Dear Chancellor Shields,

This is my response to the Letter of Direction (LOD) dated June 3, 2016, that I received in the mail on June 6, 2016 from Chancellor Shields.

In his LOD Chancellor Shields makes reference to Dean Throop’s LOD from Oct. 28, 2014 which I attach, along with my rebuttal to her LOD.

I repeatedly asked for a grievance hearing to address the issues of Throop’s LOD but the UW-Platteville administration blocked my hearing without cause and without good reason for the indefinite delays.   For almost a year I was promised a hearing but it was never even scheduled.   Policy entitles me to a hearing within 20 days.  Now Chancellor Shields is investigating me for trumped up charges by Deb Rice.  I deserve a fair, open grievance hearing against Dean Throop before Chancellor Shields investigates any new allegations against me that deal with any of the issues of Dean Throop’s letter of direction. Dr. Caywood stated in his sworn declaration that he “was more comfortable putting the cart before the horse” as explanation for his retaliation against me.  Chancellor Shields has put the cart before the horse by writing this letter of direction and issuing an investigation against me as both concern matters of Dean Throop’s letter of direction which still has not been addressed by a grievance committee.  It seems that Chancellor Shields, like Dr. Caywood, wants to “put the cart before the horse.”

I asked for a grievance hearing to address Dean Throop’s LOD again in May 2016. I had obtained evidence from a sworn deposition from Nov. 2015 that showed even more clearly the absurdity of Dean Throop’s allegations against me. I was again denied a grievance hearing concerning Dean Throop’s LOD for invalid reasoning based on vaguely written grievance hearing procedures that were written on false authority, violate Wisconsin Open Meetings Law and were never discussed, commented on or approved by the Faculty Senate or faculty body.   Shortly after I made my grievance request the CJ chair Dr. Strobl, without giving me a reason why, removed me from a COPS project.  There has been a gag order on me since I assisted a student in reporting a sexual harassment incident by a UW-Platteville faculty member.  Chancellor Shields has ignored my questions and unfairly denied my requests for relief from severe retaliation.  Dean Throop has actively avoided answering my questions, Dr. Dalecki threatened a student for talking to me and then-Provost Den Herder told a union representative not to talk to me (Dalecki threatens grad student).

In my Rebuttal of Chancellor Shields’ LOD below I ask several questions that I would very much like to have answered.   

My line by line rebuttal to Chancellor Shields’ LOD:    Chancellor Shields’ LOD is in italics, his quotes of my emails are in underlined italics and my rebuttal to his LOD is in standard font.  

I am writing this Letter of Direction because I have received reports that you have engaged in unprofessional and concerning interactions with your campus colleagues.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  From whom did Chancellor Shields receive these reports? Why did he not mention the name of the person who reported that I acted unprofessionally?   Did CJ department chair Dr. Strobl report that I acted unprofessionally? Can Chancellor Shields produce evidence of this?  If so, why did Dr. Stroble not explain that to me when I asked for her reasons for her discriminatory actions against me?  Dean Throop excluded me from consideration for department chair because I “wasn’t solving problems at the local level” referring to my complaints about Dr. Caywood’s retaliation against me for helping a student victim of sexual harassment.   So why is Dr. Strobl not handling the Chancellor’s concerns at a local level but instead the Chancellor of the entire university is acting on them?   Why did Chancellor Shields write the LOD instead of Dr. Strobl?    Will the Chancellor and Dean/Provost Throop now remove Dr. Strobl for her inability to solve problems at the local level as Dean Throop and Provost Den Herder removed Dr. Caywood?  I am the victim, retaliation is the problem and I am attempting to solve my problem and to protect future victims.

Dean Throop wrote of Dr. Caywood “I was very hopeful that [Dr. Caywood] would have been willing to acquire the management skills necessary to allow the [Criminal Justice] department to run at a minimally acceptable level.” (Dean Throop’s Notes produced in Discovery in 2015)  Dean Throop did not have a very high aspiration for quality in the CJ department and now she has been promoted to Provost.  Did Chancellor Shields promote her because of her amazing ability to intimidate faculty into sheep like compliance? 

Chancellor Shields seems to classify my requests for grievance hearings as interactions with my campus colleagues.  But how is asking Mr. Fairchild, chair of the grievance committee, for a grievance hearing an “interaction with my colleagues?” UW-Platteville HR Director Dr. Crowley agreed with me that I had the right to a grievance hearing against Ms. Rice, even according the seriously flawed and discriminatory grievance hearing procedures that were published on false authority a few days after I filed my grievance against Dean Throop.  But Mr. Fairchild denied me a grievance hearing, probably because Chancellor Shields made it clear that I am not to receive any grievance hearings.   There is no valid reason why I cannot be given fair, open grievance hearing within 20 days of my asking for them. 

Chancellor Shields seems to classify an email I sent to my department chair as an interaction with my colleagues.  But according to Vocabulary.com a person’s boss is not usually considered to be a colleague.  I expressed concerns to my chair. I asked for an explanation for an action that directly affected me. How is that unprofessional?  Chancellor Shields attached emails as “evidence” in which I apologized for having been stressed and ill. It appears to me that Chancellor Shields is admonishing me in an attempt to intimidate and harass me into silence.

Dean Throop and Provost Den Herder failed to conduct the department communication training that Chancellor Shields mandated in July 2013.  Dr. Caywood failed to conduct the department communication training that was ordered by then Dean Den Herder in spring 2010.   Chancellor Shields now holds me to standards of communication that have never been disseminated to the department as he and his administration ordered.  English is my second language.  The Chancellor has not issued a similar letter of direction to anyone else in my department that I know of.  This seems to be very disparate treatment.   Deb Rice has made complaints against me but has the Chancellor issued a letter of direction to Deb Rice?   Why does Chancellor Shields consider my emails and complaints to be “unprofessional and concerning interactions with [my] campus colleagues” but he does not consider Deb Rice’s complaints against me to be the same?  That seems to be disparate treatment.

  Specifically, you have sent the attached email some of which I view as uncollegial and inappropriate at our campus. 

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  What standard of decorum does the Chancellor cite as basis for determining that my email(s) were uncollegial and inappropriate?   Do these same standards apply to Deb Rice, Dean Throop, Dr. Dalecki and Provost Den Herder?  If so, why did the Chancellor not issue Rice a LOD after Rice called me “mentally ill,” or words to that effect, and falsely reported to Dean Throop that I had cancelled class?   Dean Throop called me “labile” in a high level meeting to explain why I was not eligible for department chair, according to John Lohmann, Interim HR Director but Chancellor Shields did not admonish her but promoted her to Provost.  Then Provost Den Herder said in a public place, and was heard by a grad student, that I was “alone on a sinking ship,” or words to that effect but Chancellor Shields did not admonish her for saying uncollegial or inappropriate things to a student.  Dr. Dalecki threatened a grad student for talking to me, according to a sworn testimony by that grad student but Chancellor Shields did not write Dalecki an LOD (Dalecki threatens grad student).   Why has Chancellor Shields not disciplined these others?  Why only me?   Why am I the brunt of his double standard?  Is it because I helped a student with a sexual harassment complaint and later complained of the severe retaliation I suffered for it?   Why am I held to vague, changing and hidden standards of communication but Throop, Den Herder, Dalecki and Rice are not?  

Chancellor Shields is not very specific in the sentence he begins with the word “specifically.”  I have noticed a tendency of his administration to falsely accuse me of vague violations of non-rules that require no proof or evidence to affect me greatly while silencing my valid allegations of blatant policy and law violations by agents responsible to Chancellor Shields.  Specifically, what statement(s) does Chancellor Shields find to be “uncollegial and inappropriate” in the emails I wrote?  It is difficult for me to explain why he is wrong without knowing the answer to this question. 

I note that these are behaviors that Dr. Elizabeth Throop, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education, directed you to cease in a Letter of Direction dated October 28, 2014.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  By bringing Dean Throop’s LOD into the discussion Chancellor Shields validates my desire to have the false allegations in Throop’s LOD addressed.  Chancellor Shields refused to allow me to address Throop’s LOD in a fair and open grievance hearing yet he investigated her UWS 6.01 complaint against me, which she filed after I filed my request for a grievance hearing to address her LOD.  Chancellor Shields pushed forward with haste the investigation against me but failed to act on the investigation results for almost a year.  I was never given a copy of the investigation results.  When he did finally close the investigation he vaguely claimed that the allegations against me had merit without specifying what had merit and made it seem as though he was doing me a favor by closing the investigation without disciplining me for doing nothing wrong.  After almost an entire year has passed Chancellor Shields put together what appears to be a hastily written response to the 6.01 Complaint investigation that he mailed to me on Aug. 31, 2016 and only after I pointed out to the UW-Regents that he had failed to produce a report or act on the results of the investigation.

Some of the statements in your email that I find concerning include:

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  By stating that “some of the statements” concern him Chancellor Shields implies that he believes there to be more statements besides the few he highlighted that are “concerning.”  It is difficult for me to explain why his vague implication is wrong without more specifics.   He also does not explain why he considers my statements to be “concerning.”


 [Deb Rice]” is a very mean person who has defamed me in public … Rice is close to Dalecki and was clearly against you becoming chair. She shouldn’t even be working for this department anymore as defamation is a crime in WI. … I am sorry but I don’t want to have my name on a report with such a nasty person.”

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  This statement is taken from an email I sent to my boss, the CJ chair Dr. Strobl, and to no one else. Deb Rice falsely stated publicly and behind my back in front of colleagues and to at least one student that I have a mental Illness, that I am prejudiced against East Germans and that I would not be around much longer (fired), or words to that effect.   That is prima facie defamation. Wisconsin lists defamation as a misdemeanor offense. Deb Rice is a lecturer and an “at will” employee in the criminal justice department. She shouldn’t be able to make such defamatory statements about a tenured faculty member in front of the interim CJ chair, the Provost, a student and others. Former HR Director John Lohmann investigated the incident, confirmed that Rice made the defamatory remarks and asked her to apologize to which she replied “hell no.” (Lohmann deposition Nov. 2015).  Apparently Rice feels that defamation is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.   

Dean Throop revealed under oath in her deposition of Oct. 28 2015 that Rice falsely accused me of cancelling class on Dec. 12, 2014. Rice’s defamation resulted in Throop issuing a threat of discipline and an official UWS 6.01 complaint against me even though I had conducted my classes and Throop knew Rice had previously defamed me.  Rice has not been reprimanded for her defamatory, damaging and false statements against me nor has she apologized to me. She grimaces at me and acts defiantly towards me. I wrote in an email to my chair, Dr. Strobl and no one else, that Rice is a nasty person based on her illegal activities and the way she has treated me even though I did nothing to her.  I believe she benefitted financially while Dr. Dalecki was interim chair because she helped Dr. Dalecki in his campaign against me. Dalecki moved her into a full academic teaching position without requiring her to go through the standard search & screen vetting process. In summer 2014 Rice, who was hired for undergraduate advising, received an academic staff position that just weeks prior was nationally advertised without having to officially apply or interview for the position.   I have a right to express my valid concerns about Rice to my chair.  My chair is not my colleague, but my boss.  I have avoided working with Rice wherever I can and I wanted Dr. Strobl to know that I don’t want to work with Rice so she would not assign me to work side by side with her thereby creating further problems.  

Dr. Dalecki admitted, under oath, that he wrongly informed Dean Throop that I had cancelled class.    He was cc’d on Throop’s accusatory email that promised me discipline so he was an involved party.  Chancellor Shields’ decision regarding the matter exposes his knowledge that Dalecki was involved in the conspiracy to frame me for cancelling class.     Dalecki further stated under oath that, during Chancellor Shields’ investigation into Dean Throop’s UWS 6.01 complaint against me, nobody contacted him about the matter of the cancelled class. Sworn testimony links Throop, Dalecki and Rice to the false accusation that I cancelled class.  How much more evidence does one need to conclude that there was a conspiracy to do me harm?   How much more evidence is needed to justify the stated opinion to my boss that Deb Rice is a nasty person?  She lied to get me fired.  That is a nasty thing to do. 

I will take this to the public soon and/or file a lawsuit for defamation. I am considering a police report as well.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  The 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of speech to its citizens, with a few exceptions such as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater and defamation.   I do not believe my statement above falls under any exceptions to my guaranteed right to freedom of speech.   This is one of the most basic rights of all Americans.  I am an American citizen.   Chancellor Shields does not cite any law, policy or best practice guidance that trumps the First Amendment or that specifically restricts my right to make such a statement.    

Chancellor Shields threatened to discipline me for reporting a crime, filing a lawsuit for a crime or sharing my story of injustice with the public.    That doesn’t sound like America, that sounds like something that might happen in North Korea.

I have waited a long time for Chancellor Shields and his agents to do the right things but they choose time and time and time again to do the wrong things.    I have shown great restraint in this matter, in fact I waited to request a grievance hearing against Rice until the end of the spring semester so as not to interfere with teaching business.     When issues are not properly addressed often the right thing is to escalate them.

I have the right, even an obligation, to take this to the public.   Chancellor Shields is trying to silence me to keep his shadowy agenda hidden.


UWS 6.02 doesn’t say anything about a ‘300 day window.’ Is that another invention to keep me from finally getting my hearing?

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  My grievance requests have been delayed for months without good reason.  I am held to “Rules” that are not properly cited or authorized.   The new Grievance Hearing Procedures were contrived to thwart my attempts to gain fair hearing, were based on false authorizations and contradict the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law.   The 300 day window is an example of a limitation on filing grievances that did not exist before this bogus new Grievance Hearing Procedure was contrived.   I was held to this bogus new “rule” but the university did not comply with the requirement to give me a hearing within 20 days after I requested it. They delayed my hearings well past 300 days and now they say I can’t have it because it is past the bogus 300 day limit.  That’s not fair in anybody’s book.

UWS 6.02 says that “the faculty of each institution shall designate a committee or other appropriate faculty body to hear faculty grievances under rules and procedures established by the faculty of the institution in conjunction with the chancellor.” I reviewed the Faculty Senate minutes and there were no discussions or votes on a 300 day window. The faculty did not establish the new bogus Grievance Hearing Procedures but Dr. Balachandran did.  Shortly after I called out Dr. Balachandran for these new procedures he retired. I am being held to rules and procedures that should be written by the entire faculty but were written by one man who is not even accountable to the procedures.  Dr. Balachandran is not the faculty of UW Platteville.  Neither the Faculty Senate, nor the faculty as a whole has ever discussed, debated, considered, voted on or approved the bogus grievance hearing procedures that were used as reason to deny my fair, open grievance hearing. 

Chancellor Shields is admonishing me for asking to have my legitimate complaints heard before a fair, open grievance committee.

Dean Throop has a lot to hide and I have a lot to expose.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  If then-Dean Throop acted correctly then a fair grievance hearing shouldn’t be a problem for her.  Aren’t all citizens of the U.S. entitled to Due Process?  Isn’t UW-Platteville a public institution? Even our worst criminals have rights and are granted hearings and appeals. Chancellor Shields has taken my rights away.  He has enabled, encouraged and participated in disciplinary actions against me without granting me an opportunity to defend myself as provided by university policy and law. Chancellor Shields deprived me of my right to present my evidence and confront my accuser.   He deprived me of the right to fair hearing.  He allows accusations against me on shaky or no evidence; he is looking for that one sliver of evidence of wrongdoing that he can embellish to justify his retaliation against me.    

Chancellor Shields just promoted Dean Throop to provost despite her being named a defendant in 2 Civil Rights lawsuits and also being named in a third ERD complaint. Throop agreed under oath that she owed me an apology for her false accusation that I cancelled class but instead she issued a bogus UWS 6.01 complaint against me less than three weeks later.   Chancellor Shields investigated Dean Throop’s 6.01 Complaint against me and produced a report in Oct. 2015.  I was not given a copy of the report.  Instead of acting on the report and issuing discipline against me, as Throop requested, Chancellor Shields sat on it for almost a year. The reason for his inaction is that the report made clear that Throop was the problem employee and not me.  But Chancellor Shields promoted her to Provost.   I am convinced that if Chancellor Shields had found incriminating evidence against me he would have imposed swift and severe punishment against me.  

Chancellor Shields’ agents have kept close tabs on my communications. Emails that establish protected activities or proof thereof have been routinely deleted from my account. Fortunately, I saved them all.

In Chancellor Shields’ letter to me of 8/31/16 he erroneously wrote “This letter is my resolution regarding the Chapter 6 complaint filed against you by then-Dean Elizabeth Throop on October 28, 2014.” But her Chapter 6 complaint was filed on Jan 5, 2015 and her Letter of Direction against me was dated Oct 28, 2014.    I believe Chancellor Shields mixed up the dates purposely to make it seem as though Throop’s complaint was filed BEFORE she falsely accused me of cancelling class on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 4:51 PM.   This is another “glitch in the process,” “administrative oversight,” or “office error” that he used to cloud the issue just as he attempted to do by omitting the date on his letter of 8/31/16, as I explain in my response to that letter.   Anyone with a calendar can see that Dean Throop filed the Chapter 6 complaint against me just 20 days AFTER she falsely accused me of cancelling class.  Instead of apologizing for her false accusation she filed a complaint against me.  I want to ensure this is clear in the record.  

Who are you protecting?

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  This is a question I asked Mr. Fairchild after he unfairly denied my request for grievance hearings for invalid reason.  Why does Chancellor Shields admonish me and threaten discipline for asking Mr. Fairchild who he is protecting?  Is it because Fairchild is protecting Shields?   I believe we need an investigation by an independent, uninterested third party to determine the answers to these and other important questions. 

The administration at UW-Platteville is practicing constructive termination. This is an illegal practice… I know I am not the first case of abuse, nor will I be the last if this issue is not being addressed.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  I didn’t make this statement lightly. Withholding grievance hearings, changing grievance hearing findings, reprimanding me for protected activities, defaming me, taking my responsibilities away, threatening me with physical violence and giving me undeserved low performance scores while someone I am suing sits on my evaluation board are a few of the adverse employment actions perpetrated against me that were intended to make me leave and remain quiet.   I have spoken to several other people who have experienced similar constructive termination efforts all of whom have left the university because of it. Dr. Eugene Alcalay, who was a full professor in the Music Department under Dean Throop, is one of the more recent victims of constructive termination.  She wrote him a letter of direction and had to withdraw it.  She later falsely stated in her deposition that she withdrew it as a condition of the memorandum of understanding.  So, it appears that Throop committed perjury to cover up the fact that she was wrong to issue the letter of direction in the first place.   Likewise, Throop and other agents of the Chancellor have denied my access to fair, open and timely due process to hide the fact that Throop should not have issued me the letter of direction in the first place. 

Your actions have violated my civil rights to due process as an employee of this university and as a citizen of the United States of America. Provost Den Herder has pressured others not to communicate with me in this matter. I therefore, will file a new federal complaint against you, Dean Throop, and Den Herder.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  This statement was directed at the grievance committee chair Mr. Fairchild after he denied my grievance hearing request. Chancellor Shields   admonished me for exercising my right to due process.  

Provost Den Herder called AFT campus representative Dr. Ray Spoto and told him not to communicate with me on this matter.  HR Director Crowley stated in her May 9, 2016 meeting with me that I had a right to a grievance hearing against Deb Rice. Yet again, I was denied my rights. 

I filed a federal complaint on June 20, 2016 with the Dept. of Education, OCR.

A big part of my anxiety this week domes from dealing with veiled death threats that I have received.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  In this passage I asked HR Director Crowley for help after Dr. Dalecki formed a pistol with his fingers and pretended to shot me. Dalecki didn’t do this in a joking manner and I understood it to be a threat of physical harm. I shared this with Dr. Strobl. This was not the first time Dr. Dalecki threatened me in this way and I included it in my sworn declaration to federal court on Dec. 1, 2015. Dr. Dalecki also threatened a graduate student who shared Rice’s defamation with me in late 2014. The student recorded the threatening words and the audio recording is on file with the Federal District Court. You can hear the threatening conversation that Dalecki refers to as “mentoring” (Dalecki threatens grad student).   

Although Director Crowley promised me an investigation into the threats on May 9, 2016 no investigation seems to have been conducted, Dr. Dalecki has not been reprimanded or warned against such actions but instead Chancellor Shields wrote me a LOD warning me not to complain about threats of physical violence.   Again, he blames me, the victim, and protects the abuser. The harassment, intimidation, threats, and abuse I suffered in fall 2014 led to very serious health problems that required three surgical procedures and a prolonged sick leave in early 2015.   Chancellor Shields shows no concern for my situation.   He threatens me with discipline for trying to address the abuse I have suffered and continue to suffer.  I was wronged.  Chancellor Shields didn’t discipline Dr. Dalecki for intimidating and threatening the student or me instead Dalecki was given another prestigious assignment.  

Dean Throop attempted to influence Dr. Stackman’s testimony shortly before her deposition.  Is this the kind of person who should be promoted to Provost?

The Ethnicity department reported him [Dr. Solar] for his racially offensive statements in class. Dr. Solar also excluded me from writing a job description for three new faculty members in violation of policy and in violation of Dr. Dalecki’s instructions and then he lied about it.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  These are true statements that I made in an email to CJ chair Dr. Strobl. I have proof for my allegation against Solar that he excluded me and lied. Dean Throop chose not to investigate my claims against Solar.   Chancellor Shields admonishes me for making true and accurate statements while he and his agents do nothing to correct Dr. Solar’s dishonesty, policy violation and racially offensive statements.

I was shocked to read, in a student paper, that Dr. Solar, a former police chief of a small police department with about 5 full time officers, used to advise his officers to shoot at civilians’ heads in order to avoid liability. I do not believe that we should allow our instructors to train our students to execute people!   I also made reference to a picture that Dr. Solar posted outside his office in response to the Ferguson and Madison shootings. This picture and Solar’s statements offended many people on campus. I believe it was my right and obligation as a senior faculty member to point out to my chair what I believe to be a problem and not conducive to improving police-community relations especially in minority communities.  I am open to debating my opinions if Chancellor Shields or Dr. Strobl disagree with my opinion but admonishing me for informing my chair of facts and drawing the conclusion that Dr. Solar is not the right person to be teaching our future police officers is harassment.  I was entirely professional in my communications.  Why did this admonishment come from the Chancellor and not from the Chair?

You were quick to take me off this projects which makes me think you don’t value me much. I have not heard back to you regarding this afternoon meeting so assume you don’t value me there either.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  This is taken from an email I sent to Dr. Strobl after she ignored my previous email. At that time I had already invested time and effort into the grant project and was shocked that she took me off so quickly for no reason. I am still in recovery from deep gastric ulcers and the recent veiled threats I had received from Dr. Dalecki and the continuous hostile treatment I have received from Ms. Rice took a toll on me psychologically and physically. I shared this in my email to Dr. Strobl. I was surprised that Dr. Strobl took me off the project and replaced me with an elderly, retired police chief who is an adjunct lecturer with no stable employment at UW-Platteville or research background. The other main PI is the probationary faculty member Dr. Patrick Solar, who is several years junior to me. Dr. Strobl failed to properly identify Mr. David Couper as adjunct lecturer in the COPS grant application. Instead she referred to him as professor, a title he has not earned. This is misrepresentation. She also misrepresented two other lecturers as professors in the grant application therefore embellishing the qualification of the people listed in the application. On the other hand she listed me and my professional background in the grant application as a resource despite having taken me off just 2 weeks prior. I addressed Dr. Strobl directly and informed her of my concern. She chose not to respond to me but it does appear she shared my emails with Chancellor Shields.  If I indeed was mistaken in my assessment Dr. Strobl could have easily put my concern at ease by communicating with me but she chose to obey the gag-order on me instead. Any misrepresentation on a federal grant application is potentially a serious problem that could cost the university grant opportunities for many years to come.   

I am surprised that you paid a student from Business to work on the grant application instead of me or one of your own CJ students. Why did you do so? Are our own students not good enough? Did you do this as a favor to a personal friend? (This appears to be in violation of the grant application you submitted.)

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  Chancellor Shields’ concern about my statement is misplaced. Jenna Grandy is a personal friend of Dr. Strobl. She is not and has never been a CJ student nor does she have a background in criminal justice. We have almost 900 students in the Criminal Justice program at UW-Platteville; Dr. Strobl could have paid one of our students to do this work and gain experience in CJ grant writing. I believe my question was justified but Dr. Strobl chose to ignore it. I was and am concerned that our CJ chair is practicing cronyism, which is a violation of the terms of the grant and something that has plagued our CJ department under the leadership of Dr. Caywood and Dr. Dalecki. I had offered my help on the grant proposal and Dr. Strobl rejected it. Why is a student from another field more qualified to work on the COPS grant application than an associate professor in CJ with a doctoral degree from one of the most prestigious programs in the U.S.? Why wouldn’t Dr. Strobl at least make the CJ funds available to a CJ student instead of a Business student?  I asked Dr. Strobl these questions to give her a chance to explain. I didn’t intend to take this outside of the department but merely requested a response from Dr. Strobl. Instead of responding to me Dr. Strobl seems to have forwarded the email to Chancellor Shields.   Did she do this because he and/or Dean Throop pressured her to take me off the grant?

I request that you inform COPS of your misinformation and that you took me off the project against my will … Please also inform COPS in accordance with their requirements that UW-P is under investigation for Civil Rights violations.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  This request to Dr. Strobl is appropriate as it follows the guidelines outlined for the COPS grant. Dr. Strobl listed me in the grant application and made it appear as if I would be working on the project if UW-P would be the recipient of the grant. Yet just days prior to submitting the application Strobl notified me that she took me of the project.  Chancellor Shields included the email message in which she took me off the project in his LOD attachments. Dr. Strobl did not include me as a recipient of funds from the grant but just as a worker.  She promised COPS that I would work on the project without pay.  Why am I expected to work on a project that I was taken off of and not paid for?   This is an adverse employment action as I would miss out on being paid.

The COPS application requires that they must not fund institutions that are currently under Civil Rights investigation. I had a Civil Rights claim pending in federal court after having been subjected to retaliation for helping a student report a sexual harassment incident by a male professor. At the time of the grant application Florence Omachonu had a federal lawsuit in court against Chancellor Shields and Dean Throop for racial discrimination. Chancellor Shields reprimanded me for asking Dr. Strobl to properly report those things to COPS. Dr. Strobl appears to be in violation of the requirements not me.  I was just pointing out the oversights and asking her to correct them.  If she felt that she was not in violation of that rule why didn’t she just respond to me with her thoughts?  I’m a reasonable person.

These statements and others in the attached emails are examples of an unprofessional and inappropriate communication style with colleagues in the workplace. 

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  None of the statements above were sent to my colleagues in the CJ department so they cannot be examples of any type of communication with colleagues. Neither are they unprofessional emails as I explained above.  However, it is possible that they may be perceived as threatening by someone concerned about covering up violations. Whistleblower activity is often called all manner of terrible things by those on whom the whistle is blown.

You should not be accusing colleagues of criminal or illegal behavior, engaging in name calling, attempting to foment dissention among colleagues, threatening colleagues with lawsuits, or insinuating that death threats have been made. 

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  Chancellor Shields seems to be ordering me not to report criminal behavior even if one of my colleagues did commit a crime.  Threatening me with violence is an assault. Calling me a person who has a mental illness, falsely stating that I canceled class when I clearly didn’t are defamatory acts which are damaging and illegal. Chancellor Shields is ordering me to just shut up and take the abuse.   


Such behavior is not only unprofessional, it is also harassing.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  It is not unprofessional to speak the truth and to inform my chair why I don’t want to work closely with Deb Rice.  I didn’t harass Rice, I exposed her defamation with sworn testimony.  Chancellor Shields’ letter of direction is harassment.  

I am directing you to cease using University resources to harass, intimidate or threaten your co-workers and supervisors.  

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  Chancellor Shields’ direction is misplaced, discriminatory and based on lies.

It amazes me how the UW-Platteville administration holds a mirror to the power-differential and accuses lower level employees of bullying their supervisors who decide over their appointments, schedules, pay etc.    Dr. Strobl took me off the project not the other way around. Dr. Strobl refuses to respond to my questions, not the other way around. Dr. Strobl hired a personal friend over me, not the other way around. Asking for answers and pointing out violations are not harassment. Dr. Dalecki threatened me, not the other way around.  

Chancellor Shields’ LOD implies that he will discipline me if I report criminal or unethical activity by one of his agents. Gandhi said that “silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth & acting accordingly.”

UW-Platteville has a sexual harassment problem.  UW-Platteville has a problem with employees and administrators routinely violating laws and policies.  UW-Platteville needs a watchdog.  The Chancellor and his administration have engaged in unfair and illegal practices in order to keep me and others quiet so he can continue to pretend there aren’t any problems with sexual harassment and disparate treatment. I am exposing disparate treatment, cover ups and retaliation. The Chancellor may consider my efforts to let in the sunshine to be threatening but that is because he has much to hide.  The fact is that I am the one who is being harassed. 

Lecturer Rice defamed me. Chancellor Shields knows that but he ignored her violation because she has hurt me.  For her acts against me she has found his favor.  His willingness to protect Rice for her criminal action indicates that she acted on his behalf to foster a hostile work environment that would force me to leave UW-Platteville.   

In addition, I am asking Human Resources Director Janelle Crowley to serve as the point person at UW-Platteville to receive your complaints.  Until further notice, you should direct all informal complaints about colleagues or University administration to Dr. Crowley.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  HR Director Crowley has already received my complaints and she told me that she will not get involved with my grievance requests.  When I first met with her she said that I certainly was due a grievance hearing but then after talking to Dean Throop she slammed the door in my face.  Chancellor Shields is telling me that my only available relief from retaliation is to complain to someone who refuses to hear my complaints.   Somehow that doesn’t seem fair. 

This direction relates only to informal complaints and communications and in no way infringes upon your rights to submit complaints or grievances as provided by the Wisconsin Administrative Code and university policy.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  Chancellor Shields admonishes me for having filed legitimate complaints, threatens me with discipline if I perform a protected activity and assures me that he is not infringing my rights?   It is an infringement of my rights to threaten me for exercising my rights.  Saying it’s not is just ridiculous.

Chancellor Shields’ LOD is discriminatory and retaliatory and does infringe on my rights. A grievant shouldn’t have to fear discipline for filing a grievance. A grievant should be heard, not silenced.  

Chancellor Shields’ LOD and his actions indicate that he has no intention of observing my rights as provided by the Wisconsin Administrative Code and university policy.  

Please note that violation of these direction may result in disciplinary actions.  If you have any questions regarding this letter please contact my office and arrange an appointment through my assistant Joyce Burkholder.

Dr. Burton’s Rebuttal:  Chancellor Shields ignored me when I requested a meeting with him on August 9, 2013 to address my concerns at the time.  He could have easily corrected the problems then.   I no longer have faith in Chancellor Shields to treat me fairly but rather I expect that he will attempt to intimidate and harass me. Ever since I assisted a student in reporting a sexual harassment incident by a CJ faculty member I have been exposed to intimidation, ridicule, hostility and threats.  Chancellor Shields has ignored my pleas for help.  He has denied my requests for investigations. He has ensured that gag orders and unfair directives that violate my due process rights have been kept in place.

I have chosen to stay at UW-Platteville despite the harassment I still suffer. I care about my students and I want to do what is right.  Running from Chancellor Shields’ abuse will allow him to continue to choke out quality teachers and elevate corruption.

In my opinion society cannot survive if Chancellor Shields’ style of leadership is allowed to continue unopposed.  I studied under Dr. Henry Pontell and Dr. Gil Geis, nationally recognized experts on white collar crime and I inherited their passion for fighting corruption. I carefully studied how Hitler came to and stayed in power as I had family members who were victimized by the Nazis. My parents drilled into me that we must oppose corruption even in the face of death.  I see corruption at UW-Platteville and I won’t bow to it because I know what it can lead to.  I want our students to learn to stand up and fight for justice. Hitler wasn’t defeated by cowards. Corruption is disguised as loyalty and it grows on cowardice and greed.    

Teaching is my calling, justice for all is my passion.  I won’t let Chancellor Shields destroy that fire in me. I believe I am doing the right thing. I ask the people cc’d in this email to evaluate my claims in a fair and unbiased manner and take whatever steps they feel are in the best interest of society.

Chancellor Shields’ Letter of Direction is an attempt to intimidate, and silence me. I hope to bring acclaim to UW Platteville as a pillar of transparency and accountability.  I want to help the school thrive as a fair and just place for all.


Dr. Sabina Burton