Friday, November 13, 2009

Run the Numbers

I want to do something a bit different than my usual posts tonight.

Let’s look at the numbers:

33,470 – The number of distinct page loads I am “John Doe” has had in the 29 days it’s been in existence

31,200 – The difference between the number of distinct page loads of "I am John Doe" over a 3 week time period and The True BU had over its entire existence

859 – The number of signatures on the petition to the Butler administration asking for apologies for their actions

140 – The number of days it took for Butler to dismiss the lawsuit against “John Doe” after they used the court system to determine that “John Doe” was me, despite the president’s repeated claim that the university never had any intention of suing a student

58 – The number of comments on the original story about this case in Inside Higher Ed, making it the third most commented upon story for the last month, the ninth most commented upon story for the past six months and the thirteenth most comment upon story for the past year

11 – The number (at the very least) of School of Music faculty members who have endorsed a statement indicating that they provided me with the documents published in The True BU, that they shared their opinions and impressions of what was happening in the fall concerning the removal of the chair, and that they believe that what I wrote was accurate and consistent with their impressions.

10 – The number of university newspapers around the country that have written stories and editorials expressing their concerns about Butler's handling of this situation and the implications for freedom of speech issues across the country

8 – The number of times people signing the petition to the Butler Administration used the word “abuse”

6 – The number of months from when my father was first threatened with the specter of a lawsuit over The True BU to the time the administration informed me that a suit was actually filed, and that was in response to a concern raised by my father about defamatory statements made about him by the provost

4 – The number of months in which the Butler administration threatened to replace “John Doe’s” name with my name in the lawsuit accusing me of libel, defamation, harassment and threats; and the number of days after The True BU was removed from the web but before the Butler administration filed that lawsuit

3 – The number of memos Butler’s president wrote to the entire university faculty in a 15 day period about me

2 – The number of my family members removed from their administrative posts at Butler after The True BU began publishing

1 – The number of times a university has filed a lawsuit over online speech, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

0 - The number occurrences of threatening, harassing, libelous, racist or sexist comments appearing in any of my writing, despite what the Butler administration has repeatedly claimed in communications intended for audiences both on and off campus


  1. Nearly 6,000- the number of higher education institutions in the United States. Less than 1% support from all of the institutions isn't anything to brag about.

    3467- the number of currently enrolled students at Butler that have not signed your petition (assuming that all 859 were students-which we both know isn't true.)

    52-the number of School of Music faculty who have not come forward saying the documents were consistent with their impressions of the situation

    0-the number of people who know both sides of the story.

    Statistics can be maneuvered to whatever is convenient for your situation.

    You began the True BU blog as a reaction to the fact that your family member's positions were potentially in jeopardy. Stop being so egocentric as to believe that the blog alone was the reason they were removed from their positions. I regret that they both were placed in an unfortunate situation and that this has not been an easy process for any of you. You do have support. But there are thousands of people out there that think you were unwise in creating the blog when you were so close to the situation. There are thousands that are thinking that maybe you do deserve to get in a little bit of trouble and that you should take ownership of your actions. No matter how many documents you throw at us "proving" that you are innocent and the administration is out of control, we won't know what truly happened because they can't talk. In their silence and vague statements, they are protecting you as much as they are themselves. You could say anything you wanted and they are in no position to confirm or deny because you are a student and they have to protect your confidentiality.

    I hope that you are fully recovered from being ill last week.

  2. Where's your anti-blog, anti-petition, etc? It is illogical to assume that everyone who has not signed the petition or spoken out is against Jess's blog and against the petition. There has been tremendous national support.

    As to the 0% who know both sides: that's the issue. Abuse of power only occurs with lack of transparency. You really believe that "they can't talk" and that "In their silence and vague statements, they are protecting you as much as they are themselves"?

    Jess has shown that he can face the truth in public; the administration has not. Let's lay it all in the open and see who is hiding what and why.

  3. You seem to be forgetting that there is still an internal disciplinary process taking place. Jess is still a student. It would be illegal for the university to discuss Jess's disciplinary record to anyone, let alone national media, under the FERPA act of 1974. Would you want your university discussing your discipline, education, health or any other type of records with the media? That's not transparency, it's a lack of confidentiality and props to Butler for standing strong in that despite the calls to speak out about the situation.

  4. The lack of transparency and abuse of power that gave rise to the blog was the firing of the chair of the music department and, later, the firing of the dean of LAS. I agree with anonymous#2: lay it out in the open.

  5. From what I've read in this entire blog, the blog was actually started before the threats to his relatives's positions, but that it got more hits after he starting posting about that issue.

    On a side note, I know that you cancelled the BU blog, but do you have the copy in one of your side blogs? It's a lot easier to defend your actions if people can read everything in context for themselves!

    Keep hanging in there!

    -Former BU student

  6. You can find the original blot in the Inside Higher Education article, available through this link: