Raise your hand if you know how much evidence of sexual misconduct you need before taking action.
For the university administration, the likelihood that a tenured professor pulled an undergraduate Korean student into a storage room and attempted to kiss her and touch her inappropriately just isn’t enough. Oh, the administration says there’s a clear policy in place for firing tenured professors (a committee made of other tenured professors, lol), but when there is the probability that we have a sexual predator in our midst, we can’t rely on a policy that serves only the powerful.
It’s also, frankly, the administration ducking the question of whether any internal action has to align with guidelines for federal investigations for these types of investigations on campus. University President Allison Garrett--who overruled a recommendation by Provost David Cordle to summarily fire Schrader--is clearly embracing the Trump era rollbacks that are threatening to send the handling of sexual assaults on campus back to the 1950s.
We were nervous when Garrett was made president two years ago, because we thought it was inappropriate that her experience had been in law (as a corporate lawyer for Walmart) and as the president of a Christian college in Oklahoma City. These aren’t the credentials one would want for the president of a public university.
We hope the Kansas Board of Regents, who chose you over the better qualified candidate, are happy that their plan to plunge this campus back into the cultural dark ages has finally come true.
On Monday, following weeks of stonewalling and deflections, Garrett showed her true colors. She sided with a white tenured professor over an undergraduate woman of another race and another country. And she did it after a long string of indignities that Jane had to endure, including being forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement threatening discipline if she ever talked about the case, and not even being invited to testify before--or even be notified of--the panel of tenured professors who would decide the fate of the man who had likely victimized her. And, it was all covered up with layers of secrecy in which even President Garrett admitted would never come to light without the work of student journalists.
We are tired of being told, “We followed policy so you can’t blame us.” We are sick of hearing, “Well, we have more information than you, so you can’t understand. Just trust us.” We are outraged at being told, “it’s so very, very important that your report,” when obviously nothing will happen when we do.
And, how in the name of sweet Jesus can you claim to take sexual misconduct seriously, when in the meeting the head of Human Resources said the university only started keeping statistics on complaints about a year ago?
Monday’s meeting was a lecture where you continued the pattern of using your power, as administrators and as faculty, over us, the students. You weren’t interested in hearing our fears, our concerns or our worries that a predator is still working on our campus.
How are we supposed to trust Faculty Senate to look at the sexual harassment and sexual assault policy and “fix it” when that same policy was used by faculty and administration to allow Schrader to continue to work here?
If there was a bright spot at Monday’s meeting, it was when the provost, David Cordle, raised his hand when it was asked who among the administration had recommended firing Schrader. Cordle’s hand was the only one that went up.
It’s time for more administrators to raise their hands on our behalf.