Professional Misconduct · 27 September 2005

Filed under: Indiana, Press Coverage

By Professor

Many readers of Frontpage will be familiar with the case of William Bradford: a Chiricahua Apache long-term army veteran and law professor of outstanding achievements who is being persecuted at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Law School because he refused to sign a petition in favor of the phony Indian and anti-American radical Ward Churchill.

The subject today is a memo which official IUPUI spokesman Rich Schneider has sent to a columnist at the IndianapolisStar. The Star is the leading newspaper in Indiana, and the memo is an attempt to prevent publication of a column in the newspaper attacking the University's handling of the Bradford case. The columnist sent it to Bradford for comments, which is how I came into receipt of this document.

Frankly, this memo from University spokesman Rich Schneider is a shocking document. It is a sequence of intentional distortions, cynical manipulations of language, and outright lies. Because the Schneider memo is a pack of lies sent to a columnist for the major newspaper in Indiana, the memo itself is now part of the on-going scandal of administrative misconduct at IUPUI.

The Schneider memo is presented to you complete here, but it is also "deconstructed": I have taken it apart, sentence by sentence, to expose what it truly is. I would say that the Schneider memo to the Indianapolis Star columnist is typical of the cover-ups in which all corrupt bureaucracies under siege instinctively engage. This does not mean that someone at IUPUI should not be held responsible for distributing lies. There is no excuse for it.

After a greeting, the body of the memo begins:

No adverse action has been taken against Professor William Bradford.

[This is an outright lie. Here are some of the adverse actions that have already been taken against Bradford. Acceptance by Vice Chancellor Plater of bogus retaliatory complaints against Bradford, and the setting up by Plater of a special panel to investigate those complaints, a panel which is a hand-picked anti-Bradford kangaroo court (see below)--these are indeed adverse actions. So is the Administration's illegitimate refusal to act on Bradford's legitimate application for candidacy for tenure between 24 March 2005 and 11 September 2005-: that is, a refusal to act for the unprecedented period of six months. So, finally, is Vice Chancellor Plater effectively calling Bradford a troublemaker and liar in front of all of Indiana in the leading newspaper of Indiana on July 3-after which he set up his kangaroo court.]

In the last year, he [Bradford] has been promoted from assistant professor to associate professor, given a raise, and received, for the second year in a row, a special dean's fellowship in recognition of his scholarly excellence.

[This "information" is offered by Schneider as evidence in support of the claim that "no adverse action has been taken against Professor Bradford." The problem with Schneider here is that all these nice developments occurred BEFORE Bradford refused to sign the petition supporting Ward Churchill circulated in February 2005 by Professor Florence Roisman-and before the brutal retaliation that has then ensued. The developments mentioned by Schneider are from spring 2004 and autumn 2004. The vaunted pay raise simply went to everyone in the Law School that autumn. The promotion (which was by unanimous vote) and the Dean's Fellowship occurred in November 2004. These things are thus completely unrelated to the events of March 2005: the contested vote on Bradford's potential for tenure, and the contested vote even on renewal of his untenured contract, which occurred in March 2005, which only came AFTER his refusal in February to sign the Ward Churchill petition and Roisman's confrontation with him over this, in which she exclaimed: "What kind of a Native American ARE you?" That confrontation-and nothing before that confrontation-was the cause of terrible trouble for Bradford.]

Professor Bradford has never been denied tenure, nor has he been considered for tenure.

[This statement is technically true, but only because the Law School itself has illegitimately refused to act on his legitimate application for candidacy for tenure during the past six months, since March 24, 2005. But Bradford was evaluated informally for tenure on March 12, 2005, and five faculty members judged the likelihood of future tenure as "low." Those same five also voted to terminate Bradford-a person with an outstanding record in teaching, service and scholarship-to terminate him immediately.

Note the astonishing change: in November 2004 Bradford receives a unanimous vote (19-0) for promotion to associate professor; but in March 2005, only 120 days later, one-third of the law faculty actually want to fire him immediately. Nothing had changed in Bradford's outstanding record in teaching, service and scholarship in that time. Bradford has an explanation for this sharp discrepancy in voting: his failure to be a "good Indian" and sign the Ward Churchill petition. The other side has not offered any explanation for the discrepancy, preferring to remain silent.]

In order to be considered for tenure, whether early or typically in the sixth year of a six-year probationary period, the candidate must take specific actions to become eligible. Although Professor Bradford initially indicated that he wished to be considered, he did not complete these steps.

["He did not complete these steps." This is a lie. The "specific actions" Schneider refers to must be taken by university administrators and they cannot be taken by any candidate himself. Bradford completed the only step possible for him to complete, to wit, the filing of the statement of application for candidacy for tenure. That was done on 24 March 2005. Following the filing of the application for candidacy, the duty to move the tenure case forward devolves onto the Law School administration itself.

--The Law School must first appoint an official Promotion & Tenure Subcommittee, made up of (usually) three tenured professors.
--This Promotion & Tenure Subcommittee is then responsible for all further action in the case. They compile the official tenure dossier of the candidate's scholarship and teaching evaluations. They also solicit the external reviews of the candidate's scholarship, from prominent national scholars outside the Law School.
--The requests for these crucial external scholarly reviews are made by the Subcommittee and only the Subcommittee: it is they, and only they, who can send out the official requests to prominent legal scholars. Bradford cannot do these things. In fact it would be a gross violation of rules and procedure for him personally to do these things-for instance, to solicit letters.

In Bradford's case the fact is that this required P & T Subcommittee was never formed. It STILL has not been formed. This is not Bradford's fault, but the Law School's fault. It is thus the Law School that has failed to compolete the required steps-not Bradford. When Bradford filed his letter of application for candidacy, he had done everything he could do in the process to that point. The Law School-for six full months--has failed to act on his application for candidacy. And they have never explained this failure to Bradford.]

Without completing all the necessary steps, Professor Bradford, like any faculty member similarly situated is not be eligible to be considered for tenure. Until last week, the only step taken by Professor Bradford was to send an email notifying the Chair of the School's Promotion and Tenure Committee of his intention to apply for earlier than normal tenure.

[This is another version of the previous lie about Bradford's role in the tenure process. To justify Vice Chancellor Plater's lie in the Indy Star last July 3 that Bradford was "not yet eligible for tenure", which impliedthat he had to wait six years-he was eligible, as Schneider himself is forced to admit in this quote and the previous one, with their references to the IUPUI practice of early tenure for those with outstanding records--the University is now suggesting that what Plater meant was that Bradford was not yet eligible for a VOTE on tenure, because the work on his tenure dossier was incomplete. Yet even if this is what Plater meant, both Plater and now Schneider are guilty of lying by omission, by leaving out the key fact.

Yes, no one is eligible for a tenure vote until the P & T Subcommittee has compiled its official dossier of scholarship, teaching, and external evaluations, and sits down with the larger P & T Committee (about 20 voting members) to take the vote. But the only reason Bradford hasn't completed "the necessary steps" to get to the actual VOTE on tenure in the Law School is because the Law School itself has illegitimately failed to act on his application. That is not BRADFORD's fault, and it is shameful, really shameful, of Schneider to try this subterfuge, to suggest that the failure to move forward IS-somehow--Bradford's fault. Bradford's responsibility was to submit an application for candidacy for tenure. That he did. It has never been acted upon. Yet now Schneider tries to blame Bradford for the process never being completed! Really disgusting.]

Last week , Professor Bradford contacted the Chair of the School of Law's Promotion and Tenure Committee concerning the remaining steps in the School's procedures required to pursue early tenure during the current cycle. The School of Law has indicated that it will allow him to pursue the remaining steps in the school's process despite the passing of the usual deadlines.

[This is a distortion. Once again Schneider lies about what Bradford is allowed or expected to do at this point. He has already done everything he could possibly do. Everything else at this point is up to the administration. Repeating the false claim that Bradford has somehow neglected to take steps he could have taken to advance his tenure case does not make it any less false

What actually occurred, in any case, was this. State Representative Jeffrey Thompson called Charles R. Bantz, the Chancellor of IUPUI, in late August to finally demand action on the Bradford case. Confronted by a State Legislator, Chancellor Bantz promised action. This promise then forced Vice Chancellor Plater finally to concede on Sept. 9 in writing to Bradford that Bradford had indeed legitimately applied for tenure, and that he was indeed completely eligible for tenure, and to inform Bradford that the Law School could now begin to discharge its duties. Once he received the message from Plater, Bradford could contact the Chair of the P & T Committee to request that a Subcommittee be formed-which he did. In short, Schneider is trying to tell you that Bradford finally contacted the Law School to begin the requisite steps, steps which previously HE had for some inexplicable reason failed to do. But that's not what happened. Bradford didn't contact the Law School. Under public pressure, the University Administration finally contacted Bradford with the necessary notification of approval to go forward. It finally told him that the Law School might now form the required P & T Subcommittee.

In the normal run of things, this notification should have occurred a day or so after Bradford submitted his application for candidacy on March 24. Earlier, in spring 2004, Bradford submitted his application for candidacy for promotion to associate professor, and he received an immediate positive response, and the Promotion Subcommittee was formed by the Law School in a couple of days. But in Bradford's tenure case nothing-nothing--could be done to forward the tenuring process UNTIL Bradford received that official notification and the Law School itself formed the required P & T Subcommittee. The notification that Bradford's case could go forward came six months late. It came only as a result of public pressure, only after the Chancellor's order, and only on September 9. In fact, the Law School still has not formed required P & T Subcommittee! And although Schneider's memo tries to blame Bradford for missing deadlines, the only reason those deadlines have been "missed" is because of the administration's inaction on his application for candidacy for six full months. And now the University spokesman dares to blame him for missing the deadlines? Again-really disgusting.]

This decision not to seek early tenure is Professor Bradford's own. The university cannot consider him early unless he specifically seeks consideration and completes the necessary steps.

[What "decision not to seek early tenure"? Schneider is simply making this up. Bradford decided to seek early tenure. Suddenly Schneider is claiming that Bradford has decided not to seek early tenure. His "proof" ? Bradford "has not completed the necessary steps." Schneider comes back to this lie again. But again, the truth is the failure to complete the necessary steps was the result of the administration's own inaction, not Bradford's, its failure to act on his legitimate application for candidacy. So this is just another attempt by Schneider falsely to blame Bradford for nothing happening after his March 24 application for candidacy. But the application was never acted upon. That is proof of the Administration's malevolence-not of Bradford's alleged decision not to go forward. So these are just more lies, and crude lies, by Schneider.]

What are Professor Bradford's prospects for achieving tenure? First, it should be noted that the law school has a procedure that requires its Promotion and Tenure Committee to conduct a straw poll on tenure probationary faculty (except those in their first year of service on the faculty). According to the school's procedures, the committee members declare by secret ballot the probability that he or she will later vote to award tenure. This is not a vote on tenure. Tenure decisions are made according to a process that begins at the faculty member'ss school and then proceeds to a campus committee and so forth. Each level of review is separate and independent. It is ordinary in the course of such reviews for different levels of review to reach different conclusions about whether to recommend tenure. It is not uncommon for tenure candidates to earn tenure even after receiving some negative votes. As of now, there has been no consideration of tenure at any level. Thus, it is impossible to predict what will be done at each step of this multi-layered process.

[This is factually true. But it obscures the practical political reality. There is no way now, thanks to the poisoning of the whole atmosphere which was begun by Roisman, that the Law School (in the form of the 20 or so voters in the Promotion & Tenure Committee) will ever give Bradford the vote Bradford deserves on his academic merits-the only standards that are supposed to be applied.]

The current situation affecting Professor Bradford is a sensitive personnel issue in which the law school and campus stress the importance of confidentiality so as to ensure the rights of all of the concerned parties.

[Bradford has waived the "right" of confidentiality here, because it is really a dark cave in which others hope to draw this process in order to hide their misconduct.. the administration hoped that confidentiality would conceal their wrongdoing and the many administrative procedural errors and lies that have tainted Bradford's legitimate effort to get tenure.]

Some commentators have alleged that a committee has been appointed to investigate Professor Bradford. On the contrary, a panel was appointed to provide advise on complaints filed by three faculty involving the university's code of ethics. This is consistent with past practice of the campus on matters of this kind.

[Here we enter a new subject: the special grievance panel formed by Vice Chancellor Plater against Bradford. Schneider claims this panel's purpose isn't to investigate Bradford--no, no--and that the panel will merely give "advice" to Plater on an "ethics" issue. This is a blatant lie. For the Panel's "advice" to Plater on the Bradford issue will in fact be a judgment on a bogus grievance filed against Bradford by Florence Roisman and Mary Mitchell. Their charge: that Bradford called them "racists" in public because they expected him to sign the Ward Churchill petition because he was an Indian. The special panel's judgment on a grievance, however, will be a judgment arrived at without the multiple protections of fair play and impartiality mandated by the ordinary Grievance Review Board Procedure of IUPUI, or by the ordinary and informal Faculty Grievance Advisory Panel procedure at IUPUI. The Grievance Review Board Procedure establishes strict principles and safeguards for impartiality-all of which are violated by Plater's personally-chosen "Advisory Panel." Meanwhile, the ordinary and established "Faculty Advisory Panel" is not being used. Why was this case not given over either to an extraordinary and extra-careful version of the Grievance Review Board, or, since those Boards deal with administrative conflicts, to the ordinary and established Faculty Grievance Advisory Panel? Both of these institutions have multiple built-in safeguards to ensure impartiality. Why was a special kangaroo court created instead?]

The panel is composed of three of the most distinguished and honorable members of our faculty. each of whom is a seasoned, experienced colleague who understands the importance of a fair hearing free from discrimination or bias.

[This "advisory" panel is in serial violation of university rules: both the principles of impartiality that govern the formal Review Board, and those rules that govern the informal Faculty Grievance Advisory Panel; see Professor X's article on

The panel is chaired by Distinguished Professor and Dean Emerita of Nursing Angela McBride, widely known across the state and nation for her advocacy of underrepresented minorities. She is the coauthor of IUPUI's statement on diversity. She is joined in the work of the panel by James White, who served for more than 20 years as the American Bar Association's consultant on accreditation of law schools. He is one of the nation's most well-informed academics on processes designed to ensure fair and equitable treatment of faculty. The third member is Jerry Bepko, law professor, Chancellor Emeritus, and former Acting President of Indiana University. We have taken great care in forming the panel to ensure that all parties will be treated fairly and equitably.

[Whether these people are as they are described or not is immaterial: the panel is in serial violation of University procedures (see above). But in fact Bradford has pointed to specific areas of concern regarding bias with each of these individuals: Angela McBride is a friend of plaintiff Roisman; Jerry Bepko is a friend of plaintiff Mitchell; White is a political enemy of Bradford's friend Associate Dean Harvey. And there was no response from Vice Chancellor Plater when Bradford pointed out the specific conflicts of interest here, except a one-sentence remark that he thought the panel was fine.]

It is important to note that this panel includes two members of the law faculty because campus procedure for hearing complaints involving academic ethics begins at the school level. This allows the process to be addressed by a group that includes individuals familiar with the School of Law's processes and procedures, without prior knowledge or involvement in the specific matters referred to in the complaints .

[Whatever the claimed merits of this panel, it is in violation of University rules, and in this case, the University rules say that NO members of such a grievance board can EVER come from the unit in which the controversy has arisen. (In this case, that means the Law School). No, never, because of inherent conflicts of interest. The rules are insistent on this. Yet in the Schneider memo, the membership of Bepko and White in the Law School is made into a VIRTUE! Really amazing.]

The complaints filed among and between the three faculty pertain to the University's code of academic ethics. The code allows one or more faculty to assert a violation of the code against other faculty, as in the case here. The university has very clearly distinguished the process fo r hearing ethics complaints between and among faculty members from a separate and distinct process for addressing faculty grievances concerning action taken by those with administrative responsibility. In the case of the latter, the faculty file a grievance with the President of the IUPUI Faculty Council, but only after some adverse action has been taken by an administrator at the unit or campus level. The former only requires a complaint made by one faculty member against another, asserting a violation of the university's code of academic ethics. It is necessary that these be separate processes. We are scrupulously following the prescribed procedure for the nature of the complaint.

[This is either another Schneider lie, or an example of administrative incompetence. Schneider appears to be claiming that there is a special procedure for "ethics complaints": but the fact is that there are no special rules in the IU or IUPUI handbooks for procedures regarding "ethics complaints"-none. Repeat: none. What Roisman and Mitchell, two white women, are in fact doing is filing an ordinary grievance against a minority because he called them racists for expecting him, just because he is an Indian, to sign a petition in support of Ward Churchill.

Now, there are established procedures in the University bylaws for dealing with such an inter-faculty grievance: namely, the informal Faculty Grievance Advisory Panel. Cases involving complaints between faculty are normally handled by this Faculty Advisory Panel. This Panel seeks first of all an informal reconciliation between the disputants, as the article in Frontpage said; but Plater's panel has not attempted to do that, and will not do that, but will instead issue a judgment ("advice" to the Vice Chancellor). The real Faculty Advisory Panel for grievances among faculty found in the IUPUI handbook never issues a report; that is a University bylaw. THIS panel will do so. The real Faculty Advisory Panel of the Handbook already has a list of 20 possible senior faculty to do its work, and such Faculty Advisory Panels are NOT appointed by the Vice Chancellor. None of the current members of Plater's "Advisory Panel" are drawn from that already-existing list of senior faculty , and the Vice Chancellor did the choosing.

So instead of proper official procedure we are given three people to investigate the "racism" issue, hand-picked friends of the plaintiffs Roisman and Mitchell, or enemies of Bradford. They were chosen by a Vice Chancellor who has already lied in print about the case in the Indianapolis Star while calling Bradford a liar in print specifically on the 'racism' issues. Why the ordinary informal "Faculty Grievance Advisory Panel" to deal with grievances was not used in this particular grievance case, as mandated by University's own bylaws, is now clear: Plater wants a special biased kangaroo court set up with only one purpose--to hang Bradford. Oh-and remember: "No adverse actions have been taken against Professor Bradford." ]

Professor Bradford also has filed an internal complaint alleging discrimination. This complaint has been filed with the campus affirmative action office, the office campus office responsible for receiving and reviewing such matters. The campus takes such complaints very seriously , and it will not tolerate discrimination in any form. His complaint is under review, and IUPUI will act promptly on any findings that may occur.

[ Bradford's experience thus far has taught him all too well that the University does tolerate discrimination that advances a particular political agenda. I hope subsequent experience disabuses him of this impression, but the actions of the administration have only intensified it so far.]

Anyone who has completed reading this Schneider memo will be forced to conclude that Rich Schneider, an official University spokesman, has now lied multiple times to a columnist at the Indianapolis Star. Of course, Vice Chancellor Plater has himself lied to the Star, in his letter of July 3. If Schneider's fundamental task is to get out the truth about and for the University, then Schneider should now, after this disgraceful episode, step down as a University spokesman. Alternatively, of course, the University could state publicly that Schneider's task is actually to lie for the University, in order to defend the indefensible. And THAT, my friends, would be the sickening truth.

"Professor X" is a full professor at a flagship campus of a major state university. The recipient of awards from both gay and minority groups on his campus, he is a registered Democrat who voted for John Kerry in 2004.