Rebuttal of Dr. Sabina Burton to Dean Throop’s allegations of Jan 5, 2015

Dean Throop’s UWS 6.01 Complaint is in standard font and Dr. Burton’s rebuttal is in underlined italics.

Memorandum

To: Chancellor Dennis J. Shields
From: Dean Elizabeth Throop
Re: Complaint against Dr. Sabina Burton
Date: January 5, 2015

Pursuant to Wis. Admin. Code § UWS 6.01, I am submitting this complaint against Dr. Sabina Burton. I seek discipline of Dr. Burton for her refusal to follow directions, her insubordination, her violation of the Employee Handbook, and for her continued disruptive behavior.

Dean Throop decided to file a UWS chapter 6 complaint against me on 10/29/14.    She did not deliver the Chapter 6 complaint until January 5, 2015, two months after she had already decided to issue the complaint.  Throop’s ch6 complaints against me were between Oct 29, 2014 and Jan 5, 2015, AFTER she had already made the decision to file the complaint.    Throop was planning to retaliate for something(s) that had occurred prior to October 29, 2014 8:44 AM but she needed to use my “behaviors” that were not protected by law.  So she fabricated ridiculous directives to apply to only me, which is itself probably a violation of law, and waited for me to do something, anything, that she could spin into a violation of her unfair directions. (Subpoena-Throop-October 29, 2014 8:55:54 AM   )  

I asked for a grievance hearing to get Dean Throop to withdraw her discriminatory and retaliatory letter of direction but due process has been denied me in violation of my civil rights.  Dean Throop’s unfair letter of direction is a violation of my civil rights.  I have not violated any policies of the university.  I have not violated any laws.  Dean Throop’s letter of direction, her false allegation that I cancelled class and her UWS 6.01 complaint against me, as well as her numerous other policy and legal violations,  are instances of her retaliation for my previous complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and Retaliation.  I have done nothing wrong.   If doing the right things, for the right reasons, in the right ways disrupts plans of corrupt leaders then perhaps Dean Throop is right that my behavior has been disruptive.  Her behavior has been criminal.

On October 28, 2014, I provided Dr. Burton with the attached letter of direction summarizing my concerns about her pattern of engaging in uncollegial and disruptive behaviors (Exhibit A). Shortly after she received the letter, Dr. Burton indicated to me that she had no intention of complying with my directions (November 12, 2014 email, Exhibit B), and she has continued with the same behaviors.

On 11/12/14 I filed a formal grievance against Dean Throop in an effort to explain my refusal to accept her letter of direction of 10/28/14 and have the letter withdrawn.   My request for a grievance hearing was unfairly delayed and ultimately denied.  My due process rights have been repeatedly violated and as a result Dean Throop has had opportunity to continue to harass me.  Her complaint of 1/5/15 is further evidence of her harassment.   I rebut Dean Throop’s letter of direction in (exhibit 571) with supporting documentation contained in the CD that I delivered to Dr. Balachandran on 11/13/14.

Refusal to recuse from Department of Criminal Justice chair search committee (Direction #2)

 

In the October 28 Letter of Direction, I summarized Dr. Burton’s pattern of mistreating Dr. Michael Dalecki, the interim chair of the Department of Criminal Justice.

By “pattern of mistreating Dr. Michael Dalecki” I assume that Dean Throop is referring to my legitimate grievance that I properly filed against Dr. Dalecki on Aug 27, 2014.  My request for a grievance hearing was repeatedly promised but denied for two months.  After Dean Throop delivered her letter of direction on 10/29/14 I withdrew the grievance against Dr. Dalecki because I had a more pressing grievance to pursue and because the damage was already done.

Because I knew that he intended to apply for the chair position and that Dr. Burton was to serve on the search committee, I met with Dr. Burton on October 15, 2014, along with Dr. Zauche, the search committee chair, and told her that because she was biased against Dr. Dalecki

If Dean Throop thought I was biased against one of the candidates for the chair position why did she ask me to be a member of the chair search committee in the first place? 

she should refrain from participating in his interview or in any discussions about his candidacy.

 

Dean Throop told me, in our meeting of 10-15-15, “just as Tim is distancing himself from Mike, I want you to do the same thing.” (exhibit A15)  But in her email of December 8, 2014 4:42 PM Dean Throop wrote to me  “You must not participate in any activities of any kind, including interviews, discussions, and evaluations of Dr. Dalecki in the search process. If you attempt to participate, I will be forced to remove you from the search committee immediately.”  (exhibit 597a)  To my knowledge she did not later make the same direction to Dr. Zauche, so how is she requiring us to do the “same thing?” 

 

Dr. Burton indicated that she would do so, but later informed me that she had understood my request to be that she recuse herself only if she thought she was biased.

 

This is false.  I explained on 12/8/14 in an email to Dr. Zauche, cc’d to Dean Throop that “When Dean Throop said that she needed me to recuse myself from any discussion of Mike’s candidacy I understood her to mean that she needed me to leave my personal troubles out of the discussion. That is why I explained to her that I would be fair and objective in my evaluations. She seemed satisfied with my explanation. You were present so you know this already.” (exhibit 597a)  Dr. Zauche did not dispute my statement.

 

I clarified that I had already determined that she was biased and told her that she must refrain from participating in discussions or interviews of Dr. Dalecki or I would remove her from the search committee entirely. Dr. Burton then sent correspondence stating her refusal to comply (Exhibit C, email dated December 8, 2014, 10:36 p.m.) and so I removed her from the search committee.

 

In her email of 12/8/14 4:42 PM (exhibit 597a) Dean Throop wrote “This is

because of your documented prejudgment of his ability to serve as chair.”  I responded with the followng request  “Please identify, or send me, the documentation of my prejudgment of Dr. Dalecki that you reference in your email. I don’t know of any such document.”  Dean Throop did not respond to this question.   There is no legal requirement for a member of the search committee to have no prejudgment of any candidate’s ability to serve as chair.  I don’t understand why Dean Throop feels that prejudgment should disqualify a member from serving on the search committee. 

 

There is a legal requirement for the Dean to allow the faculty to select their own chair.  Wis. Stat. § 36.09 (4),  provides that the faculty “shall have the primary responsibility for academic and educational activities and faculty personnel matters [and] . . . the right to determine their own faculty organizational structure and to select representatives to participate in institutional governance.”

 

 

Conflict of interest should disqualify someone from serving on the search committee.  As I explained in my email of December 08, 2014 10:36 PM (exhibit 597), I was the only member of the search committee that did not have a conflict of interest.  In this email I asked Dean Throop several pertinent questions to which she did not respond.  I request that she answer all of the questions I asked as part of the investigation into this matter.

 

In addition, Dr. Burton has sent unprofessional and inappropriate email communication on this issue to the search chair (Exhibit D, December 9, 2014 1:53 p.m.) and to me (Exhibit E, December 9, 2014 12:48 p.m.).

 

I maintain that none of the things I wrote in these emails were unprofessional or inappropriate. (exhibits 597, 597a)  Am I being punished for having an opinion?  I ask that Dean Throop identify exactly what I wrote in these emails that she considers unprofessional or inappropriate instead of making vague accusations against which I cannot defend myself.

 

She has protested the naming of Dr. Zauche as search committee chair, despite the fact that the Criminal Justice department voted in favor of having an outside faculty member chair the search committee on August 29, 2014 (Exhibit F, Minutes of CJ Department Meeting, August 29, 2014). Dr. Burton did not raise any objections to this vote on August 29.

I did raise objection to selecting a search chair from outside the department at the department meeting of 8-29-14.  I suggested the following:  “Why don’t we do so:  We have our vote on whether this year or next year.  If it happens to be this year, then we can decide on do we first want to do an internal search and whichever candidate will be produced needs your vote of confidence.  And if that happens then we’re done.  If for some reason you’re not satisfied then we go to the national search.  It doesn’t mean that that candidate can’t also apply in the national search.  So, that’s still an option then.”  Because Dean Throop was in the room other department members were intimidated into silence when I asked for discussion.   (exhibit A10)

The voting at that meeting was so influenced by the dean that Rex Reed said “Let’s just have a ruling as to whether we’re going to follow the bylaws and be done with it.”

I only voted in favor of having a search chair from outside the department because the alternative was to wait for a year for the search, leaving Dalecki in place as interim chair a year longer.

Nobody told us at the meeting that the chair of the search would be selected by Dean Throop without the department’s input or approval.  Nobody voted that Dr. Zauche would be an appropriate chair of the search.  I told her I had suggestions for potential candidates for the search chair but Dean Throop did not solicit suggestions of appropriate chair candidates from the department.

As part of this investigation I suggest Dean Throop answer the following questions: 

  1. Why did you not ask the CJ department for recommendations for a search chair?
  2. Out of an entire university to choose from why did you select someone from a college outside LA&E, whose expertise is in no way related to Criminal Justice and who is a close personal friend of Dr. Dalecki as search committee chair?
  3. Why did you ask Dr. Zauche a third time to take the position after he declined twice? See Dr. Zauche’s email to me of 12/8/14 11:03 PM where he wrote “I declined the offer to serve as chair two times, but at the end, I serve at the discretion of the Dean.” (exhibit 597)
  4. Why did you not ask the CJ department to approve your selection of Dr. Zauche with a fair vote?

 

Unprofessional and inappropriate communications to other University Community members (Direction #2)

 

In the October 28 letter, I directed Dr. Burton to “cease all email activity making groundless and unwarranted accusations against Dr. Dalecki or other members of the university community.”

My accusations are not groundless or unwarranted.  I wanted to present evidence supporting my claims in mediation, but that was denied me, at a grievance hearing, but that was denied me and in a formal investigation but that too was denied me.

Dr. Burton has continued to threaten

I have not threatened anyone.

 and accuse various members of the community. She sent the attached unprofessional and demeaning communication to the grievance committee (Exhibit G, email to Dr. Balachandran December 10, 2014 9:13 p.m.).

I maintain that none of the things I wrote in this email (exhibit 598, 598a) was unprofessional.   Anything that I wrote that was demeaning was warranted due to Dr. Balachandran’s underhanded attempts at denying my due process rights and his untruthfulness.   

 

Dr. Burton has attempted to discuss her grievances against Dr. Dalecki and her issues with me with members of the Grievance Commission, including Dan Fairchild, the initial convener of the Grievance Commission, and with Dr. Balachandran—to such an extent that he has elected to be absent from campus much more frequently than he would be otherwise.

I don’t know what Dean Throop is talking about here.  This is just absurd.  If Dean Throop could offer more specific information I might be able to speak to this issue.  As it is written I just can’t understand her accusation.

 

 Indeed, Dr. Balachandran has removed himself from hearing Dr. Burton’s grievance as a result of her email marked Exhibit G.

 

Dean Throop’s Exhibit G is an email dated Dec 10, 2014 9:13 p.m..  I sent Dr. Balachandran an email on 12/17/15, cc’d to members of the grievance commission and the Faculty Senate in which I wrote “I disqualify the following individuals from sitting on the hearing panel: Swaminathan Balachandran, Theron Parsons, Michael Dalecki, Dan Fairchild.”  So, Dr. Balachandran did not remove himself from the hearing panel, I disqualified him. (exhibit 603)  It is my understanding that the administration is now trying to find someone else willing to compromise themselves in order to further deny my due process rights.

 

Dr. Burton’s behavior has been increasingly erratic and profoundly unprofessional.

My behavior has not been erratic.  I have been steadily working to oppose the systemic corruption in our university.  I have made every attempt to maintain my professional behavior at a time when I find myself confronted by incredible odds and unfair treatment at every turn. 

 

Dr. Solar (Direction #4)

 

Dr. Burton has threatened Dr. Pat Solar with adverse consequences to his progress toward tenure because she believes—incorrectly—that the faculty searches this year were conducted “illegally” (Exhibit H, email thread between Dr. Burton and Dr. Solar beginning on October 16, 2014), telling him that her “annual evaluation letter” would have to note his “illegal” activity. I directed her to apologize to him and to remove herself from any consideration of his progress toward tenure; she has refused (in a memo dated November 11, 2014, Exhibit I) my direction to apologize to Dr. Solar and to remove herself from his evaluation.

 

I can prove that Dr. Solar excluded me from the discussion for the job description for three new faculty members for our department and that he lied to me about it.   His search for three new faculty members yielded zero new hires.  I do not feel that his progress toward tenure has been satisfactory based on these facts.  I do not feel that I need to apologize for pointing out his violation of policy. 

 

Solving problems on the most local level possible (Direction #1)

 

Dr. Burton has filed a complaint against Deb Rice, Academic Staff in the Department of Criminal Justice for “defamation.” Instead of having a face to face conversation to try to work out the problem, Dr. Burton went immediately for an official complaint, in direct defiance of my Direction #1 to her.

Deb Rice told students that I “won’t be around long” and that I am “mentally ill.”  I believe that warrants an investigation. 

 

I outline other unprofessional and disturbing behaviors by Dr. Burton in my Letter of Direction.

Dean Throop’s directions violate policy.  I filed a grievance to address the letter of direction but my due process rights have been violated and I have not been afforded fair hearing.

 

Involving students in her disputes (Direction #5)

 

On December 16, 2014, a member of the Criminal Justice Department told me that students had reported that Dr. Burton had canceled classes on Friday, December 12, 2014, to travel to Germany for the weekend. I asked that person to confirm the report, and I received a confirmation. As a result, I sent an email to Dr. Burton on December 16, 2014 admonishing her for her behavior. Dr. Burton emailed her students in the evening of December 16, 2014, asking them to verify that class was held. I did receive four emails verifying that class was held, so I may have been misinformed.

Four emails from students verifying my presence in class was not enough to positively convince her that she had been misinformed but one report from some unnamed person was enough for her to jump into disciplinary action against me?

However, Dr. Burton’s email (Exhibit J) is profoundly unprofessional, drawing students into her disputes. This is a direct violation of my direction to her to keep students out of her disputes. Her email is also factually inaccurate.

 

These are the 30 student emails that confirmed my presence in class.   (exhibits 604, 604a)

I forwarded emails to the HR director, John Lohmann. 

 

Shane R Lueschow Fri 12/19/2014 9:05 AM

Michael J James Wed 12/17/2014 6:22 PM

Searra S Maas Wed 12/17/2014 6:02 PM

Lindsey M Hahn Wed 12/17/2014 3:38 PM

Simina A Lewis Wed 12/17/2014 2:12 PM

Logan H Enke Wed 12/17/2014 1:30 PM

Casey C Schneider Wed 12/17/2014 1:25 PM

Brandon J Davitz Wed 12/17/2014 1:17 PM

Joseph P Rybialek Wed 12/17/2014 12:59 PM

Sara C Karp Wed 12/17/2014 12:49 PM

Steven J Bauer Wed 12/17/2014 11:46 AM

Steven K Wasilik Wed 12/17/2014 11:37 AM

Emily L Roemer Wed 12/17/2014 11:24 AM

Lance J Wilden Wed 12/17/2014 10:56 AM

Rebecca Steele Wed 12/17/2014 9:54 AM

Andrew N Pelot Wed 12/17/2014 9:10 AM

David J Matson Jr Wed 12/17/2014 2:16 AM

Zachary T Bruss Tue 12/16/2014 11:57 PM

Ashley N Morales Tue 12/16/2014 10:46 PM

Rachel C Kulack Tue 12/16/2014 10:41 PM

Katelyn Winther Tue 12/16/2014 10:17 PM

Daniel C Riedl Tue 12/16/2014 10:11 PM

Aaron R Galindo Tue 12/16/2014 10:02 PM

Bethany M Schroeder Tue 12/16/2014 10:01 PM

Lucas C Harding Tue 12/16/2014 10:01 PM

Ashley Lanz Tue 12/16/2014 9:57 PM

Chandler I Lehrer Tue 12/16/2014 9:55 PM

Nicholas A Pesavento Tue 12/16/2014 9:50 PM

Jordann M Kaufman Tue 12/16/2014 9:48 PM
Stephen E Scharch Tue 12/16/2014 9:47 PM

 

 

One of the emails I sent to John Lohmann was also cc’d to Dean Throop, Chancellor Shields, Provost Den Herder and Dr. Dalecki.  In this email I posed the question “Does the Chancellor condone this?”   The Chancellor never responded to my question.

 

The student, Aaron R Galindo, wrote on Tue 12/16/2014 10:02 PM:  “I confirm that you taught class Last Friday, December 12th, We covered in more depth the Slenderman topics, if the dean has problems with this you have her look at your attendance sheet for that day and email us students that had attended. She is in the wrong, and should probably know facts and research these things before she makes false accusa1ons. Obviously she isn’t doing her job right and she should be looked into.”

 

I would like to file a formal complaint against the students, if they exist, and the faculty member responsible for defaming me to the Dean.  I request that Dean Throop provide names of those responsible for making this false claim so I can pursue a formal complaint against them.  

 

Instead of complaining about me the dean should discipline the students, if they exist, and the faculty member who gave her this false report about me.  Their false claim made her look very silly.  The fact that the dean complains about me instead of disciplining the false accusers demonstrates her intent to do me harm for other reasons.  She acted on false reports and filed this formal UWS 6.01 complaint in retaliation for my legitimate complaints. 

 

Who was the faculty member that gave the dean these false reports?  Was it Dr. Dalecki? He also has been retaliating against me for my legitimate complaints.

 

Summary

 

Dr. Burton’s escalating patterns of harassing behaviors have had several consequences. One is that her departmental colleagues avoid interacting with her and find her difficult at best.

My departmental colleagues avoid me because the administration intimidates them if they show support for me and reward them for opposing me.

They spend hours upon hours attempting to manage their interactions with her.

I don’t understand this statement.  Please ask Dean Throop to detail when department members have spent time talking to me about managing interactions with me.  People in my department avoid talking to me.  My department chair does not talk to me at all.  How does non-communication make them spend time?  Why is their choice to spend time a reason to admonish me in an official complaint?

She has no support among her colleagues.

I have lost support of my colleagues because of the severe systemic corruption that places intense pressure on my colleagues to oppose me.  Nobody is allowed to even consider or respond to anything I say.

Another is that senior leadership has spent many hours—sometimes twenty hours a week—trying to find ways to redirect Dr. Burton’s poor behaviors into more productive avenues, to no avail.

I don’t understand what I am being admonished for here?  I have done nothing wrong to cause senior leadership to try to find ways to redirect my behaviors.  Why does Dean Throop admonish me for time spent by senior leaders?  They are all adults, able to chose their pursuits and allocate their own time in the ways they see fit.  I don’t believe there is a policy that addresses this issue so why is Dean Throop even including it in an official complaint against me?

 

At this juncture, Dr. Burton’s behavior is so difficult that she is significantly interrupting the normal course of business at this university.

I have made valid complaints through proper channels about verifiable violations of policy and law.  My behavior has not been difficult but very proper.  I have not interrupted the normal course of business at this university.  I may have interrupted Dean Throop’s corrupt plans a bit but not the normal business of the university.

 

This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

I agree. 

 

 I would request that you issue a formal letter of reprimand to be placed in Dr. Burton’s personnel file and that you explore further disciplinary options.

I request that you find that Dean Throop filed this complaint as retaliation for my legitimate complaints and recommend to the Chancellor that her tenure as Dean be terminated.

I request that you recommend to the Chancellor that Dean Throop should withdraw all of her allegations against me immediately.

I request that you recommend to the Chancellor that I be afforded fair grievance hearings in accordance with UWS 6.02.

I request that you recommend to the Chancellor that the bogus grievance procedures found on the university website be immediately removed and that they be replaced with the currently approved grievance procedures.