Saturday, March 1, 2008

Injuries, Real and Unimagined

Thanks to a complete breakdown in the University's system and a professor I will never forgive, I endured a trip to the Office for Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. It was a stupid situation and far too much for my system.

Before the meeting I was already in sorry shape. This is a meeting that should never have been held if anyone at the university cared about my health. I knew it would be damaging.

Susan ended up meeting with the office representative, leaving me alone in a room. Alone, while other people talked about me. Alone, with too much on my mind. Alone… desperately wanting to go home.

By the time Susan returned to the room, my knuckles on both hands were bleeding. I had scraped the skin by pounding rhythmically on the floor. I'm not exactly sure how I ended up sitting on the floor, under a table, exhausted. My back was bruised, badly, from rocking against a brick wall with external power conduits.

This absolutely stupid meeting left me bloody, bruised, and sore. All of which was predictable, if anyone had bothered to listen to our warnings that this was a terrible process.

I still ache. I had Band-Aids on my fingers for three days. My back still has a horizontal red line.

This entire episode will be a long, detailed part of my memoir. My wife is going to help with the notes and I plan to include every detail I can so other individuals don't end up in similar situations. Unfortunately, no matter what precautions you try to take there will breakdowns in communication compounded by absurd, ignorant, (many other adjectives) individuals who don't want to be tolerant or act intelligently.

When the time is right, I’m going to make sure the relevant letters, e-mails, and other documents I have received end up within my writings. That should be educational. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can shame or embarrass some people.

I am beyond the point of caring if this hurts my future academic career… a truly professional organization would not have tolerated the behaviors I have endured while at this university. There would have been apologies and a real fear of legal consequences.

Tenured professors are too isolated and too sure of their actions. The system needs to change.

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