Academic insanity, part 184

Posted: Jul 13, 2005 12:00 AM
Author?s note: My present department chair (who began that position on July 1, 2005) was not involved in any of the events documented below.

You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. ? Exodus 23:1

Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, Him I will destroy. ? Psalm 101:5.

Dear President Broad ( ):

In December of 2001, I experienced the second most anxiety-evoking event of my professional career. It came in the form of a stern (but friendly) warning from the UNCW police to avoid all contact with another professor in my department. I was advised not to be caught in the same room with this woman because she was, in the opinion of (numerous) school officials, both delusional and potentially dangerous. That informal order resulted in my resignation from the position of coordinator of the criminal justice program. I had volunteered for that position just three months prior to these events.

My resignation took place a few weeks after the aforementioned professor filed a false police report accusing me of conduct, which, if duly proven to have taken place, would constitute a felonious criminal act. More specifically, it was claimed that I was trying to poison my accuser with tear gas. Her report to the police suggested that I was breaking into her office with the help of the department chair in order to spray these toxic fumes. There was no indication as to how we obtained the tear gas or where we kept our canisters and gas masks hidden during the course of the day. I assume these attacks were supposed to have been carried out in the dead of night.

Because the UNCW police (and other administrators) intimated that this professor was suffering from paranoid delusions and was potentially dangerous, I followed their advice and cooperated fully. That included participating in the most anxiety evoking event of my career ? a taped interrogation with a sworn police officer at police headquarters.

As you may guess, the command to avoid all contact with the professor resulted in more than my resignation from the role of coordinator of the criminal justice program. It has also resulted in numerous absences from department meetings and faculty gatherings since December of 2001. I have also obeyed the police and exited the room every time the delusional faculty member and I have ended up together in the main office of the department. In other words, I have been a good employee and have done all that university officials have asked me to do.

But, now, we have a problem that has put a damper on my cooperative spirit.

This year, in my annual performance evaluation, I have been ?written up,? so to speak, by my immediate supervisor. This first negative evaluation that I have received in 12 years at UNCW mentions, among other things, my failure to attend most departmental meetings. I am sure you see why this is a problem, given that the warning to avoid contact with my accuser has never been rescinded.

It has now been three and one-half years since the State Bureau of Investigation concluded that there were no actual break-ins by tear gas wielding professors. It has been over three years since the university attorney asked me not to ?go public? with this information. It is now time for the university administration to answer some questions:

1. Why did the university attorney assure me (in May of 2002) that UNCW was working on a solution which would remove this delusional and potentially dangerous faculty member from the department? Was the university lying to me? If not, did someone simply drop the ball?

2. Is it morally acceptable for UNCW to a) not punish a faculty member for making a false criminal accusation, but, instead b) punish the falsely accused (on his annual performance evaluation) for merely following police orders and avoiding all contact with the accuser?

3. Has the inaction of the UNCW administration created a hostile working environment for me and for the other falsely accused professor?

4. The accuser in this case also made a false accusation of sexual harassment against a professor in 1999. Did the university fail to investigate that claim? If so, did they violate federal law?

5. Now that the taxpayers of North Carolina have paid for a criminal investigation for a crime that did not take place, who will pay them back? Should it be the false accuser? If not, who should it be?

6. How many false accusations of sexual harassment and ?office terrorism? are feminist professors allowed to make with impunity? Three? Six? A dozen? Is the number unlimited?

7. Is my accuser really fit to teach our department?s only class in counterterrorism? For that matter, is she really fit to teach any class within the field of criminal justice? What kind of message does it send when criminal justice professors file false police reports?

In addition to these questions, I have a few requests:

I would like to know whether my accuser has received any treatment or counseling for her delusions. I must have the answer in writing before I resume full participation in departmental activities.

If my accuser has not been treated and no other action has been taken, I want UNCW to apologize for putting me through this ordeal. I also want the university to acknowledge unequivocally that I have been falsely implicated in a crime that never actually took place. I also want the university to apologize to the North Carolina taxpayers for wasting their hard-earned money.

I want all references to the decrease in my participation in departmental activities from 2002 to 2005 to be purged from my personnel records.

I expect to hear back from you soon. If you do otherwise, you underestimate my resolve.

Mike S. Adams