Monday, May 22, 2017

Kangaroo-icide: The Real Story

By Professor Doom

     Last time around I covered the school paper’s version of events surrounding the suicide of a student after he got caught up in the school’s kangaroo court system. Bottom line, however, the school paper is just administrative propaganda—they’re entitled to their point of view, though I do wish they were more honest about it. I mean, when The Ice Cream Council says their studies say the ideal human weight is 400 lbs, they state their bias in their name…but the school paper doesn’t give the reader any such fair warning.

     So, now let’s consider the rest of the story, from a source that probably doesn’t have anything personal against the administration of UT Arlington.

Klocke, a straight male, was accused by a gay male student of writing anti-gay slurs on his computer during a class. Klocke vehemently denied the accusation, and administrators who investigated the incident acknowledged there was no evidence to support the accuser’s claims, yet Klocke was still punished.

--emphasis added

     I find it so insulting that I can’t get cheaters removed from class even when I catch them red-handed…but just an accusation of “anti-gay slurs” is enough to get a student punted. Hmm, maybe I should start accusing cheaters of being anti-gay?

     And, with no evidence, just a he said/he said situation, punishment was meted out. What kind of investigation was there?

The accuser claims he was made so uncomfortable by the exchange that he waited until the end of class and spoke to the professor, who allegedly told him to contact student support services. There is no documentation to suggest the professor was interviewed in the course of the investigation in order to corroborate the accuser’s claims. The attorney for Klocke’s father, Kenneth Chaiken, told Watchdog the professor never provided a witness statement,

     In the old days, our campuses weren’t flooded with administrators with splendiferous titles. This sort of issue would go to the dean…he’d talk to the professor, he’d talk to the students, and he’d tell the latter to leave each other alone and that would be the end of it. Now we have platoons of 6-digit salaried admin to perform investigations, and they don’t bother with such minimal investigation methods.

Instead of seeking support services, the accuser reached out to Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Heather Snow, with whom he had a friendly relationship. The accuser was close enough to Snow to refer to her by her first name at times, and Snow quickly became the accuser’s advocate, helping him to draft a complaint against Klocke and conducting the disciplinary procedure without following the school’s Title IX policies.

      Hey, this is remarkably different than the school paper’s “coverage,” right? Now we have the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs taking a personal hand in destroying the enemy of a personal friend…that’s not quite as clean.

       To emphasize, despite her massive title, Heather has no business over this aspect of Student Affairs:

The lawsuit alleges that UTA’s Title IX coordinator was not informed of the allegation, even though Snow suggested it constituted sexual harassment. This is a violation of UTA’s policies regarding sexual misconduct, which state complaints “should be made to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators.” Snow was neither.

     There are rules here, you see. You’re supposed to report this to the Title IX Coordinator, who then is supposed to name an investigator, who’s supposed to, you know, investigate. None of that happened, but if it did, after that comes a hearing. 

How’d the hearing go?

Klocke received no hearing, even though he contradicted his accuser’s claims. Had Snow properly reported the complaint to the Title IX coordinator, Klocke would have received necessary protections from the school. By doing things on her own terms, Snow was able to deny Klocke his rights as stated in UTA policy.

     Well, of course there was no hearing. That’s why there’s no indication of what judge made the ruling (and it’s nuts that the school paper didn’t find this an odd omission…). Every campus pours millions into Title IX compliance, hiring platoons of very well paid functionaries. It’s working out great, isn’t it?

Snow took control of the disciplinary procedure that involved a complaint she wrote herself. She enlisted the help of UTA’s associate director of academic integrity, Daniel Moore, and had him tell Klocke he was immediately prohibited from attending the class where the incident was alleged to have occurred. Klocke was completing the course as part of a short, pre-summer semester in order to graduate that summer.

      Wow, just an accusation, of a crime so piffling that even if it were true would merit minimal punishment at best, screwed this poor victim (Klocke) out of months of his life…his graduation would be delayed 4 months. And there’s no recourse.

…someone informed Klocke that this disciplinary record could keep him out of grad school, which Klocke had planned to attend after graduation in the summer.

       Poor kid…does anyone believe our campus court system should be able to do this over such a minimal accusation? Amazingly, Klocke had no way to defend himself from this accusation:

When Klocke was informed that an accusation had been lodged against him, he was not told the name of his accuser. Klocke was also informed that he could not contact anyone in the class, directly or indirectly, effectively denying him any ability to find witnesses to corroborate his story.

      Gee whiz, how did the school paper miss this detail? Oh yeah that’s right, the paper is just administrative propaganda, not a news source.

      On the other hand, the accuser was allowed to gather more evidence:

His accuser was able to remain in the class and find witnesses. He found only one, who didn’t corroborate his account but did say he overheard someone say “you should leave.” This could have been said by either Klocke or his accuser in either of their stories.

      This case is completely vaporous, there’s absolutely no justification for a judgement in any form. The kid killed himself because of this ruling.

--from another site. As an added bonus this place has a picture of the court from my old community college, in official regalia no less. Honest, this idiocy is happening on many campuses across the country.

      Despite the obvious, blatant bias and kangaroo-ism here, administration is doubling down:

“This is a tragic situation and we express our deepest condolences to the family for their loss,” the university said in a statement to Watchdog. “The welfare of our students is our highest priority.  Any loss is a heartbreaking one for our entire community.

“The university followed its policies and procedures.  This is now the subject of a lawsuit in federal court; therefore, we are unable to respond further at this time,” the statement said.

     The university followed its policies and procedures? Seriously, that’s their position. Yes, seriously. Take it from someone with a lifetime in higher ed, admin never, never admits error. I remember trying very hard to convince admin that 12 divided by 5 was 2.4, to no avail. Admin insisted it was 2.35, and there was, quite literally, nothing I could do about it, even as our community college was being laughed at for such idiocy in the face of simple correction.

      I’ve covered this type of weirdness before, and it comes from administration having absolute power: these guys really do believe they can do whatever they want, and whatever they do is, by definition, correct.

     Of course, when they get to a real court of law, reality sets in.

     I’ll make a prediction here for what will happen in the lawsuit held outside of the kangaroo campus system:
1)   The university will settle out of court (7 digits or more), no admission of wrongdoing.

2)Tuition will go up, and another administrator (working title “Vice President Of He-said/He-said Crimes With No Evidence And Diversity”) will be hired for $150,000 a year.

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