Thursday, October 15, 2009

Some Important Corrections

So I’m back at it. I’m writing about inaccuracies in things that are said and published by administrators at my school. Beyond simply saying it, I don’t know how to explain the sense of freedom that releasing my identity as Soodo Nym brought, or how quickly that freedom was replaced by trepidation. I’m back doing exactly the things that they are so angry at me for: Asking questions, finding answers, and sharing my opinion. I don’t know what the administration is planning on doing, but I know what they’ve already done. They unjustly silenced me once, and though I will freely admit that it scares the hell out of me to say this, I’m not going to let them silence me again.

So here goes.

On Tuesday morning, the president of the school met with the faculty senate to discuss the pending lawsuit about The True BU blog. His meeting was a response to a number of questions being asked by faculty about the justifications that Butler had for investing its money and prestige in a lawsuit against a student.

The president’s statement and the subsequent memo that he sent to all faculty members were, unfortunately, filled with inaccuracies. I will address them here and you can access the full text of his memo in a link on right side of the page. In every instance where I refer to a document that has been made available to me, I will make it available in its entirety to you. I think it is essential for you to have the full and original text so that you may form your own opinions. This is exactly what I did in the True BU blog and, as you’ll see, this is not a courtesy that has been extended to me.

• The president’s statement reads that the provost was afraid “for her own safety, for her husband, for her house and property.” I have an incredibly difficult time believing that this is true. Rather, might this simply be very convenient after-the-fact sort of reasoning? Two things lead me to believe that this is the case. The first, as I’ll show, is that there were no threats made. Second, other than filing a lawsuit that was, I believe, primarily intended to silence my voice, the president did not report that they’ve taken any steps to ensure the safety of those they claim felt threatened. In fact, according to the legal documents, subpoenas intended to discover the identity of the blogger were not issued for months. I would hope that in situations where a member of the University community sincerely feels threatened, the administration would be more proactive in calming their fears and ensuring their safety and the safety of the entire Butler community.

What did the president point to as being threatening? The first was an Email sent on December 25th that made absolutely no threats whatsoever. The email can be found in the documents tab on the right sidebar. This email made two promises: That students would not forget the way the dismissal of Dr. Andrea Gullickson from her duties as chair of the School of Music was handled, and that the blog would report on positive news, if there was any. Again, no threats of any sort were made. This is not only my opinion. In an essay published on March 29th, 2009, Butler University English Professor Bill Watts came to exactly the same conclusion.

The second thing the president pointed to was another Email. Unfortunately, I can’t provide the full text of that Email because I did not write it and the only time I saw it was when the vice president for student affairs showed it to me in a meeting in January. Without any evidence, and there can’t be any evidence because I had nothing to do with the Email, the president saw fit to imply that I wrote it. He went so far as to provide a fragment from that Email and, in fact, that fragment was the only material that the president quoted as evidence that there were threats, defamation, and libel. If this Email was as threatening as the president claimed, I’m shocked that, as far as I know, the university has taken no steps to find out who wrote it. By talking about this at the same time as he is talking about my writing, he tries to leave the impression that I wrote it.

• The president wrote, “Butler does not tolerate racial and sexual epithets in the name of free exchange of ideas.” Of course I agree with this statement, as I hope all of you do. The thing is, there is no hint of any such despicable language in anything I have ever written. I think that this is yet another attempt to unfairly and falsely attribute to me things that I did not say.

• The president said that the school needed to file the lawsuit in order to determine who the author of The True BU was. In reality, on New Year’s Eve, the president told my father that they had incontrovertible proof that I was the blogger. This was more than a week before the lawsuit was filed.

• The president said that the university’s attorney and my attorney had discussed possible disciplinary action for me. What he failed to mention, was that my attorney is also my father’s attorney, and the only reason they were talking in the first place was to discuss a completely separate issue:

When my father was relieved of his duties as Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the end of last academic year, he had a number of members of the College’s board of visitors tell him that the provost had said negative things about him during a conference call. He got his lawyer involved to ask for a clarification or retraction of those statements. Instead of simply dealing with that issue, I believe that the University decided to use me as a pawn. They brought my case into those discussions and tried to settle it all at once, with a few important catches. Though they would drop the lawsuit about the True BU blog, the university wanted to retain the right to punish me on-campus, would not detail what those punishments would be, and insisted that we neither appeal nor discuss the sanctions or any of the issues associated with all of this. While we were willing to agree to most of this, giving up my rights on- and off-campus was simply too high a price.

Ultimately, the school refused our offer to meet face to face to discuss these issues and decided to close discussions. Their attorney told us that they would proceed to substitute my name for “John Doe” in the lawsuit within the week.

• I saved this point for last not because it’s most or least important, but because I debated dignifying it with a response at all. Yesterday, the student newspaper reported that during his presentation to the faculty senate, the president referenced the shootings at Virginia Tech. It is hard for me to say how incredibly shocked and disappointed I am that he made that decision. I believe that his bringing up such a real tragedy misleads his audience in the present situation but, more importantly, it does a tremendous disservice to all who have been affected by acts of violence, at Virginia Tech and elsewhere. It is, in my opinion, reprehensible.

I alluded to it at the beginning, but it really is surreal to be back here, writing a blog and talking about the administration. I can honestly say that I wish I were doing something else, so tomorrow I think I will. I’ll start to tell my story and the story of The True BU. I’ll talk about the blog’s beginnings and what I intended it to do. If there’s a single concept, or a central idea, that I will talk about tomorrow, it’s this: Sometimes reality just doesn’t conform to your expectations.


  1. Honestly, I don't understand where this sense of entitlement that you have comes from. Nothing is perfect, no college is perfect, nothing can be perfect. It is difficult to read such negative posts when clearly, you are one of the few having a bad experience. I get it, college is hard, not everything goes your way and it is extremely stressful. However, that is not grounds to speak so negatively. It sounds like you have a bit of maturing to do, which is understandable at this age.

    Just remember, everything you put on the internet can be read and it can hurt you in the future. Just think before you post next time and you can avoid situations like this. I am not saying that you are not titled to your opinion. All I am saying is think long and hard before you speak.

  2. If you are going to post comments and opinions, then I am going to do the same. This whole thing is stupid and is completely your fault, so don't keep asking for sympathy! At the time, you were a sophomore in college. The Administration at the school made decisions based off of the knowledge that he had. I find it very hard to believe that you knew more than him about all of this. Just because it affected people who you were close to, doesn't mean that you have to take matters into your own hands. You are a student first, and that is what you should be focusing on when you are at BU. Leave administrative issues to those who are paid by the University to deal with these situations.

    You claim that you have the right to speak as you feel and shouldn't be punished for making your opinion known, but you criticize the University President for making his opinion known and you tear apart his remarks in response to your inappropriate actions. I find that very ironic.

    You are making the University look bad and now that you have continued to fuel the fire with even more comments, you are attracting national attention. WHY?! Stop talking. Stop posting. Stop making yourself look stupid. Start studying. Start making a career for yourself. Start respecting the University at which you are a student. You pay how much money to attend here? (but, with parents that work here, it might not be that thankful for that)

    Don't ask for sympathy from anyone. Don't expect people to rally behind your cause. Don't worry about things that are out of your hands. This whole deal is stupid and needs to be forgotten about. You want to be in control? You CAN be in control. STOP POSTING BLOGS! It's as simple as that. You claim that the University is in effect "lowering its standards" in this whole deal. Be the bigger man then. Don't stoop to a level that you are claiming the University has stooped to. That makes no sense.

  3. Anonymous does not want to get it. Any "sense of entitlement" you may have is that of free speech, an entitlement afforded every citizen of the USA and one every citizen has an obligation to ensure.

    My parsing of Anon:

    "Nothing is perfect"--so don't fight for injustice.

    "College is hard . . . you have a bit of maturing to do"---let's dismiss and minimize the issues you raise.

    Everything you say or write "can hurt you in the future"---don't speak truth to power.

    Cowards abound. Keep strong, Jess

  4. As a former Butler Music student, I am deeply saddened by everything that has been happening, within and outside of JCFA.
    Jess, while some comments might have come off as offensive, was merely posting his opinions on the internet. The fact that he chose to remain anonymous could (and sounded like it did) make matters worse; but there is nothing wrong with FINALLY publicly voicing the opinions and facts about the wrongful actions taking place within the institution. Additionally, is only natural to defend those he is close to and cares about, especially if they are mislead and treated unjustly.
    After spending a couple years as a music student and without even knowing Dean Alexander personally, it was clear to me that there were and ARE major problems and inconsistencies within the administration of JCFA. These blogs, articles and other postings confirms my suspicions. I do not want to judge the people that I don't know, but from what it sounds like, they fired the wrong person.
    Even though I am not a student at Butler anymore, I really hope this all gets sorted out. Good luck to Jess, and I hope and pray the administration within Butler and JCFA seriously straightens up. It's too small of a community to pull the types of stunts we've seen in the past year. On top of which, to hear that there have been several instances similar to the Dr. Gullickson firing, about some of the top administration within Butler to be aware of them and the fact that no action as been taken just makes matters worse.
    Good luck to all involved and to the Butler community.

  5. Wow, I am amazed at the audacity and stupidity of people who throw heavy stones while hiding behind the name Anonymous. This is not about entitlement or sympathy.

    Those with power have unjustly used said power to crush any questioning of their performance.

    A friend of mine has been accused of something he didn't do by someone who's bigger than him. I can't just let that go. You don't need to be involved if you don't want to. I have to stand by my friend.

  6. "Just because it affected people who you were close to, doesn't mean that you have to take matters into your own hands."

    How exactly does this statement make sense? If you see perceived injustice done to those close to you, it does not mean you have to do something about it? Let the administrators - people committing this alleged injustice - deal with it themselves? Are you out of your mind? I mean it makes as much sense as letting banks regulated themselves (that really worked, didn't it?) - certainly the kid has a right to express his opinion on the matter...

  7. Jess you sound like an incredibly bright young man, and wish you the best in the future. Because you are a student at Butler, I can only say that I am sorry for pain that this has caused everyone--you, your family, Dr. Comstock, Dr. Alexander, the University, everyone.

    I am not sure of what your intentions were to write the blogs--I believe that you were too close to the situation and probably should have taken a different course of action. Of course it is easier to say that now. I just hope that you will learn from this experience and understand the ramifications. This whole thing has caused a lot of pain and suffering. And yes, many of those comments could be thought of as "threats." And since we never knew the name of the blogger until recently, you have to understand that you have to protect the entire campus from this type of inappropriate action.

    We have too many bullies on this campus that think they can write in the Colleagian or sent email and stories to the press--do they realize that they DO NOT speak for most of the faculty or staff on campus. I view this type of behavior as the real coward. They light fire under students and use their cause as a way to get back at the Administration. I hope this did not happen to you.

    Most of us support our Administration and believe strongly in Butler and the BUTLER WAY. It is incidents like these that cause so much harm internally.

    I always want is best for students and I believe you will learn from this experience and do great things in this world. Just don't fall in a trap of the negative, always fighting for a cause and then end up leading an unhappy life.

    Sadly many of us need to remain anonymous due to the "few" bullies on campus.

  8. Favorite comment thus far: "This whole thing is stupid and is completely your fault, so don't keep asking for sympathy!"

    Let's break this thought down rationally. Is it Jess's fault? In a way, yes. Did he express an opinion that he more than likely knew would be contraversial and that the University would not like? Yes. Of course there are consequenses for speaking your mind, and I do not believe any of us are naive enough to believe that Jess did not realize it. But, having understood this, he went through with it anyway. So fault is not the issue here. The issue is the stance that the University took on his opinion. Could he, or any of us for that matter, have rationally forseen this much aggression coming from the administration? I sure wouldn't have.

    Second thought. I don't remember ever reading or hearing anything about Jess asking for sympathy. From what I have read, he is only trying to tell a story. A story about a tough situation between a Butler student and its administration. Not to mention trying to clear the air of his innocence.

    Final thought. Has anyone read anything from Butler refuting the claims that Jess made? So far, all I have read is an attempt to put the focus on the supposed "hate-filled" words used by Jess. Just a question. If I am wrong let me know. Then again, I might also be sued instead....

  9. Jess, stand up for your rights! You have a right to say what you please about issues, as long as you do not libel anyone, and from where I stand, you did not libeal the so called administrators. The administrators need to grow up and learn to take criticism without blowing a casket.

  10. Good on you for bringing up Fong's comment about Virginia Tech. I don't think you went far enough though. That comment is almost identical to the type of comments made by the Bush administration in the escalation to war in Iraq. Crying terrorism.

    In the Insider Higher Ed piece, Dr. Gullickson mentions the climate of fear. The Butler Underground worked to dissolve this fear. Clearly Fong has no intention of creating a safe environment to express ideas. Instead he'd associate dissent with traumatic violence, especially to a campus that is not so unfamiliar with campus shootings. Far from being outlandish, that comment alone is indicative of an active attempt to silence dissent on Butler's campus.

    -Jon Irons
    Class of 09

  11. Did someone seriously post to point out that he's making the university look bad? Butler is making ITSELF look bad! Over and over again, Butler continues to make poor decisions, and fail to take care of its wonderful students and professors.

    Clearly, the majority of you responding have done little to no research on the situation. Clearly, the majority of you are too cowardly to ever consider standing up for what you believe in such a public way.

    What they're doing is GROSS.

    Jess - from someone else who was very vocal in disapproval of the way things are handled there - I SUPPORT YOU ONE MILLION PERCENT.

  12. What makes Jess Zimmerman entitled to speak his mind? He's a customer of Butler University. End of story.

    I don't care how any of this makes the administrators "feel." I give absolutely no credence to Bobby Fong's claim that Jamie Comstock and Peter Alexander were "afraid." Why? Because a libel lawsuit isn't a way to protect someone who fears for their personal safety--a call to the police is. If they were afraid, they would have filed a police report instead of a lawsuit aimed at silencing a student who 1) had credible sources providing him information and 2) wasn't afraid to speak his mind on important issues that affect the student body. If you disagree with Jess, that's fine--but don't use the fact that he's a student as an argument for why he shouldn’t have been speaking his mind. Free speech is free speech and he is a CUSTOMER of Butler University--he is the person that should MOST be encouraged to speak his mind.

    As a victim of the tactics used by many of these same administrators (I am forwarding an editorial to the Butler Collegian where I outline several circumstances in which Butler officials threatened me), I could not be any prouder of Jess Zimmerman for standing up and speaking out. For his sake, I hope these administrators take a long hard look at their gargantuan egos and drop the lawsuit. But if they don't, I think they will be sorely surprised in court when several of their colleagues step forward and corroborate what Jess wrote. Better be careful—people saying mean things might make Jamie Comstock and Peter Alexander feel “afraid.” Give me a break. The only thing Peter Alexander should be afraid of is another request for his resume.

    If any Butler faculty members are reading this, you should strongly be considering asking for two things: 1) a vote of no confidence to occur at the next Faculty Senate meeting and 2) an accounting of how much Bobby Fong’s prosecution of this case is costing the school. You only received a 1% pay increase this year--don't you think they could be spending the student’s money a little wiser?

    Andrew Beare Jones
    2008 Graduate of Butler University

  13. Jess,

    I don't have your gmail directly, but my friend shared another press piece on the lawsuit.

  14. All I can say is that you should be thankful you go to school like Butler. There are so many people out there who do not have the luxury of going to a university like Butler, let alone any university. It baffles me how people can attend a college or university then rip it apart for minor issues. Be thankful for what you have and the education you have been given. Maybe if you would see how the other 98% of the world lives you would be more grateful for all that you have been given.

  15. I don't know everything that's been going on behind the scenes, but as someone looking in on this, all I see is that you are defending your parents and that the email you sent on Christmas was rude and immature, not to mention unnecessary on a holiday, for Pete's sake. Grow up and address this in person with the people involved, like a mature adult—don't hide behind a false name and whine.

    If the university really is suing you for false reasons, it will show up in the court case and they will lose. I at least commend you for now addressing this as yourself and not under a false name. Maybe next time, if you're afraid to put your name to it, you should think twice about posting...

    Best of luck.

    Devon Henderson
    Class of 2011

  16. Be "thankful you go to a school like Butler"? Jess, like me, earned his admission to Butler by being a good student in high school. Butler should be thankful for students like Jess. This idea of "don't complain, you have so much" is absurd. "Don't complain about not having hot water, at least you still have electricity. Don't complain about not having electricity, you still have a home. Don't complain about your house burning down, at least the homeless shelter wasn't full." That attitude and absurd logic is the best argument against any sort of transparency or progress.

    I was a student leader for four years at Butler and take it from me, the school has serious problems rooted mostly in the poor choices made by administrators. I was threatened several times by administrators and more than once I felt like they were using university resources to target me and make me stop speaking my mind and being an advocate for change. Devon, maybe you should read the US Supreme Court decision McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm'n, 514 U.S. 334 (1995). Once you've done that, read about how the Federalist Papers were published.

    Maybe once you've learned little bit about the 1st Amendment (and the history of this great nation) you won't be so critical of someone speaking truth to power in the safest way possible.

  17. "Good for you", "stand up for yourself," and "stay strong" are all great things to hear. Congratulations Jess, you use large diction and attempt to sound smarter in order to defend yourself. Anyone else would do the same. What you're failing to realize here is that there is a lawsuit against you... yet you keep attacking or speaking out against the University and trying to make yourself look innocent or just using "free speech." There's a reason lawyers are paid so well - it's because they are generally good at what they do. Therefore, they'll find something against you, no matter how loud you to try to speak your voice... it doesn't matter at this point, so quit while you're ahead.

    Unless you'd like to keep going, I'm sure it will amuse more and more people by reading of this and updates through the Collegian. The University will win, case closed.

  18. It's funny how most comments here are clearly from cowardly administrators from BU threatening the author, "explaining" to him why he should quit and so on - especially this last comment - of course the university can use all its might to crush an undergrad! what is your point? that it is the right thing to do? that this young man should back off because you have more power on your side? even if he loses, it's worth the fight precisely because it makes people like you squirm - what if everyone stood up to you and your bullying? it would be a different world, wouldn't it? you probably wouldn't like it - you go for it, Jess! Butler is putting its reputation on the line to make its point, they will lose even if they win the legal case against you.

  19. No, i'm not a cowardly administrator, i'm a student who doesn't want to hear about this bull anymore. It's annoying, it is a cry for attention that is getting more attention than needed. Also, when someone sues, it is most likely for damages, such as money. So if this is, would you want to see Jess keep fighting to lose something valuable like money? Let's get realistic, it's not worth it.

    Butler's not putting any of it's "reputation" on the line. It's reputation is not about this, it stands by a strong academic institution that serves to provide a valuable learning experience to the students that attend the University, that is not changing anytime soon.

  20. Jess is fighting for something much more valuable than money. An education that hasn't taught you this is not as excellent as you may think it is.

  21. If you are tried of hearing about it, then don't - no one is forcing you to read this blog. If university is so sure that it will win the case, why doesn't it set any court dates and go ahead with the lawsuit?

  22. Andrew:

    I see almost no relevance of that court case to what is happening here, aside from the use of free speech, if which I am NOT against, though you seem to think I am.

    "Maybe once you've learned little bit about the 1st Amendment (and the history of this great nation) you won't be so critical of someone speaking truth to power in the safest way possible."

    I am not critical, nor did I say I was, of "someone speaking truth to power." This nation was founded on this, and I'm darn proud of that. The email sent to Drs. Alexander and Comstock on Christmas, however, had nothing to do with this, and the email was ALL I addressed in my response. That email was tasteless and rude.

    Here is an excerpt that serves as an example:
    "...I haven't forgotten the abuses of power and poor leadership you showed last semester. I know you wanted me (and all students) to forget over the holiday, but I assure you that I have not. Oh well." I do not see how this could be taken as anything but rude, I really don't. Just because we're allowed to speak our minds does not mean we should always speak it word for word.

    The email was what triggered the actual lawsuit, correct? The fact that Dr. Comstock felt threatened by it was what sent the university to the courts? I have no opinion on what goes on behind the scenes, as it is not influencing my personal education and I see no OFFICIAL documents on this situation, so I am reserving making an opinion until it can be an educated one. However, I do feel the email was in poor taste and could have been handled with much more class and respect.

    As I read the email, I see that there is no content whatsoever in the email that would bring about any positive impact on the university. "..I haven't forgotten the abuses of power and poor leadership you showed last semester." Good for you, your memory works! Does this help? No. Does it lead to anything that may help bring about the change you desire? "I know you wanted me (and all students) to forget over the holiday, but I assure you that I have not." Nope, nothing necessary here. My favorite part about the email, however, is this statement: "…Or, Dr. Alexander, if you ever even have a biography that someone feels is important enough to publish on ANY website…" How on earth does that help the university's current situation? HOW? I'm actually angered that a student would be so bold and rude against an administrator, no matter your view on how they do their job. How does the fact that his biography is apparently thus far unsuccessful at being published relate to the struggles of the university? That's completely uncalled for, and I would expect better of middle schoolers. You should be ashamed, Mr. Zimmerman.

    To conclude, I'm NOT opposed to what you are doing. It's great that you're standing strong for what you believe in, and that we get to witness one of America's strongest traits—free speech. I do feel, however, that poor decisions on your part are what led to this (if you hadn't sent the email, would this have happened? Hard to say, but odds are, no), and the whole situation could possibly be avoided if you'd used a bit more class in your involvement.

  23. Devon et al,

    McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Comm'n is completely relevant to this case—the US Supreme Court upheld the right of individuals to distribute political literature anonymously. Devon, you stated that Jess should “Grow up and address this in person with the people involved, like a mature adult—don't hide behind a false name and whine.” I reference McIntyre because you were criticizing Jess for speaking anonymously, which is completely protected and in this case, completely necessary. You might claim to support free speech, but you either don’t support the use of anonymity or you don’t appreciate the danger at which Jess was and still is proceeding.

    Doesn’t the fact that the school administration is suing Jess tell you that he had every reason to be afraid of using his name? Jess intends to go to law school and he must have known how incredibly petty and vindictive these administrators are. When I attended Butler, I was repeatedly threatened by members of the school administration and I NEVER would have criticized them like this publicly because I was sure they would find a way to destroy my future—which seems to be exactly what they are trying to do to Jess right now. I am so incredibly impressed with Jess’s courage and the support he is receiving from hundreds of Butler students and faculty members shows the REAL strength of the Butler community.

    As far as the email to Peter Alexander where Jess wrote, “If you ever have any professional or personal achievements (Or, Dr. Alexander, if you ever even have a biography that someone feels is important enough to publish on ANY website),” I found that to be derisive but not inappropriate. Peter Alexander and Jamie Comstock removed Andrea Gullickson as Chair of the School of Music. She is a nationally renowned Oboist, with widely acclaimed recordings available in countries throughout the world. While teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, she received the most prestigious award conferred by the University for her “excellence in teaching, professional achievement, and public service.” She is a graduate of Northwestern University.

    Using the handle Soodo Nym (and prior to the December 25 email), Jess requested from Peter Alexander a list of his professional achievements because, at the time, he had none published on the school’s website or anywhere on the internet. As Andrea Gullickson is so widely respected within her field, the requests appeared to be aimed at understanding how her resume stood up to the man that had just demoted her. As far as I could tell from the blog, Peter Alexander never responded to requests for a list of his achievements.

    Jamie Comstock is another story. I was perplexed when I read that she was hired; I am not some sort of “educational elitist” but this seemed rather odd to me. Bill Berry, the previous provost, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Arkansas and obtained his masters and Ph D. in history from Princeton University (ranked #1 by US News for its graduate program in history). Jamie Comstock obtained her bachelors and masters degrees from Illinois State University and her Ph D. from the University of Arizona. To me, these two educational backgrounds differ greatly. Shouldn’t the Provost—the Vice President for Academic Affairs—be an incredibly accomplished scholar in her field? I had a philosophy professor at Butler who graduated from Yale and obtained his masters and Ph D. from the University of Chicago. Former Dean Michael Zimmerman graduated from the University of Chicago and obtained his Ph D. from Washington University in St. Louis (he even has a Wikipedia page!). These are the sort of people we should be hiring to lead Butler’s overall academic programs, and I really don’t know what qualifications Jamie Comstock has to oversee the work of these people—let alone remove them from academic posts.

    Andrew Beare Jones
    2008 Graduate of Butler University

  24. To all,

    I am also a graduate of JCFA. Living out in California, this is the first I have gotten wind of the whole situation. This is an unfortunate testament of my lack of interest in the goings-on of Butler University. It is safe to say my experience there, in terms of various similar situations to this, is one I am not bragging about as I proceed in life. This may sound a bit harsh. I am not, however, going to get too much into specific situations.

    As soon as I read the article from Inside Higher Ed, I followed the link to the TrueBU blog and read the entire PDF. Opinion: I think the most offensive comments were not from Jess himself but from the anonymous responses. Yes, maybe he slipped when he sent the Christmas e-mail and let his emotions get the best of him. After all, his holiday season was probably tainted by the situations that both his father and step-mother were coping with at BU.

    I only knew Andrea Gullickson from my last year at Butler. As an Arts Admin. student, my interactions with her were minimal at best. However, she was always very friendly in the halls, well-spoken of, and a refreshingly positive attitude at JCFA.

    Responding to a blog, and even a somewhat juicy controversy is completely uncharacteristic of me. My experience, and the experience of those close to me, at Butler has been riddled with petitions and difficult situations/realizations. I feel compelled to make it clear that this is just the most publicized instance of injustice. Those of us on the inside can attest to this (Buselli, Clark, etc.) Again, no need for details as they are the issue at hand.

    Why I am sad about the root of this all, Gullickson's demotion (is that what it ended up being?...still confused):
    My dear friend nearly lost her passion for music because of our university symphony experience, and I HAVE lost my passion for playing. Butler was built up to be a place of inspiration and community and instead became, in my time there, a constant cause of emotional turmoil. I no longer play my bass, my cello sits in a case out of site, and I get incredibly sad when my fingers touch the keys of a piano. I went to Butler with a vision of my life over the course of 4 years: working hard, honing my technique with the help of my professors, being inspired by the amazing musicians around me, playing gigs with my classmates and pursuing my dream of one day running my own venue. A big part of that dream was crushed.

    Moral of my story, and please don't feel any need to state that I'm looking for sympathy (thanks in advance)...I was UNinspired by many parts of Butler University and dealings with some of the higher administration. I was misled. And now, the ray of light that was a source of true inspiration for new students has been thrown to the wayside in a heap of controversy. One day, long from now, those rays of light might start to emerge from that pile, until then...

    My response to the lawsuit:

    This is absurd. Really, Butler? Not out of character, however. The petitions I spoke of earlier, definitely led to lower grades given by an unnamed person to unnamed students based on their involvement in said endeavors. I could go on for days about how ridiculous this is but my forte is not in matters of legality in this case. I can opine all I want but, what's the point? I might get sued.

    Best of wishes to the community at Butler University. I send special thoughts to the handful of exceptional people in the Jordan College of Fine Arts who, along with Gullickson, made all of that emotional turmoil worth my time. I hope one day that JCFA will rise to full potential and that people in California will know of this university for some other reason than our basketball team (and this lawsuit). keep your head high. Good things will come from this, you just have to wait for the shit storm to pass.


    Emily M.

    Butler University '08
    Arts Admin.

  25. In addition to the lack of specific notice to you regarding the meeting and denying you the opportunity to have an advocate be present with you, I am curious about at what point the University started to use your tuition money for university lawyers/ legal advice, against you without you being represented by an attorney or notified that it was a legal matter and that you should get legal advice prior to attending the meeting.