Charges of Ungodliness
In their Report, the mediators stated: "The allegations of 'ungodly' behavior will be deleted and acknowledged by administration to be inflammatory."
Accusations of unspecified ungodliness have been for me the most devastating aspect of this case. There was no way to respond, and colleagues naturally assumed that they related to some terrible scandal that I'd kept hidden. A former administrator answered such speculation succinctly by saying, "If it were 'ungodliness' you'd be out of the classroom in a heartbeat." But the speculation persisted, and the charge served its purpose by undercutting any support I would otherwise receive from my colleagues.
These accusations against me remained unspecified until the summer of 2005. On May 31, 2005, I wrote a letter to the CTS Board Ad Hoc Committee that included the following paragraph:
“A critical document that I believe the committee needs to have is one that to my knowledge has not yet been written. President Plantinga has alleged ‘ungodliness’ in reference to me—particularly to groups of individuals and colleagues who questioned why I was removed from tenure track. In an email to me (1-14-03), he refers to ‘distinct incidents’ with two different dates and individuals. Again in a letter (1-29-03) he states that I must ‘gain a reputation for godliness’ and he refers to ‘two incidents.’ I have no knowledge of any ungodliness on my part that could be associated with those individuals or dates. Yet those accusations have been a very significant aspect of my case. I believe that it is essential that he present in writing these accusations and how in his mind these ‘incidents’ relate to ungodliness. Such information is critical for the committee’s review, and it is only fair that all such accusations be in writing so that I can adequately respond.”
In response to this request, Neal submitted 2 sets of typed notes (apparently originally alleged to be hand-written, thus untraceable on a computer dating system). It is critically important to know that he is claiming these notes were written at the time of the “incidents”—the one dated March 12, 2002, beginning with the words, “Met today with Duane and Ruth Tucker. . . .”
Had Neal responded to the Board Ad Hoc Committee by offering his recollections of that meeting, his false claim of “incoherent rage” and a “tirade” could be explained by memory that is often faulty—especially if someone is very upset with another person and mulls a situation around in his mind for three years.
But these accusations are not what he claims to be his memory. They are purported notes; in this case, purported to be written on the very same day that the meeting occurred.
I know the "notes" are false because what he claims did not occur.
With no other evidence, this might remain in an unsolved he said/she said file.
But there is very convincing evidence that shows his notes are not authentic. Any one piece of evidence might not stand on its own, but taken together, there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that these notes were fabricated. The following pertains primarily to the first of his 2 sets of notes:
- There is no mention of notes (purportedly written in mid-March 2002) anywhere in the documents until (at my insistence that accusations of ungodliness be explained) they were submitted to the Board Committee more than three years later.
- The notes were not originally typed on a date-traceable computer.
- Although the original passing mention of this “incident” dated the incident in October 2001, this set of notes is more accurately dated, though still off by a day (March 12, 2002, rather than the correct date of the meeting March 13, 2002). The second set of notes has no date.
- There is an actual record of this incident—an email that I wrote to Neal the next day, dated “3/14/2002 11:34:43 AM.” That email had been saved in my computer and I copied it for the Ad Hoc Committee. It clearly sets the date correctly, and it refutes—by its tone and content—Neal’s accusations. (I have copies for reference.) When he presented the alleged notes to the Ad Hoc Committee, Neal was not aware that this email existed, and subsequently when the email was presented to him in a mediation meeting, he denied having ever received or read it. However, in a later meeting he admitted he had received and read it.
- In none of Neal’s communications with me does he mention uncontrolled rage or vulgarity. In one letter he lists 9 areas of deficiencies, none relating to rage or vulgarity.
- I was sent into a renewal program, during which time none of the above accusations were ever mentioned. I wrote a “Learning Contract” at the conclusion of that renewal program that has no mention of rage or vulgarity.
- None of the faculty evaluations mention rage or vulgarities. This is a critical point. Duane admitted in a mediation meeting that he had written an evaluation on me, and he was present at this meeting. Why didn't he mention anger or rage on his evaluation of me?
- Neal did not respond to issues of rage or vulgarities at the time. Had I actually gone into such a tirade, he surely should have written to me that such behavior could not be tolerated, or he might have suspected I was suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome, a neurological disease sometimes associated with (by one definition) “uncontrolled screaming of vulgarities.” At minimum, he should have followed the Matthew 18 principle that begins with: “If your brother [or sister] sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. . . .” (Mt. 18:15-20)
- The "notes" referencing me also say: “She attacked Duane and me in the faculty room [in front of colleagues], calling us ‘stupid,’ ‘hicks,’ ‘power-mad.’” Had I said any such things in the faculty room, my colleagues would have been absolutely stunned. They would have rebuked me immediately and they would have mentioned such an outburst on their evaluations of me. No hint of any such thing appeared on my colleagues’ evaluations.
- As one who saves all but junk email, I have copies of routine and pleasant email interaction between Neal and myself before and after the alleged “incident”—strange, indeed, if I had gone through such a tirade.
- The language of which he accuses me is not mine. For example, I don’t use the term “hicks” for anyone and could not even imagine such an association with these highly educated and articulate administrators. Nor are the other words and phrases ones I use.
- As bad as the accusations in his alleged notes are, they do not constitute what is thought to be “ungodliness.” As one denominational official put it:Ungodliness is associated with sex scandals, not anger. But had Neal referenced anger, rather than ungodliness, to my colleagues, they would not have been persuaded that punishment of a terminal appointment was warranted,
- Among other accusations, Neal alleges “incoherent rage” on my part. I have no idea what incoherent rage is, and I would be at a loss if a drama coach gave me such an exercise. When I think of rage on a personal level, my mind goes back many years when I confronted someone close to me about an incident of child molestation. My demeanor was one of rage, but nothing remotely resembling incoherent rage.
My charge is very serious. What Neal claims happened in this and another meeting did not occur. His charges are false. I am convinced he fabricated notes as part of a cover-up of an unwarranted terminal appointment given to me.