This Thursday, May 10th at 2 PM, there’s a scheduled termination hearing before the Board of Regents for Sabina Burton, tenured professor of Criminal Justice at UW-Platteville. Readers may be familiar with her story from published accounts.
Television station KWWL describes how the case began:
[O]ne of their professors very vocal about what she’s been going through. “I’ve been viewed as a problem from my administration for having stood up for, not just student rights but also my own rights,” said Sabina Burton, tenured criminal justice associate professor.
Burton says it started four years ago when a student approached her about reporting an incident. “It started with a student sexual harassment complaint. The student felt sexually harassed by a male professor in my department and she approached me for advice.”
Burton says she was assigned to lower level classes, and taken off of prestigious department assignments — she believes because she didn’t keep it under wraps.
Recently, Matt Kittle wrote about Prof. Burton’s case in Whistleblower UW-Platteville Professor Takes Her Case To UW Regents:
Burton claims administrators took away a grant and committee seats, effectively stalled her career, and repeatedly threatened her job for criticizing the university’s handling of the sexual harassment complaint. She alleges a former acting chairman of the department physically threatened her and that she was defamed by an instructor.
“I was threatened. I was harassed. I was intimidated,” Burton said told MacIver News Service in December.
See also, Professor Sabina Burton’s Last Stand, Did Politics Play Role In Dismissal Drive Against Conservative Professor?, UW-Platteville Whistleblower Professor Testifies To Save Her Job, and Whistleblower UW-P Professor Begins Appeal For Her Job.
At Platteville, at Whitewater (as readers well know), and other campuses, university administrators wield enormous power to accuse, stigmatize, ostracize, or terminate whistleblowers. A legitimately concerned and aggrieved employee may be – too easily and too conveniently – labeled a troublemaker, hysterical, etc. In this way, self-interested institutions craftily turn legitimate advocacy on behalf of vulnerable parties into a fabricated disorder. Partisan politics may play a role, but often a defense of an institution becomes immoral act utilitarianism, rooted in the belief that individuals may be swept aside for the sake of collective university ‘family.’
There is no human institution that is not composed of individuals, of persons possessed of inherent and particular rights, each worthy of respect and defense even against the mass, the collective, the corporate.
The Burton hearing will be held on the UW-Madison campus, in Room 1820, Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive, Madison. Embedded below is a map with the hearing room’s location.