuss these kinds of concerns.”   However, Sabina did not misrepresent a “breach experiment.”   Here is what happened (TheSolicitousNote).  

We are not exposing corruption to frighten students.    We believe that transparency and accountability are vital to creating a safe environment for students at UW Platteville.  Our daughter attends this school.  Any faculty member who advocates to protect students’ right to be free of sexual harassment or sexual violence should expect to be retaliated against.  They should expect to have their career ruined and their reputations destroyed if they complain about the retaliation.  They should expect Chancellor Shields to lie to them and about them.  Who will advocate for students in this environment?  Sabina will.  She is my personal hero. 

Sabina’s former students confirm that Sabina didn’t talk about her disputes with the administration in class (Burton-no-speak-in-class). 

 

Dr. Strobl said “I did in late October receive some complaints, so the student -- and I did meet with some students, a handful, who claimed to be representing others, and through other sort of rumors there were complaints that in a seminar class, Dr. Burton was expressing her dissatisfaction with the university.”  

 

Dr. Strobl did not name the mysterious students she claims made these complaints. Dr. Burton has statements from students who verify that she did not speak about her dispute with the university in class (Burton-no-speak-in-class).  In fact, one of these statements demonstrates that the students were made aware of the issue by an email from Public Affairs officer Paul Erickson on Nov 1, 2016.   It seems that Dr. Strobl just made up the student reports.  

 

Dr. Stroble resigned citing “lack of institutional support” (Stroble_Resigns_11-3-16).  

 

 

Dr. Strobl said that Dr. Burton “was in the fall of 2016 engaged in routinely, on a daily basis, name calling and bullying, using various social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus.”  

 

If this is true why wasn’t it included in the Dec 16, 2016 complaint against Sabina?    Dr. Strobl offered no examples or evidence of Dr. Burton’s alleged “bullying on a daily basis.”   Sabina as a 5’4,” 125 pound ball of sweetness, with a stubborn streak and a deep passion for justice, honor and integrity.  She is caring and compassionate.   Dr. Strobl seems to be calling Dr. Burton a bully because Sabina filed legitimate complaints through appropriate avenues, complaining about violations of her rights.   If Sabina can’t complain about violations of her rights, can any of us?     What happens when you need to right a wrong done to you?  Will the administration push you out like they are trying to do to Sabina?  If this is how they treat a tenured advocate for a sexual harassment victim what will they do to a rape victim?  What would they do to your daughter?

 

Dr Fuller said:Everybody in the department was professionally threatened.  And several people,  know exactly four, who are physically – felt physically threatened.  Two-thirds of our department, since she's been here, have been threatened personally or physically.  I would say ten percent of the university campus has been personally attacked.  Ten percent of people at this university, if not more, have been personally or professionally attacked. It was so dysfunctional, I can't even imagine Dr. Burton coming back. 

A panel member asked Dr. Fuller “can you explain to us how people were physically individually threatened?... Do you have examples? 

Dr. Fuller responded: “they were scared.  Dr. Burton's  behavior was erratic, threatening.  E-mails every day; everybody got e-mails every day, coming in daily.  If you weren't copied on something, you were contacted directly.  It was a fear of her husband.  It was a fear of not wanting to be in the area.  Just -- and I'm not sure exactly why they felt fearful, if it was -- I can't tell you.”

Dr. Fuller could come up with no examples.  She could not explain why people were scared.  She had absolutely no emails to share with the hearing panel to support her claims.  If this is true why wasn’t it included in the complaint against Sabina? 

Sabina has pointed out numerous violations of law and policy by certain individuals but the authorities responsible for investigating those allegations are instead trying to fire Sabina on bogus allegations with little or no evidence to support their flimsy charges. 

It is telling that the administration’s only witnesses are people against whom Sabina has previously alleged serious violations of law and policy:  Attorney Lattis, Chancellor Shields, Dr. Throop, Dr. Fuller, Dr. Solar, Dr. Strobl.  They all have motive to deny Sabina fair due process.  The handful of “bad apples” that Sabina has complained about do not amount to ten percent of the university.  They do however, include powerful administrators who stand to lose much if Sabina is given fair due process.

 

Dr. Gormley seems to have co-signed the Dec 16, 2016 complaint against Sabina that has led to her appeal (sburtonstmtofchrgs-Rebuttal-3-30-17).   Dr. Burton has not alleged that Dr. Gormley committed any violations of her rights.  That Gormley was not called as a witness is quite telling.        

 

Dr. Strobl said “I was scared.  I know a lot about, unfortunately, active shooters.  I know a lot about workplace violence.  It's something I studied in graduate school.  It's something I keep abreast of as part of my intellectual interest.  And I saw somebody -- and a husband of somebody, to be completely frank, Roger Burton, who fits the profile of somebody who eventually snaps in a really violent way in the workplace, and for me it had to do with the escalation and the verbal animosity.”

 

Dr. Strobl seems to be trying to get Sabina fired because she is afraid that Sabina’s husband might “snap” and become an “active shooter” if Sabina gets fired.  How ironic is that?

I’m Roger Burton, Sabina’s husband, and I’m not anywhere near snapping.    I have not issued any threat of physical violence.  I’ve met Dr. Strobl briefly, maybe twice.  

I’m outraged, and I think that comes across in my writings in this website, but I’m also very controlled.  I joined the Marines to protect our freedoms as Americans. I was a Marine fighter pilot and I served in the Gulf War.    I risked my life over there to protect American interests and for the liberation of a country I’d never been to.  How can I not defend the rights of my own wife? I’ll defend her with everything I’ve got, within the bounds of my conscience and the law.

 

 

I don’t feel safe.  Dr. Patrick Solar said that there would be “consequences of (his) choosing” because I refused to remove reference to him from my website (Solar-Threat).  Campus police chief Joe Hallman, paid my wife an intimidating visit and asked her to stop what she was doing.   I think this was one of Dr. Solar’s “chosen consequences.”

 Dr. Patrick Solar claims that Sabina bullied him.  He is about 6’ 190 lb, retired police chief in good standing with the administration.  Sabina is a 5’4” 125 lb, victim of severe workplace harassment who has been under threat of termination for years.   Who is bullying whom?   It seems that his damaging testimony against Sabina is another of Dr. Solar’s “chosen consequences.”  

What other “consequences” will Dr. Solar “choose?”

Dr. Mike Dalecki told Sabina about how he used to bring a gun to school to protect himself from a “crazy woman,” as her referred to a former colleague who had filed a complaint against him.  Did Dr. Dalecki “cultivate her madness?”  Did he have discussions with her like this discussion with a grad student (A28b-Transcpt-Dalecki-Jacobus-e-excerpts)?  Dalecki showed Sabina how his office had a clear line of fire down the hall where her office was.  He pointed his finger at her and let his thumb fall, as a pistol hammer falls on a firing pin.    Sabina asked the administration to stop Dalecki from doing this.  Instead of investigating or correcting Dalecki’s behavior, Chancellor Shields reprimand Sabina for complaining of Dalecki’s veiled death threats (ShieldsLOD-Rebuttal).

 Yea, I’m worried for our safety. Just like I’m worried for students’ safety in this environment.  I’m also worried about Sabina’s stress related health issues.