Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Settlement Details Released

The Telegraph Herald reported today that Jeffries has accepted the University of Dubuque's settlement offer of $50,000.

In the article, Jeffries explains that he originally sought $140,000 plus reinstatement of tenure; however, he raised his demand to $500,000 after the University's own expert witness testified that tenure was worth $1 million.

Jeffries is said to have settled "because he wanted to be able to speak about the case publicly, did not want his former UD colleagues to have to testify against their employer in a trial and wanted to keep the university from continually appealing the issue."

See also the Chronicle of Higher Education article regarding the settlement.

As a result of this news, we will no longer update the blog, except perhaps if we come across further news relating to the Jeffries ordeal. We thank our readers for contributing their thoughts. We pray that the University's leadership will have the new-found wisdom to avoid administrative blunders such as those that precipitated Jeffries' termination, and we hope that the institution's future proves to be brighter than its recent past.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Letter from Charles Nadler

Awhile ago, Charles Nadler, who represented the faculty in collective bargaining from 1975 until 1982 and who defended the faculty against the Board's 1999 lawsuit, sent us the following letter (we apologize for the delay in posting this):
Dear Editors:

Thank you for standing up and joining the long line of people who have stood up against the tyrants at the University of Dubuque. Those who criticize you for remaining anonymous are shameful. Anyone who has observed the behavior of President Bullock and the Board, knows or should know that anyone employed by the University, or who is a student there, is in serious danger from them, if they speak up.

I write as an interested outsider, who represented the faculty in collective bargaining from 1975 until 1982, when I went to law school. I was one of the attorneys who defended the faculty against the lawsuit brought against them by the Board, and which was won in June of 1999, by the faculty. I am also a former three time president of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union.

It appears that the University has sunk to a new low in four respects. First, it has apparently required faculty to agree that if they criticize the administration in any way for any reason, their salary is forfeit. This is close to involuntary servitude. However, legally, the employment relationship in a private entity is nearly such. Second, its lawyer has attempted to subpoena records belonging to a student, apparently in order to find out which, if any, faculty or staff are "bad mouthing" the administration. Presumably, this is so the administration can know whom to punish. Third, the University appears to have indicated that the subpoena would go away if the suit by Professor Jeffries were to be dropped. This sounds like a form of extortion to me. Were an attorney to say such a thing in Colorado, he/she would be subject to discipline. Fourth, the University appears to have been making noises threatening the blog you have provided to air these issues. I think your blog is quite fair and has little in the way of "flamimg" or anything else that could be considered nasty.

I am afraid this is what happens when a cabal of businessmen, who think that just because they have made a few bucks, they know how to run an academic institution!

Again, thank you for your public service. I hope you will keep it up!

Sincerely yours,
Charles H Nadler

Letter from a Former Prospective Student

We received the following letter from a woman who had considered going to UD, but changed her mind after finding out about the Jeffries ordeal:
This whole scandal [...] is behind my decision to not go to [the University of Dubuque]. I just could not bring myself to going; I had set up an appointment to meet with them about starting in September (as a returning adult student, in nursing), but had to cancel.

I simply could not go to a school that does something like this. I told them why I could not go to their school. I don't think it matters to them, but I had to speak up, and speak out.

I wonder how many others couldn't be bothered -- or if high school seniors don't care about such things?


Please visit "About What Wendt Wrong"

We have published a post on "About What Wendt Wrong" regarding some common questions and concerns surrounding the request for volunteers to scan and fax court documents. We encourage interested readers to check out that post.

Motions to Exclude Now Available (UPDATED)

The download site now contains both Professor Jeffries' and the University's motions to exclude evidence. Please post summaries, thoughts, or comments under this thread.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Letter from Figuli (to Jeffries' attorney)

A letter from Figuli (counsel to the University) is available on the download site. In this letter, Figuli explains on a point-by-point basis why he thinks the Jeffries case is without merits.

Please post your thoughts or comments regarding this letter here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

UD's "Expert Witness" Testimony Available Online

We have posted two letters frow two of the UD's potetial "expert witnesses" on the download site. Please post your thoughts or comments regarding the content of these letters here.

NOTE: Jeffries has filed a motion to exclude in regards to these two witnesses. We will be posting that motion in the next day or so.


Because we have been unable to update the What Wendt Wrong site with the frequency required, we have decided to institute a new format for the blog (at least for the next few months).

We will be posting links to court documents as we receive them. However, unlike in the past, it is unlikely that we will provide summaries or interpretations of the documents. We are going to leave that to you! Please post comments, interpretations, etc. in the comments field of the relevant post.


We have set up a fax number for receiving copies of court documents. The Jeffries' file at the Dubuque County Courthouse looks as if it contains at least 300 pages of documentation. We invite each of you to head down to the courthouse (at your leisure), look through the files, and copy what you think it relevant. If you then fax those pages to us, we will post them for other readers to download. To request our toll-free fax number, email us at Thanks.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Belcastro Letter to the Editor

A letter to the editor by Dr. Frank Belcastro, a former professor of psychology at UD, has been published in the Telegraph Herald.

Prof. Belcastro suggests that the University subpoenaed Jason Price as a means of putting preasure on Dr. Jeffries to withdraw the lawsuit. Belcastro notes, "If the university thought Jeffries' lawsuit was weak, it would not resort to victimizing an innocent person."

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Telegraph Herald Editorial

Today, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald Editorial Board issued an opinion regarding the University's subpoenaing of Jason Price. "It is one thing for the university to stifle public criticism among its employees," they write in reference the Jeffries ordeal, "That will be an interesting court decision. However, it is another matter when the university drags a student's private communications into the fray. When a citizen has information or questions about public entities or private organizations of public interest or concern, he or she should be free to communicate that. Otherwise, the threat of invasive subpoenas would have a chilling effect on public accountability."

Kudos to the TH Editorial Board for taking a stand on this important issue. We certainly agree that such actions on the part of UD serve to undermine everyone's willingness to speak up and speak out on University policies.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Judge Quashes Price Subpoena

Today, the Telegraph Herald reported that Judge Monica Ackley has quashed Jason Price's subpoena. The article goes on to say that the University's attorney plans to file a motion regarding that ruling next week.

We were overjoyed to hear that Price is in the clear--at least for the time being.

One element of the article, however, has caught our interest: Kari Koch, president of the UD student government, was quoted as saying, "We don't feel that it's appropriate for a student government association to take a stand one way or another in regard to the case." Koch supports the SGA position by stating, "We have an incoming class of 470 students this year, and they are 470 students who don't know there is a lawsuit (pending) right now and don't know who Professor Jeffries is."

We vehemently disagree with the SGA's position on this matter. Many of the students who are or have been involved with this blog entered UD only years after the infamous "Transformation." During our time at UD we became increasingly aware of the fact that the administration's actions during those difficult years had a profound and ongoing effect on the campus. Witness, for example, the high turn-over rate of faculty members, the heavy reliance on contingent employees, the sudden "retirement" of such professors as Robert Miller, and, of course, the Jeffries ordeal. It might be objected that these cases or trends are all unrelated, but we are not convinced. Professor Miller, for example, was a staunch critic of the administration during certain stages of the Transformation; when the appropriate time came (only a few years ago), he was forced out of the University. In that case, there was a clear impact on students such as ourselves who came to UD well after the Transformation had become "old news".

The fact of the matter is that UD administrators seem to be creating a very odd work environment for faculty. And that surely has a profound impact on current and future students. These students should feel not only entitled, but obligated to take a stance on issues of such importance.

At most institutions of higher learning, the student government fulfills the role of advocate and voice of the students, and that typically entails government representatives passing opinions on university policies and becoming involved in university business. For example, the Indiana University Student Association's mission reads: "IUSA is a congregation of Indiana University students that work to protect student rights, enrich student life, and improve Indiana University. Students join together to voice common concerns, hopes, grievances, and most importantly, to take action to realize an even stronger University" (emphasis added).

In regards to UD, the important question isn't whether or not the students (new or returning) do, in fact, know or care about the Jeffries affair. The real question is, "ought they know?" We, of course, think the answer is a clear and resounding, "Yes." And to that end, the student government can serve an important role.

NOTE: We wanted to clarify one point that may be lurking in the back of our reader's minds: our criticisms of the University's administrators are not directed at the faculty at large. We have nothing but respect for many of the faculty members, and we think that one of the University's redeeming qualities is the fact that it has some very dedicated professors who go out of their way to meet student's needs.

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