But when it comes as a part of an open records request, in the midst of a federal investigation...and displays a pattern of behavior...well.... I can understand why Page One published it. It is in fact the public's information.
Felner Grievances summarized:
1. U of L is in possession of records of a sexual harassment grievance filed by a CEHD graduate student against CEHD Dean Robert Felner in 2005. The U of L affirmative action/employee relations office in the human resources department “found insufficient evidence to conclude the university*s policy on sexual harassment was violated.”
2. U of L is in possession of records of a faculty grievance filed by a CEHD faculty member against Karen Karp, chair, CEHD department of teaching & learning, and Dean Felner. On 6/6/05 the U of L faculty grievance committee recommended the provost “affirm the 2003 Merit Review” of the grievant. It found that “the unsatisfactory ratings in service and research in the 2003 Merit Review of [the grievant] were not a result of improper bias which influenced the decision-maker’s judgment.”
3. U of L is in possession of records of an administrator grievance filed by a CEHD department chair against Dean Felner. On 5/31/06 Provost Shirley Willihnganz found Dean Felner’s 9/1/05 letter of annual review of the grievant “to be unbiased despite the fact that Dean Felner raised some issues regarding [the grievant’s] administrative performance as acting chair that he believed to be problematic. However, in an attempt to have this grievance resolved informally, Dean Felner has said that he will re-issue a revised letter with the problematic sentences removed by June 6.” She also found that the grievant’s salary history over the last three years was appropriate and that he had been appropriately reimbursed for travel expenses. The provost wrote to the grievant that when Dean Felner issued the revised letter, “please let me know and we shall assume then that this grievance is settled via informal resolution.”
4. U of L is in possession of records of a faculty grievance filed by a CEHD faculty member against Dean Felner and Karen Karp. On 7/17/07 Provost Willihnganz concurred with the faculty grievance panel’s action “in finding no grievable action regarding [the grievant’s] 2006 Work Plan; and … affirmed “the action of Dr. Karp and Dean Felner in assigning [the grievant] a rating of Not Satisfactory in [the grievant’s] 2005 Annual Review.”
Other complaints summarized:
5. A 5/13/04 letter from a CEHD faculty member to associate provost David Howarth complaining, first, that “Felner has been reprimanding and patronizing me or my work and copying it to many others…. This has been embarrassing and hurtful to my reputation and career…. Second … Felner has recently thwarted a proposed project of mine without having read the proposal…. I think it is morally wrong for a dean to thwart the projects of faculty members, to pick on faculty he doesn’t like, to embarrass faculty through public reprimands, and to talk about faculty in negative ways behind closed doors.”
6. A 5/27/04 email to Provost Willihnganz from a CEHD faculty member complaining her sabbatical request filed in September 2003 had not been acted on by Dean Felner.
7. A 6/9/04 letter to Provost Willihnganz from a CEHD faculty member who wrote, “I have felt disrespected, devalued, and, at times, demeaned in front of others by Dean Felner, and I am beginning to wonder if I will stay here.” The provost’s reply is attached (PDF Link).
8. A 6/30/04 email to Provost Willihnganz from a term faculty member applying for a tenure-track position in CEHD complaining about emails from Dean Felner “that contained unreasonable demands and a threat,” and the provost’s response in part asking the faculty member to send the emails to her; and a “grievance submission form” dated 6/30/04 by the faculty member complaining Dean Felner failed to consider her application for a tenure-track position despite a positive recommendation from the search committee and asked for six months’ severance pay.
9. A 9/5/04 letter to U of L’s harassment/sexual harassment office from a CEHD faculty member summarizing the faculty member’s “interactions” with Dean Felner. “In my opinion, no one of these issues alone would have bothered me much. It’s the accumulation of all of them that has caused me to write this letter.” Among other things, this person complained that “he came into my office uninvited and immediately shut the door and began gossiping to me about a colleague …. I ran into him in the corridor and he stood really close to me and said in a baby talk, ‘How come you never come and see me?’ I was so taken aback that I literally stepped backwards and stammered, ‘Well, I’ve been working.’ And then he proceeded to explain that when he has criticized the faculty for not working hard enough, he wasn’t referring to me…. My experiences add up to his being too familiar, and from the beginning his uninvited interactions made me uncomfortable. When I retreated, he gradually got more and more hostile with me (as I with him)…. In my… years [at U of L] I have witnessed problems, embarrassing situations, and a few hostile people, but none as bad as [Dean Felner].”
10. A 3/8/05 email to Provost Willihnganz from a student in CEHD asking “about my options if I am devastated by the lack of professionalism displayed toward me by Dr. Felner.” In a follow-up email this student wrote, “Dr. Felner will continue to cross boundaries and attack those not in his favor…. My hope is that the CEHD’s image, as a representative of the University, does not decline as a result of Dr. Felner’s temperament.” The provost suggested the student should begin by meeting with the student grievance officer.
11. A 5/3/05 email to Dean Felner from a CEHD faculty member, copied to Provost Willihnganz, complaining of Dean Felner’s “harassment” of the faculty member and his “attempts to interfere with my retirement and force me to resign instead and on a date of your choosing have become so extreme and irrational that I felt the need to pull it off the table for my own protection.”
12. A 6/26/05 email to Provost Willihnganz from a former CEHD faculty member describing “many unprofessional incidents by Dean Felner during my last year at the University of Louisville.” The provost’s 7/15/05 response is attached (PDF Link).
13. An unsigned letter received in 2005 by Provost Willihnganz alleging Dean Felner’s inaccurate listing of a grant in his resume and a relationship with a student, attached (PDF Link).
14. An 11/9/05 email from Dean Felner to Provost Willihnganz describing Felner’s meeting with an employee who “moved to threats about legal action and … clearly feels like he does not need to deal with this a[t] the College level but has Provost office ear so if he comes there I hope that it will be sent back here.”
15. An 11/10/05 email to Provost Willihnganz from a CEHD administrator who complained of a “hostile work environment” and “prejudicial and unfounded comments” made by Dean Felner. There is a follow-up email from Felner to Willihnganz disputing the administrator’s account. The provost advised the administrator to work with the dean to resolve issues of concern.
16. A 12/6/05 email from the faculty grievance officer to an associate provost, forwarded to Provost Willihnganz, asking if there had been any follow-up from a November conversation concerning the FGO’s belief that “there may be significant infringement of academic freedom, in addition to a major erosion of collegial
academic governance in CEHD (in clear violation of the spirit of the position paper endorsed by our Board of Trustees in July 2001)… [and] systematic efforts to suppress dissent of all kinds in even the smallest matters, through reprimand, intimidation, and punishment. I believe that administrative tolerance of these conditions jeopardizes not only the faculty at CEHD, but also the integrity of our institution as a whole. Something needs to be done.”
17. A 2/20/06 email to Dean Felner from a CEHD faculty member “deeply disappointed in the way things have been done since you came. I see a irreconcilable discrepancy between what you say and what you do. Everywhere I look, I see suffering and deep depression in the faculty and staff. Colleagues are fearful of speaking up even when they disapprove of what you have done. You have created a work environment where people cannot breathe, and you have missed your opportunity to correct it. I think that you should leave.” The faculty member then described “the only nonviolent choice I can think of,” to commence immediately. Felner forwarded the email to Provost Willihnganz, along with his response to the faculty member asking to meet with the faculty member.
18. The Minutes of a 3/8/06 CEHD faculty meeting describing/containing a vote of no confidence in Dean Felner, attached (PDF Link).
19. A 3/27/06 email from a CEHD faculty member to U of L’s harassment/sexual harassment office complaining of being “targeted-among others–because of my role, responsibilities/authority, and salary” after “several faculty members distributed two pages of faculty/administrative salaries among most of the faculty (these were left in mailboxes and under office doors). . . . [T]he spurious tactics currently being used against the dean lead me to believe that I may be further targeted. My personal and professional conduct has been completely blameless, and any accusations made against me would be sheer calumny. But I have reason to suspect that one or more of these persons may attempt to defame, slander, or libel me.” The faculty member asked, “How would I go about filing a complaint on the grounds of discriminatory harassment and creating a hostile work environment against those faculty members who are making these threats and accusations against the dean, myself, and others ….”
20. Letter dated 8/31/2006 from “Just Solutions” to “Faculty, Staff, and Students of the CEHD,” attached. Also email dated 10/10/06 from a CEHD staff member to CEHD faculty transmitting Provost Willihnganz’s 9/25/06 letter to “Faculty, Staff, and Students of the CEHD,” attached (PDF Link).
21. A 10/25/06 email from Provost Willihnganz to Dean Felner about a note the president’s office received from a CEHD student, attached (PDF Link).
22. An undated unsigned letter received in the provost’s office c. 2007 noting “environmental work factors that make CEHD a miserable place to work,” attached
23. A 5/18/07 letter from an administrator at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois, to Provost Willihnganz “concerning very troubling and unprofessional behavior by Dean Robert Felner . . . at the recent annual meeting of the American Education al Research Association in Chicago” and referring to “Mr. Felner’s departure from the University of Illinois in 1997″ and “a substantial dispute regarding ownership and copyright status of a system of assessments for evaluating school improvement and school reform.” The writer expressed “hope that you will work with Bob Felner to insure that this public harassment of our staff will not occur in the future.” The provost replied she had shared the writer’s letter with Dr. Felner “to make him aware of your concerns.”
24. A 7/12/07 email from a CEHD staff member to Provost Willihnganz describing an incident in which he witnessed what he saw as Dean Felner’s acting “in a temperamental, abusive, and aggressive manner in front of other faculty, staff, and students…. [H]is actions resulted in the faculty member being embarrassed, subsequent tears and others in the center looking on in disbelief at his unprofessional display of interaction.”
25. A 7/26/07 note forwarded to Provost Willihnganz from the provost’s office’s student advocate describing her concerns about two students’ losing their assistantships in CEHD. She referred the students to the student grievance officer.
26. An 8/8/07 email from Provost Willihnganz to Dean Felner about a 7/12/07 complaint sent to the president by the students in a CEHD class who objected to “being moved.” The letter signed by the students claimed Dean Felner “very, very rudely spoke to [their professor] about the room. He was loud and brazen as he yelled at [the professor] in public over her use of the room. [The professor] asked him to please calm down and speak in a quieter manner…. [W]e feel … Dr. Felner “was very disrespectful to [the professor] and others around her and behaved very unprofessionally as an employee of the university. We feel that measures should be taken to address the Dean's public display of unprofessionalism toward [the professor] as it reflects negatively toward the College of Education and the University of Louisville.”
27. An 11/28/07 letter from a former CEHD doctoral student expressing regret at the departure of three of the writer’s former professors in her department. “It seems both odd and suspicious to me that all three would depart within one semester.”
28. A 3/13/08 unsigned letter to President Ramsey from a self-described “long time financial supporter of the University of Louisville as well as an alumnus” who noted, “I have been invited to the President’s box area for UofL ball games. I have never ceased to be amazed by the rude and arrogant behavior of Robert Felner. He is always lacking in manners and exhibits unfriendly behavior. Is this something you want to portray to your donors and alumni? I request that he not be invited to the President’s box until he can exhibit socially acceptable behavior…. I can’t, for the life of me, understand why this scourge of humanity would be allowed to continue . . . his reign of terror …. Therefore, I can no longer support a University that doesn’t support its faculty and staff…. [P]lease remove this man from any position where he comes in contact with the public.”
29. A 5/12/08 unsigned letter to President Ramsey from the mother of a graduate complaining about “the College of Education graduation ceremony last Saturday…. The person in charge, Dean Felner, acted as though it was his chance to perform. He didn’t seem to take the ceremony seriously-he told jokes and also seemed to enjoy interacting with and almost flirting with some of the young female graduates…. We looked forward to a day of celebration, and instead, got chaos and disrespect…. How many families had their celebrations ruined by the College of Education’s disregard for its students? What a disgrace to the University of Louisville and what a disappointment to my child and all our family members who attended. I hope you will take some action that will prevent this from happening to other families in the future. Certainly students who have worked hard to earn their degrees deserve better than this.”
30. A 5/28/08 unsigned letter to Provost Willihnganz from “a friend of the Planetarium” referring to the termination of planetarium employees and complaining of “another negative legacy Robert Felner will leave. His hiring practices again come into play. He is notorious for hiring attractive women for positions for which they are not qualified.”
31. A 6/3/08 unsigned letter to Provost Willihnganz referring to Dean Felner and complaining about hiring practices in the planetarium.
32. A 7/10/08 unsigned letter to Provost Willihnganz and John Ralston, director of human resources, complaining about personnel matters in the planetarium. “You let Felner wreak havoc on the University and the University is suffering the consequences. And you are continuing to allow his empire to wreak havoc…. Please at least investigate things at the planetarium with the support staff and see things for yourself.”
Apparently Provost Willihnganz couldn't find a pattern of behavior ...for lack of trying, one supposes. It's all about the Benjamins.