Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My fury only grows

Yeah, you know that "harassment" situation from last week? Well, no one has responded to anything, and students have been told the most outrageous things. This is profoundly affecting them. It is sick. They need an advocate, and yet I - their natural advocate - have no recourse due to the harassment accusation. Thankfully my Chair has been willing to take it up, but still. He doesn't think it will have an effect.

I haven't been this angry in a long, long time. And now resentful of being consumed by this anger. But I can't let it go because the situation hasn't been resolved and the students don't have what they need. I suspect, in fact, that the students may be being used as pawns in an attempt to sabotage me. It has got to stop. I have to figure out a way to take this up with someone who can do something about it - something like firing people.

Last night I had to phone someone to talk it out with me and offer me alternatives to defacing a certain part of campus or going into the place in question looking for a physical fight. As you might guess from this blog, I'm a pretty damn peaceful person - and one who always gives people the benefit of the doubt, tolerates mistakes, etc. I have been told, in fact, that I do this far too much - my faith in humanity was an issue between R and I. Not so, anymore, apparently.

8 comments:

dbm/gaa said...

Oh boy, this sounds bad. Can you go higher than the Chair? What is the union doing? How about going to the press, or suggesting the students do? The local press sounds dreadful, but would this be of interest to the national press?

Sorry if these suggestions sound ridiculous, without knowing more it is difficult to know what to say that might be helpful.

Marcelle Proust said...

Is there anything you can do for your students? I would say, do not address this person or talk about hir to your class, but if you can do something to ease the students' problems (order books online, rearrange the syllabus, change assignments) that makes you look like a cool and caring person, that would (a) give you something you can do about the situation and (b) work some damage control.

medieval woman said...

All I can say is that I'm thinking about you and give you a virtual hug - if you need my ninja warriors to terminate this person with extreme yet discrete prejudice, they're at your disposal.

Brigindo said...

So sorry to hear this. How frustrating to be that angry and to have your hands tied. It seems highly likely that your students are being used as pawns, unfortunately I think that is more common than most of us can imagine.

Good luck finding the right higher ups.

Hilaire said...

Well, I spoke with my Chair again, and he has sent some correspondence on my behalf to the highest of the higher-ups. He cautions, though, that this is not likely to change anything. He also says that I shouldn't do anything.

MW - I will definitely be using your ninja warriors in my fantasies!

Marcelle, I've managed to get it covered. :)

I am going to suggest to the students that they see about getting the student press to cover this.

It's actually been a real eye-opener for me about how disempowered students actually feel. That they just kind of take this and don't even conceive of trying to mount any resistance. Weird. This isn't 1968, that's for sure.

lilrumpus said...

This totally sucks. I have a little experience with something like this. Years ago I was accused of harassment without cause by a seemingly similarly disgruntled person. It is a sticky issue because in order for real harassment to be policed, these unfounded cases still have to be dealt with systematically (otherwise true harassment could also be dismissed without investigation).

This does not mean that it was pleasant for you (or me when I was in your position...I had a happy ending with the accusations being dismissed and the accuser read the riot act about abusing rules meant to protect people by using them as weapons of petulance). I let my chair take care of it and stayed away. I also had faculty advocates who were outraged (but calm and strategic) and they also worked on my behalf (both through official and unofficial channels). Student involvement needs to be thought out. If it can be done in such a way that is proactive and about student welfare it may be a good idea...

m(mmm) said...

also sending virtual hugs, or virtual drinks, or both.

JustMe said...

wow, sorry for this really sucky situation. i'm glad you could talk to someone about it...