Monday, March 4, 2013

In Which I Call A Spade a Spade

For the last two weeks I have been re-telling the story about how I was fired as an instructor from the University College of the North. Today's installment is about an incident that did me untold damage in terms of my reputation, but which ultimately was not even mentioned in the letter which listed the reasons for my dismissal. The reason it didn't make the list is because the College knew it was a malicious slander from the get-go. The report by independent consultant Joyce Oddidison was subsequently destroyed, but the damage had already been done. Here then is the continuing story...


I suppose in the end it’s all very well for me to write a self-serving letter which makes me out to be the hero and everyone else to be the villains. But what does it really prove? Ultimately, you can say that I was probably fired because I was a bad teacher. The point is, that’s not what the College chose to say. They said that I wasn’t following the curriculum, and that I was repeatedly warned and given a chance to comply. That is a lie and a slander which Katherine McNaughton, Selwin Peter, and Murray Oman conspired to establish and maintain, and to which Denise Henning has signed her name. The truth of my claim can be clearly seen in the patently absurd examples which the College has cited as so-called evidence of my inappropriate teaching.

I wasn’t fired because of the smokestack or the water heater or even the slope question. It’s almost as though I was fired simply because something about me inspires a profound, inexpressible loathing among certain people; that in an institution which claims to value “diversity” as its highest ideal, I was just too different. And the best excuse they can come up with is the smokestack issue. In fact, over the course of the year there was a never-ending stream of malicious gossip about me, including at least two claims of sexual harrassment! All of these were investigated by management in a desparate attempt to throw dirt on my reputation and  none of them were found to have any validity. That’s why they’re not brought up in my letter of rejection. But at least one of these incidents deserves further mention, because everyone on staff at the College heard about it at the time and I would like to set the record straight.

Elvis Balfour was a student of mine who lost his temper in class one day for no sensible reason, jumped over the desks and began shaking me by the throat. I remained calm and put up no physical resistance. When it was over, I told him to stop acting like a baby and get back in his seat. Subsequently through no action on my part, by the end of the day Elvis had been expelled from the course by Murray Oman.  

What happened next is confusing: Murray has been an instructor for many years and has routinely expelled students in the past without controversy (including the very same Elvis Balfour on a previous occasion). For unknown reasons, this time the College chose to disregard its own zero-tolerance policy on violence, refused to ratify the expulsion and instead relocated Elvis to The Pas where he was allowed to finish the course. An outside consultant by the name of Joyce Oddidison was hired by the College to investigate the affair, and she ultimately produced a report that blamed me for provoking the incident.

Oddly, Ms. Henning chooses not to mention the Elvis Balfour incident in her letter. Why, when she is clearly trying to make the strongest possible case for my dismissal, does she not invoke this glaring example of  misconduct? The answer is simple: there never was any misconduct on my part and Henning knows it. The report by Oddidison is a pack of lies, which she was hired by Selwin Peter to produce in order to justify his own idiotic decision to keep Balfour in the course.

Most notably, the argument Oddidison uses to condemn my behavior is based on a shameless doctoring of my own written submission. In particular, she places my words, “Stop acting like a big baby...” ....BEFORE the violent outburst rather than after, turning it into a provocation. Perhaps she thought I was lying. If so, she should have said so, and introduced testimony from other witnesses to back up her conclusion. That’s not what she chose to do: instead, she falsely manipulated my own words to make me guilty by explicit admission!

The College was an active participant in this slander and they know it to be false. The proof is simple: if they believed their own report, they would have included its conclusion in the letter which gives the reasons for my dismissal. Instead, they say I was fired for measuring the height of a smokestack. What jackasses they are.


Anonymous said...

This blog reminds me of the TV character Sheldon Cooper. He's a brilliant physicist & a social moron; perpetually baffled as to why people he considers his intellectual inferiors should object to being treated (by him) with sneering condescension. Marty, if you annoy people everywhere you go, it's probably *you*, not *them*!

Anonymous said...

Marty has MANY admirers. He is a brave soul who has the guts to reveal what is really going on in these stuffy institutions. They collect their pay checks and ensure their own position but little to create a space for the students to thrive. Way too much of this sort of BS goes on behind closed doors. Einstein would not make it in such an environment that stifles all real creativity. Good on you for at least making a record of this neglect Marty. Its too bad they are too stiff to recognize your gifts and treat you with the respect you deserve. All at a loss to the students.

Anonymous said...

From reading Marty's blog(s), it seems to me that he has *a few* admirers, *a few* people who are ambivalent about him, *many* detractors, and billions who don't even know he exists. He also has a seemingly uncanny ability to annoy the people he works with, and for, to the point where they decide they can't stand it anymore & hoof him out. Marty's going to have to choose between seeking society's seal of approval in the form of degrees & certificates-- & being an iconoclast. He can't be both.

Anonymous said...

Obviously Marty is going to have more detractors than admirers. He unsettles the mediocre, rut-bound and unthinking - and most likely this is not deliberate. I am an admirer. To the poster who tries to drive a wedge between Marty and 'them' - it's like two kids who are fighting but each says it's the other one who is doing the fighting. You can't blame one or the other exclusively. It takes two to fight. It is Marty AND the them. And the them is a pretty sorry bunch.