TO: President Barack Obama and the American People From: Agnes L. Scott, www.bulliesintheivorytower.org, P.O. Box 190620, Nashville, TN 37219 Date: January, 2013
Subject: Bullies in the Ivory Tower, An African American Woman’s Fourteen-Year Fight for Educational Justice and a PhD at the University of Toledo – Calling for an Investigation From the Department of Justice Due to Academic Bullying by Professors and Administrators
Dear President Barack Obama and the American People:
No, “I won’t commit suicide,” as the lyrics in my song, “Silence Brings Power,” on my website, bulliesintheivorytower.org, state. No I won’t commit suicide, as so many other victims of bullying have done. And yes, I do want “the culture of silence to escape the old tower that touts the imbalance of power” as more lyrics of the song state.
The “culture of silence” refers to an implicit or explicit agreement by a group of people to keep quiet (whether a participant or a witness) about an issue; in this instance student academic bullying is the issue. The imbalance of power to which I am referring is the professor/administrator-to-student power. Usually, an agent of a university possesses more power in relation to the power that one student possesses.
When students are academically bullied, they will probably not ask for help; because most students believe that challenging a gatekeeper will result in debilitating repercussions, derailing their educational pursuits. So they are left without a degree and in financial debt. In my case the debt has climbed to over $150,000. This website is an open appeal to President Barack Obama and the American People to help me bring professors and administrators at the University of Toledo to justice for engaging in course fraud, abusive language and scientific misconduct. These actions are depriving me of my right to an education. By the way, scientific misconduct is in the same category as plagiarism.
This website is about my fourteen-year fight at the University of Toledo for educational justice and a PhD. I enrolled at the age of 55. I am now 71. In essence, this website is about professor/administrator-to-student academic bullying, an effort to bring to the forefront the issue of academic bullying, i.e., instructors who deliberately attempt to derail a student’s educational pursuit.
To reiterate, I am alleging that the University of Toledo President, Lloyd Jacobs, has allowed my dissertation committee members, Drs. Mary Ellen Edwards, Dissertation Chair, Svetlana Beltyukova, Penny Poplin Gosetti, and Revathy Kumar, in the University of Toledo’s Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service, Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership program and other University professors and administrators to academically bully me via course fraud, abusive language, and scientific misconduct in an effort to prevent me from attaining a doctoral degree.
1. Course fraud – It appears that my dissertation committee baited me to enroll in dissertation course after dissertation course for at least sixteen semesters with no
intention of performing their duties as dissertation committee members. The last dissertation course in which they baited me to enroll, no one ever showed up to teach. I received no instruction whatsoever; but they billed me for the course anyway. I’m on a payment plan for that course.
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2. Abusive language – I chose to include in my song, the lyrics, “I will not commit suicide,” because my Dissertation Chair’s written dissertation revision comments to me included “holding a gun to someone’s head.” This was ironic to me, because my dissertation had nothing to do with guns or violence. I received it as a subliminal message.
3. Scientific misconduct – My Dissertation Chair, with support from other dissertation committee members, fed me flawed dissertation data. Scientific misconduct is in the same category as plagiarism.
These are serious allegations. Most professors and administrators espouse integrity; however, a few miss the mark. So, I don’t want anyone to take my word for what I am alleging. Please view a few of these allegations on this website. And then, I invite scholars of qualitative and quantitative research from colleges and universities all over the country – Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University, Howard University, Harvard University, University of Alabama, and the University of Toledo – to meet with me to examine the array of dissertation documents and emails that show more academic bullying abuses. I would also like attorneys to do the same. Please, I need help.
There is a premise in this country that if you are willing to work hard you can make it in America. Well, right now that is not happening for me. It appears that “thinking with an evolutionary fervor that all men are created equal” as Chris Matthews an MSNBC host states in regard to moving America forward does not apply to me with these professors and administrators. America’s move forward is predicated upon all men being treated equally, not being preyed upon because a position of power is deemed more profitable than a valued product of one of its citizens.
Mr. President and the American People, I’ve come to you because I am not better off educationally than I was four years ago, eight years ago, or even fourteen years ago. I enrolled in elementary school in 1947 into a segregated education system. In this scenario, with this University, in this College, in this Department, it feels like the laws have been rolled back, that education is only for people who live in a certain zip code, are of a certain age, ethnicity, or economic status.
I’ve talked with and written letters and emails to my professors and administrators, President of the University, University of Toledo Board of Trustees, and the Ohio Board of Regents. In 2006, I wrote a book, Bullies in the Ivory Tower: An African American Woman’s Fight for Educational Justice and a PhD, chronicling the obstacles in my pursuit of a doctoral degree at this University. I rode a bike 450 miles from Nashville, Tennessee to Toledo, Ohio and presented the book to the President’s Office at the University of Toledo. The bike trek was a symbolic gesture to protest the injustices I was experiencing at the University of Toledo. Five years later, in 2011, I presented another book, Bullies in the Ivory Tower: An African American Woman’s Twelve and One-Half Year Fight for Educational Justice and PhD at the University of Toledo: If I Die Before They Wake, to the University President. It chronicled more abuses I was suffering at the hands of professors and administrators. I also wrote a letter to the United States Secretary of Education in the Office for Civil Rights; and I’ve filed claims with the Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education. All to no avail.
I substitute teach in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools on a regular basis because of three reasons. First, I love to teach. Second, I work to pay tuition for a one hour dissertation course that I was made to take semester after semester in seemingly a course fraud scam. The last
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dissertation course was billed to my account, although my professor never showed up to teach. I’m on a payment plan for that course, now. And third, I substitute teach to offset the financial obligations that come with bringing to the forefront the issue of academic bullying. I’ve got to continue to fight for my education, because if I don’t –
How would I tell the children in Ms. Caudle’s class at Neely’s Bend Elementary School, who recite Langston Hughes’ poem, “Dreams” with so much enthusiasm and belief, that I didn’t fight for my dream? I would feel like the “broken winged bird” in Mr. Hughes’ poem if my educational dream was not fulfilled.
What would I say to Ms. Sebastian’s class at Carter Lawrence Elementary School about their dreams? They sometimes appear to be college students studying for exams.
Or what would I say to Ms. Johnston’s class at Hattie Cotton Elementary School who sometimes, although exhausted from rigorous assignments, don’t want to leave school for the day? How could I tell them that their hard work might not pay off?
I wouldn’t be able to face Fisk University students if they knew I didn’t protest when professors struck out my references to “wearing the veil,” a passage taken from the Souls of Black Folk, the work of W. E. B. Du Bois, a great black liberation theologian, and social activist who attended their University.
What would I tell all students, whether they attended an elementary school or a four year institution about speaking out against bullying? Right now, I advise them to tell adult, after adult until someone listens. I’ve told adult, after adult, but so far no one has listened.
Now, I’m coming to the President of the United States, who espouses anti-bullying principles, and the American People; because I believe as MSNBC host Melissa Harris Perry believes that President Obama is confident that America has the ability to come to equitable outcomes.
Help me end the capricious academic bullying actions of these professors and administrators by calling for a full academic investigation. I believe the result will require that the University of Toledo professors and administrators restore the context and content of my research paper (dissertation) to its original intent (by removing their fraudulent data and replacing it with publishable data) in a document ready for submission to OhioLink and ProQuest UMI, so that I can graduate in the spring of 2013 with a PhD in Higher Education from the University I’ve been attending for fourteen years.
Professor/administrator-to-student academic abuse must be brought out of the closet. Incidences should be provided, and people should be named so that a thorough investigation can be done. The problem must be acknowledged; then and only then will the issue of professor/administrator-to-student academic bullying be addressed properly. Included in this conversation must be how silent participants exacerbate the problem.
I will be protesting the issue of professor/administrator-to-student academic bullying, which results in depriving a student the right to a fair and just educational process, at Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. My desire is to help move America forward by fortifying myself educationally. I believe that you, Mr. President, and the American people possess the fortitude to
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help me attain my degree by calling for a Department of Justice investigation of the processes which have taken place in my pursuit of a doctoral degree. I don’t want the life that I have left to be like another line in one of Mr. Hughes’ poem, “Dreams,” “for when dreams go, life is a barren field, frozen with snow.”
American people, please stand with me against academic bullying. In this issue, I represent your mother, grandmother, daughter, aunt, niece, father, grandfather, son, uncle, nephew, and you. I am a voice for anyone who is trying to get an education – male or female, young or old, any ethnicity, gay or straight. Please write or call: Attorney General Eric Holder; Department of Justice; 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20530-0001, (202) 353-1555, (202) 514-2000. Again, please ask for a Department of Justice investigation into the academic bullying actions by professors and administrators in the University of Toledo’s Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service, Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership program against Agnes L. Scott.