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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the points that you have brought up here. It is my understanding that a student from UD has written a story that tries to explain both sides of the story. Hopefully, students and faculty can read that article in the next issue of the Belltower.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that sounds great. UD students seem to be picking up the slack for the university though. Doesn't Bullock owe us an explanation?

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, President Bullock has posted a response to the allegations that this site has offered against the UD, but that post is currently only accessible to members of the faculty and staff. As such, it is against university policy to reveal this information without proper consent and it is a punishable offense. Perhaps this response will be available to the college public and perhaps on this very blog. The response does, however, call many of the so-called facts posted on this site into question such as Pres. Bullock's salary, and other "misrepresented public information". Be careful what you believe people. Both sides of this issue are rather effective in their attempts to persuade our sensibilities. Ultimately, this is a decision that should be best left to the courts since it has already made it that far. In the end, this blog just comes down to being the representation of a select group of popular opinions with little or no direct access to the ultimate truth of this matter. The point is, then, that the truth is quite frankly irrelevant. The court will render the final verdict without the opinions posted in this blog.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does Bullock post a response only to faculty? How come he doesnt address this to all of the university? If truth is on his side, why hide. While I agree that ultimately this will be decided in a court of law, I do not think anyone involved in this lawsuit, or in anyway associated with UD would ever assert that the truth is irrelevant. If anything, the truth is all that matters-no matter what ultimate verdict a judge decides.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make an interesting point. However, what the previous comment meant to say is that court cases often favor the prepared and the eloquent. Forgive me for taking a rhetorical stand on this, but modern court cases are less involved with presenting ultimate truths than they are with persuasion. Which side of the debate is right? Well, if you pay any attention to the arguments from both sides thoroughly, it would be very difficult to see which side is actually more right. In this case, those who support Dr. Jeffries are friends, collegues, students, etc. who know and love him for what they perceive to be his character. Those representing the University, and those who side with the administration have a very different opinion of Dr. Jeffries. Thats just it though. Both sides of this debate are fueled by pure opinion at this stage. Both sides present financial information in ways that favor their slant on the story, and no hard facts regarding the actual case have been provided. All that we have now is circumstantial evidence. In a court of law (particularly one involving a jury) only those individuals within the courtroom can render a verdict. It just so happens that this process renders ultimate truth irrelevant in favor of a popular consensus of what the truth should be. That is what ultimately decides the changes that will happen either within the university, or with public policy. While this blog is good at representing found facts that back the positions of those who favor Dr. Jeffries, it does little to examine all of the possible circumstances that have led to this ordeal. I'm not taking sides, but we as the audience must receive the information that we gather from both sides of the issue with a little bit of skepticism. Both sides are rhetorically armed, and both sides are trying to "sell" the audience on their views. That's the beauty of debate.

9:32 AM  
Blogger WhatWendtWrong said...

Please bear in mind that our primary purpose is to achieve what cannot be settled in court; we want the University to explain to its students and alums what happened to Dr. Jeffries. Furthermore, we are pushing for increased transparency of the administration's decisions, and we are calling into question a number of practices that we do not believe are consistent with the University's stated mission as a Christian academic institution.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fundamental problem with this argument is that this blog has created a snowball effect of sorts within the university. Discussions among students are now fueled primarily by rumor and speculation that comes from an uninformed standpoint. Students don't often bother to check facts or to scrutinize sources found on the internet. Often times, students merely take everything that they read at face value. Therefore, a majority of students who read this blog now have a very slanted view of the truth. How does this blog represent the Christian moral values that it claims UD has failed to exude? People are, for the most part, very impressionable when it comes to printed and digital information. Most will accept what they read at first glance without much thought. Therein lies the problem. While UD is scrambling to answer the questions posed in this blog, the information keeps piling up against them. Furthermore, UD representation clearly views this blog as an attempt to create discord throughout its inner community whether the editors believe they are doing so or not. Keep this in mind. Perhaps the waves that this site had initially intended to make have begun to take on a life of their own. It's one thing to spur the university into providing some solid answers, and it's another thing to create an atmosphere of paranoia within the organization. Those with paranoid minds often make rash decisions that effect many others negatively.

4:31 PM  
Blogger WhatWendtWrong said...

While I think you raise an interesting point on the proponderence of evidence that we represent, you must realize that we have asked-begged even, for a response from the University. If the adminsistration wishes to issue a response, why not email us that? So far, we have received nothing. If we have infomation regarding salaries, mind you obtained from 990 tax records, that are incorrect we are more than willing to listen to the administration. This website is not intended to atack the university or any person at the university. Conversley, it is our hope to help to improve an institution that we have a vested interest in seeing thrive. We are meaning to highlight what we find to be unjust and morally questionable actions that the school has committed merely because we do believe in the institution's mission. The editors find it regrettable that the administration does not think they can effectively communicate with the alumni, students, and faculty on the recent events at the school. We hope that they eventually will communicate their opinion with the community. We also agree that you should not take any information as fact without researching it first. We urge all readers of this website to do their own research on what we post. When at all possible we provide links to what we have used as sources. We also encourage students and alumni to ask their professors and the administration about the Jeffries firing as well as the budgetary concerns. Above all else, the editors of this site seek a university that lives up to the courageous mission that it took up some years ago. We desire to help the school create a community where diversity is appreciated and Christian love is practised and intellectual intergrity is sought after. These are the expressed mission and values of our school, as well as this website.

6:33 PM  

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