Saturday, November 12, 2005

Regarding Our Recent Hiatus

On Thursday, November 10, we received a comment that stated, "The school is looking into filing an injunction to have this blog removed from the internet." After various readers questioned the legitimacy of this claim, we received yet another post which said, "The rumor about the injunction is a fact and the school['s] lawyers are going to argue that [this site is] making defamatory remarks about Jeff Bullock and the school's administration."

Because we were unable to assess the accuracy of these claims, and because we had received reports of a number of more specific alleged threats, we decided to temporarily suspend access to the site early Friday morning until we could discuss these matters with a legal counselor. Having done so, we are now back up and running.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. We will continue with our postings as usual.

We would like to express how appalled we are at the prospect of the University's administrators threatening us with legal action. We are self-described "students, alums, and others." Why would a university threaten legal action against its current and/or former students, or others associated with it? Especially when the matter at hand is a website? It seems utterly ridiculous, offensive, and a confirmation of our worries.

What is more, we maintain that we have not defamed Dr. Bullock in any way. The figures we have posted regarding his compensation are accurate, and our critical views are obviously matters of opinion. The charges we have made to the effect that the administration's practices cannot be reconciled with the University's mission are points upon which reasonable people can debate.

We wish to reiterate that any factual errors that appear on this site should be reported to us at:

Thank you,
The Editors

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Site Traffic Issues

We have been receiving so many simultaneous hits on What Wendt Wrong, that visitors may have experienced problems when attempting to download files or view the blog.

If you attempted to gain access to our "Download Page" (which is hosted on Geocities) and you received the message, "Sorry, this site is temporarily unavailable," it is because we exceeded our bandwidth allotment. The Geocities server is re-set every hour, so please try again at a later time.

If you receive a "Not Found" error when attempting to gain access to the blog site, simply hit "Refresh" on your browser a couple of times.

We apologize for any inconvenience, and we hope you will not be dissuaded from checking up on the site in a regular manner. We are presently attempting to figure out how we can accommodate the tremendous popularity of the site; hopefully these issues will be resolved in the near future.

Keep in mind that we're flattered that our site is crashing! We just hope it doesn't become too frustrating for our readers.

Thank you,
The Editors

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Regarding the "Other Side" of the Story

Although we have not been (and unfortunately will not be) able to respond to every comment we receive, we did think it would be appropriate to respond to one in particular.

On Tuesday, November 8, a reader posted a comment in which s/he stated what is probably a popular concern: "This blog is like the network news, it only tells one side of the story, it's bias[ed]. If the owners of this blog wanted it to be taken as serious news, then they should have the guts to put their name on it, otherwise people think it's Jeffries himself." This is a legitimate concern that we want to address.

First, we make no claims of being unbiased. We do, indeed, think that Dr. Jeffries has suffered an injustice. It is our position that one should not be neutral on such matters. Nevertheless, we are very open to hearing from the University's administration. We would love to post an account of the administration's take on the Jeffries situation. In particular, we would be very willing to post the report offered to the Board of Trustees regarding the revocation of Professor Jeffries' tenure. Furthermore, we would be absolutely thrilled to receive a response to the following questions:
  • What exactly happened with Mr. Garfield? We would like an official account of what he did and what the consequences were.

  • What exactly warranted the revocation of Dr. Jeffries' tenure? Did he engage in actions that were worse than Mr. Garfield's? It certainly seems like they must have been, since Garfield is still employed and Jeffries is not.

  • Did the University offer Dr. Jeffries a probationary contract in bad faith? Was the probationary contract offered as a way to invalidate his existing tenure contract?

  • If Jeffries was punished in part because he asked for a raise (as the story goes), then the administration must explain why some faculty members (e.g., Alan Garfield) have received quite substantial raises. Even if Dr. Jeffries requested a substantial raise, is that really grounds for dismissing him? There must be something more at work here. Please explain it to us.

  • On a related note, why in the world does UD president Jeffrey Bullock received such a substantial salary while academic programs (as rumor has it) have been subject to budget constraints? His pay is certainly not in line with other institutions of similar size. Furthermore, if UD is still recovering from the financial problems of the 1990s, shouldn't the president's pay be kept at a reasonable level?

Any response from UD administrators would be greatly appreciated.

We thank the reader for the comment, and hope that everyone continues to offer opinions, despite which side they seem to support, and despite the fact that we will be unable to offer a response to each post.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Source of Financial Information Revealed

It has come to our attention that interested parties want to know who is providing us with the University of Dubuque's financial information, which we have been posting on What Wendt Wrong.

Although we will continue to stand behind our own anonymity, and while we implore UD administrators to not hold our informant accountable for any of the content of this site, we have nevertheless decided to release our source.

Thank you,
The Editors

Friday, November 04, 2005

Amazing Site Hit Records

Good news: since we started keeping traffic records on November 1st, we've consistently exceeded the previous day's site hits. Keep spreading the word!

(Click image to enlarge)

A Rose By Any Other Name, Part I

Recently we received an email from a lawyer who has represented the University of Dubuque in the past. He/she raised concerns about the ethical integrity of the website editors due to our unwillingness to post our names, and the apparent contradiction this causes when we accuse the university of lacking transparency. The email from this lawyer is posted in full (except for the editorial decision to not post the name) to illustrate the concern that this lawyer and others might have about the website. Furthermore, we hope to illustrate the fact that we are willing to have an open dialogue concerning what we consider to be the ethical transgressions of the university:

To the Editors:

Is it common in academic circles to make assertions such as those you have made, and not identify the person or persons making them? What of the "courage of one's convictions?" You have been careful to recite that Dr. Jeffries is not responsible for the content of the blog, and to state that the "editors" and "contributors" are, however, you do not identify these people by name. Is that in the spirit of academic freedom and intellectual exchange? Long before I obtained any degrees, I was taught by a man with a fourth-grade education that before I drink the water, I had best first consider the source from which it came. By hiding behind what appears to be some sort of claim of editorial privilege, you have denied your readers that benefit. And that advances the cause of education and character building in what way? (And that question presumes that your purpose in developing this blog was an honorable one.) If you are truly interested in what my partner calls "the feast of reason and the flow of soul," would you not disclose your identity, so that the discourse may begin? As an attorney I have come to view any unsigned document offered in a dispute as of little or no value. Your anonymous blog is similarly viewed. Are you willing, as I am, to stand behind what you have written?

One of the attorneys who
has been honored to represent
the University of Dubuque

Read our response.

A Rose By Any Other Name, Part II

In response to the lawyer's question(see previous post), we sent the following email. We hope that it illuminates our position and explains why we have choosen to remain anonymous.

Dear XXXX,

The short answer to your first question is "yes," it is common in academic circles to retain anonymity when one believes there is a legitimate reason to do so. For example, the Federalist Papers were drafted and published in anonymity; Soren Kierkegaard published many of his books under various aliases; professors writing about their experiences in the Chronicle of Higher Education oftentimes use generalized "names" like "Professor at a Small Eastern School," and so on and so forth.

The interesting thing about anonymous work is that it has to be judged on the value of the content, not the people voicing the opinions. Or in other words, what is true in regards to water [...] is not necessarily true in regards to opinion. Professor Jeffries once wrote, as a summary of the Reformed Tradition's view of intellectual exchange, that "all truth is God's truth, no matter who says it." We couldn't agree more. We hope (and strive to ensure) that we are publishing the truth on our blog; it should not matter who we are.

In response to your second, snider question, "no," we do not retain our anonymity for the sake of intellectual exchange. The bottom line is that we do not have reasonable assurance that the University of Dubuque's administration will not act in a retributive manner towards us.

It may interest you to know that we will be posting a section on the website concerning our methodology. In this section we will address the issue of our anonymity. However, the blog is not about us, it is about the University; consequently, we will not be spending much time on this matter, nor will we be provoked into engaging in a long, drawn-out discussion of this matter.

Should we, in the eyes of God, be misguided in retaining our anonymity, we should be sincerely regretful. For the time being, however, we will "sin boldly."


The Editors of "What Wendt Wrong?"
A small group of people
who were thrilled to
to receive an email from
the University's
attorney (we had no
idea we were so effective!).

Comments to the Editors

If you have a concern or question regarding our methodology, etc., please post a comment to this post. We will attempt to respond to all reasonable questions and comments.
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