Report & Determination…Finally (Pt. 15)
[Author’s Note: This story is part of a series documenting punitive actions taken against me by Rutgers University & various law enforcement agencies beginning November 9, 2016 — the day after Trump’s election. Start with Part 1.]
Hi Medium, it’s been a while. That’s because the situation has been at an absolute standstill. Ugh. However, today things changed. (Well, technically yesterday things changed but my email wasn’t working so I didn’t know things changed until today!)
Lo and behold, I FINALLY have in my possession a copy of the report and determination of the internal Human Resources investigation against me instigated by Rutgers University as complainant. Remember, this is the report and determination that averages a 60 day turn around. The report and determination promised to me in writing by the end of 1/6/17. It was finally emailed to me on Day 99. A 12-page report, minus multiple appendices, outlining the entirety of the investigation (which all took place during Novemer and December of 2016 — so again, why the wait?) and a letter determining I did absolutely nothing wrong. Yes, it took quite a few emails — some snarky on my part — to get this information, but the pressure paid off. Here it is:
Vindication! Albeit brief and fleeting because there’s still a long way to go with this fight. But vindication nonetheless. And I guess it makes sense as to why Rutgers prolonged and dodged releasing the report: it proves unequivocally there was absolutely no validity to the complaint (and thus the investigation itself) from the get go. Funny how that works.
While I knew I was being investigated for “violating the Rutgers Policy Against Violence in the Workplace” and saw the “Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment” also cited, I didn’t truly understand the role the latter policy played in the complaint. It came to the fore in neon lights in this determination letter though.
Rutgers was claiming I discriminated and harassed a member of a protected class under their guideliness, as well as a subset of a protected class. THAT PROTECTED CLASS WAS WHITE PEOPLE AND THE SUBSET WAS WHITE WOMEN. The “threatened student” complaining against me was alleging discrimination along the lines of Ron Weasley’s disowned cousin (Abigail Fisher) filing suit against the University of Texas claiming Affirmative Action discriminated against her as a white woman. WOW. 👀
And even the student — who must be a triggered white girl based on her interview answers in the report, though she remains anonymous (admitting to being white in one response and citing a comment calling out white women in particular re: Trump’s election as evidence of a threat) admitted that the initial complaint was overblown. She maintains her threat-level orange but concedes tothe fact that an American flag was never even taken out of the Target bag; the very information her father called in as the intial threat.
Whew. Before I go on, let me just drop the whole thing here for you to peruse at your leisure:
As annoyed and dismayed with the Human Resources office as I was for prolonging this process beyond even what they claimed their own standards are, I do appreciate the investigator going HARD in my defense in this report. She lays out 8 major reasons that “a reasonable person” had no grounds to feel threatened in my classroom. And she even (inadvertently perhaps) catches the complaining student contradicting herself, which shows the threat was never legitimate and the complaint was always intended to be malicious against me because a precious white student felt uncomfortable having their privilege questioned. She also gave me more information (again inadvertently probably) as to the identity of the Rutgers-affiliated person that RUPD redacted in their report.
First, the 8 reasons. They prove pretty damning evidence against Rutgers actions in the first place, because had ANYONE done the tiniest bit of research before quickly escalating the situation, none of the subsequent punitive events would’ve taken place.
#1 — The time frame has always been suspicious and proves no one felt “imminently” threatened, leading to speculation about other reasons for the “complaint”:
#2 — My tweets were never directed at Rutgers or Rutgers students, thus removing them from consideration in any of this:
#3 — Had anyone spoken to me prior to any escalation, it would’ve proved I wasn’t a threat in any way:
#4 — I share a non-violent ideology and politics on Twitter in addition to stating numerous times that I’ve never owned, nor do I ever want to own, a firearm. A tiny bit of research would’ve contradicted the “threat”:
#5 — Anything I said on Twitter wasn’t relevant in the first place because it was hyperbolic in the midst of a heated political situation:
#6—Speaking to any single student in my class, save the one complaining (which RUPD didn’t even speak to directly), would’ve provided contrary evidence to the “threat”:
#7 — Even if my tweets were a problem, any tweets in isolation from their context can’t convey full meaning and that’s exactly what the parent called in as proof of a “threat” — tweets out of context:
And #8 — I tweet extensively about gun control and non-violence as my personal politics, proving my tweet about shooting at random white people was hyperbole and representative of a different discussion around power and white supremacy:
These 8 reasons pulled from the report easily prove “a reasonable indvidual” has no grounds to claim an imminent threat. In fact, even the student claiming the threat themselves had almost nothing to back up the claim once interviewed and held under scrutiny (something no one did before carting me off for psych evaluation):
This anonymous student said “everything in class was hateful towards white people” yet could only provide two examples from over 12 weeks of class (meeting 2x per week for 80 minutes). Something smells fishy there. The slide from “everything” to two simple statements that have basis in fact happened in the blink of an eye, with the full force of the RUPD, Rutgers University as an institution, the NYPD, and even the FBI behind them. That’s the power or whiteness in a white supremacist society. And it actually proves MY points, not theirs.
And for the record, stating “White women are the problem in American. They were the reason Trump won” is not any form of harassment. It’s just an objective fact. White women — and college educated white women at that — were the surprise demographic that shifted the election in Trump’s favor. White men as well, but that was more expected than the results showing how white women voted:
To claim my statement of fact is harassment against you as a white woman is to exist in denial (and most probably to also be a Trump voter). To have your father initiate complaints based on your denial is malicious. To put the full force of your institutional weight, as Rutgers did, behind that uncorroborated complaint claiming victimhood based on privileged whiteness is irrepsonsible and possibly criminal. Yet, here we are.
From the report, I also learned the identity of the Rutgers-affiliated person originally contacted by the parent of one of my students. The name was redacted from the RUPD report, but is presumably the person presented here as first contact. This person escalated the situation by immediately passing the complaint to law enforcement before even the tiniest semblance of investigation — and remember this is an alleged “imminent” threat coming 6 days after the fact and by simple existence disproving imminence. This person handed off the baton without thinking of possible repurcussions. He passed the baton directly and immediately to RUPD who themselves overreacted and involved the NYPD. Who overreacted and forced me into psych eval at Bellevue. Who further overracted and involved the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Meet the Dean of Students for Livingston Campus (which is the campus where “diversity” programs are typically housed at Rutgers because although they tout most diverse campus in the U.S. they also segregate that diversity) Jeffrey Broggi:
Yes, that bio says he “thrives in working with students in crisis.” 👀 Ok. Hmmmm….
It might just be me, but subsequent events in my particular situation seem to provide evidence that Mr. Broggi might not be all that versed with dealing with actual students in actual crises. Or rather, events show he’s very well versed in dealing with students in “manufactured” (i.e. fake) crises, especially those that involve claiming victimhood for whiteness. I can’t help but wonder, how did his own whiteness aid in determining that this, of all complaints, was one to be taken super seriously? Especially after all the facts that have been laid out (and could’ve been found with minimal effort/research) prove how invalid the initial complaint was. What can I say? White people are gonna white people.
All in all, this report doesn’t seem to prove ANYTHING in Rutgers’ favor and EVERYTHING in mine. Don’t get me wrong…I’m ecstatic about that. And knew it would be the outcome. I needed this brief moment of reprieve and release. But I’m already anticipating how they’re going to try to spin it to somehow continue avoid taking responsibility/accountability for the unwarranted and punitive actions they took against me.
Just now, 100 days after the administrative leave and after a determination that I violated zero Rutgers policies, they have agreed to consider paying the medical bills I accrued during the initial Bellevue transport and evaluation. One of their stipulations is that I announce on my social media that they have agreed to pay the bills. Which I’m happy to do once it’s done. But taking this long shouldn’t be met with self-congratulation FYI. Regardless, I’m happy to announce it when/if it happens to save my credit rating, because I have no intention of paying those bills with my own money.
And even though everything seems decided in my favor in the report and determination, there’s still much to be negotiated with Rutgers. Bills aside, I want compensation for the work I was barred from by prolonging the investigation this long (2 courses I was set to teach this current Spring semester before any of this ocurred). I want a settlement for my fucking trouble and the damages done to my reputation and my mental health. I’ve had panic attacks over this ironically. I was cleared by the psych eval but going through the psych eval caused anguish and issues that didn’t exist to begin with. Moreover, I’ve been unable to secure work because I can’t get letters of recommendation from colleagues — Rutgers instituted a gag order and instructed colleauges not to speak to me under any circumstance.
And even after all this, I want to be reinstated as an adjunct at an insitution that I’ve given almost a decade of blood, sweat, and tears to. I love my students and I love teaching. Perhaps more than anything else though, I want a goddamn apology! Of course, I doubt that will happen, given Rutgers’ tendency to double down rather than ever admit wrongdoing.
Because they refuse to ever admit culpability, one of the other stipulations they put a lot of weight on in their negototiation contracts is confidentiality. I refused confidentiality in negotiations to pay the medical bills. I will refuse confidentiality in any agreement or negotiation I make with Rutgers. They don’t have the right to sweep this under the rug. And that’s also why I’ve reported things as they happen. I won’t stop telling my side of the story.
If Rutgers wants to offer me a settlement, I’ll lay off the continued pressure of course. I’ll happily move on. But I won’t be silenced by them. I won’t pretend or agree to the fiction that none of this ever happened. A stipulation that got erased and revised in the medical bill negotiation was that I delete all mention of the incidents from my website and social media. HELL NO. I mentioned the compromise above: that I acknowledge Rutgers paid the bills on social media. They’re not off the hook though. Far from it.