Monday, June 2, 2008

My Meeting With DPI

I was informed on December 21st that I would not be rehired by GSE for the 2008 session. A 3 sentence letter was sent to the house that indicated my position was being "taken in another direction."

On May14th, in response to requests from the GSE Council (Area I, II, and III directors, along with Chuck Sullivan, my direct boss as the head of the English Department), I met with Tom Winton at DPI. He informed me I had been fired/not re-hired for the following 4 reasons

(1) failure to return my contract in a timely matter
(2) changing the name of the Human Sexuality Film Series to The Film Series That Dare Not Speak It's Name. (I was asked to change the name of the series so that the word "sexuality" did not appear. The new name was a nod to Oscar Wilde.)
(3) a complaint by a student that his/her viewpoint was having trouble being heard in my class. (This may have been more than 1 student, but was at least 1. I forgot to ask Tom for clarification on the number at the end of the meeting.)
(4) appearing in an Area III student film about the ADF's attack on GSE. In the film, I indicated that I felt Tom and Mary were responding to homophobic demands from ADF instead of supporting the faculty and stated values of Governor's School. Tom's comment at the meeting was that there should be no public criticism of GS administration.

I indicated I felt these reasons were probably the reasons to be publicly stated for my firing, but there flimsiness and the fact that we had discussed none of them during the session meant they probably were not at all the real reasons behind my dismissal.

Tom and I went on to talk about how you deal with groups like ADF, how they work and what these types of groups respond to, what the strengths of such groups were and how GS could use its strengths to respond to the bullying of ADF, and how one unites a community to respond when attacked.

I felt that Tom and I had a productive meeting in the sense that we were able to talk about the "real" issue of ADF's extended and increasingly hostile attacks. My concern then and now are with the faculty at GSE and the position they are being forced into (censorship of anything that might upset or attract the attention of ADF, no information being shared between the administration and faculty, the moving away from the stated values of GS) and the actively hostile atmosphere ADF's attack and DPI's response creates for openly queer students and faculty.

I went into expecting that we would only be able to talk about the public, surface face of the situation and I appreciate that Tom was able to talk about the problem on a deeper level. I ended then and will restate now that I would be happy to help GS take on the ADF in any way possible.

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