Tuesday, February 5, 2019

From the AAUP

As a follow up to Ann Kuzdale's comments:


A Terrible Settlement by UIC for $694,000

It is shocking that the University of Illinois at Chicago would waste $694,000 in taxpayer funds to pay off a disgraced Chicago State administrator over a frivolous lawsuit. Angela Henderson was the acting provost at Chicago State when faculty critical of her took a look at her UIC dissertation and discovered strong evidence of plagiarism.
I can’t personally evaluate if Henderson committed plagiarism because she now keeps her dissertation secret. But in 2014, the Chicago Tribune asked three experts on plagiarism to evaluate the question:
“It is not sloppiness here or there, or plagiarism here or there, it is quite often,” said Tricia Bertram Gallant, editor of a book on academic ethics. “It is clear that this work is problematic enough that it needs to be looked at and perhaps withdrawn.”
Teddi Fishman, director of the International Center for Academic Integrity at Clemson University, said the examples ranged from “really sloppy or poor citation” to “quite problematic.”
Daniel Wueste, director of the Rutland Institute for Ethics, also at Clemson, noted “significant problems” that suggest Henderson lacks “a full and complete understanding of academic protocols and scholarly expectations.”
“That is a problem if that person is provost of a university,” Wueste said
As the Chicago Tribune editorialized, “Is that plagiarism? Yes.” Unfortunately, a UIC hearing officer disagreed with all of these academic experts in the field and ruled that it was not plagiarism.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Henderson’s lawsuit accused the university of violating the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by publicly discussing her Ph.D. Dissertation.”
A dissertation is not a private educational record. A dissertation is a public document displaying scholarship. In fact, that’s how the plagiarism was discovered. When you have a public scholarly document, it cannot be a violation of FERPA to announce an investigation of that document.
Second, it is not a violation of FERPA for universities to announce that they are investigating allegations. Imagine if universities were prohibited from ever revealing (even to the victims) if an alleged racist on campus was being investigated for a hate crime. FERPA is being abused when it is used to impose a shroud of complete secrecy on campus disciplinary processes, and this settlement will make that secrecy much worse.
FERPA is a puzzling basis for a lawsuit, since the Supreme Court has ruled that individual students cannot sue for FERPA violations, they can only file complaints to the government about it. So Henderson’s lawsuit settlement is for harm to reputation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It is ridiculous to assert that UIC caused the harm to Henderson by merely stating that it was investigating claims (an investigation that Henderson now uses to support her reputation by claiming it exonerated her), when the real harm to Henderson’s reputation came from the critics and the newspaper that openly declared her a plagiarist.
It is dangerous to free speech when FERPA is used to suppress criticism of top college administrators and their scholarly work in this way. This settlement will have an chilling effect on academia, silencing criticism of academic misconduct and keeping the disciplinary process at colleges shrouded in complete secrecy for fear of lawsuits.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

UIC pays our ex-provost Angela Henderson $700,000 --as if this absolves a plagiarist.

For those of you following the saga of Chicago State's corruption--see the pay out to Angela Henderson recipient of multi-no confidence votes here in the Sun Times today. After decimating this university by her incompetence and vindictiveness as the epitome of a crony political hire at the side of her boss Wayne Watson, Angela Henderson was paid a 6-figure salary in August 2019 when she was unceremoniously taken down from the position of Provost. Now the lawsuit against her alma mater allows her to rake $700,000 because of heaven knows what UIC was covering up. 

Do not be fooled by articles such as this one written by Henderson's friend, Maudlyne Ihejirika. Notice, that "Under the agreement, UIC denies wrongdoing.." Notice that Ms Iherjirika solicited no comments from Dr. Bionaz who brought to light the plagiarzed dissertation. Do not be fooled. Ask to see her dissertation and look at it for yourself. Oh wait, you can't get it, it is permanently unavailable. An "anonymous" reviewer in the process declared it not to be plagiarized. Why "anonymous?" If the dissertation has been declared not to be an example of sloppy scholarship and plagiarism and if it is a source of pride for "Dr." Henderson why keep it under wraps? What a joke for those of us who did see it. UIC must have been awfully embarrassed about allowing the dissertation to have gone through approval to have paid out so much. Remember, Wayne Watson, her boss at CSU at the time, was a sitting member of her dissertation committee.

The former corrupt president Watson made Henderson the queen of the crony hires and advancements while she was here even before she obtained her "doctorate." She knows how to play the game. If you fall for her "I'm just a poor woman of color in academe and everyone is trying to take me down" routine quoted here then I'd like to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.

Angela Henderson might be pretty well off for having been showered with high-paying posts by Wayne Watson while she was with him at City Colleges and then when he brought her here to CSU. She might become rich from all her shenanigans with UIC, but she is still a plagiarist. And she remains a scab on academia's rump.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Another Unnecessary and Costly Settlement for Wayne Watson's Misbehavior

Colleagues and Friends:
I've been waiting for the end of our civil action to post this. As I intend this to be my final post on the CSU Faculty Voice, I will bid all of you adieu.
Recently, the long-running lawsuit against Wayne Watson and CSU filed in 2014 by Phil Beverly (and me) concluded with the university agreeing to pay $650,000 in damages and attorney's fees to settle the action. There's a story about the settlement in the Tribune, you can read it here: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-state-university-faculty-blog-lawsuit-20190107-story.html
What the Tribune story fails to note is the large sum the university threw away on defending the egregious behavior of former president Wayne Watson and former General Counsel Patrick Cage. In mid-2016, the legal bills had already exceeded $400,000 for university attorneys Husch-Blackwell. My estimate is that the cost for that firm to represent the university in this loser of a fight will come in around $1 million, making the total cost at least $1.5 million for this case.
After twice threatening the blog with legal action, after lying about the blog's violation of non-existent university trademarks, after lying about a variety of other matters, after ham-handed attempts by the Watson cabal to inveigle various administrators to file false sexual harassment charges, the university's feeble defense predictably failed to stop the lawsuit. Thus, the university faced the prospect of a trial which would have featured a defense by two notable liars having to tell their ridiculous lies on the stand. Kudos to President Scott for finally putting an end to this farce.
None of this had to happen. Soon after we filed the suit, the Illinois Attorney General's Office floated a potential settlement which would have resulted in a modification of the two unconstitutional policies (Computer Usage and Cyberbullying) and the payment of $60,000 in damages and attorney's fees for our attorneys. Rather than accept this reasonable offer, Watson decided to fight, replacing the Attorney General with a private law firm, whose efforts resulted in this loss, the modification of the policies, and an estimated $1.5 million price tag. After all, it wasn't his money.
So the university must once again pay the price for Wayne Watson's incompetence, his vindictiveness, his mendacity. Hopefully, the settlement indicates that at least someone responsible for administering this school will actually put the university's interests first.