Category Archives: Uncategorized

About Laura Frerich’s DUI — Compassion is Called For.

Readers will be all too familiar with my interactions with Laura Frerichs, head of the UIUC Research Park.  If you’re not, the summary statement would be that she systematically tried to destroy my ability to start companies at UIUC, and by and large was very successful at that mission of destruction by threatening more than a few people who I was working with, including in emails.

Last week Ms. Frerichs was stopped and arrested for a DUI, at 2 am backing up into a police car following her out of the Research Park, driving a number of blocks without pulling over and, even an hour and a half later, a blood alcohol of 0.22 — 0.08 is the limit.  See http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2016-08-04/update-research-park-director-arrested-dui-hit-squad-car.html

She made the front page of the News-Gazette, and certainly not in a way she’d have wanted.  More to the point the comments about her hideous attraction to destroying people whenever she could were plentiful, and I think leave open a real question about how that behavior was ever tolerated by UIUC.

I could go on about that, I could go on about what horrible damage she’s done to me and to the lives of many many others.  But I won’t, because I think the most appropriate sentiment is compassion, something I don’t believe Ms. Frerichs has ever shown to anyone else.

Compassion.  This woman has a small child, and would appear to have a serious substance abuse problem, if the facts of the DUI are any indication.  I hope that she’ll seek and get help, I hope she’ll seek and get support, and I hope she’ll come through the experience healed and, perhaps, a little bit aware of the existence of others and of the benefits of being decent to people rather than of trying to destroy them.

I don’t pray, but I wish Ms. Frerichs the best for her recovery from this incident, and from all that probably lies behind it.

We Love You … But Don’t Call or Write or Bother us.

killeen

FanS_discrimination

 

Dear UIUC President Killeen and UIUC Chancellor Wilson:

I’ve had enough of the refusal of UIUC to take *immediate* action on the discrimination scandal at UIUC’s Facilities & Services (F&S).  As you both know full well, this scandal involves *at least* 7 and probably 30 black employees at F&S who over the last number of years have been discriminated against, in the case of one former employee by assignment to a 95 degree basement with dangling asbestos, black mold and vermin.  And in the case of last Thursday, the black employee who had a noose thrown on his desk by his white co-worker.

UIUC has been “investigating” this scandal for at least the last 18 months; it was investigating while Phyllis Wise was still Chancellor, and it looks as if it will still be investigating when the new Chancellor takes office, whenever that might be.

Both of you and many other top UIUC administrators know perfectly well what’s going on; some of the black individuals victimized met with Wise’s senior staff, and senior administrators –including *both* of you — have been told what’s going on, over and over and over and over again.

***

I realize that both you, President Killeen, and you, Chancellor Wilson, have been trying to do something about this hideous situation, but *it isn’t enough.*  With great power comes great responsibility, and you both have great power and a responsibility to exercise that power to put a stop to vicious discrimination that’s not just occurred in the past, but that is occurring now, on apparently a daily basis at F&S.

I have no illusions that being President or Chancellor is an easy job, especially given the nonexistence of a state budget.  But no amount of understanding for the difficulty of your positions allows me to cognize how you could let the F&S pustule continue unpunctured.

A black employee in a basement with dangling asbestos, and denial by UIUC for months, coupled with an insulting offer from UIUC legal to make it go away?  Daily stories of abuses at F&S, 7 EEOC complaints, how many ODEA complaints?  You both knew, I realize it isn’t trivial to put a stop to it but … what are you waiting for?  A noose last week isn’t enough?  Do you need a lynching before you do something?

I have the misfortune of being too intimately involved in this, I hear daily reports of the toxicity of the F&S work environment; and, perhaps more to the point I hear (over and over) the humiliation and pain and anger of the long-term black employees of UIUC that *nothing of any substance is being done by the two of you to stop this.*

I think both of you care; I think both of you mean well; I think both of you are trying.  But I don’t think you’re doing what you were appointed to do: be leaders.  Take command, step up to the plate.

Put a stop to this, *now*.  Then we can convene a public discussion on why the UIUC community has been willing to tolerate this, why you two felt unable to take immediate action.  How this happened, and how to make sure it never happens again.

But I’ve had it with talk.  I’ve had it with “internal investigations.”  I’ve had it with surveys internal to F&S to find out if there’s a problem.

There’s a problem.  If you didn’t know that when you had a 30 year employee in a 95 degree basement, presumably you learned it last week when the noose incident struck.

Please, President Killeen, please, Chancellor Wilson.  With great power comes great responsibility.  Step up to the plate.  Now.

Andrew Scheinman

Good Thing Ms. Ethics is Developing the Curriculum for Doctors at Carle

As I recall the university spent at least 100K to argue that the Salaita FOIA filings for 10,000 emails shouldn’t go forward because the public interest in those emails was “no more than the interest in the Kardashians,” or some such lawyer-induced brilliant argument.

As I recall from FOIA law, the loser in a FOIA suit has to pay the winner’s legal fees, so that would mean UI not only paid the 100K to its own lawyers but also the costs for Salaita’s Chicago counsel in that FOIA suit, that’s NOT the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), but rather Loevy and Loevy, so more $$$$$$ for UIUC to pay.

As far as that 1.2M UIUC spent on its own lawyers, query how much went to pursuing the INTERNAL ethics investigation by those expensive Chicago lawyers when they had to investigate Wise’s hiding/shredding emails.  That wasn’t $ wasted on the Salaita case — that was $ wasted on Wise and co.’s hideous malfeasance.

Oh, but she didn’t know you had to produce personal emails.  And yet when you go through the old emails there are plenty that expressly say that all emails regarding university business are subject to FOIA.

Good thing that Wise has moved on to developing curriculum for doctors … it’s not as if THEY have high standards of ethics to uphold?

(letter to the News-Gazette, see Ms. Ethics)

Dear News-Gazette/Jim Dey

Mr. Dey:

If you’re concerned about money, why not focus on the $1.3 MILLION the UI paid its OWN lawyers in the Salaita case.  You might think most of this money was spent because of SALAITA, but the truth is that a lot was spent for UIUC’s outside lawyers to 1) conduct an ethics review of Wise’s hiding documents, and 2) to play damage control to the Federal Court in the Salaita case as a DIRECT result of that document-hiding.

Consider the “ethics review” that we know UIUC had conducted about Wise’s using personal emails to avoid FOIAs, and about her statements that she was destroying emails, at least those relating to the FOIAs on the medical center.  Who conducted this ethics review that we’ve never seen?  If it was done internally, it would be a HUGE conflict of interest, since UIUC’s own attorneys (Scott Rice) knew that Wise was using emails.

So let’s assume the review was done by high-costing external counsel.  HOW MUCH MONEY WAS SPENT?  100K?  200K?  More?  Why not use your extensive journalist chops and find out.

To that point, consider the second thing, that outside counsel DEFINATELY had to spend lots of time and $ covering UIUC’s butts and their own about what were distortions to the Federal court about documents.  In litigation both sides have to produce document lists and the documents themselves, at least documents to the court.  UIUC certainly claimed there was no evidence of document destruction, when in fact Wise had written she was absolutely destroying medical-center-related documents.  How much did it cost for those high-priced Chicago lawyers to go back through everything they’d been told by UIUC to figure out what they’d NOT been told, and what they told the court that wasn’t true?

Given that the state’s in a budget crisis and students and taxpayers are being crushed even more to pay for college, don’t you think your wind would be better spent investigating the DIRECT COSTS of Wise and other top adminstrators breaking laws?

(from Salaita Brought a Chasm to Campus)

The Canary in the (UIUC) Coalmine.

Canaries were used by coalminers to detect poisonous gases, typically carbon monoxide, as the little birdies were (and are) far more sensitive to such things than humans.  What’s apparently called an “animal sentinel.”

Well.  I’ve said since the Salaita affair struck over a year ago that the whole thing was largely underlaid by the push for the UIUC College of Medicine — the COM.  At the time too many were too focused on Jewish influence (and probably too many still are), but, as these “supplemental” emails from UIUC now begin to show, my animal sentinel instincts were right all along — it’s the COM, stupid.

We’re only in the beginning of this unfolding nightmare, with only more damage to come for everyone and everything involved, the UIUC management, the sycophant professors, the new-speaking functionaries,1 the good reputation of UIUC, the outlook of the students,2 etc. etc.  And while I hardly think I’m the only person to have seen early signs of the oncoming storm, I do want to get something out there — I warned numerous people in the university of what was likely coming two years ago.

This is a story I’ve been revealing bits and pieces of in earlier posts: the Research Park, the nepotism there, the unbelievable concentration of power in Laura Frerichs, the head of the Research Park, and how I saw that concentration of power as dangerous — and how I suffered for trying to communicate my concerns to UIUC management — Chancellor Wise included.

The time has clearly come to talk about this more — about Frerichs and how she works at least partially for Peter Fox, the billionaire developer who built the Research Park, who seems to want to build the COM (when something’s built), and who is apparently legendary for engaging in scorched-earth maneuvers to get what he wants.  The time has come to talk about how Frerichs, Fox, and a bunch of other powerful monied locals served as the special advisory group to Wise on building the COM3–  and how they operated in even more secrecy than I’d thought, not only leaving out any community representation, but probably using personal emails for most of their important remote discussions.4

So let me start this process of telling more with my attempt to communicate with Carol Kraus Lauffer, the woman Laura Frerichs brought in (for $35K as I recall) to opine favorably on the building of the COM.  I found out that Kraus Lauffer was interviewing people in CU for her “cluster report,” tried to talk to her, and was unable to do so.

Fine.  Not a problem.  So then I wrote her the following letter … Frerich’s response to her about what to do about what I’d written was heavily redacted by UIUC-FOIA, and my appeal of those redactions is still on appeal to the Illinois AG’s office, which I believe is doing its best to suppress any responses to my appeals.5

Here’s the email:

the_canaryBoy, in retrospect that looks … prophetic …

  1. Robin Kahler, for her statement to the News-Gazette, “I said the same thing I say to everyone: ‘If you don’t want to see it in the paper, don’t put it in an email.'”  See News Gazette 8/16/15 []
  2. Who now apparently must be told that “while plagiarism is bad and unethical, avoiding FOIA ‘because you are doing it for the U’ is good.” []
  3. As I wrote in January of this year, these people were/are:

    1. Phyl­lis Wise — Chan­cel­lor of UIUC;
    2. Ile­sanmi Adesida — Vice Chan­cel­lor for Aca­d­e­mic Affairs and Provost,UIUC;
    3. Dan‎ Peterson — Vice Chan­cel­lor, Insti­tu­tional Advance­ment, Senior Vice Pres­i­dent, UI Foundation;
    4. Michael DeLorenzo — Asso­ciate Chan­cel­lor, UIUC;
    5. Pradeep Khanna — Asso­ciate Chan­cel­lor for Cor­po­rate and Inter­na­tional Rela­tions, UIUC;
    6. Laura Frerichs — UIUC Research Park Direc­tor, UIUC Direc­tor of Eco­nomic Development;
    7. Peter Fox — “Peter B. Fox is the Founder of Fox Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (FDC), a real estate devel­op­ment firm which devel­ops, man­ages, and leases approx­i­mately 1.5 mil­lion square feet of office and retail space in Cham­paign, Illi­nois”;
    8. Jim Leonard — Pres­i­dent & CEO, Carle Foun­da­tion Hospital;
    9. Greg Lykins – Chair­man of First Busey and a direc­tor of Busey Bank and Busey Wealth Man­age­ment, Inc; and,
    10. Rick Stephens, founder, Hori­zon Hobby.

    See my January 2015 post — Big Guns []

  4. The “supplemental” emails on the COM are the barest brushing away of the thick layers of obscurants, since UIUC warrants only that these emails were “relevant to the COM,” not how they picked them or what else is out there that was on personal emails and involved university business. []
  5. I have various bits of evidence of this. []

A Professor at UIUC Law School Enters The Fray — Ethical Behavior?

I apologize for the absence of text in the last few posts, obviously there’s a lot going on to keep me busy.  I know ex-Chancellor Wise thinks I’m “clearly crazy with nothing better to do with my time,” but in fact I’ve been working on advanced patent-searching software, software that I wanted to take to the UIUC Research Park for their help but, when I tried to join the “CEO Roundtable” there I was told by Laura Frerichs that I couldn’t because I was, “merely a service provider” or something like that.

But I digress.  Here’s the most recent query:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

leroy_request

“Freedom of Speech” is NOT Freedom to Newspeak. (CORRECTED)

Consider “newspeak.”  George Orwell, “1984,” for those unfamiliar with the book.  The word reverberates long after communism is gone, reverberations that continue to carry the original meaning of a language developed expressly to suppress independent thought, indeed to create a language that — by its very construction — makes independent thought impossible.

***

1. “Public Curiosity” as espoused by UI’s lawyer in the Salaita FOIA case is one recent example of newspeak, you know, that statement that the public’s concern about the Salaita case isn’t actually “public concern,” but merely “curiosity,” the kind of rubbernecking that goes on about the Kardashians, as UI’s lawyer put it.  I wonder how much we paid him to produce this ode to dissembling, as well as to the wholesale destruction of the english language.

***

2. “Gone Missing” is another nice one, credit Steven Salaita for this one.  Specifically, when he tweeted a week after the three Jewish teens were murdered that “more settlers should go missing,” he was called on it and responded that, by “go missing” he merely meant “get out of Palestine,” in other words “missing” as in “leave” as opposed to “be slaughtered.”

Note that the problem with what Salaita said has much less to do with the fact that he said it, and much more to do with the fact that he defended it later on.  I don’t know exactly where the line of horribleness is drawn, but murder of children — whether by Palestinian terrorists, Jewish terrorists, or the actions of both Hamas and the Israeli government in the Gaza war — is not something that ought ever make it into justifications of any sort for any party.  People in general don’t deserve to be killed, certainly civilians less than soldiers, and certainly children not at all.

And Salaita’s happy dancing around what he said rather than owning up to the wrongness of it … well it goes a long way to eliminating not only variant speech but indeed the ability to speak outside a narrow box.

It’s newspeak, in other words.

***

3. “I didn’t consult in the manner that I pride myself on normally doing,” I admit, I don’t remember exactly what Chancellor Wise’s construct was for justifying all the conversations that she had about Salaita before she un-hired him, you know those conversations she told the Committee on Freedom and Academic Tenure (CAFT) that she never had.

“Never” meaning, according to Wise’s later mid-course correction, that yes, she did have conversations but NEVER to the extent that she normally has conversations when she means to have conversations.  It was a conversation, but surely not a Wise-certified “CONVERSATION.”

Yes well.  Lying is lying is lying is lying, and no amount of constructing a bulwark of words around that core truth changes that truth.  Note that the circumstances Wise was referring to involved the discovery by samizdat-startups.org that Wise was talking to Nick Burbules and Joyce Tolliver the morning of the Salaita un-hiring (July 24,2014), something neither she nor Burbules nor Tolliver revealed.

Note also that the significance isn’t that she was talking to people — we could already have guessed that.  Instead, the significance is that she was doing a whole LOT of talking to a whole LOT of POWERFUL people, some of them clearly not administrators, something neither she (Wise) nor they (Adesida, Burbules, Tolliver) ever discussed.

Let’s also note that none of the emails that samizdat-startups.org found that showed this whole lot of talking going on were *ever* produced in any of the 12 UIUC FOIA productions made in 2014 — nowhere in that 1,600 odd pages of documents.

Nowhere.  Which is evidence not just of interpretation of the english language in some sort of Zen koan way (“What is the sound of conversation not to the level of Chancellor Wise’s high standards for “conversation”) but, put simply, of lying.

Lying, lying, lying.  And lying.

***

4. “It was perfectly ethical of me to not disclose my talking to Wise when I contributed to the ‘Gang of Five’ and other opinion pieces.”  Nick Burbules is apparently a professor of ethics, which I think is an admirable occupation.  When I was in law school I learned that conflicts were things you disclosed, and that non-disclosure was immoral, even when it didn’t seem (to you) that it was necessary (for you) to disclose those conflicts that some might think, upon discovery, made (you) look like a liar.

Well, I’m not a professor of ethics, so what do I know.  Professor Burbules has written that he didn’t need to reveal his conversations with Wise because, they weren’t conversations that would have been important like Wise talking to Warrior or other unit heads.  I’m recalling this slightly off the cuff, but that’s the gist of it, although I welcome clarification by Professor Burbules.


CORRECTION 6/25/15.

Per my conversation with Professor Burbules of 6/23, which I quote below:

[Nick,] Actually you’re right, although I [AOS] said in the second paragraph that what I was writing was a paraphrase, I didn’t do so in the first paragraph where I did provide quotes.  I thought the context of those quotes as roughly stating what was said rather than exactly stating it came across from the other numbered comments, but I agree it’s misleading.

Here’s what you’d written to me on the subject, I believe my distillation of what you said was accurate.  “It was per­fectly eth­i­cal of me to not dis­close my talk­ing to Wise when I con­tributed to the ‘Gang of Five’ and other opin­ion pieces” is what I said.  What you said was:

The representation here that I did not “disclose” these conversations suggests something nefarious. I was under no obligation to do so, unless you think that all faculty who expressed such views are obligated to make them public. I don’t know what that principle would be.1

That to me is awfully similar but I’ll be happy to put up that exactly language of yours with “nefarious” instead of “ethical” and so on.

END CORRECTION.


 

So fine.  People talk, and as long as it doesn’t ruffle their feathers to do so, why should it ruffle the feathers of anyone else or even be worth mentioning?  It’s merely public “curiosity” after all, not actual “concern.”

Newspeak.  Newspeak, newspeak, newspeak and newspeak.

***

5. “Anti-Zionist” isn’t anything to do with “anti-Israeli” or, God forbid, anti-Semitism.  I find this one particularly fascinating, and I’m the first to admit that I accept it as true in principle, but, in practice … not so much.

In principle, “anti-Zionist” apparently means against occupation of land that used to be Palestinian, which I guess makes sense apart from the fact that it depends upon the time-frame you’re referring to, and probably has different answers if you’re talking a biblical time-frame versus much much more recently.  But if the argument is simply and cleanly that Israel ought not expand to areas where people used to live, or — more plausible to me by far — that you can’t just kick people out of their houses because you want their land — then fine, maybe “anti-Zionist” has a concise meaning.

But the word always seems to be used in a larger context that fits far too many long-time ant-Semitic tropes.  For example, the whole narrative about rich “donors” without regard to ethnicity, “donors” who acted because they’re pro-Zionism, and not because they’re “pro-israel,” or … “Jews.”  And yet, the narrative is, oddly enough, exclusively about *Jewish* donors and not Carle hospital or billionaires in Champaign Urbana who, far as I know, aren’t Jewish (is Peter Fox?).

Recall there were exactly TWO emails that smelled of actual donors of any significance, and that significance was likely no more than 2-4% of a single year’s gifts to UIUC.  Carle, on the other hand, is putting up $100 million, and getting its name on the College of Medicine as a result.  So if it’s pure agnosticism with regard to ethnicity, why is it the focus is still on Jews with money (something of a stereotype as I recall) and not merely rich bastard corporations (Carle) or rich bastard developers (Fox) or rich bastards per se?

The language, you see, isn’t incidental.  It’s newspeak in the most basic sense of a language designed to frame an argument in a way that leads inevitably and only to a single conclusion.

Independent thought apparently need not apply.

***

6. “I will not work with anyone who works with Andrew, because he is harassing me.”  Laura Frerichs, head of the Research Park, said this about me in writing a number of years ago, the “harassment” referring to the fact that I’d been filling FOIAs on the rampant nepotism and profound mediocrity in the Research Park incubator and administration.2

This little verbal gem — “FOIA = harrassment” — is one that UIUC-FOIA also habitually uses in many/any/all of their impassioned arguments to the Illinois Attorney General’s office about how I’m a pain-in-their-collective-administrative-asses.  “Our recurrent requester,” they say, “he’s a RECURRENT REQUESTER,” they bray, “HE FILES SO MANY FOIAs IT’S NOT FAIR” they shout.

Sure, FOIA is a right, it’s a critical tool in the people uncovering abuses of power, and in fact it’s a right that I’ve practiced very parsimoniously to very very productive ends.

But take a right and call it subversive.  Take a powerful tool and call it meddling.  However you do it, the result’s the same, “FOIA = harassment,” and so let’s put an end to FOIAs.

***

I have more of course, but that’s enough of a diatribe for the moment.

  1. Actually I do think that all the faculty and administrators involved in the behind-the scenes decision-making about Salaita were obligated to disclose their actions, on a moral principle of avoidance of even an appearance of impropriety.  Note that I already flagged Robert Warrior’s apparently not revealing he talked to Wise the afternoon of the 23rd about Salaita, and I’ve already filed FOIAs to find out who on both sides of the discussion was involved and didn’t speak out to reveal that fact. []
  2. This is almost certainly tortious interference with business relations as well as tarnishment of my reputation.  But I digress, []
no_procedures

UIUC Chancellor’s Office: No document retention procedures.

Remember that “two-pager” that Chancellor Wise and her entire office couldn’t find?  You know, the one from someone (redacted) that described various things about Steven Salaita?  You know, the one that Chancellor Wise didn’t keep/couldn’t find, etc. etc.  You know, the one that there’s now a lawsuit over?

Well.  Here’s a FOIA response I got from one of the kind DDoS-FOIA participants — note I’ve redacted that person’s email address and name, since that person wishes to remain anonymous:

 

FOIA Response (14-814)-1

You can see how they couldn’t find the two-pager; after all, they just don’t seem to have any procedures at all there, do they?

How ’bout that?  Maybe in 2015 they’ll develop some.

Happy New Year.

 


Marquee image by John Wolcott Adams, published in “Poor Toinette” by John A. Moroso, Delineator, 91:11 (Oct. 1917).  From The Library of Congress, available at Document with Seal and Inkwell.