Tuesday, September 12, 2006

GRAND RAPIDS PRESS ARTICLE

As I say in the explanation of my blog, ("My Calvin Seminary Story"), I knew that a Grand Rapids PRESS reporter would be contacting me. That happened yesterday, and the article appeared in this morning's paper. Considering all the information to absorb and the very few hours to press time, the story was covered well.

I had expected that Board president Jansma (and Neal Plantinga) would deny my allegations. Yes, Sid Jansma, Jr. is right. An Ad Hoc Committee of the Board did review my case. This committee called for "redress" and conciliation to "mediate the differences." Mediators were hired. They called for specific redress, including my being appointed full professor "at this time" and "retroactive pay to 2003." This Mediators' Report is what I say the Board did not deal with. I have not been offered any form of "redress." To say that my being appointed full professor (in the future) is "on the table" is not "redress" by any standard. "Redress" relates to righting past wrongs.

Any appointment of me as full professor that was "on the table" was accompanied by a silencing clause--a statement written by the administrators and 2 board officers on October 19, 2005: "In order to move forward with these plans, the parties agree to not talk about the events that occurred before October 19, 2005. . . ." [Document # 85 in my notebook.] This would have been part of my being appointed full professor--that which was "on the table." I was not then nor am I now willing to sign a silencing agreement. They have wanted to silence me from the very beginning.

Regarding the statement, "one other woman has been added to the 22 full-time faculty." Yes, Kathy Smith, a recent grad, now has faculty status as the Director of Continuing Education. But she has not run the gauntlet; that is, she has not gone through the regular interview process that all full-faculty appointees must endure: interviews with one of the Divisions, the Full Faculty, the Board, and Synod.

8 comments:

  1. Read the article, read your web site, my hope is that this experience may bring about a "Rosa Parks" moment for the CRC.

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  2. Thanks for explaining your side of the story. I have to admit I was not expecting this after I heard you were not coming back to the Seminary. I do hope things work out well for you. And perhaps the Seminary will experience growth from this experience as well.

    Tom

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  3. My mom, dad, and I all read your website today, after the article in the press. We found your story interesting and were frustrated for you. We have been talking about it throughout the evening and have come up of with a few responses.

    First of all, this sounds like a classic case of the 'glass cieling.' You were unable to gain upward mobility within a prodominantly male workplace- no mentorship, no recourse, old boys network.

    Second, we were suprised to read that you left on good terms with your colleagues even though they didn't really do all they could. They should have banded together to stand up for you, leaving little room for retaliation from higher ups! From the sound of it, there were really only 2 people who were against you.

    Third, we think you should press charges. You have it well documented and they really should be held accountable for this, instead of keeping it contained- it is illegal!

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  4. My mom, dad, and I all read your website today, after the article in the press. We found your story interesting and were frustrated for you. We have been talking about it throughout the evening and have come up of with a few responses.

    First of all, this sounds like a classic case of the 'glass cieling.' You were unable to gain upward mobility within a prodominantly male workplace- no mentorship, no recourse, old boys network.

    Second, we were suprised to read that you left on good terms with your colleagues even though they didn't really do all they could. They should have banded together to stand up for you, leaving little room for retaliation from higher ups! From the sound of it, there were really only 2 people who were against you.

    Third, we think you should press charges. You have it well documented and they really should be held accountable for this, instead of keeping it contained- it is illegal!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My mom, dad, and I all read your website today, after the article in the press. We found your story interesting and were frustrated for you. We have been talking about it throughout the evening and have come up of with a few responses.

    First of all, this sounds like a classic case of the 'glass cieling.' You were unable to gain upward mobility within a prodominantly male workplace- no mentorship, no recourse, old boys network.

    Second, we were suprised to read that you left on good terms with your colleagues even though they didn't really do all they could. They should have banded together to stand up for you, leaving little room for retaliation from higher ups! From the sound of it, there were really only 2 people who were against you.

    Third, we think you should press charges. You have it well documented and they really should be held accountable for this, instead of keeping it contained- it is illegal!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dr. Tucker,

    I read your story with grief. I am truly sorry for your pain. May God's grace sustain you in all. With that, I am...

    Peter

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  7. It deeply hurts me to read your story. As a life long member of the Christian Reformed Church, I am saddened although not too surprised. Institutionally the denomination and the different agencies within the denomination are set up for such a system failure. When one looks at the board of each agency - they are representatives often elected through their local classis. Too often from my experience have I found that the boards are pretty clueless when it comes to the day to day or even deeper critical issues as you have shared with us. My guess is that CTS board leadership heard a very watered down version that cast CTS leadership in the best possible light and portrayed your accusations as without merit.

    Often times non profit boards are simply there to rubber stamp the work of the agencies - not fully realizing that as board member they are elected to be representative of the community that gives these agencies legitimacy. They report to no one but us - the stakeholders and body of the denomination. However, board members often have too weak a stomach in my personal experience (10 years of nonprofit management), to deal with the nasty business of dealing with the critical decision-making that must occur when the community is the ultimate share holder. To be fair, there are many organizational “happenings” that board members are simply not privy to. And board members are there enough or involved enough to figure these things out. They are busy doing other things like making money which for the most part usually qualifies them for service on most boards.

    So it might be of some value for you and your friends to read an essay called Groupthink by Irving Janis. As you sit perplexed wondering why this all occurred Mr. Janis might give you some insight. In fact, as you look over your case it is quite evident the extent for which group think played itself out. For example here are the symptoms of groupthink:

    Illusion of Invulnerability - from your description of events it appears as though the administration was not prepared or equipped to deal with your well documented account of events

    Belief in Inherent Morality of the Group - You referenced how CTS administrators used the guise of God in their decision making process.

    Collective Rationalization -You describe how members of staff obviously thought the course of actions to be bizarre but ultimately sided with administration out of trust.

    Self-Censorship - Although there is nothing laid out directly to address this one must assume that staff members and a vast majority of them censored themselves from critical dialogue with administration regarding the matter

    Illusion of Unanimity - One reference to this was the situation regarding a professor that administration took counsel with and gave the illusion that he supported administration's actions

    Out-group Stereotypes - your second evaluation with more negative criticism of you clearly illustrates what happened and what was allowed to be recorded once you moved from the positive in-group to the negative out-group.

    Direct Pressure on Dissenters - one can only assume that some degree of direct pressure must have been applied to those who dissented with administration. This can probably be evidenced by the lack of outburst or cries for justice beyond your own.

    Self-Appointed Mindguards - The obvious mind guards to the board were administration. They acted as insulation mollifying the extent to which this was an issue. They used all the other "ammo" such as the illusion of unanimity and the belief that they were morally correct to re-enforce their pre-determined course of action.

    In fairness to CTS, I don’t know the whole story. You might have done some things to merit your dismissal. However, from a management perspective; CTS administration was grossly negligent in putting together a solid case for dismissal. And from an individual with non-profit board experience, the CTS board was also grossly negligent in not holding CTS administration more accountable for their action.

    As the final stakeholder – a member of this denomination, I am sorry for what we should have said but we didn’t, I am sorry for what we did say that we should not have said. I am sorry for the pain that my denomination has put your though, I am sorry for the sadness and hurt that you feel and the loss of your identity. As a graduate of these institutions, I learned to work towards social justice, I am sorry for this injustice placed upon you. I hope that justice will follow. Grace and peace be with you.

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  8. Pastor Ruth.... I am so sorry and upset at your blight and what has happened to you.

    I am a retired pastor of 45 years and I belong to a denomination that does not allow women to become senior pastors. This is a sore that keeps festoring to say the least. My wife and I will pray for you every day.
    Pastor Paul Gates

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