11 June, 2015

Solidarity Along the Dirty, Sacred River, Part 2: Action


Updates

A wise man is one who realizes that pissing off a donkey will only make him kick. With any luck, you've seen the Insider Louisville  article by David Serchuk about my situation. Some crucial information that is awaiting authentication was left out; but with any luck, when my open records request is answered (I was notified by email this week that it is forthcoming), there will be more, which I mentioned in my previous post. There are some updates, however, that I can talk about prior to seeing what the KCTCS Office of Legal Counsel releases.

  1. After some some research and the help of some supportive friends, I've learned that the National Labor Relations Board laid down no less than 4 decisions against employers using social media posts as a justification for firing an employee. 
  2. While it is true that I was a fixed-contract/ at will employee, the fact is that their dramatic bushwack of a meeting had nothing to do with terminating my employment for any of the vague reasons given by Lisa Brodsky or the spokeswoman for KCTCS, Kristin Middleton.  
  3. Toni Whalen, head of HR at the Louisville campus said specifically, in this meeting, that the FERPA violation would be the reason for termination listed in personnel file -- not that a class didn't make (it did, I was on my way to teach it), or that there was no need (the current adjuncts are stretched and exploited as it is). It could fall under the generic heading of "administrative matters." 
  4. If my termination were simply a matter of either 1) them not needing staff or 2) the class not making, all they had to do -- and all they would normally do -- is inform me over email, generally through my department chair. Had they done that, I might not have just cause for retaliation. It would have been a suspicious termination, but a legal one nonetheless.

Something else to consider is the fact that while the Facebook post may be a rare example of one my less than stellar social media moments, the fact is, all the information in that post is covered by an exception listed in FERPA:

"Another exception permits a school to non-consensually disclose personally identifiable information from a student's education records when such information has been appropriately designated as directory information. "Directory information" is defined as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Directory information could include information such as the student's name, address, e-mail address, telephone listing, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended, grade level or year (such as freshman or junior), and enrollment status (undergraduate or graduate; full-time or part-time)."

And, in spite of what people outside the inner halls of higher yearning institutions, FERPA offenses -- be they alleged, borderline, or confirmed -- are not handled directly by the Academic Dean, the head of HR, and the Provost.  If this situation had been handled SIMPLY ON THE MERITS THEY CLAIMED IN THE MEETING, I would have

  1. been called to a meeting with my department chair and given a severe tongue lashing; and
  2. ordered to undergo a FERPA counseling session...
both of which would have been marked in my personnel file.

I haven't even gone into detail about the administrative path my termination took. That's some murky shit, friends and readers.

And that, along with more about the scab otherwise known as #respondent53, is for a later post.

Please Help

I want to thank everyone who signed the petition to have me reinstated without prejudice. If you'd still like to, or if you want to pass it around, here it is.

A friend and Fellow Worker, J.P. Wright, has started a small support fund. If you'd like to contribute, go here.

Some have expressed an interest in writing letters of support of my reinstatement. Here are some addresses:


Insider Louisville: Sarah Kelley, VP of Content and Editorial Director: sarah@insiderlouisville.com.

LEO WeeklyAaron Yarmuth Executive Editor:  ayarmuth@leoweekly.com

Louisville Courier Journal: 
http://archive.courier-journal.com/interactive/article/99999999/CUST/80212021/Letters-Editor

JCTC Human Resources: Toni Whalen, Head of Human Resources at JCTC: toni.whalen@kctcs.edu

KCTCS Head of Human Resources: Jackie Cecil: jackie.cecil@kctcs.edu

REMEMBER: THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT ME. THEIR EXTREMELY UN-PROPORTIONAL REACTION SHOWS THAT MY FIRING WAS NOTHING LESS THAN AN ATTEMPT TO SILENCE ME. ACTIVISTS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY ARE BEING SINGLED OUT AND RETALIATED AGAINST.

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