Rebuttal of Dr. Sabina Burton to the complaint by Throop and Gormley of Dec 16, 2016:
The text of the complaint was re-typed by Roger Burton. The complaint is in italics and rebuttal, written by Roger Burton, is in standard font with a bold header. Rebuttal for Shields’ letter of suspension is (Rebuttal-Shields Suspension-1-4-17).
To: Chancellor Dennis J. Shields
From: Interim Provost Elizabeth Throop
Interim Dean Melissa E. Gormley
Re: Complaint against Dr. Sabina Burton
Date: December 16, 2016
Pursuant to Wis. Admin Code (Squiggly sign) UWS 4.02, we are submitting this complaint against Dr. Sabina Burton. We seek dismissal of Dr. Burton from her position as a tenured faculty member in the Department of Criminal Justice. Dr. Burton has disclosed personal, confidential employment information about her colleagues contrary to university ethical practices and counter to the various laws evincing a policy to keep certain evaluative information regarding employees confidential.
This complaint is not about Dr. Burton’s alleged disclosure of personal, confidential employment information about her colleagues. It is an attempt to silence a vocal opponent of severe systemic corruption and a vocal advocate for student and faculty rights.
Evidence that the motive for issuing this complaint has nothing to do with allegedly confidential information:
· As of 3/16/17 nobody has asked or demanded that Dr. Burton or her husband remove any specific allegedly confidential documentation from facebook, universitycorruption.org or anywhere else on the internet.
· Instead of asking Dr. Burton to remove the documentation a complaint was filed seeking her dismissal.
· Provost Throop, Interim Dean Gormley included the transcript of the allegedly confidential information in their complaint, a public record itself.
· The complaint was filed on Dec 16, 2016 but nobody told Dr. Burton about it until Jan 4, 2017. The allegedly confidential material was online for over two weeks because nobody bothered to ask Dr. Burton to remove it.
If the goal was to remove the allegedly confidential information from the public arena someone would surely have asked that it be removed from the public arena.
No “university ethical practices” have been identified in this complaint. Dr. Burton has not done anything contrary to good ethical practices. It is not up to Dr. Burton to defend herself against this vague and unfounded accusation but it is for the complainants to identify a code of conduct or code of ethics that they allege she has not followed. Since the complainants have not identified any code of ethics that Dr. Burton has allegedly not followed the hearing committee must conclude that Dr. Burton has not acted contrary to any code of ethics.
UWS 9.03. CAUSE FOR DISMISSAL. (See UWS 4.01.) states “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.”
Dr. Burton did not believe, and still does not believe, the material to be confidential but she asked her husband to remove the documents immediately after she was made aware of the objection to their existence online. Her husband immediately removed them from his website.
Posting things online does not adversely affect Dr. Burton’s ability to carry out her responsibilities to the university.
Dr. Burton did not violate the laws identified in this complaint. She did not violate any university rule or policy.
The information Dr. Burton is alleged to have disclosed was already public information before her husband published it on the website he controls; universitycorruption.com.
Dr. Burton’s intent was to protect herself from false accusations and abuse, not to harm anyone.
No one was harmed. Nobody even complained that they were harmed.
Even if all of the allegations against Dr. Burton were true (which they are not) these incidents do not rise to the level of cause required to dismiss a tenured faculty member under UWS 9.03.
Dr. Burton has repeatedly intimidated and harassed her co-workers and ignored prior directives to cease this behavior,
Dr. Burton did not intimidate or harass her co-workers. Some of her co-workers and supervisors, as well as others, have repeatedly harassed, intimidated and retaliated against her. Dr. Burton filed complaints and grievances detailing these issues. Her grievances were mishandled, denied or ignored. Her requests for investigations into policy violations were denied or ignored. The December 16, 2016 complaint and Chancellor Shields’ decision to suspend Dr. Burton are in retaliation for her previous complaints, her efforts to gain fair treatment and for her attempts to aid a student who felt sexually harassed by a male faculty member.
No evidence was provided to support the allegation that Dr. Burton intimidated or harassed her co-workers.
Dr. Burton did not ignore prior directives. The letter of direction from Dean Throop was an unfair, discriminatory and retaliatory act that had no basis in fact. Dr. Burton rejected Dean Throop’s Letter of Direction shortly after it was issued and quickly asked for a grievance to address the matter. A grievance was promised but never scheduled despite Dr. Burton’s repeated requests for an expedited hearing. Dr. Burton actively attempted to address the unfair directives using proper channels and procedures but her requests for grievance hearings were unfairly denied, in violation of policy and law. The directives need to be addressed by any panel adjourned to hear the complaints against Dr. Burton as the validity of the directives has always been contested. The letters of direction should be considered void because Dr. Burton was never allowed to address them.
and she continues, against prior directive, to involve UW-Platteville’s students in her personal grievances.
Rebuttal: Dr. Burton never involved students in her personal grievances.
The administration enforced a gag-order on Dr. Burton. An example of this is a recording by a student (A28b - Dalecki Threatens grad student Nov 2014). Punishing Dr. Burton for talking to other people and punishing other people for talking to Dr. Burton is disparate treatment and violates of Dr. Burton’s first amendment rights.
The letter of direction from Dean Throop was an unfair, discriminatory and retaliatory act that had no basis in fact. Dr. Burton rejected Dean Throop’s Letter of Direction shortly after it was issued and quickly asked for a grievance to address the matter. A grievance was promised but never scheduled despite Dr. Burton’s repeated requests for an expedited hearing. Dr. Burton actively attempted to address the unfair directives using proper channels and procedures but her requests for grievance hearings were unfairly denied, in violation of policy and law. The directives need to be addressed by any panel adjourned to hear the complaints against Dr. Burton as the validity of the directives has always been contested. The letters of direction should be considered void because Dr. Burton was never allowed to address them.
Dr. Burton’s failure to engage with colleagues in a collegial and productive manner, her unlawful disclosure of confidential information, her refusal to follow directives from her superiors, and her engagement of students in her personal affairs render her unfit to continue as a tenured faculty member.
Dr. Burton did not fail to engage her colleagues in a collegial and productive manner, rather the administration encouraged Dr. Burton’s colleagues to engage in character assassination attempts to discredit, isolate and harass her. They did this because she advocated for a student and because she asked for relief from severe retaliation for her advocacy of the student. Dr. Burton has been a productive member of the university. Even Interim Provost Throop, who filed this complaint, called her an “inspired teacher.” Dr. Burton has been excluded from committees and was removed from a grant request for no good reason. She has been attempting to contribute in search and screens but she has been repeatedly denied membership in those committees.
No evidence was presented indicating that Dr. Burton failed in to act in a collegial and productive manner.
Dr. Burton has not violated any laws, policies or legitimate directives.
The directives issued against Dr. Burton were retaliatory and were based on fabrications or were based on her legally protected right to petition for fair treatment. Dr. Burton did not refuse to follow the unfair directives even though she officially and openly rejected them shortly after they were issued and attempted to address them in a grievance hearing. A grievance hearing was promised but was never scheduled. Even though the directives were infringements of Dr. Burton’s civil rights she has done her best to follow them. For four years she has suffered severe retaliation for her aid to a student who felt sexually harassed and for her attempts to gain fair treatment. The letters of direction should be considered void because Dr. Burton was never allowed to address them.
Dr. Burton has not engaged students in her personal disputes or grievances.
Dr. Burton is very fit to be a tenured faculty member. She was in position to become chair of the Criminal Justice Department but the opportunity to be elected chair in a fair election was unfairly stripped away from her (Case: 16-2982 Dkt 16-1 Pg9). Then-Dean Throop unfairly excluded Dr. Burton from eligibility to be department chair because Burton was not able to handle Dr. Caywood’s retaliation against her on the departmental level and because then-Dean Throop misperceived Dr. Burton to have a disability. Chancellor Shields and Interim Provost Throop are unfit to continue in their positions for many reasons that can be found on universitycorruption.com. Dr. Burton is well fit to continue as a tenured faculty member and in fact, should have advanced far above that position by now. Her background is stellar and she has never had any problems in any of her previous employments.
Dr. Burton and her husband maintain a website called “universitycorruption.com.”
Dr. Burton’s husband, Roger Burton, maintains the website universitycorruption.com. Dr. Burton has knowledge that the site exists and has skimmed through it but does not edit or post the material on the site. Some of the material on the site was written by Dr. Burton. Dr. Burton provided much of the material on the site to her husband, emails etc. Dr. Burton agrees that her husband is doing the right thing by posting materials that bring light on the corruption at UW Platteville. Dr. Burton has asked her husband to use discretion in posting sensitive information and he tries to do that.
There, among other things, Dr. Burton has posted confidential personnel information via audio recordings and in “transcripts” that she has prepared about her colleagues that include evaluation discussions of probationary faculty members.
Dr. Burton’s husband posted everything on universitycorruption.com. Dr. Burton’s husband prepared the “transcripts” in question. Dr. Burton had a general knowledge that her husband had posted material on the website and approved that her husband was taking actions to help bring awareness to the corruption that threatens the safety of student victims of sexual harassment and sexual violence and faculty members who advocate for them.
· October 2013, Department Review Body (DRB) (Partial documents describing the DRB, pp. 1-3, and list of postings pp. 21-22 meeting-contains evaluation discussion of probationary faculty member Rex Reed and former probationary member Lorne Gibson. (“Transcript” created and posted by Burton, Attachment, pp. 10-15).
· October 2014, College Rank, Salary and Tenure Committee (CRST) meeting—contains evaluative discussion of probationary faculty member Pat Solar (“Transcript,” Attachment, pp. 7-9).
· January 2014, DRB meeting—contains evaluative discussion of former faculty member Lorne Gibson
Dr. Burton has been repeatedly falsely accused and threatened. She made recordings and submitted them into evidence to defend herself against Dean Throop’s false accusations that she treated her colleagues unfairly at their yearly evaluations and to protect herself from unfair accusations and abuse.
Defendants counsel subpoenaed Dr. Burton’s recordings. She gave them to her attorney, Tim Hawks. The recordings were submitted to defense in discovery and they were given to the court. Nothing was ever redacted or declared confidential when they were made public long ago. Nobody ever objected to the publication of these materials until January 4, 2017.
· Oct 2013 audio: This audio was made public in discovery in a federal lawsuit on June 18, 2015 (Dkt 43-7). No mention of impropriety of the submitted evidence was made at that time. The recording was made available as evidence to demonstrate retaliation against Dr. Burton and not to expose any sensitive information about other employees. The recording was removed from universitycorruption.com on January 4, 2017 even though nobody ever requested that it be removed. As of 3/15/17, nobody has asked for this information to be removed from the website. There is no material on the audio that violates any of the statutes presented in the complaint. If Throop and Gormley were concerned about the disclosure of this audio they should have addressed that matter when the recordings were first made public.
· Oct 2014 audio: In this audio Dr. Burton says positive things about Dr. Solar. Publication of this audio is not damaging to Solar in any way. Dr. Solar has not complained about the audio to Dr. Burton or to her husband, who maintains the website. This audio was made public in a federal lawsuit on April 13, 2016 (Dkt 98). No mention of impropriety of the submitted evidence was made at that time. The recording was made available as evidence to demonstrate that Dr. Burton treated Dr. Solar fairly in the CRST meeting and not to expose any sensitive information about other employees. The recording was removed from universitycorruption.com on January 4, 2017 even though nobody ever requested that it be removed. There is no material on the audio that violates any of the statutes presented in the complaint. If Throop and Gormley were concerned about the disclosure of this audio they should have addressed that matter when they were first made public.
Dr. Burton recorded the meeting to protect herself from false allegations. Dean Throop unfairly accused Dr. Burton in her Oct. 2014 Letter of Direction that Dr. Burton wouldn’t be fair in discussing Dr. Patrick Solar’s advancement opportunities. On the recording one can hear that Dr. Burton advocated for Solar. Dean Throop’s Complaint of Jan. 5, 2015 accused Dr. Burton again of being biased against Solar. It was brought up in the investigative meeting with Dr. Barraclaugh in Sept. 2015 but Dr. Burton was able to defend herself against the allegation because of the recording and the unfounded complaint against Dr. Burton was dismissed.
· Jan 2014 audio: This audio was made public in discovery in a federal lawsuit on June 18, 2015 (Dkt 43-7). No mention of impropriety of the submitted evidence was made at that time. The recording was made available as evidence to demonstrate retaliation against Dr. Burton and not to expose any sensitive information about other employees. The recording was removed from universitycorruption.com on January 4, 2017 even though nobody ever requested that it be removed. There is no material on the audio that violates any of the statutes presented in the complaint. If Throop and Gormley were concerned about the disclosure of this audio they should have addressed that matter when they were first made public.
Dr. Burton recorded this meeting because the interim chair Dalecki and DRB chair Fuller told her she wasn’t allowed to speak at the meeting despite being a voting member of the DRB and tenured. Fuller shushed Dr. Burton multiple times, former Chair Caywood interrupted her, and Fuller even slapped her and stepped on her foot to silence her (one can hear the slapping on the recording).
The administration should not be able to discipline Dr. Burton for allegations that she posted these materials online for the following reasons:
Dr. Burton did not post the audios online but her husband Roger Burton did so, although Dr. Burton did know that her husband was posting information.
Dr. Burton is being held to a higher standard than others in the Criminal Justice department are not being held to. It is disparate treatment to attempt to dismiss Dr. Burton for allegedly disclosing confidential information when others who have disclosed confidential information and violated laws and policies were not punished or reprimanded.
A few of the many examples:
1. The university provided, in discovery, former HR director Lohmann’s notes and then-Dean Throop’s notes which indicate that someone called Dr. Burton “emotionally labile,” called another faculty member “batshit crazy” and stated that Aric Dutelle had been accused of bribery (Dkt 48-137 (complete set)), (Dkt 42-82). Under oath HR Director Lohmann stated that it was then-Dean Throop who characterized Dr. Burton as “emotionally labile” (Lohmann Deposition pg 21) in a meeting that discussed qualifications for chair of the department. Nobody was admonished for providing these records. Nobody was admonished for characterizing Dr. Burton as “emotionally labile.” Aric Dutelle does not seem to have been punished for his actions. There seems to be a double and maybe a triple standard.
2. Throop, Gormley and Shields included the un-redacted transcripts of the above-mentioned audio recordings in their complaint and suspension letter against Dr. Burton, thereby committing the same act they alleged Dr. Burton committed. They publicly produced the transcripts without redacting them. Neither did the author of the “Roter report” redact anything from the transcripts.
3. In Jan 2014 - Dr. Caywood took files he was not authorized to see out of the mailroom to “secure” them (exhibit EZZZZZN). . He was not disciplined or dismissed.
4. Dr. Caywood violated FERPA regulations regularly and he wasn’t disciplined or dismissed for it. He was allowed to continue the violation with the chair’s knowledge. See timeline 1-16-13, (Late Dec 2013 to early 2014), 09-14 May 2014.
None of the people whose confidentiality Throop and Gormley pretend to try to protect ever complained to Dr. Burton or to her husband, who maintains the website, about the audios being on the website.
Nobody has asked Dr. Burton or her husband to remove the audios identified above, including Throop, Gormley and Shields, as of 4/20/17. Dr. Burton received the 12/16/16 complaint, which did not include a request that the audios be removed from the website, on 1/4/17. If the complainants’ concern was truly a privacy issue why didn’t Gormley or Throop ask Dr. Burton or her husband to remove the audios on Dec 16, 2016? Chancellor Shields apparently received the complaint on Dec 19, 2016. Why didn’t he ask Dr. Burton or her husband to remove the allegedly confidential information at that time? Dr. Burton’s husband removed the audios immediately after Dr. Burton received the complaint on 1/4/17 even though the complaint did not include a request to remove the audios.
Despite Dr. Burton’s objections Dr. Caywood, whom Dr. Burton was suing in federal court, was allowed to sit on the DRB that evaluated her despite the obvious conflict of interest. Her evaluation sheets from previous years were altered. A yearly evaluation form of the year 2014 appears to have been tampered with and the signature page was removed from Dr. Burton’s binder. She asked for a copy of the original but the associate dean emailed her that no copy existed. She also asked her department chair and the DRB chair. Neither kept copies of the original. Dr. Burton’s rank in the HR online records was changed over summer 2015. Documents were taken from her DRB binder. When Dr. Burton attempted to correct these problems she was ignored. But the administration is upset about a few audio recordings that nobody even complained of? This paints a clear picture of retaliation and demonstrates very disparate treatment.
These meetings were confidential, performance evaluation meetings. Several statutes related to employee privacy indicate a legislative policy that information regarding performance evaluations and personal performance be kept confidential. See Wis. Stat. (double squiggle) 19.36(10)(d) (the public records law); 19.85(1)(b) and (c) (the open meetings law); and 230.13 (regarding closed records for state civil service employees). Moreover, disclosing discussions related to preliminary performance evaluations of a non-tenured faculty member is a serious breach of ethics.
1. Dr. Burton did not violate Wis Stat para 19.36(10)(d) (the public records law).
· The audio recordings that Dr. Burton’s husband disclosed were not part of any employee personnel record so this statute is not even applicable. This seems to be a misinterpretation of law.
2. Dr. Burton did not violate Wis Stat para 19.85(1)(b) or (c) (the open meetings law).
· None of the audio recorded meetings were conducted in closed session.
· 19.85 (b) is not applicable. It describes considerations that were not discussed at any of the audio recorded meetings. This seems to be a misinterpretation of law.
· 19.85 (c) is not applicable. It describes considerations for which a closed session may be held. However, none of the audio recorded meetings were closed. This can be easily verified by listening to the audio recordings. This seems to be a misinterpretation of law.
· 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 ludicrously 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 (SFDGHP), (Dkt 42-78, Dkt 37-15 (exhibit G) pg 23). Nobody has been punished for this and the “Grievance Hearing Procedure” 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. The open meetings law is intended to prevent what the administration is doing to Dr. Burton, not what they allege Dr. Burton did to her colleagues. The complaint misapplies and misinterprets the open meetings law.
3. Dr. Burton did not violate Wis Stat para 230.13 (regarding closed records for state civil service employees). This statute is not applicable.
· The statute provides that the director and the administrator may keep records closed (not “must” but “may”). This means that they may not disclose certain records that have been previously identified as “closed records.” Dr. Burton was never in possession of any records identified as “closed records” so she had no way of disclosing any closed records. The audios she made were not closed. The meetings were not closed. This statute is not applicable and Dr. Burton did not violate it.
4. Mitigation: Even if Dr. Burton is found to have violated any of these laws it should be considered that
· she removed the audio recordings immediately when confronted with the allegations,
· the audios were already public record,
· no damage was done by posting them,
· her intent was to expose corruption and to protect herself from severe retaliation and not to harm any innocent people.
· the penalty for disclosing these types of documents is far less than suspension or dismissal. Dismissal would be a disproportionate punishment to the infraction.
The UW-Platteville relies on its faculty to review its probationary faculty fairly, honestly, and confidentially.
The administration has lied, falsified records, falsified charges against Dr. Burton and violated policy and law repeatedly. They are only concerned about confidentiality as it relates to the concealment of their corrupt activities. Dr. Burton told the honest truth. She is a whistleblower. Every whistleblower is retaliated against. The administration forced Dr. Burton to tell her story publicly. If Chancellor Shields had not threatened Dr. Burton with termination based on trumped up charges she would not have gone to the press and her husband would not have published the website.
Dr. Burton has violated that trust by posting this information, publicly, on the internet.
Dr. Burton did not violate any trust. Shields, Throop and Gormley have violated the trust of the people of the state of Wisconsin by abusing their positions and violating laws. They violated the trust of a female student victim of sexual harassment. They violated Dr. Burton’s trust by refusing to allow her a fair hearing to address her grievances. They violated the trust of university students by retaliating against an advocate of their rights.
Dr. Burton has been the subject of character assassination ever since she assisted a female student report a sexual harassment incident in Oct. 2012. A co-worker called her “mentally ill” behind her back to a student at a department outing, Dean Throop called her “emotionally labile” in a HR meeting, Provost Den Herder told a student Dr. Burton was “alone on a sinking ship” and there were many more defamatory attacks. Dr. Burton was falsely accused of cancelling class by a colleague which led to a reprimand and an investigation against Dr. Burton. She was physically threatened and when she asked HR Director Crowley for help the Chancellor reprimanded her in a Letter of Direction for complaining about the threats. A colleague seems to have falsely told an investigator in an official investigation against Dr. Burton that she was on vacation in California in spring 2015 while being on an FMLA leave. Dr. Burton underwent 2 stomach surgeries during that time and did not go to California. These statements were designed to make her colleagues upset with her and isolate her within the department. Her former chair Dr. Dalecki harassed and intimidated a graduate student, who was employed as a graduate assistant in the CJ department, because he talked to Dr. Burton. The student was told he had to pick sides and be loyal to the people who paid him (A28b - Dalecki Threatens grad student Nov 2014). Dr. Burton did not create the hostile environment but rather she is the victim of it.
None of the defamation and character assassination against Dr. Burton was ever addressed by the administration despite her many requests for resolution. She has been subjected to a very hostile work environment and has been isolated and alienated from her colleagues for almost 5 years.
Dr. Solar posted racially questionable messages outside his office and made remarks in his classroom that offended some students. Dr. Burton pointed those issues out to her chair Dr. Strobl. His posters were public information and Dr. Burton had a right, and even an obligation to comment on them.
Second, Dr. Burton has received two letters of direction, one from then Dean Throop dated October 28, 2014 (Attachments pp. 16-18) and one from you dated June 3, 2016 (Attachments pp. 19-20; original attachments omitted) instructing her, among other things, to modify her divisive behavior, to cease harassing, intimidating or threatening her co-workers and supervisors, and to cease involving students in her personal disputes.
Until Dr. Burton has been given a fair hearing to address her concerns about Throop’s Letter of Direction (LOD) a determination of the validity of recent charges cannot be fairly assessed. Throop’s LOD should be considered void. Throop’s LOD cannot be used as basis for discipline because:
1. Recent charges use the flawed LODs as basis for the charge.
2. Validity of Throop’s LOD has never been addressed. Dr. Burton has always contested the validity of the LODs as being based on fabrications or protected activities. She has not been afforded fair opportunity to address this issue. The LOD admonishes Dr. Burton for her actions to attempt to address retaliation, which is a violation of employment law.
3. The UWP administration failed to provide a hearing within 20 days as required. They took eleven months to even offer to schedule a hearing despite Dr. Burton’s many requests for an expedited hearing.
4. Dr. Burton wrote “I withdraw issue #1 (request for a grievance hearing to address Throop’s LOD) given the time that has passed and the fact that the grievance committee cannot grant the relief requested. The matter is now in the hands of federal court.” Dr. Burton did not drop her objection to the letter of direction but she dropped the grievance process that had already failed her.
5. A district court judge stated, concerning Throop’s LOD, that “What Burton wants to challenge is how Throop perceived and characterized those events, and whether Throop should have accepted Burton’s explanations for each of them. But these are the types of internal business and personnel decisions which federal courts do not second guess, absent some evidence that the employer’s decision was “completely unreasonable” (Dkt 90 pg 25). The court did not even consider whether the LOD was based on fact or fiction. It is up to this hearing committee and not the courts, according to Judge Peterson, to decide whether the LOD is reasonable or whether it is based on fabrications and protected activities.
6. Dr. Burton did not withdraw her objections to Throop’s letter of direction but instead indicated that she had no faith in the grievance process at UW-Platteville. She had been convinced that the grievance process had been hijacked by a corrupt administration. She withdrew the grievance hearing request on advice of her former attorney. After her federal case was dismissed in summary judgment she appealed the decision with the courts and reinstated her grievance to address the LOD with UW Platteville. Her request for a grievance hearing was again denied, in violation of law.
Until Dr. Burton has been given a fair hearing to address her concerns about Chancellor Shields’ LOD a determination of the validity of recent charges cannot be fairly assessed. The Chancellor’s LOD should be considered void. Chancellor Shields’ LOD cannot be used as basis for discipline. Because
1. Dr. Burton requested an investigation into the Shields LOD by multiple agencies but her requests were unfairly denied.
2. Chancellor Shields’ LOD relies on Dean Throop’s flawed and discriminatory bogus LOD for its basis. Until Dr. Burton’s objections to Throop’s LOD are addressed any other directive which relies on it cannot be fairly relied on.
3. When Throop’s LOD is shown to be seriously flawed and ordered withdrawn the basis for Chancellor Shields’ LOD will be gone with it and Shields’ LOD must also be withdrawn.
4. There does not seem to exist a mechanism to address a grievance against the Chancellor of the university. A statement in a grievance hearing by either a grievance committee member or by Attorney Jennifer Sloan Lattis: “I do want to point out though that article Wisconsin 36.09 does begin with the statement that all of the decisions are ultimately the decision of the chancellor and the chancellor’s advisory, so basically the Provost and the Dean. So, Bottom line is that faculty governance is not a legal contract. That, in the end they can do whatever they choose to do. And that is the case. So it seems to me that arguing that these laws, which are not really laws, were broken is not real useful to us at this point. I think what’s more useful to us is to just look at: Was procedure violated, was there clarity in why procedure might have been violated, or, I shouldn’t say violated,. was procedure followed and if there wasn’t a following of that procedure was there clarity provided in why that procedure was not followed? And then from there it’s up to whoever, to either go to the courts of law to make those decisions or to settle for what has been passed down. I think that’s where we are” (A13 - Grievance - Throop - 12-2-13), (Grievance-Throop-Transcript). It seems that UW Platteville is a totalitarian system where the Chancellor is not held to laws.
Does Chancellor Shields have carte blanche to abuse Dr. Burton? Who protects the faculty from a corrupt Chancellor?
Rebuttal to Dean Throop’s LOD: (interactive exhibit i571)
Rebuttal to Chancellor Shields’ LOD: (ShieldsLOD-Rebuttal).
Dr. Burton has failed to comply with these letters of direction.
Dr. Burton has not failed to comply with these unfair, discriminatory, retaliatory letters of direction which were based on fabrications and issued for protected activity. She has complied with them even though their authors violated her civil rights, she rejected them shortly after they were issued and she requested hearings to address them but was denied fair due process.
· Dr. Burton was admonished to “cease involving students” in personal disputes and grievances, but she has done so repeatedly.
Dr. Burton cannot “cease” involving students in personal disputes since she has never done so. The directive is fundamentally flawed for this reason. Not only did Dr. Burton not involve students in her personal disputes before the LOD but she has not done so since. Complainants failed to provide evidence to support this allegation.
· Examples include:
- Statements reaching out directly to students on social media complaining about her situation at UW-Platteville (e.g., Attachments, p. 41).
The facebook post Dr. Burton made to students did not ask them in any way to become involved in her personal disputes as anyone can see by reading the post. Dr. Burton wrote “please stand up for her.” This is not involving students in Dr. Burton’s personal disputes but rather asking them to “stand up for” a student whose reputation was being attacked. Dr. Burton also wrote “I don’t mind the attacks on me, 4 years of retaliation and backstabbing in my own department have given me a thick skin but I hate what thay are doing to Alexandra.” Clearly this is a call to assist a victimized student and not a request for students to get involved in Dr. Burton’s personal disputes.
The administration violates Dr. Burton’s first amendment right of free speech by admonishing her for this facebook posting.
- Email from a “disappointed student” (Attachments, p. 41)
Dr. Burton didn’t write this email. The administration is accusing Dr. Burton of violating something based on what a student writes to express her frustration, disappointment, shame and utter disgust at the way actions of the administration made her feel unsafe attending the university.
“An individual may only be liable for his or her own action and not for the actions of others“ Eades v. Thompson, 823 F.2d 1055, 1063 (7th Cir. 1987).
The student was upset because the administration called a meeting and then cancelled it at the last minute. That is why he/she wrote the email, not because Dr. Burton was trying to involve the student in her personal disputes. The student is saying that the way the university administration covered up the Gibson mistake makes her/him feel unsafe. This is a very valid feeling. Dr. Burton has two daughters attending college in the UW System, one at UW Platteville. She is concerned about their safety as well. Dr. Burton would like to see the corruption cleaned up so instructors will be safe reporting incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence without fear of retaliation. She wants the campus to be safe.
The student expresses disappointment that the university administration exhibited cowardice by cancelling a forum to address the issues rather than explaining to them what happened. Dr. Burton was disappointed too that the administration failed to show up at that forum to discuss the matter with the students. Dr. Burton was also disappointed that the administration scheduled a later dog-and-pony show while Dr. Burton was in class so she could not attend. The administration acted in a shady, underhanded manner and apparently this student saw through their smoke screen.
The student says that many students feel the same way because “parties responsible for the discrimination against Dr. Burton are not addressing the issue.” Instead of addressing the issue Chancellor Shields and Interim Provost Throop and Interim Dean Gormley are trying to fire Dr. Burton. That is not addressing the issues of the discrimination against Dr. Burton but it is another attempt to sweep her and her complaints under the rug. It is more cover up.
The issues that concern this student need to be seriously and thoroughly examined in an open and public way with complete transparency. Then those parties found to be in violation of laws and/or policies need to be held accountable in a public way.
The first time Dr. Burton saw this email was when she received it with the complaint on Jan 4, 2017. It is ridiculous to dismiss Dr. Burton for an email written by a student that she didn’t even know about.
- Publically misrepresenting the facts of a 2012 alleged sexual harassment incident in order to frighten students.
Dr. Burton did not misrepresent facts of the 2012 sexual harassment incident. Than-Dean Throop wrote of the incident “This is a profoundly serious issue” and she wrote “It could well be a significant HR and Title IX issue” (Dkt 53-24). Look in the timeline on Oct 10-17 of 2012 to see truthfully represented facts or read this short story (TheSolicitousNote). By saying that Dr. Burton misrepresented facts Throop and Gormley are misrepresenting facts. They also do not identify which facts they claim that Dr. Burton misrepresented. The complainants need to identify which facts they believe Dr. Burton misrepresented so Dr. Burton can show why they are wrong.
Dr. Burton was not attempting to frighten students. Throop and Gormley seem to believe they can read people’s minds but they cannot. Dr. Burton has a daughter at UW Platteville. She wouldn’t want to frighten students. Dr. Burton’s goal was to expose corruption so it might be cleaned up. Students should be concerned about the corruption being allowed to continue unchecked. Their civil rights are violated at UW-Platteville but open discussion will bring about change and increase student safety. By realizing the danger, they might be able to take steps to protect themselves so they won’t need to be frightened. If they are not aware of the danger, they are more at risk. Dr. Burton did not publicize her accurate information to frighten students, she did so to encourage change and to protect them. Dr. Burton believes there to be a great need to address the rampant corruption at UW Platteville.
· Dr. Burton was directed to treat her colleagues in the criminal justice department with respect.
Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:
There is no reason why Dr. Burton should have been singled out to be directed to address colleagues with respect. The direction was in the LOD which, as pointed out before was based on fabrications and issued against protected activities. One of the fabrications was that Dr. Burton had treated colleagues disrespectfully, which is untrue. Dr. Burton has treated her colleagues with all due respect. Some of them have treated Dr. Burton with disdain and have made false allegations against her. They have lied about her, lied to her, spread rumors about her, excluded her from departmental involvement, retaliated against her, humiliated her, ignored her, isolated her, assaulted her, violated her rights and threatened her with physical harm. Yet, she was always cordial. She filed appropriate complaints in appropriate venues but her complaints were ignored.
· She was asked to cease using UW-Platteville resources to harass, intimidate or threaten co-workers.
Dr. Burton has not harassed, intimidated or threatened her co-workers with UW-Platteville resources or with any other resources. Dr. Burton admits that corrupt administrators who abuse their power might feel threatened by Dr. Burton’s attempts to expose corruption. The complainants failed to list any harassing, intimidating or threatening acts that Dr. Burton committed or provide evidence of any harassing, intimidating or threatening behavior.
· She has failed to comply with the directions.
Dr. Burton has complied with the directions even though they are based on lies, she rejected them long ago as violation of her due process rights, and her attempts to address them have been illegally blocked.
· Examples include:
- Posting or publicly sharing secretly made recordings of her colleagues on the internet, including after having promised not to do so (Attachments, p. 23)
This is not an example of failure to comply with directions. The LOD did not contain any direction regarding audio recordings so posting audios could not be considered as non-compliance to directions. Any direction intended to prevent Dr. Burton from audio recording a meeting of which she is a party would be superceeded by Wisconsin Statute Wisconsin State Statute 968.31 which allows her to do so. There exists no policy or law prohibiting Dr. Burton from making the recording.
Dr. Burton never agreed to not recording the meeting. Other members didn’t want a recording because some of them only wanted to blame Dr. Burton and put pressure on her to further alienate her in the department and shut her up. Interim dean Gormley said ‘let’s agree on that I am the recorder’ but she didn’t make a motion. It wasn’t voted on. Nobody agreed not to record the meeting. Gormley didn’t provide any record of the meeting. Obviously, Dr. Burton didn’t agree not to record the meeting since she recorded the meeting. The meeting turned into a Dr. Burton bashing session as she expected (A36-EmergDeptMtg-11-4-16).
- Unprofessional and insulting conduct towards Dr. Solar, a junior colleague (Attachments, pp. 38-40).
Dr. Burton did not insult Dr. Solar and her conduct toward him was not unprofessional. Dr. Burton has conducted herself professionally in dealings with Dr. Solar. It is he who has acted unprofessionally in his conduct toward Dr. Burton as described in her complaint alleging that he excluded her from participation in development of job descriptions for three search and screens, thereby violating policy and that he lied about it ((interactive exhibit i605)) . He also threatened Dr. Burton with “consequences of [his] choosing” (Solar-Threat). Throop and Gormley fail to provide any evidence to support their claim. The email thread in Appendix B is between Dr. Solar and Dr. Burton’s husband. In that email thread Roger Burton’s email seems quite professional. It was unprofessional of Solar to suggest that Roger Burton used Dr. Burton’s UWP email account when clearly he had not.
- Unprofessional conduct towards Dr. Nemmetz, a junior colleague (Attachments, p. 36)
Then Dean Throop claimed, under oath, that Dr. Nemmetz complained to her about Dr. Burton (Throop Depo pg116). Dr. Burton asked Nemmetz why she did that in a direct manner. Dr. Burton has never been shown the complaint Nemmetz filed with Throop or even been told what the complaint was about. Dr. Nemmetz never answered Dr. Burton’s question. It is possible that Throop lied under oath in an effort to further alienate Burton from her colleagues. This would have been a good fact for the fact finder to find out but she didn’t do that.
- Falsely accusing Dr. Staci Strobl, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice of, among other things, presenting misrepresentations on a federal grant application and engaging in sexism (Attachments, pp. 29-33).
There was no investigation into Dr. Burton’s allegations against Dr. Strobl so there is no evidence that Dr. Burton’s allegations against Dr. Strobl were false. In fact they were true and accurate as shown here (exhibit COPS-Grant-Submission). Throop also failed to investigate Dr. Burton’s allegations against Dr. Solar before she falsely accused Burton of making false accusations against Solar in her bogus Letter of Direction.
- Unprofessional conduct towards David Couper, adjunct faculty member (Attachments, p. 37).
Dr. Burton’s conduct toward David Couper was not unprofessional. What is unprofessional is for him to present himself as “faculty” when he is not faculty. It is also unprofessional of Interim Provost Throop and Interim Dean Gormley to attempt to mislead the investigator and hearing board members by referring to Couper as an “adjunct faculty member” in the complaint. Couper is not a faculty member.
We believe that all reasonable attempts to help redirect Dr. Burton’s behavior and help her to become a productive and contributing member of the department have failed.
The administration has made no “reasonable attempts” to resolve the issues of which Dr. Burton has complained. They have only tried to shut her up and pressure her to leave and that is not “reasonable.” They have violated numerous policies and laws on numerous occasions. Their way of solving problems is to pressure the victim of retaliation even more. They misinterpret laws, rewrite policies without authorization, hold targeted employees to unreasonable and made-up standards while allowing others to violate law without consequence. Dr. Burton is contributing greatly to the Criminal Justice department and to the university by exposing corruption.
In addition, she cannot be trusted to keep the confidences necessary for her to fully perform her duties as a tenured faculty member.
Dr. Burton cannot be trusted to allow the corrupt administration to continue to abuse her and cover up their illegal acts without exposing them. The administration does not trust Dr. Burton because she tells the truth and they can’t afford the truth to be heard. They are trying to shut her up.
In publicizing her personal grievances with UW Platteville, Dr. Burton has squandered her colleagues’ trust.
This is the third complaint against Dr. Burton that has threatened her employment. The first two were dismissed because the allegations were false, as are the allegations in this complaint. UW Platteville is plagued by severe systemic corruption. The corrupt co-workers didn’t trust Dr. Burton because she exposed their corrupt acts. The uncorrupted co-workers have heard many lies about Dr. Burton and have been threatened to stay away from her just like a graduate student was warned against being loyal to her (A28 - Dalecki Threatens grad student Nov 2014). Dr. Burton publicized her story to protect herself from being quietly fired and to expose corruption to bring about change that will make students and faculty safer.
Her violation of confidentiality and her treatment of her colleagues has destroyed their ability to work with her and has created serious disruption to the effective operation of the Department
Dr. Burton’s exposure of the truth has disrupted some of her corrupt co-workers and supervisors’ attempts to effectively cover up the mess they created. Her skillful efforts in bringing to light corrupt practices have destroyed her colleagues ability to quietly isolate and discard good instructors, sexually harass vulnerable students and write policy to support their greed and hunger for power without scrutiny. Exposure of the truth has already had a positive effect on creating a safer environment for students and for quality faculty members. Serious disruption is what we need at UW Platteville. We need to turn the culture upside down. We need to start rewarding excellence and punishing those who violate policies and the law rather than punishing hard work and promoting cronies.
We do not see a way forward to provide quality education to the students short of Dr. Burton’s termination.
The administration’s vision is blurry. They cannot see a future with Dr. Burton in the school because Dr. Burton continues to demand fair treatment and they are not willing to allow her to be treated fairly. Since Dr. Burton is not willing to accept the retaliation she suffers the administration wants her gone. It has nothing to do with quality education but with the administration’s ability to continue in their corrupt ways. If a shining light comes into a room it dispels the darkness. Provost Throop and Chancellor Shields are attempting to extinguish Dr. Burton’s light.
The complaint does not contain a direct accusation that Dr. Burton’s husband used her email account however Appendix B is titled “Unauthorized use of University Email.” In this Appendix Dr. Solar writes to Roger Burton “I would be surprised if university policy allows you to access her office email.” Dr. Burton never gave her husband access to and her husband has never used Dr. Burton’s university email account. You can see in Appendix B that Roger Burton responded to Dr. Solar using his own email account. Dr. Solar seems to have purposely written the “unauthorized use of University Email” statement to give the appearance of impropriety when none existed. Throop, Gormley and/or Shields added to the illusion of impropriety by inserting the email chain in the appendix with the misleading heading.
Suspension is way too harsh punishment for the alleged non-offenses.
Rebuttal to included exhibits:
Exhibit: URST procedures for 2014-2015 year (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 001-003).
These procedures were not referenced in the complaint so it is unclear why they are included in the complaint package. It seems like they were included for the same reason a D student includes a lot of extra material in a class assignment, in hopes that the extra bulk will lend credibility to the report.
Exhibit: Partial Transcript of the DRB meeting of 1-14-14 (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 004-015).
This transcript was included with nothing redacted. No confidential information was identified in the transcript. If there was a concern for confidentiality Interim Provost Throop and Interim Dean Gormley would have redacted something. Since nothing was redacted and the transcript was published in a public document it is apparent that there was some other reason for making the allegation against Dr. Burton. This is evidence that the stated reason for the allegation is pretextual.
The meeting was not a closed meeting.
The audios of this meeting were included in court documents in a federal case and were therefore made public long ago, and provided to the UW System attorneys. No objection was made to the audios at that time.
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.”
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. Immediately after Dr. Burton was issued Throop and Gormley’s complaint she asked her husband to remove the audios mentioned in the report and he did so.
Transcript of Meeting of 1-14-14 (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 004-006).
1. one can see that Dr. Burton was not allowed to speak at the meeting.
a. Dr. Burton was interrupted numerous times
b. Dr. Fuller was interrupted numerous times
c. At 19:04 Dr. Fuller shushed Dr. Burton
2. Dr. Burton mentions Dr. Gibson’s “Dubious experiments with students” but there is no discussion about it. She was ignored. This shows that Dr. Gibson’s actions concerning the Solicitous note were not even considered in evaluating him (TheSolicitousNote). This is evidence of cover up of sexual harassment in the CJ department.
Please see other rebuttal in (Rebuttal-RoterReport3-4-17).
CRST meeting some time in October probably. (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 006-009).
1. At 30:14 Dr. Burton advocated for Dr. Solar. He was about to be marked down but because Dr. Burton explained that his task load was high as explanation for weakness in one area he was given good marks. This demonstrates that Dr. Burton was not attempting to harm Dr. Solar’s reputation and did not have animus toward him.
Please see other rebuttal in (Rebuttal-RoterReport3-4-17).
DRB meeting for Rex Reed’s eval (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 010-015).
1. At 17:27 Dr. Caywood asks “when was it decided that only the tenured faculty could serve on the DRB?” Dr. Dalecki responded that it was “right at the beginning of the semester.” Caywood asked if a vote was taken and Dalecki answered that he had done that. Caywood seemed surprised that Dr. Dalecki had made this unilateral decision and Dalecki confirmed that he had made the decision himself. The discussion continued and demonstrates how Dr. Dalecki violated policy by making this decision.
a. Dr. Dalecki’s decision was also considered to be a violation of policy by the appeals committee that heard Gibson’s appeal.
2. Dr. Burton is interrupted rudely
3. Fuller shushes Burton
4. Dutelle, a bully, attempted to make Dr. Fuller think she was acting badly.
5. Dr. Burton is ignored again.
6. When Dr. Burton tried to point out that her prior evaluations were not conducted in accordance with standards she was shushed.
7. Fuller shushed Burton again and frantically thumped Dr. Burton’s leg to get her to stop arguing. (This is simple assault)
8. Dr. Burton found it impossible to be heard in the meeting.
Please see other rebuttal in (Rebuttal-RoterReport3-4-17).
Letter of Direction from then Dean Throop dated Oct 28, 2014 (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 015-018).
Rebuttal to this letter of direction (i571-DirectionRebuttal).
Letter of direction from Chancellor Shields dated June 3, 2016 (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 019-020).
Rebuttal to this letter of direction (ShieldsLOD-Rebuttal).
List of audio files online (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 021-022).
These appear to be the audios Dr. Burton’s husband posted on UniversityCorruption.com.
Wisconsin Watchdog article titled “UW-P to reschedule forum on ‘troubled and troubling’ past” (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 023-028).
It appears that Throop and Gormley are attacking the watchdog reporter’s First Amendment right to free speech. It is unclear why the article is in this package. No mention was made in the complaint concerning the article.
Email chain (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 029-033).
Dr. Burton wrote an email expressing her concerns about Staci Strobl after she had stepped down as chair of the department. These allegations are also part of an EEOC complaint that Dr. Burton filed against Dr. Strobl.
Dr. Burton’s allegations have never been looked into. They are true and accurate and deserve in depth investigation. The wrong person is being investigated.
Email from “Disappointed Student” (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 034-035).
This email is from someone who is not Dr. Burton. Holding Dr. Burton accountable for someone else’s actions is unfair.
The email seems to indicate that there is a problem at UW Platteville that needs investigation. The problem is not Dr. Burton.
Appendix A – Email messages Initiated by Burton (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments page 036).
Email to Nemmetz: Dean Throop stated, under oath, that Dr. Nemmetz had complained about Dr. Burton. So, Dr. Burton asked Nemmetz why. This is in keeping with the Letter of Direction which directs Dr. Burton to address her concerns at the most local level possible. There is no reason why this email should be included in a complaint against Dr. Burton. Rather, an investigation should be conducted into why Dr. Nemmetz complained about Dr. Burton or if indeed she had ever actually complained about Dr. Burton. It is likely that Throop lied about the complaint by Nemmetz. That would constitute perjury by Throop.
Email from Dr. Burton to David Couper (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments page 037).
Dr. Burton asked David Couper why he continues to misrepresent his title. This is in keeping with the Letter of Direction which directs Dr. Burton to address her concerns at the most local level possible. There is no reason why this email would be part of a complaint against anyone.
Appendix B – Unauthorized use of University Email (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments pages 038 040).
It is unclear why this email string is in the package.
1. The email string is between Dr. Burton’s husband and Dr. Solar
2. Dr. Burton forwarded Solar’s email to her husband and he responded from his own email account.
3. This issue was not mentioned in the complaint yet it is included as an exhibit. There is no reason why this exhibit is included.
4. Dr. Roter did not address the matter in the interview but Dr. Burton explained to her that she had never given her husband access to her email account.
5. There is no evidence of unauthorized use of university email as is erroneously implied by the title of the appendix.
Appendix C – Student Email Message on Burton’s Behalf (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments page 041).
This is also included in the exhibit package on pages 034-035. There is no reason to include the student’s email twice.
The facebook post by Dr. Burton is not something anybody should be disciplined for.
By complaining that she wrote this post the Interim Provost and Interim Dean are violating Dr. Burton’s First Amendment right to free speech.
Dr. Burton did not write anything in this post that would indicate that she was trying to bring students into her personnel issues.
Package receipt: (Burton ch. 4 complaint attachments page 042).
It is unclear why this envelope cover is included in the package. Dr. Burton’s husband received Chancellor Shields’ certified package on 1/4/17. Nobody has denied this and it is not a violation of any policy or law to receive a certified package. This seems to be included to make the package larger and therefore seem more impressive.