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CAUT Bulletin Archives

November 1996

Final Report of the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee II

In the matter of a complaint by Professor Ken Westhues Department of Sociology, University of Waterloo

The Grievance Hearing Committee Resumes

Once the proceedings of the Ethics Committee had come to an end, the Grievance Hearing Committee took up its work.

The Committee held a couple of hearings, which were preoccupied with matters of procedure. The substance of Westhues' grievance was never considered by the Committee.

The first procedural issue to occupy the Committee's attention arose when Lambert insisted on the right to call Dubinski as a witness. Dubinski and Westhues argued that Dubinski should not be required to appear as Lambert's witness, since he had only ever acted as Westhues' "colleague/advisor" in the case. The Committee agreed with Lambert and ruled that Dubinski should make himself available in this way.

In response, the President of the FAUW, Professor James Brox and the VPA & Provost held a meeting, and asked the chair of the Hearing Committee to meet with them. The chair defended the Committee's ruling, but Brox offered a contrary legal opinion from the CAUT that supported Dubinski's and Westhues' view of the matter. The Committee then reversed its ruling. However, Lambert continued to insist on his position.

The Committee also had to deal with issues of confidentiality. The Committee took the position that each party ought to be able to discuss the case with legal counsel and with their colleague, but with nobody else. Lambert indicated that he was willing to abide by this ruling. Westhues and Dubinski stated that while they would agree not to publicize material from the hearings, they reserved the right to consult as they saw fit. Lambert objected that permitting the possibility of wider consultation might impair his ability to make his case, because witnesses might be reluctant to appear. (He had by this time consulted with the Associate Dean and the Dean of Graduate Studies, the Dean of Arts, the Associate Provost, the University Secretariat, the university's legal counsel, the FAUW, and a retired member of the department, as well as receiving the submissions from his eleven colleagues.) To the end, the Grievance Hearing Committee insisted that Westhues and Dubinski agree to abide by a statement on restricted consultation that the Committee had developed.

There was a further disagreement over the statement of grievances. Following discussions with FAUW and the chair of the Grievance Committee, Westhues had agreed to remove his eleven colleagues as respondents. His grievance, nonetheless, still contained references to a conspiracy between Lambert and the eleven members of the Department who had signed letters to Lambert. One of those members had threatened legal action unless these references were withdrawn. In addition, the Committee -- even though it had accepted that Westhues had a valid grievance under Policy 63 -- requested that Westhues specify in writing, before anything was discussed at the hearings, how each and every one of his specific allegations or charges related to the possible grounds for bringing a grievance under Policy 63. Westhues' position was that he could not understand what further clarification the Committee really needed in advance of discussing his allegations at a hearing.

The CAUT Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee believes that this dispute marks a critical failure of the process; in our view the Faculty Grievance Committee should have heard the grievance. Even if the Committee believed that certain parts of the grievance were not well founded or were beyond its jurisdiction, it should nevertheless have heard submissions on these issues. Even if it declined to proceed further with those parts of the grievance, it should not have refused to hear and rule on the remaining portions of the grievance that were within its mandate.

Finally, on Jul. 18, Westhues wrote the committee to say that they could treat his grievance in any way that they thought appropriate, but that he would no longer attend hearings unless requested to do so to answer questions or to give "serial and independent" testimony in strict accordance with the published terms of Policy 63.

The Committee decided that Westhues' response made it impossible for them to proceed, and on Jul. 21, they wrote the parties indicating their intention to stand down.

Again, the Committee's refusal to proceed was, in our view, in error. In discipline cases, the onus of proof is on the administration to make its case. Thus, the Committee could have proceeded to hear the grievance, calling upon the administration to make its case against Westhues, and leaving Westhues to reply within the formal procedures of the Committee as they were published at the time. At least the merits of the administration's case would have been heard and Westhues would have had the opportunity to address their case against him. He might not have been satisfied with the outcome, but he could not have argued that the Committee refused to grant him a hearing, nor that he was deprived of an opportunity to address the administration's arguments.

A month of efforts to restart the hearings followed. The Committee outlined seven conditions, agreement with which was made a precondition for the resumption of hearings (including the requirement for restricted consultation and the requirement for further clarification of the written grievances). The Committee noted that when they expressed concern that several of Westhues' complaints appeared to involve questions of ethical behaviour, Westhues replied that every single one of them could be viewed in this way. The Committee "wondered" whether Westhues wished to re-position his grievance before the Ethics Committee. No agreement was reached on anything and on Sept. 6 the Committee formally stood down.

A preliminary report from the Committee was issued on Nov. 7. Westhues objected that the report had no standing since the Committee had not considered the substance of his grievance. The Committee disagreed and filed a final report on Nov. 25. Four "recommendations" were included:

  • that no action be taken on Westhues' grievance until he clarified the grounds for them as specified by the Hearing Committee,
  • that no action be taken under Policy 63 until Westhues rewrote his grievance to include only Lambert,
  • that no action be taken until Westhues' and his "academic colleague" agreed to the Committee's rulings on confidentiality (i.e. the ruling restricting their right to consult), and
  • that those responsible for any continuation of the case be provided with a copy of the report.

Finally, on Nov. 29, 1994, President James Downey wrote to Westhues to say that he accepted the recommendations of the Grievance Committee and indicated that Lambert's disciplinary measures would stand.

Downey stated that he believed that the conditions set down by the Grievance Hearing Committee were reasonable, and that he saw no reason for another Hearing Committee to consider the case.

Downey did however offer to engage a mediator to assist Westhues and his departmental colleagues to effect a reconciliation. Westhues pronounced himself ready to accept mediation.

Attempts to Introduce a Mediator Fail

There followed a year of efforts to obtain the agreement of the department to engage in a process of mediation. Don Savage, on the instructions of the CAUT AF&T Committee, was an active participant in this process. None of these efforts met with success.

At least part of the reason that attempts to bring about mediation failed has to be traced to Westhues' request, on Dec. 14, 1994, that the Senate Executive investigate complaints from former students and faculty about the past treatment of women in the department. These complaints, "contained in letters from seven respected female professors" were actually drawn from Westhues' copies of letters sent to President Downey in response to the "Dear Gail" mailing.

President Downey asked Westhues to withdraw his request for an investigation because Downey was concerned about the effect that moving ahead with his request would have on efforts to resolve Westhues' complaint, and Westhues did so. However, President Downey then provided assurances to the Senate Executive that the matter would be investigated and asked the Dean of Arts to implement such an investigation. A committee was established to review "only the current opportunities and impediments for women in the department of sociology" using procedures that would keep "all conversations and written submissions... in strictest confidence." The committee surveyed all the women sociology majors, interviewed all the women in the department who were willing to talk to them, and reviewed written submissions from anybody who wanted to write in. The committee submitted its report to the Dean of Arts on May 9, 1995.

The report was supposed to "clarify matters" for Westhues, the department and the Senate, but Westhues did not see a copy of the report for a month after it was filed, the department did not get to review the report until the end of September, and Westhues' requests for a personal copy of the report were also denied until then.

These delays in releasing the report can be largely attributed to the fact that the authors of the report apparently by themselves decided that the entire report should be treated as confidential. When the report was given limited release within the department, it was seen that the authors had cleared the department of suspicion. The authors also passed along in their report some criticisms of Westhues they had picked up in their investigation for his continuing to press his case.

It is clear that Westhues' request for an investigation sparked resentment in the department and provoked at least some administrators to the view that Westhues was not really interested in mediation. In any case, no one apart from Westhues, at any level of the University, was willing to have a mediator discuss the disciplinary measures that had been taken against Westhues, and with that subject ruled out of discussion, there appeared to be little that mediation might accomplish. Only a few members of the department were willing to meet with a mediator, while most appeared to believe that achieving Westhues' "reconciliation" with the department could be achieved without the services of a mediator. Some, indeed, believed that too much time and energy had been consumed by the matter already: they said that they were quite prepared to treat Westhues in a collegial fashion, and in their view, it was up to Westhues to reciprocate these efforts. President Downey knew of these objections to mediation in June, but there was no subsequent discussion of the mediation proposal until Sept. 6, 1995, when he wrote to Westhues to indicate that he would not appoint a mediator given the lack of support in the department.


Summary of Findings

We have concluded that Westhues was not fairly treated in the course of the disciplinary action taken against him at the University of Waterloo. In particular, we believe that the process of handling his grievance was flawed, as a result of which was his case was not properly heard or resolved. We also believe that the University's resort to the use of publicity against Westhues was unfair and inappropriate.

The Process of Handling Westhues' Grievance

We see little practical point in detailing every error in the procedures used to handle Westhues' grievance. Suffice it to say that the CAUT AF&T Committee believes that the evidence in this report points to a seriously flawed process, the effect of which was to deny Westhues a considered, fair hearing of his grievance.

From the very beginning of this affair -- from Lambert's uncertainty about how he was supposed to consult about disciplining Westhues, to the report on the treatment of women in Sociology -- a recurring theme has been that nobody knew what they were supposed to do, how they were supposed to do it, or what the rules were supposed to be.

The process followed by the chair of the department in imposing disciplinary sanctions was very badly flawed. In very great measure, this was due to the unclear procedures the chair had to work with. The delay in imposing discipline allowed matters to escalate out of control, with no one having any clear idea what, if anything, should or might happen in a situation that clearly was provoking considerable discussion in the department. Neither Nelson's report nor Westhues' replies should have been distributed to the department; that they were broadly distributed and discussed ensured that the controversy would get out of hand. With clear, fair procedures in place Lambert and everyone else would have known what consultative mechanism should have been employed, and what further processes should then have followed.

In this dispute, Policies 63 and 33 set the stage for the enactment of a process in which a principal concern was how the dispute or parts of the dispute should be categorized, and who should deal with which bits. Nobody would -- or perhaps could -- tackle the whole problem. So it didn't matter which door the actors went through, it was always the Wrong Door. Only part of the issue was aired -- Nelson's complaints against Westhues -- but the severe sanctions imposed on him were left in place, indeed added to, without his side of the case being ever being fully addressed.

The University's failure to deal with the issues involved in this dispute has resulted in serious damage for the parties involved. Westhues, Nelson, Lambert and the rest of the department have all suffered a great deal -- and not just because of the attacks of other parties in various forums -- but because the University of Waterloo has in place a set of mechanisms that are so radically flawed that a fair, clear and binding resolution of the dispute was unlikely from the very beginning.

While we have made several criticisms of the decisions made by various members of the UW community in dealing with Westhues' complaint, none of this should be construed as implying that we doubt their sincerity or goodwill in trying to make the process work. Any group of intelligent, fair-minded and well-intentioned people would have had extreme difficulty in implementing Policies 33 and 63 fairly in this dispute. The fault lies in the procedures themselves.

Unless the academic staff and the administration of the University of Waterloo want further disasters of this order, it is absolutely imperative that Policy 63 and 33 be replaced by a comprehensive agreement between the FAUW and the administration that clearly lays out a fair and detailed grievance process, establishing procedural protections for all parties in a dispute, and providing for the final and binding resolution of these matters. There is no justification whatever for the University of Waterloo community to accept or ignore the deficiencies in its procedures that have been pointed out at various times in the last twelve years. Practically any faculty collective agreement in the country can serve as a guide -- the vast majority provide far superior procedures for dealing with grievances than those at the University of Waterloo.

Protests that grievance procedures in collective agreements are too "adversarial" and that they are damaging to "collegial" governance are simply beside the point. It would be difficult to imagine a process that was, in practice, less collegial and more adversarial than what we have seen in the present case. The parties to a grievance are necessarily, to a lesser or greater extent, in an adversarial relationship that in some cases assumes the intensity of a pitched battle, but they alldeserve the opportunity to be dealt with according to minimal standards of fairness and due process. Collegial problem-solving and informal resolution of difficulties are to be encouraged, of course, but this is much easier in a context that provides for fair and binding resolution of disputes, should informal processes fail. Policies 33 and 63 can easily lead to a situation, as we have seen, in which ad hoc decision making can undermine procedural fairness and effective conflict resolution, making a proper hearing of both sides of a dispute impossible.

All of this is essential too, just so the women and men who try to serve the interests of their colleagues through the FAUW have clearer guidelines about how they can best do that. Disputes involving several members of the faculty are notoriously difficult to deal with even at universities that have sensible procedures in place, but at the University of Waterloo they do not even have a clear process for representing the interests of one faculty member involved in a dispute with administrative officers of the university. The procedures at present are so confused, internally contradictory and imprecise that a proper role for the Faculty Association is very hard to make out in any particular instance. A clear, sensible, well-understood and accessible grievance procedure would, in future cases, eliminate much of the confusion and controversy that attended the FAUW's actions in this case.

Were the Allegations against Westhues Proper Subjects for Discipline?

Lambert alleged that Westhues attempted to influence the student's examination and acted in an uncollegial and intimidating manner towards Nelson. Allegations such as these are proper subjects for disciplinary proceedings.

Was he Properly Disciplined?

The answer is no.

Discipline can only be said to be fairly imposed if both the truth of the allegations in question and the appropriateness of the penalty imposed are subject to independent and fair review. The onus of proving just cause for discipline must lie with the University. Westhues denied many if not all of the allegations against him, and of course contested the penalties imposed upon him. For the reasons stated at the outset of our commentary and throughout this report, we believe that the process of handling Westhues' grievance was flawed in many respects, and the effect of this was to deny him a considered fair hearing of his grievance.

Our concerns about the process of handling this case are sharpened by the type and severity of sanctions imposed upon Westhues. The lengthy suspension from responsibilities in the graduate program was a particularly onerous penalty, especially in view of the fact that Westhues had never before been subject to discipline in his 25 year career at the University of Waterloo. The Ethics Committee then added to this penalty a forced public apology, an unusual penalty generally avoided in labour law because of its humiliating consequences. Natural justice requires that the imposition of such sanctions, even if they were appropriate, be subject to a proper, thorough and independent third party review.

It does seem clear that Westhues' behaviour towards Nelson after the examination was improper. In spite of his protestations that he had been guilty of nothing more than getting angry at Nelson, he acknowledges his "misconduct" in his initial statement of grievances: "I have acknowledged and apologized for crossing the line, in my conversations with Nelson, between desirable argument and reprehensible personal attack." His apologies did not mitigate this. They simply added insult to injury, repeated his offenses, and attempted to justify them in terms of Nelson's alleged failings. Thus, it was probably appropriate that this aspect of Westhues' behaviour should have resulted in some form of disciplinary action.

Nonetheless, while we conclude that a reprimand and warning were probably warranted, and that it might be appropriate that there be some impact on Westhues' annual merit increment for actions which he himself has acknowledged, we cannot agree with the University Administration that a proper case for further disciplinary action was made out.

Do Westhues and His Colleagues Have the Right to Criticize Each Other?

Of course they do.

Academic freedom protects the right to make such criticisms if they are not defamatory, harassing or directly intimidating. The University has a duty to defend frank and free speech, which can sometimes be negative.

What About the Meeting in the Department?

One of Westhues' principal complaints about his treatment in the department was that his colleagues engaged in a "conspiracy" to punish him by holding their meeting in Dec. 1993 without his knowledge and without giving him a chance to defend himself. It was out of this meeting that the two petitions to the department chair arose. His colleagues have several times defended themselves in holding this meeting in terms of their rights of free speech and free association. They say that they should not be faulted because faculty must enjoy the freedom to engage in criticism of each other, and they must be free to meet with each other with respect to any matter of importance.

Of course, they are correct in these assertions. However, the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee wishes to underscore the risks in such informal proceedings. These risks are, in fact, a primary reason for the development of formal grievance and discipline procedures in universities that give a central place to protecting fairness and due process. That the meeting took place at all, again, fundamentally attests to the failure of the university to have in place clear, fair, and well-understood procedures for handling allegations of misconduct.

What About Use of Publicity by Certain Parties?

We believe that the University Administration's resort to publicity, even if it was in response to Westhues' own use of publicity, was inappropriate and unfair. Moreover, after reviewing the file, the CAUT AF&T Committee was overwhelmingly of the opinion that resorting to publicity (in the mails, on the Internet, in the UW Gazette and the FAUW Forum, and elsewhere) served no one's interests and was damaging to the general reputation of the University itself. Specifically, the Committee makes the following observations:

  • While the Committee believes that Westhues had a right to comment publicly on his case, within the limits of the law of defamation, it feels that he should have been much more sensitive to the power difference between himself and Nelson, and conducted himself accordingly. While he did not name Nelson in the "Dear Gail" letter, given his years in the university environment he should have been aware that Nelson's identity would very likely become public as a result of this letter, sooner rather than later. Given this likelihood, and Nelson's untenured status, we feel strongly that Westhues' action in writing the "Dear Gail" letter was unfair, since he criticized Nelson in a way that allowed her no real possibility of a reply. A similar comment needs to be made about the discussion of the case in Moral Panic, which seems to be based entirely on Westhues' account of events. Once again, a one-sided picture of Nelson is presented in a forum where she cannot adequately defend herself. Those who have been persuaded by these public statements have taken information received from interested parties as if it represented the whole truth, suspending that careful, critical judgment which ought to deter them from drawing conclusions based on the evidence given by one side in a controversy.

  • The Committee notes that, just as Westhues was insensitive to the power imbalance between him and Nelson, so too was the university administration insensitive to the power that it held over Westhues. We believe that it was entirely inappropriate for Professor Kalbfleisch to retaliate against and punish Westhues by broadcasting his views on his case on the Internet and elsewhere. Why it was decided to use the Internet in the first place is very unclear; there does not appear to be a rationale anywhere in the documentation for this extraordinary decision to publish details of personnel matters in a way that both damages the individuals concerned and might cast doubt on the University's ability to manage its own affairs.

  • In the final analysis, the Committee concludes that the widespread publicity by the various parties to this case again reflects, at least in part, the inadequacy of internal dispute resolution mechanisms at UW.


With respect to Professor Westhues' complaint, the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee recommends:

  1. that the suspension of Professor Westhues from involvement in the graduate program of the University be lifted immediately; and

  2. that all material the university administration has placed on the Internet relating to this matter be removed forthwith.

    With respect to Policies 33 and 63, we recommend:

  3. that procedures be immediately modified so that in any subsequent grievance a single tribunal shall hear the entire grievance, including any counter-complaints; and

  4. that the FAUW and the administration of the University of Waterloo negotiate an agreement with respect to discipline and faculty grievances. This agreement should be in accordance with relevant CAUT policies and should be guided by the recommendations of the previous CAUT task forces on these issues.

Final Report Approved by CAUT Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee May 25, 1996.

Roger Gannon, Chair
Patrick Grassick
Glenna Knutson
Patrick O'Neill
Gail Storr


1November 12, 1984. Savage, D.C, & Mullan, D. The Savage-Mullan Report: Task Force on Procedures Relating to Academic Appointments at the University of Waterloo.

2March 23, 1990. Geramita, J.M., Savage, D.C., & Mullan, D.J. Report of the Canadian Association of University Teachers Task Force on the Adequacy of the University of Waterloo's Policies Affecting Faculty.

3January 27, 1995. Report of the Provost's Ad Hoc Committee on Harassment & Discrimination (PAHCOHAD). The report states:

Input from committees operating under current policies, as well as from individuals, also indicated concern about the arbitrary separation of ethical issues from other grievable actions. Often a complaint will contain claims (e.g., abuse of supervisory authority) which now must be dealt with by the ethics Committee, together with claims of inappropriate administrative action which now falls under one of the grievance processes. Not only is it difficult to separate the two, it is also possible that some complaints could 'fall between the cracks' as hearing committees try to sort out jurisdictions. We do not believe that was ever UW's intention to require a complainant to divide his/her grievance into two parts to be dealt with under different policies. Accordingly...we recommend that the exclusions of matters of ethical behaviour now present in Policies 63 and 70 be dealt with by an agreement to permit the establishment of joint tribunals, at the discretion of the Chairs of the relevant panels, so that cases are heard just once and in their entirety..." (p. 8).

4op. cit., p. 11.

5That letter, dated November 29, 1994, sets forth President Downey's acceptance of the findings of the Faculty Grievance Hearing Committee after it had stepped down from its consideration of Professor Westhues' grievance. It reads in part: "Since I believe the conditions set down by the Committee for the hearing of your grievance were reasonable, I do not feel there is any point in requesting that another hearing be struck under Policy 63 to consider this case."


My views of the Report of the CAUT Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee accord fully with the statement of Professor Ron Lambert, Chair of the Department of Sociology. The following points are worthy of emphasis.

  1. No one who bothers to consider the facts of this case will mistake the AF&T Report for an impartial review. The disregard for fairness and natural justice in a body so free with advice to others on these matters is distressing but increasingly unsurprising.

  2. The charges against Professor Westhues were that he interfered with the administration of a comprehensive examination, with the apparent intent of attempting to influence its outcome, and that, in doing so, he was also uncollegial in his relations with an untenured member of faculty.

    If Professor Westhues believed that his Chair had erred in applying sanctions, surely he could have demonstrated his complaints against Professor Lambert before the grievance committee. I am not prepared to believe that the members of the grievance committee, chosen jointly by the presidents of the University and the Faculty Association, and chaired by a former president of FAUW, acted in anything but good faith.

    The AF&T Report offers no reason to believe that Professor Lambert erred in imposing sanctions, or in his method of doing so. It is revealing that the Report is mute on whether Professor Westhues had any responsibility to proceed with his grievance or, though this matter was explicitly raised by Professors Lambert and Nelson, whether the FAUW had not acted in an individous manner throughout the process. Thus all the blame is conveniently reserved for the university administration.

  3. This university is governed by a set of policies that have been put into place over the years, under the authority of the University of Waterloo Act. The role of faculty has been paramount in the formulation of these policies. This is nowhere more evident than in Policy 63 (Faculty Grievances), where the role of FAUW in formulating the policy is described and in which the execution of the policy is the joint responsibility of the presidents of the University and FAUW. Over the years, there have been many revisions to existing policy, as there will no doubt be in the future.

The AF&T Committee does this university a disservice when it ignores the requirements of academic citizenship. Binding arbitration appears to the AF&T Committee as a magic solution; but without addressing the more fundamental problem of people's willingness to work together, arbitration simply offers a much more expensive dumping ground for disputes. The Westhues case is more a problem of attitude and will than of policy.

While the University remains willing to explore with the Faculty Association alternatives to the current grievance policy, it must be recognized that collegial resolution of disputes will always depend on a measure of good faith and fair dealing by the parties. In this particular case, there has been a regrettable absence of both good faith and fair dealing on the part of the FAUW and the CAUT, which has contributed to the difficulty of effecting a reconciliation between Professor Westhues and his colleagues.

James Downey
President, University of Waterloo

As Department chair, I imposed sanctions on Professor Ken Westhues on the grounds that he had improperly interfered with the administration of a doctoral comprehensive examination and that he had also threatened the job security of an untenured faculty member. The grounds on which sanctions were imposed are fully documented, a fact which continues to elude CAUT's AF&T Committee. Westhues' subsequent behaviour, and his continuing demands that the sanctions be lifted in their entirety, offer no reason to believe that he would behave any differently today. It is irresponsible on CAUT's part, therefore, to recommend lifting his partial suspension from the graduate program.

Although CAUT has agreed that two of the three sanctions should stand, it nonetheless concludes that Westhues was unfairly disciplined. "Discipline can only be said to be fairly imposed," CAUT pronounces, "if both the truth of the allegations in question and the appropriateness of the penalty imposed are subject to independent and fair review." CAUT's reasoning on this point thus establishes an interest on Westhues' part in refusing to cooperate with the UW grievance panel. In terminating the grievance proceedings, Westhues deprived me of an opportunity to demonstrate the appropriateness of my actions. The panel asked, over Westhues' objections, that he attend the hearings; that he not make allegations against colleagues who were not parties to his grievance against me; and that he respect confidentiality, a not unreasonable request given the requirements of Policy 63 and his propensity to trumpet his personal misfortunes. Having thwarted the grievance panel's good faith efforts to hear his grievance, and pampered by CAUT, Westhues pleads victim status.

CAUT has reserved most of its criticism, however, for this University's grievance and ethics policies. The Committee pretends that it is disinterested and presumes to instruct the University on fairness and natural justice. Judge CAUT's own conduct by the standards of fairness which it professes:

FAUW invited CAUT to intervene on Westhues' behalf precisely because it represents his interests, and not the interests of his colleagues, the Department or UW;

The AF&T Committee, including its membership and investigatory mandate, is the creature of CAUT and answerable only to CAUT;

In laying blame, CAUT has refused to pass judgment on FAUW cronyism and FAUW's mischievous role in the Westhues case, on the grounds that this exceeds CAUT's jurisdiction;

Having established a "fact-finding" sub-committee, consisting of the head of CAUT's AF&T Committee and its legal counsel, CAUT then claims to have ignored the findings of this sub-committee in preparing its final report;

CAUT has consequently limited its "investigation" to an indeterminate number of written submissions whose origins and contents have been withheld from the scrutiny of the University.

Until CAUT has put its own house in order, its gratuitous advice to this University must remain tainted. To correct the flawed analysis and special pleading contained in CAUT's final report, my document, The Westhues Case: A Statement of Fact, has been placed on the Internet at under documents.

Ronald D. Lambert

If I am ever asked for advice by someone who has the misfortune to come across a bully masquerading as a Full Professor and who tells me that the Bully has attempted, in various ways, to intimidate them into passing the Bully's favoured student on a Ph.D. comprehensive exam, my advice will be:

  1. "If you don't have another job lined up, and the student's performance on the exam is substandard, pass the student and forget about standards"; or

  2. "If, in your best academic judgement, the student's performance does not warrant a pass, fail the student, and quit your job."

If one asks one's Chair to intervene, this will cause the Chair countless hours of time, energy and eventual anguish. If the Chair attempts to receive input from colleagues/administrators, the Chair will be portrayed as slow and ineffectual. If the Chair acts on his/her own, s/he will be portrayed as draconian and despotic. The AF&T of the local Faculty Association will line up squarely behind the Bully and suggest that the Chair and the "Overreacting Colleague" write a letter of apology to themselves and that the Bully will consider signing select portions of it. When the Bully is told that the Overreacting Colleague and the Chair do not wish to play this little game, their refusal will be portrayed as evidence that they were never really serious about reconciliation in the first place.

Should the Overreacting Colleague inform his/her colleagues of what occurred, and they call for an investigation, this will be portrayed as a "cabal," "mobbing," and an "informal court." However, when the Bully writes to 100 "Friends and Colleagues" this will be seen as a reasonable way of spending a wet Saturday afternoon. The Bully will then file grievances against the whole department and shriek "conspiracy!" In a volume of grievances the size of the New York City telephone book the Bully will offer further "proof" of the "plot" that the Bully supposedly suspected all along. The Bully will emphasize that the exam was scheduled to coincide with the anniversary of the fall of Germany in WWI and will point out, in Eureka fashion, that the student was born in Germany. Other professors whom the Bully disapproves of will be accused of lusting after the Bully's graduate courses. Out will come the F-word (Feminist) and those rubber wedding rings, "political correctness" and "female tribalism."

Committees of Review will be struck. Should they fail to see things the way the Bully does, the Bully will proclaim their members to be part of the Conspiracy (i.e., Female Tribalists, the Politically Correct, the Morally Bereft...). The Bully will never wonder, in those quiet moments of the early dawn, whether the Overreacting Colleague could possibly have been right. In the "I know best" epistemology of the Bully, the Bully is always more sinned against than sinning.

I guess the only real option is Option #2. Upon reflection, that would now have to be my advice.

Adie Nelson

"Societies appear to be subject, every now and then, to periods of moral panic." So Stanley Cohen began his classic Folk Devils and Moral Panics (1972).

This report documents the current panic surrounding gender at one university. The evidence it reviews does not fit a picture of academics confused by faulty policies, doubtful about how to proceed, and therefore stumbling into unfairness. The evidence shows academics shot outside the orbit of policy by a woman's cry of intimidation and chilly climate, freed by her cry from reason and doubt. Much additional evidence unmentioned in this report fleshes the latter picture out.

My "case" serves to expose the biopolitical panic at Waterloo, but other professors, students, and staff have fared worse than I, in being forced out of the university altogether. They are male and female, white and nonwhite, gay and straight. One after another they have been offered in sacrifice to the gods of groupthink (Janis 1982) and corporatism (Saul 1995), in an effort to relieve ambiguities in Canada's "overall best" university (Macleans 1995), enforce a technocratic orthodoxy, and strengthen a local elite. The craziness and waste described here are the tip of an iceberg that has made the climate chilly for many scholars of independent mind.

Let no one gloat over UW's predicament. Essentially the same panic has infected campuses across the continent (see Sommers 1994, Fekete 1994, Emberley 1996), as well as the courts, law, politics and the media (see Gwyn 1995, Laframboise 1996, Rauch 1993). How much CAUT is itself caught up deserves debate in this Bulletin.

The power of a group is such that anyone it officially deems to be a villain easily internalizes this identity and responds with Shylock: "Thou call'dst me dog before thou hadst a cause, But, since I am a dog, beware my fangs." I am grateful to Gail Paton Grant and the other children of Portia who have helped me resist such internalization. I seek no pound of flesh from anyone. I seek an end to the panic, accountability of UW to authorities outside itself, and lifting of the restrictions and stigma wrongly placed on me.

I appreciate the report's recommendations toward these ends, and support its call for policy reform. Mainly, I thank the committee for publishing its telling of the tale, and for inviting commentaries. One theme of the graduate theory course I used to teach is that truth lies in the process of honest, reasoned dialogue (Buber 1955), more than in what anybody says. If this report helps reactivate the dialogic process at UW and elsewhere, it will be worth the work and pain behind it. Our reputation matters less than our substance, our private feelings less than our public responsibilities (Eshtain 1993).

Kenneth Westhues

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