See Appeals Schedule
Rebuttal to the Statement of Charges 3-30-17
Original text of Statement of Charges is in italics.
Rebuttal: is in standard font with bold header.
943.39 Fraudulent writings. Whoever, with intent to injure or defraud, does any of the following is guilty of a Class H felony:
(1) Being a director, officer, manager, agent or employee of any corporation or limited liability company falsifies any record, account or other document belonging to that corporation or limited liability company by alteration, false entry or omission, or makes, circulates or publishes any written statement regarding the corporation or limited liability company which he or she knows is false; or
(2) By means of deceit obtains a signature to a writing which is the subject of forgery under s. 943.38 (1); or
(3) Makes a false written statement with knowledge that it is false and with intent that it shall ultimately appear to have been signed under oath.
(1) Whoever with intent to defraud falsely makes or alters a writing or object of any of the following kinds so that it purports to have been made by another, or at another time, or with different provisions, or by authority of one who did not give such authority, is guilty of a Class H felony:
March 30, 2017
Dr. Sabina Burton
5768 Maple Glen Lane
Platteville, WI 53818
Re: Charges for Dismissal
Dear Dr. Burton:
On December 16, 2016, Interim Provost Elizabeth Throop and Interim Dean Melissa E. Gormely filed a complaint pursuant to Wisconsin Administrative Code UWS 4.02(1) seeking your termination from your position as tenured professor in the Department of Criminal Justice.
The complaint against Dr. Burton: (Chancellor-Suspends-Burton-1-3-17)
Rebuttal to the complaint: (Rebuttal-Throop-Gormley-complaint-12-16-16).
I concluded that the charges were substantial and that, if true, might lead to dismissal.
Regent Policy Document 20-24 states:
“Tenure is the keystone for academic freedom and excellence and is awarded for academic and professional merit. Tenure is an essential part of the guarantee of academic freedom that is necessary for university-based intellectual life to flourish. The grant of indeterminate tenure to faculty members represents an enormous investment of university and societal resources, and those who receive this investment do so only after rigorous review which established that their scholarship, research, teaching and service meet the highest standards and are congruent with the needs of the university. It is therefore expressly recognized that the awarding and continued enjoyment of faculty tenure is of vital importance to the protection of academic freedom and to the overall academic quality of the University of Wisconsin System institutions.”
CAUSE FOR DISMISSAL. (See UWS 4.01.) This is UW Madison’s
interpretation of “just cause.”
No faculty member shall be subject to dismissal except for just cause, based upon a determination that the faculty member’s conduct directly and substantially affects adversely, to a degree greater than that reserved for disciplinary action, the ability to carry out satisfactorily his/her responsibilities to the university. Examples of conduct that may warrant dismissal include, but are not limited to, fraud or intentional misrepresentation of facts for personal benefit, gross abuse of authority or influence (e.g.,discriminatory or retaliatory actions, particularly where a pattern is evident), or willful and protracted violations of university rules or policies.
The University of Wisconsin System UPS OPERATIONAL POLICY - GEN 14 States:
“Just Cause” means a standard that is applied to determine the appropriateness of a disciplinary action. The elements of determining whether just cause exists are:
• Whether the employee had notice of workplace expectations and potential consequences if those expectations were not met;
• Whether the workplace expectations were reasonably related to business efficiency and performance the employer might reasonably expect from the employee;
• Whether an investigation was undertaken by the employer before discipline or discharge to determine whether the employee violated expectations;
• Whether the investigation was conducted fairly and objectively;
• Whether the employer obtained substantial evidence of the employee's guilt;
• Whether workplace expectations were applied fairly and without discrimination; and
• Whether the degree of discipline imposed reasonably related to the seriousness of the employee's offense and the employee's past record.
These standards are addressed in a separate document (JustCause-Standards)
Dr. Burton did not do anything that would warrant dismissal. The charges, even if they were true, are not substantial and certainly do not rise to the level of just cause for dismissal.
Study of UW System Confirms Tenure was a “Job for Life” This article includes the statement “Records provided to the Speaker’s Office show only six tenured faculty have been dismissed for just cause in the last 20 years.”
Excerpt from Appeal decision (Dkt 40): “Burton received tenure within months of this incident and can point to no material consequences rewulting from it. While she may have perceived that Throop and Caywood had retaliated against her, these actions simply do not rise to the level of a materially adverse employment action protected by Title IX. Therefore, like the district court, we need not engage in any causation analysis. The district court correctly granted summary judgment to the Board on the Title IX retaliation claim.” The court used the fact that Burton was given Tenure to show that she was given significant protection and that was one of the major reasons her appeal was denied. Now her tenure is threatened unfairly.
Chancellor Shields’ order to suspend Dr. Burton: (Chancellor-Suspends-Burton-1-3-17).
Rebuttal to Chancellor Shields’ order to suspend Dr. Burton: (Rebuttal-Shields Suspension-1-4-17).
I appointed Dr. Petra Roter, of UW System Administration, to investigate the matter. Dr. Roter submitted her report to me on March 1, 2017. In her report, Dr. Roter found that:
Chancellor Shields delivered to Dr. Burton, on 3/4/2017 1:38 PM, a report that he identifies as “Dr. Petra Roter’s report” which is hereinafter identified as the “Roter report” (EmailfmShields-3-4-17), attachment (RoterInvestigationReport-3-4-17). The “Roter report” was not signed. The “Roter report” did not come to Dr. Burton from Dr. Roter’s email account but from Chancellor Shields’ email account. The “Roter report” was delivered to Dr. Burton by a person she has publicly accused of being corrupt, Chancellor Shields, and it was not cc’d to Dr. Roter. Chancellor Shields had motive and opportunity to alter Dr. Roter’s original report and there is evidence that previous reports have also been “edited by a third person” as explained in the rebuttal. Dr. Roter declined to respond when asked if the “Roter report” was her final version. Authenticity of the “Roter report” is still in question. A sworn statement from Dr. Roter as to the authenticity of the document is needed to positively identify the person(s) responsible for the misrepresentations in the “Roter report.”
Rebuttal to “Roter report” (Rebuttal-RoterReport3-4-17).
1) You recorded a series of UW-Platteville internal conversations, meetings and proceedings without prior consent or notification, your husband published them to the public with your knowledge and consent, and some of the recordings related to confidential personnel matters.
The Chancellor has not identified any law against publishing records that had already been published in court documents. Audios in question had been published in court documents by Dr. Burton’s former attorney, Tim Hawks, many months earlier with no objections.
Wisconsin State Statute 968.31 says: “(2)It is not unlawful under ss. 968.28 to 968.37:
(c) For a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication where the person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to the interception unless the communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act in violation of the constitution or laws of the United States or of any state or for the purpose of committing any other injurious act.” I did not make the recordings without consent. I gave the consent as allowed by law.
As of 4/19/17: Interim Provost Throop has never asked Dr. Burton or her husband, who maintains universitycorruption.com, to remove anything from universitycorruption.com; Interim Dean Gormley has never asked Dr. Burton or her husband to remove anything from the website; Chancellor Shields has never asked Dr. Burton or her husband to remove anything from the website; Nobody has asked, or demanded, that Dr. Burton or her husband remove any material from the website due to legal concerns of confidentiality or accuracy.
Dr. Burton knew that her husband was publishing documents on UniversityCorruption.com but did not have knowledge of everything he was publishing. Dr. Burton has never uploaded anything to UniversityCorruption.com or to Youtube.com. She gave her husband general consent to use his discretion to post evidence he thought was appropriate online. Audios identified as confidential have already been publicized during discovery and in form of publicly available court records. Immediately after Dr. Burton was issued Throop and Gormley’s complaint she asked her husband to remove the audios mentioned in the report from universitycorruption.com and he did so.
More about this in: (Rebuttal-RoterReport3-4-17).
2) All of your colleagues who were interviewed reported feeling threatened and/or harassed by you or witnessed you engage in those kinds of behaviors towards others. Your threats were focused on undermining the professional integrity of your colleagues and harming their future employment opportunities including tenure and promotion decisions.
The already biased “Roter report” states: “All those interviewed in the Criminal Justice program noted the department environment was “chilling” and “dysfunctional” and “Interviews of all parties, including Dr. Burton, report that they felt threatened directly and indirectly.” The threats came directly and indirectly from the administration, not from Dr. Burton. The “Roter report” was vague about the origin of the threats and Chancellor Shields twisted the findings of the already biased “Roter report” to indicate, unfairly, that Dr. Burton was responsible for the interviewee’s fears. He misrepresented the facts. He misrepresented the unfair and vague statement from the “Roter report” to indicate that Dr. Burton was responsible for his own intimidation. It is worth noting here that the author of the “Roter report” claims to have interviewed only individuals Dr. Burton has previously filed complaints against, thus circumscribing the report unfairly. Dr. Burton believes department members have every reason to feel threatened by the corrupt Chancellor Shields and his corrupt minions like Dr. Dalecki and Interim Provost Throop. She believes that Attorney Jennifer Sloan Lattis is also, and perhaps mainly, responsible for the threats and undermining of professional integrity.
3) You have strayed from or violated the letter of direction provided to you by Provost Throop.
The Faculty Bylaws, Part III, Article IX, section 2 states: “The following procedure shall be followed: A faculty member with a grievance may submit his or her grievance to the Complaints and Grievances Commission. The aggrieved faculty member is entitled to a hearing before the commission within twenty calendar days of the written submission of the grievance to the commission chair.”
Dr. Burton requested a hearing to address the letter of direction on November 12, 2014 3:15 PM –(Dkt 54-17). The grievance hearing was not conducted within 20 days, in fact, it was delayed unreasonably and in violation of policy for eleven months. The letter of direction should be considered void on Dec 1, 2014, the day after the 20-day deadline for hearing Dr. Burton’s grievance concerning the letter of direction.
On December 1, 2014 3:54 PM then-Dean Throop wrote arguments why Dr. Burton’s right to a hearing should be violated (Dkt 42-70). These arguments are unfair as explained in this rebuttal (Rebuttal-to-Throop-memo-12-1-14). The unfair arguments led to violation of Dr. Burton’s due process rights, denial of fair and timely requested grievance hearings and ultimately to the current charges threatening her dismissal.
Dr. Burton has not strayed from or violated any of the directions in then-Dean Throop’s letter of direction. Even though the directions were based on fabrications or protected activities Dr. Burton still followed the directions.
Dr. Burton was never given a grievance hearing to address the Letter of Direction. She asked for the hearing repeatedly and was promised a hearing multiple times but none was ever scheduled. Dr. Burton withdrew her grievance almost a year after she filed it because she had become convinced that she would never be given a fair hearing. Dr. Burton was denied a grievance hearing for almost a year even though she was entitled to a hearing within 20 days.
The court never considered whether the Letter of Direction was fair or unfair, right or wrong. These things need to be decided now, before the Letter of Direction can be relied on as a basis to dismiss Dr. Burton. More details: (DenialofHearing-Nov2014-Oct2015) (Rebuttal to Throop Letter of Direction).
Agents of the Board violated Dr. Burton’s due process rights and acted unethically to delay her hearing and to deny her a fair hearing process by creating a Seriously Flawed and Discriminatory Grievance Hearing Procedures (SFDGHP). This narrative explains why the policies applied to Dr. Burton were long expired and should not have been used in her case. The administration still advertises, as though applicable, policies on its website that are no longer in effect and have not been for many years. They unfairly held Dr. Burton to those expired, invalid “rules.” They also misinterpreted and misapplied those “rules.” Dr. Burton suspects that the expired policies still exist on the uwplatt.edu website to give them the appearance of legitimacy so corrupt administrators can use them against unsuspecting employees to quietly get rid of them under a guise of authenticity.
4) Your “mission to expose corruption” has pulled students into matters and conflicts that are outside of the academic mission/environment of the university.
Dr. Burton is trying to protect herself from severe corruption and she is trying to protect students and other at risk employees from the severe systemic corruption that she believes infests UW Platteville and UW System Legal. Dr. Burton has exercised her first Amendment right by making public statements about her perceptions of the situation she is in and the state of the university as she believes them to be. The university has ample resources to rebut Dr. Burton’s statements but they can’t rebut her charges with truth so they resort to firing her on trumped up charges. She has done nothing wrong. Firing her for exercising her First Amendment rights would be un-American.
On March 2. 2017, I sent you a letter enclosing a copy of Dr. Roter’s report.
The “Roter report” that Chancellor Shields sent to Dr. Burton is not signed. It seems that
Chancellor Shields, Attorney Jennifer Sloan Lattis, or some other undisclosed “third person” has altered Dr. Roter’s final report. The “Roter report” that Chancellor Shields delivered to Dr. Burton seems to be forgery. It also is extremely biased and contains opinions when it should only contain facts. (Rebuttal-RoterReport3-4-17).
I also, as provided for in UWS 4.02(1), offered to meet with you for an informal discussion before I made a decision as to whether to issue a charge. That meeting was scheduled for March 16, 2017, to be held by Skype, but you objected to the presence of my chosen attorney, Jennifer Lattis, while insisting on the presence of your chosen attorney, and did not attend the meeting.
This is a false statement for the following reasons:
1. Chancellor Shields is required to offer to meet with Dr. Burton “informally.” A meeting with an attorney in the room is not informal. No meeting such as this, with attorneys in the room, can be considered “informal.”
2. Dr. Burton objected to the presence of Attorney Jennifer Sloan Lattis because she has been instrumental in the retaliation Dr. Burton suffered since 2012 and Burton filed a complaint against her with the Office of Lawyer Regulation for harassment and retaliation.
3. Even though Dr. Burton didn’t want any attorneys in the room she offered to allow Chancellor Shields to bring a different attorney, just not Jennifer Sloan Lattis. He refused to bring any other attorney and because he would not agree to allow any other attorney he declined to meet with Dr. Burton.
4. UWS 4.02(1) states that “the chancellor” shall “offer to discuss the matter informally with the complainant.”
5. UWS 4.02(1) also states “the faculty member … shall have the right to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice at any meeting or proceeding that is part of the institutional disciplinary process.” Nowhere in the statutes is the Chancellor afforded the right to be accompanied by an attorney. The Chancellor is not the one being investigated. Why would he need an attorney? Chancellor Shields should be the person under investigation, not Dr. Burton.
6. Chancellor Shields put words in Dr. Burton’s mouth, in an apparent attempt to discredit her for requesting fair due process. Dr. Burton never insisted that she be allowed to bring her attorney because UWS 4.02(1) mandates that she be allowed to bring an advisor of her choice to any such meeting. If Chancellor Shields had denied Dr. Burton’s reasonable request to bring her attorney he would be in violation of this law.
7. Contrary to Chancellor Shields’ statement Dr. Burton insisted that Attorney Jennifer Sloan Lattis not attend the meeting and gave very good reason. Dr. Burton has alleged severe retaliation and harassment by Atty Lattis and she was not comfortable in any meeting with Lattis in the room. Chancellor Shields did not offer an “informal” meeting but set up an “intimidation” meeting. Chancellor Shields knows that Dr. Burton suffers from severe ulcers that are aggravated by stress. Dr. Burton made clear to Chancellor Shields that a meeting with Lattis would be stressful and therefore not “informal.”
Having received and evaluated the information I have just described, I find that the evidence supports dismissing you for cause from your tenured faculty position at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Accordingly, pursuant to section UWS 4.02(1), I issue this,
Dr. Burton has alleged that Chancellor Shields engages in severely corrupt activities. The obvious conflict of interest should preclude Chancellor Shields being the final decision maker in this matter. Unfortunately, he holds sway over any hearing committee staffed by UW-Platteville employees. The policy violations of the appeal panel formation and appointment of its chair demonstrates that the Chancellor used his influence to sway the panel to deliver an unfair decision.
STATEMENT OF CHARGES
At all times relevant to this matter, you have been a tenured faculty member of the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville(UW-Platteville).
Faculty members of UW-Platteville are expected to conform to all University of Wisconsin System and UW-Platteville expectations, and to provide quality service to the students and university community.
Even the “Roter report,” which is heavily biased against Dr. Burton, states “everyone interviewed agreed that Dr. Burton is an excellent teacher” (RoterInvestigationReport-3-4-17). So, it is apparent that Dr. Burton has provided quality service to students. By exposing corruption Dr. Burton is providing quality service to the university community.
Essential to that service is the necessity that faculty members perform their duties in a manner that engenders the trust of the university community.
I. You have publicly disclosed confidential personnel information of colleagues.
This is an ironic statement by Chancellor Shields. He seems to be accusing Dr. Burton of telling lies but a fair evaluation of the situation will reveal that Chancellor Shields has lied repeatedly while Dr. Burton has continually told the truth.
Dr. Burton did not disclose confidential personnel information of colleagues. The audios and transcripts identified: 1. were not confidential personnel information as defined in the statutes; 2. had already been made public in court documents; 3. were never objected to when they were originally disclosed a year before Dr. Burton’s husband put them on the website; 4. were published online by Dr. Burton’s husband and not by Dr. Burton herself; 5. were published by Chancellor Shields, Provost Throop, Dean Gormley and Petra Roter in the complaint against Dr. Burton, in the suspension notice, and in the “Roter report.”
1. In October of 2013, you attended a Department Review Body (DRB) meeting during which the evaluations of probationary faculty members Rex Reed and Lorne Gibson were discussed. You secretly recorded this meeting.
Wisconsin State Statute 968.31 authorizes Dr. Burton to give herself permission to make such recordings. Dr. Burton did not record this audio to injure anyone, but to protect herself. After Dr. Burton was suspended and made aware of the university’s objection to these audios being on the website Dr. Burton asked her husband to remove them and he did.
Rex Reed did not object to this audio being on the website.
Chancellor Shields disclosed the same material he accuses Dr. Burton of disclosing. He cannot argue that Dr. Burton should be fired without arguing that he, Throop, Gormley and Roter also be fired. Of course nobody should be fired for disclosing this document.
2. In October of 2014, you attended a meeting of the College Rank, Salary and Tenure Committee (CRST) at which the evaluation of probationary faculty member Pat Solar was discussed. You secretly recorded this meeting.
Wisconsin State Statute 968.31 authorizes Dr. Burton to make such secret recordings. Dr. Burton did not record this audio to injure anyone, but to protect herself. After Dr. Burton was suspended and made aware of the university’s objection to these audios being on the website Dr. Burton asked her husband to remove them and he did.
As the audio and transcript of the meeting demonstrates Dr. Burton advocated for Dr. Solar and got the committee to award him a higher mark than they would otherwise have awarded. No damage came to Dr. Solar as a result of this audio being made public. Dr. Solar did not object to this audio being on the website.
Chancellor Shields disclosed the same material he accuses Dr. Burton of disclosing. He cannot argue that Dr. Burton should be fired without arguing that he, Throop, Gormley and Roter also be fired. Of course, nobody should be fired for disclosing this document.
3. In January of 2014, you attended a DRB meeting at which the evaluation of Lorne Gibson was discussed. You secretly recorded this meeting.
Wisconsin State Statute 968.31 authorizes Dr. Burton to make such secret recordings. Dr. Burton did not record this audio to injure anyone, but to protect herself. After Dr. Burton was suspended and made aware of the university’s objection to these audios being in the public realm Dr. Burton asked her husband to remove them and he did.
Chancellor Shields disclosed the same material he accuses Dr. Burton of disclosing. He cannot argue that Dr. Burton should be fired without arguing that he, Throop, Gormley and Roter also be fired. Of course nobody should be fired for disclosing this document.
4. In the fall of 2016, your husband, Roger Burton, with your knowledge and consent, posted these recordings in public places on the internet including a website that you and he maintain called “universitycorruption.com.”
Dr. Burton was aware that her husband was publishing universitycorruption.com and she had asked him to be discreet and to be careful about publishing student information or anything that might cause the administration to target innocent individuals who had supported Dr. Burton. Dr. Burton asked him to be careful with his posting and trusted him to do so. She did not supervise what he published but had a general idea of what he placed online. Dr. Burton never maintained the website “universitycorruption.com.” It is clear at the bottom of the homepage that her husband is the webmaster and maintains the website.
5. You also prepared partial and edited transcripts of the meetings and allowed those to be published on “universitycorruption.com.”
Dr. Burton’s husband, Roger Burton prepared the partial and edited transcripts. They were not all complete and may contain inaccuracies. For the exact wording of the conversations one should refer to the audio recordings.
The transcripts in question were included in the complaint by Interim Provost Throop, Interim Dean Gormley, Chancellor Shields and the “Roter report.” If the administration were concerned about the confidentiality of information in these transcripts they should not have re-published them in these documents. This indicates that the confidentiality of these documents is pretext for the real reason for the complaint, the investigation and for the filing of charges. The real reason Dr. Burton is threatened with termination seems to be that Chancellor Shields wants to silence a vocal advocate for student rights.
6. You admitted to Investigator Roter that you had recorded these meetings and that the recordings were posted on the internet with your knowledge and consent.
Incorrect. Dr. Burton knew that her husband was posting material on the internet but was not aware of which files he had submitted. She had a vague awareness of what he was posting and she consented that he post files that he felt appropriate using his own discretion.
7. The files were archived on the internet by another source and remain available for public review despite your having removed them from the “universitycorruption.com” website.
Incorrect. Some of the pages of UniversityCorruption.com were archived here: http://archive.is/universitycorruption.com. This archive does not contain any of the audio files mentioned above. The archive does not contain any of the transcripts that Dr. Burton’s husband removed from the website immediately after Dr. Burton was suspended. So, Chancellor Shields is wrong to say that they are available for public review. Even if they were, Dr. Burton is not responsible for that. Also, Chancellor Shields himself published the un-redacted documents.
8. You knew or should have known that performance evaluation data is considered highly confidential, personnel information. See e.g. Wisconsin Public Records Law, Wis. Stat. 19.36(10)(d) (Records keeping authorities prohibited from releasing public employee performance evaluations in response to public records request)
Wis. Stat. 19.36(10)(d) states: “Employee personnel records. Unless access is specifically authorized or required by statute, an authority shall not provide access under s. 19.35 (1) to records containing the following information, except to an employee or the employee's representative to the extent required under s. 103.13 or to a recognized or certified collective bargaining representative to the extent required to fulfill a duty to bargain under ch. 111 or pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement under ch. 111:
(d) Information relating to one or more specific employees that is used by an authority or by the employer of the employees for staff management planning, including performance evaluations, judgments, or recommendations concerning future salary adjustments or other wage treatments, management bonus plans, promotions, job assignments, letters of reference, or other comments or ratings relating to employees.”
This statute deals with “Employee personnel records.” The audio of the open meeting had not been entered into any personnel records so the statute is not applicable.
Even if the audios were considered personnel records Dr. Burton holds no liability under this statute because: 1. The files were already public so Dr. Burton’s husband did not “disclose” them as they had been already disclosed in public records. 2. There is no confidential information on the audio or transcript as demonstrated by the fact that the complaint, investigation report and statement of charges all included the audio transcripts with nothing at all redacted. 3. No harm was done to anyone. This is reinforced by the fact that Throop and Gormley knew about the audios on the website on Dec 16, 2016 but Dr. Burton was never made aware of any objection to them until January 4, 2017. If there was a concern about these documents and audios someone would have, or should have asked Dr. Burton or her husband to remove them. 4. The employees whose alleged confidential information was allegedly disclosed have never complained about the alleged disclosure. Nobody, as of 4/19/17, ever asked Dr. Burton or her husband to remove the audios or transcripts. 5. The meetings were open meetings as defined by the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law and were therefore not confidential.
Even if Dr. Burton is found to have liability for her husband posting these audios online: 1. the penalty as set out in the statutes is minor and certainly does not warrant dismissal 2. Her liability is mitigated by the fact that she asked her husband to remove the audios immediately after receiving information that there was an objection to them being online, even though nobody ever actually asked her to remove them. 3. Dr. Burton’s husband immediately removed the audios and transcripts after Dr. Burton asked him to do so. The allegation of posting this material fails the test of “just cause” for many reasons.
Wisconsin Public Records Law, Wis. Stat. 19.85(1)(c) (authorizing closed session for considering performance evaluation data of public employee).
According to the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law all meetings must begin in open session and then they can be closed under certain circumstances. None of the audio recorded meetings were closed. This can be easily verified by listening to the audio recordings.
On a side note: None of the grievances Dr. Burton was afforded nor the grievance that Caywood had against Throop were advertised in the Platteville Journal or the Exponent as required by Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. The Wisconsin Open Meetings Law is routinely violated by the grievance committee chairs. It is unfair that Dr. Burton is falsely accused of violating the Open Meetings Law when she has repeatedly asked the university to follow the Open Meetings Law but they have refused to do so. The administration even wrote a new “grievance hearing procedure” that was written on false authority and is not in keeping with the open meeting law (Dkt 42-78, Dkt 37-15 (exhibit G) pg 23). Nobody has been punished for this and the “Grievance Hearing Procedure,” which is not in compliance with the Open Meetings Law, and was written on false authority, has not been removed. This flawed document has been used repeatedly to deny Dr. Burton fair due process as though it is an approved part of the Employee Handbook. Employees are still subject to this policy that does not comply with Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. The university can do the same thing to others. The open meetings law is intended to prevent what the administration is doing to Dr. Burton, not what the administration falsely alleges Dr. Burton did to her colleagues. The complaint against Dr. Burton misapplies and misinterprets the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law.
Your decision to publicly post confidential evaluative information about junior colleagues at the university constitutes a serious breach of trust by you, a tenured faculty member, and violates the reasonable expectations of the UW-Platteville for its faculty.
Dr. Burton did not post confidential evaluative information about junior colleagues. Dr. Burton exposed corruption. She violated no laws or policies.
II. You have engaged in disrespectful, harassing and intimidating behavior towards your colleagues in an attempt to undermine them professionally and damage their reputation and careers.
Dr. Burton was not disrespectful, harassing or intimidating towards her colleagues. However, some of her colleagues might feel intimidated by Dr. Burton’s efforts to expose their corrupt actions.
Dr. Burton has not attempted to expose corruption to undermine her colleagues professionally or to damage their reputations or careers. She is exposing corruption at UW Platteville to protect students, to gain fair due process for herself, to protect other employees and to help force a severely needed spring cleaning of the UW Platteville administration. She is exposing corruption so quality employees, good honest effort, accomplishment and good teaching will be rewarded rather than punished.
1. You received a letter of direction from Dean (now interim provost) Elizabeth Throop dated October 28, 2014 instructing you to, among other things, treat your colleagues with respect and cease all email activity making groundless and unwarranted accusations against members of the university community.
As explained in the rebuttal Dr. Burton could not “cease” emailing groundless and unwarranted accusations because all of her accusations have been grounded in truth, were warranted and were backed by solid evidence. Rebuttal to Letter of Direction: (Letter-of-Direction-Throop-Rebuttal).
2. You made statements to the effect that you had no intention of complying with the letter of direction.
Incorrect. On 11/12/2014 3:34 PM – Dkt 37-15 (exhibit B) pg 7 . Dr. Burton sent an email to Throop cc to Dalecki, Lohmann, Shields, Den Herder saying “I am sorry, but I cannot accept your letter of direction dated Oct 28, 2014 and delivered on Oct 29, 2014. I have filed a grievance against you concerning your letter of direction and look forward to resolving the issues soon.” This does not indicate an intention of non-compliance but of non-acceptance. Even though the Letter of direction is completely unfair and biased against Dr. Burton she did comply with the directives, even in the face of severe retaliation and violation of her due process rights.
The unfair letter of direction should be considered void, as of Dec 1, 2014, since Dr. Burton was denied a hearing to address it within 20 days as required by policy as explained here (Letter-of-Direction-Throop-Rebuttal).
3. You received a letter of direction from Chancellor Dennis Shields detailing activities that violated Dean Throop’s letter of direction and were otherwise unprofessional and harassing of colleagues. Chancellor Shields advised you to cease using University resources to harass, intimidate or threaten your co-workers and supervisors.
Rebuttal to Chancellor Shields’ letter of direction: (ShieldsLOD-Rebuttal).
Rebuttal to Throop’s LOD: (Letter-of-Direction-Throop-Rebuttal).
Chancellor Shields’ LOD should also be considered void for the reasons cited in the rebuttals.
Dr. Burton was always respectful and never harassed or threatened anyone.
4. You have repeatedly failed to comply with these letters of direction. Examples include:
· Posting or publicly sharing secretly made recordings (in addition to the ones described in Part 1) on the internet, including after having promised not to do so.
Dr. Burton was well within her rights to secretly record those audios. Posting them did not violate the unfair directives in Throop’s LOD.
Dr. Burton did not promise to not secretly make recordings. She did not promise not to post recordings. No evidence has been provided to support the accusation that Dr. Burton made any such promise.
· Engaging in unprofessional and insulting conduct towards Dr. Solar, a junior colleague.
Rebuttal: Catch 22
The FIRST directive of then-dean Throop’s letter of direction says “You will actively work to resolve your complaints and issues on the most local level possible: your department, before invoking assistance from the administration” (Letter-of-Direction-Throop-Rebuttal). Dr. Burton attempted to follow that direction by addressing her colleague, Dr. Solar, on the departmental level before complaining about the matter to higher authority.
Now Provost Throop is asking that Dr. Burton be dismissed because she followed Throop’s own direction.
This evinces that 1. Dr. Burton tried to follow the directives in the letter of direction; 2. the letter of direction was retaliatory (in that it limits Dr. Burton’s right to petition the government with her grievances); 3. that the letter of direction was intended to put unfair stumbling blocks before Dr. Burton that could later be used to dismiss her unreasonably; 4. that Throop wants to fire Dr. Burton, contrary to her sworn statements (Throop depsition pg 114 line 11 to pg 115 line 2).
Dr. Solar violated policy by excluding Dr. Burton from a search and screen and lied about it. Dr. Burton reported Dr. Solar’s violation and then Dean Throop wrote Dr. Burton a letter of direction instead of correcting the person who violated policy. Dr. Solar has posted arguably racist material outside his office. Dr. Solar threatened Dr. Burton with “consequences of his choosing.” Dr. Solar falsely alleged that Dr. Burton gave her husband access to her UW Platteville email account.
Chancellor Shields has not identified what “insulting conduct” he alleges Dr. Burton committed. Dr. Burton did not insult Dr. Solar.
· Engaging in unprofessional conduct towards Dr. Nemmetz, a junior colleague.
Rebuttal: Catch 22
The FIRST directive of then-dean Throop’s letter of direction says “You will actively work to resolve your complaints and issues on the most local level possible: your department, before invoking assistance from the administration” (Letter-of-Direction-Throop-Rebuttal). Dr. Burton attempted to follow that direction by addressing her colleague, Dr. Nemmetz, directly, on the departmental level rather than complaining about the matter to higher authority, as directed by Throop in her very FIRST direction. Now Provost Throop is asking that Dr. Burton be dismissed BECAUSE she followed Throop’s own direction. This evinces that 1. Dr. Burton tried to follow the directives in the letter of direction; 2. the letter of direction was retaliatory (in that it limits Dr. Burton’s right to petition the government with her grievances); 3. that the letter of direction was intended to put unfair stumbling blocks before Dr. Burton that could later be used to dismiss her unreasonably; 4. that Throop wanted to fire Dr. Burton contrary to her sworn assertion (Throop depsition p.114 l.11 - p. 115 l. 2).
Then-dean Throop stated, under oath, that Dr. Nemmetz had complained about Dr. Burton (Throop deposition p.115 – p.116). After learning this Dr. Burton asked Dr. Nemmetz about the matter. Dr. Burton wrote to Nemmetz: “Why would you do that? What did I do to you?...I will continue to treat you fairly. I don’t retaliate and I don’t backstab. I am just disappointed. I guess you are entitled to your opinion about me.” Dr. Burton’s communication was direct but not unprofessional. Dr. Nemmetz did not respond but somehow Dr. Burton’s email found its way to Dean Throop even though Dr. Burton sent her email only to Dr. Nemmetz, in keeping with Dean Throop’s directive #1. It seems that Throop does not require Dr. Nemmetz to handle matters on the departmental level as she does Dr. Burton. This is disparate treatment. (Chancellor-Suspends-Burton-1-3-17- Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments page 036), (Rebuttal-Throop-Gormley-complaint-12-16-16)
Interim Provost Throop committed perjury in a federal investigation, falsely accused Dr. Burton of cancelling class and threatened Dr. Burton with imminent discipline while ignoring Deb Rice’s attempts to damage Dr. Burton’s reputation (Throop deposition p.14 l.6 – p.16 l.2 and p.114 l.23 – p.116 l.12). Dr. Burton do not amount to unprofessional actions but Throop’s actions do.
· Falsely accusing Dr. Staci Strobl, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice of presenting misrepresentations on a federal grant application and engaging in sexism.
The charges make the claim that Dr. Burton’s representations were false without any investigation into their validity.
Dr. Burton did not falsely accuse Dr. Staci Strobl of presenting misrepresentations on a federal grant application and engaging in sexism. She filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) concerning this issue (OCR-Complaint-6-20-16). This is a protected activity. The complaint has not been decided on so the Chancellor calls the allegations “false” without any indication from the OCR about their validity. Dr. Burton contends that her allegations are completely true and warranted. Dr. Burton’s complaints are protected activities.
· Engaging in unprofessional conduct towards David Couper, adjunct faculty member.
David Couper has repeatedly referred to himself as a “Professor” and faculty. He is not a Professor or a faculty member, he is an adjunct employee who is being artificially elevated while Dr. Burton is being artificially diminished. He had a “faculty” badge that he does not rate. This is disparate treatment and unfair to Dr. Burton and to other faculty members.
Dr. Burton pointed out that Couper should not refer to himself as a “faculty member” since he has not earned that title. In contrast, Dr. Burton has earned the title of “Dr” yet her title has been routinely truncated from her name in communications and conversations. This is a problem that has been evident in the CJ department since Dr. Burton joined it in 2009.
As another example of this problem then-dean Throop, under oath, referred to Deb Rice as “Dr. Rice,” but Rice is not a Dr.; she has no PhD (Throop deposition p.14 l.22). Later Throop referred to Rice as “Professor Rice,” but Rice is not a Professor (Throop deposition p.15 l.11 – l.13). There are many other examples of this sort of “title manipulation” that has damaged Dr. Burton’s reputation (Titles Mean Something).
Asking David Couper to refrain from referring to himself as a “faculty member” is not unprofessional.
5. You admitted to investigator Roter that you are direct and short with colleagues, and that you could be perceived as threatening.
Incorrect. Dr. Burton never said that she has a tendency to be short or that her tendency to be direct could be perceived as threatening.
Dr. Burton told Dr. Roter that she has a tendency to be direct due to her German heritage. She never admitted that she was short with colleagues. She is very respectful in her dealing with colleagues. This can be verified by listening to the interview between Dr. Burton and Dr. Roter (Roter-Burton-Intvw-Pt1) (Roter-Burton-Intvw-Pt2) (transcript).
Dr. Burton said she was “kinda direct” and “kinda short” and “brief” in one specific email to Deb Rice because Deb Rice had “cussed her out over the phone.” Burton also said that she “wasn’t accusatory.” Listen to the audio of the meeting (Pt1) (Pt2) (transcript). (Start listening to Pt2 at 5:35).
Dr. Burton said she has a tendency to be direct due to her German heritage and she said she tries to be careful (Pt2 at 41:20).
Chancellor Shields relies on a report that was never signed and that is probably a forgery. He then twisted the words of the biased report and, from nowhere, added the false accusation that Dr. Burton admitted to being “threatening.” Chancellor Shields seems to have committed Fraud (943.39).
See (Rebuttal-RoterReport3-4-17). The administration bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that the “Roter report” was actually written by Dr. Roter. It was not. An assertion from Chancellor Shields and Attorney Lattis is not enough.
Chancellor Shields and his agents have been practicing discrimination based on Dr. Burton’s German nationality. Burton became an American Citizen in 2009. By attacking her for a trait that is an accepted national trait of Germans, that they are direct, this complaint and investigation is further evidence of bias against Dr. Burton for her German/American heritage. (Burton-Complaint-3-7-17)
6. You have either admitted or not denied, writing the emails to or regarding Professor Solar, Strobl, Nemmetz, and Couper that I have determined are demeaning, intimidating, and unprofessional.
Dr. Burton’s emails were not demeaning, intimidating or unprofessional. Even if they were, there is policy that Dr. Burton would have violated. The Criminal Justice Department had been described as “dysfunctional” many times but this was not Dr. Burton’s fault. It was the fault of leadership.
On April 26, 2010 - Dkt 40-23. Dkt 46-132. Dean Mittie Nimocks (Den Herder) sent a letter to the Faculty and Academic Staff of the CJ department in which she wrote: “I charge Dr. Caywood with inviting a speaker/workshop leader to conduct a workshop with department members on conflict resolution, civility, and team building to take place at some date before or near the beginning of the fall semester 2010. This will be a mandatory event for everyone in the department.” (exhibit EZZZZZG-2) This communication training never took place.
April 19, 2013 - Dkt 42-88 pg13, Complaints and Grievances committee issued their first findings in Dr. Burton’s grievance against Caywood. (exhibit ZA) (Dkt 101-21) They recommended that; “the Criminal Justice department take steps to resolve the dysfunction within the department, such as communication training.” This training has never been accomplished.
July 10, 2013 – (exhibit ZA-5) (UW-P 000046) (Dkt 101-22) The grievance committee issued a second finding. The Grievance Committee wrote to Chancellor Shields “At our June 20 meeting, you indicated that Provost Nimocks Den Herder will meet with the Criminal Justice Department in order to help the members resolve their differences. This is consistent with one of our earlier recommendations.” This communication training never happened.
On July 26, 2013 Chancellor Shields wrote a letter to Dean Throop, Director Jeanne Durr, Human Resources and the Faculty of the CJ department. In that letter he wrote: “I also urge them (VC Den Herder and Dean Throop) to assist the department by employing outside consultants to work with the entire Criminal Justice Department to build a stronger team, work on communication and conflict resolution skills, and begin to resolve some of the conflict that has built up over time. This consultation shall take place as early in the academic year as possible.” The consultation and communication training he called for was never conducted. Chancellor Shields did not follow up on his instruction and Dr. Burton suffered for it. (exhibit ZA-7). (Dkt 101-7) Dr. Burton is now threatened with dismissal because she is being held to communication standards that have never been established or trained.
Apr 28, 2014 12:22 PM - Dr. Burton sent an email to John Lohmann, HR director, informing him that Caywood was instructed to bring in a speaker to talk about conflict resolution but he never did. (exhibit 550) She asked the HR director to provide communication training due to the severe retaliation she was suffering, in hopes communication training would help. No communication training was conducted.
Dr. Burton’s communication style is professional. The administration seeks to fire her for what she said while pretending to seek her dismissal for the way she said it.
Your unprofessional conduct, threats and harassment towards colleagues has seriously harmed the functioning of the mission of the Criminal Justice Department and created a department environment that was chilling and dysfunctional.
Dr. Burton’s conduct was not unprofessional. She did not threaten or harass anyone and no evidence has been provided that supports this allegation. The functioning of the mission of the Criminal Justice Department was harmed by severe systemic corruption, not by anything Dr. Burton has done to expose that corruption or to seek fair due process. A grievance committee’s report of April 19, 2013 describes the Criminal Justice Department as is dysfunctional (Dkt 42-88 pg13). The dysfunction is not Dr. Burton’s fault but is a result of poor leadership, including failure to provide communication training.
III. Dr. Throop’s letter of direction advised you to cease involving students in your personnel disputes and grievances. You have violated this letter of direction.
Rebuttal to Letter of Direction: (Letter-of-Direction-Throop-Rebuttal). Dr. Burton never involved students in her personnel disputes and grievances before the letter of direction was issued so the letter of direction was based on the fabricated assumption that she had done so, with no evidence. Dr. Burton has not involved students in her personnel disputes and grievances before or after the letter of direction was issued so she has not violated the letter of direction. Dr. Burton’s request to address the unfair letter of direction in a grievance hearing was denied in violation of university policy so the letter of direction should be considered void as of Dec 1, 2014.
1. You have made statements on social media and in other places wherein you have directly reached out to students to complain about your personnel situation at UW-Platteville.
Incorrect. There is no evidence of this because it is not true. The complaint against Dr. Burton includes a posting where Dr. Burton asks students to stand up for another student. Throop’s letter of direction did not direct Dr. Burton to refrain from asking students to stand up for other students. Also, it is a violation of Dr. Burton’s First Amendment rights to limit her Facebook postings in this way. Dr. Burton specifically tells students in her Facebook post that they should not to get involved in her issues with the university. The evidence presented to condemn Dr. Burton instead exonerates her.
2. You have publicly misrepresented the facts of a 2012 alleged sexual harassment incident to students (as exemplified by the “disappointed student” email.)
Incorrect. There is no evidence that Dr. Burton misrepresented any of the events of the alleged sexual harassment incident. Here is what Dr. Burton asserts happened: (TheSolicitousNote) There have been no specific requests for Dr. Burton or her husband, who maintains universitycorruption.com, to remove any allegedly false statements on this, or any other page of the website. Dr. Burton’s representations of events of the alleged sexual harassment incident in 2012 are true and accurate.
Neither Chancellor Shields, nor Interim Provost Throop nor anyone else has pointed to any specific alleged misrepresentations in Dr. Burton’s story. That is because Dr. Burton has been telling the truth all along. The administration has the burden of proving any misrepresentation by Dr. Burton.
The email by the “disappointed student” does not exemplify any misrepresentation by Dr. Burton but instead it shines a spotlight on the failure of university officials to address issues important to students. The evidence provided to condemn Dr. Burton instead exonerates her.
3. You have discussed your personnel concerns during class when they had no relevance to course topic.
Chancellor Shields’ statement is false, misleading, untrue and fraudulent. Dr. Burton stated to Dr. Roter in the investigation interview “I never brought up any of my problems in class. Even after the articles were published. I never brought up any of it.” (Roter-Burton-Intvw-Pt1) (Roter-Burton-Intvw-Pt2) (transcript). There is no evidence to the contrary.
In the “Roter report,” the author wrote “I did not have a chance to interview students in this investigation and do not think it would be appropriate to do so.” Because, even this biased report admits that students were not interviewed there is no indication that Chancellor Shields’ out of the blue accusation has any merit whatsoever.
Chancellor Shields has never attended any of Dr. Burton’s classes so he has no way of possessing first-hand knowledge of his allegation. (Rebuttal-RoterReport3-4-17).
Chancellor Shields’ allegation was not included in the original complaint and it is outside the scope of the complaint and the investigation. (Chancellor-Suspends-Burton-1-3-17)
There is no evidence to support Chancellor Shields’ baseless accusation. He just made this statement as if it were true but it is not true. T
Chancellor Shields lied. Dr. Burton did not discuss her personnel concerns during class, ever.
4. You have involved a graduate student in your concerns who shared a recording he secretly made of a conversation with Dr. Michel Dalecki, which was then posted on line on the “universitycorruption.com” website with your knowledge and consent. As such you used a student’s secret recording of a mentoring conversation with a professor as a means to publicly air your personal grievances.
As explained in the rebuttal of the “Roter report” the recording was not of a “mentoring conversation” but it was instead a recording of a department chair threatening a graduate student against communicating with Dr. Burton concerning Deb Rice’s defamatory rumors about Dr. Burton (Rebuttal-RoterReport3-4-17). Listen to the meeting described by Chancellor Shields as “mentoring” and make your own determination whether Dr. Dalecki’s conduct was “mentoring” or “threatening.”
Why is Dr. Burton being threatened with dismissal but Dr. Dalecki is encouraged to talk to students this way without reprimand? Why hasn’t Chancellor Shields reprimanded Deb Rice for spreading false rumors about Dr. Burton? The wrong person is being targeted for dismissal.
Chancellor Shields is blaming Dr. Burton for an act by the graduate student. The student decided to record the meeting by his own volition. Dr. Burton had no knowledge of the meeting until months later. The graduate student came to Dr. Burton, not the other way around. Chancellor Shields is violating Dr. Burton’s, and the graduate student’s, First Amendment right to assembly. He is violating the student’s state given right to record the conversation. The administration has identified no policy or law that they claim Dr. Burton violated.
Chancellor Shields is wrong to accuse Dr. Burton of someone else exercising their right under Wisconsin State Statute 968.31.
Your behavior and involvement of students in your personnel concerns have negatively affected the learning environment for students and have undermined the university’s ability to recruit and retain students in the Criminal Justice Department.
Dr. Burton’s behavior has been exemplary. She has not involved students in her personnel concerns. If the learning environment has been affected by Dr. Burton’s efforts to expose corruption the corrupt actors are to blame, not Dr. Burton. Corrupt people are to blame for the negative affect on the learning environment and the university’s inability to recruit and retain students in the CJ department, not Dr. Burton. Chancellor Shields blames Dr. Burton for telling the truth and is trying to fire her for maintaining integrity in the face of severe pressure to succumb to corruption.
If a rape victim complains of being raped and people begin to move out of the neighborhood because the rapist still lives there, who is to blame for home values going down? Is it the rapists fault or rape victim’s fault? .
From the foregoing, I find just cause to dismiss you from your tenured faculty position at UW-Platteville.
Dr. Burton’s very serious allegations of severe systemic corruption are accurate and true; many people in Platteville know it. Chancellor Shields seems to be trying to railroad Dr. Burton and he seems to have a personal vendetta against Dr. Burton. Chancellor Shields should be fired immediately for cause, not Dr. Burton. UW Platteville needs new leadership and Dr. Burton should be included in the efforts to rebuild the university’s reputation.
Even if all of the charges against Dr. Burton were true, which they are not, there would not be sufficient grounds to warrant dismissal of a tenured faculty member (Rebuttal-Shields Suspension-1-4-17) because the requirements of “just cause” have not been met.
You are entitled to a hearing on this matter. If you wish to have a hearing, you must file your hearing request with the Faculty Senate within 20 days of your receiving this statement of charges as required by Wis. Admin. Code UWS 4.04.
UWS 4.02(2) says “Any formal statement of specific charges for dismissal sent to a faculty member shall be accompanied by a statement of the appeal procedures available to the faculty member.” Chancellor Shields violated this statute. His statement of charges does not mention the word “appeal.” He wrote “You are entitled to a hearing on this matter. If you wish to have a hearing, you must file your hearing request with the Faculty Senate within 20 days of your receiving this statement of charges as required by Wis. Admin. Code UWS 4.04.” He did not provide Dr. Burton with names and contact information for the recipient(s) of her hearing request. This does not seem to comply with UWS 4.02(2). Chancellor Shields seems to be hiding the appeal procedures from Dr. Burton in an attempt to make her miss her opportunities to appeal. It seems Chancellor Shields is in violation of UWS 4.02(2) by attempting to hide the appeal procedures from Dr. Burton.
In addition to violating policy by failing to provide a statement of the appeal procedures available Chancellor Shields fraudulently ordered Dr. Burton to provide her hearing request to the wrong person. Faculty Bylaw 18.104.22.168 Section 6 says: “Filing an appeal - Upon receipt of written notification that nonrenewal or denial of tenure at the completion of the maximum probationary period was affirmed in the reconsideration, the faculty member has 20 calendar days in which to request a hearing by the Appeals Commission (25 calendar days if notice is by first class mail and publication). An aggrieved faculty member who does not exercise his or her right to reconsideration still retains the right to appeal a nonrenewal or denial of tenure….The request must be in writing and addressed to the chairperson or convener of the Appeals Commission..”
Chancellor Shields ordered Dr. Burton to send her request to the Faculty Senate, not to the convener or chairperson of the Appeals Commission. By withholding the appeal procedures from her Chancellor Shields failed to inform her of the person to whom policy requires her to file the request. Without having been informed of her appeal rights Dr. Burton followed Shields’ order. In her request Dr. Burton pointed out that she did not know who to send the request to and asked that Dr. Anderson forward the request to that person. The correct recipient of the request of course was the chairperson or convener of the Appeals Commission and not the Faculty Senate.
Attorney Jennifer Sloan Lattis seems to have advised Chancellor Shields that he does not need to follow Policies established by the Board of Regents (AttorneyJenniferSloanLattis). If Dr. Burton is fired on these charges tenure protects no one.
Dated this 30th day of March, 2017.
<signed by Dennis J. Shields>
Dennis J. Shields
- Public - Private