|Submitted||Dec. 17, 2013|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the New York State Freedom of Information Law (1977 N.Y. Laws ch. 933), I hereby request the following records:
Advice given by the NYS Committee on Open Government between June 3, 2012 and August 3, 2012 to stop responding to Freedom of Information requests made by Christopher Philippo.
According to a Witness Interview Statement in US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Case Number: 02-12-2157, an attorney from the SUNY Office of the General Counsel (possibly John Reilly or Janet Thayer) stated to OCR that "[FOI] requests had reached the point where the NYS Committee on Open Government had advised the University to stop responding to the complainant because in the view of that office his persistent FOIA [sic] requests had risen to the level of harassment." As the Committee on Open Government is aware, SUNY Albany obstructed a request for a copy of a Student File from January 2012 to May 2012 with claims that the file was university "property," that there were "copyright implications," and that FERPA prohibited it, despite the Committee on Open Government having sent the SUNY Albany Registrar's Office an advisory opinion in 1997 http://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f10125.htm indicating "while FERPA may provide only the right to inspect the records in question, other statutes, specifically the New York Freedom of Information Law and the Personal Privacy Protection Law, require SUNY to provide copies upon payment of the requisite fee".
On May 16, 2012, at 08:41 AM, Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director of the NYS Department of State Committee on Open Government wrote: "I disagree with the Registrar’s response and have attached an opinion that contains an analysis of the matter. Please feel free to share the opinion with the Registrar." On May 30, 2012, at 10:37 AM, Registrar Karen Chico Hurst wrote:
"I don’t see any correspondence indicating you requested a copy of your academic file in January 2012." It is difficult to understand how Karen Chico Hurst could have failed to see that correspondence. On Jan 26, 2012, at 10:34 AM, Associate Registrar Maria Brown used not her own e-mail account but Registrar@albany.edu and wrote in response to a request for a copy of my academic file: "The file is only available for viewing only. You cannot make any copies of anything in the file since there are copyright implications as well as the material now belongs to the University. You will need to contact our office at 518-442-5540 and make an appointment to see the file."
One legal definition of "harass" is "to subject persistently and wrongfully to annoying, offensive, or troubling behavior" Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. http://dictionary.findlaw.com/definition/harass.html It is difficult to see how submitting FOI requests could constitute harassment, given that there is nothing inherently wrongful, annoying, offensive, or troubling about exercising a statutory right or a constitutional right such as freedom of inquiry. "the State may not, consistently with the spirit of the First Amendment, contract the spectrum of available knowledge. The right of freedom of speech and press includes [...] the right to receive, the right to read (Martin v. Struthers, 319 U.S. 141, 143 ) and freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, and freedom to teach (see Wieman v. Updegraff, 344 U.S. 183, 195 ) - indeed the freedom of the entire university community. Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234, 249 -250, 261-263; Barenblatt v. United States, 360 U.S. 109, 112 ; Baggett v. Bullitt, 377 U.S. 360, 369." Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965). However, persistently obstructing FOI or other requests with wrongful claims of property, copyright, interpretations of FERPA that run contrary to advice already given, etc. is troubling and would seem more likely to constitute harassment.
I had never been informed that SUNY Albany's Records Access Officer claimed I'd harassed her by sending her records access requests, nor that I'd been found guilty of harassment, nor given a right to appeal. Given that it is the job of a Records Access Officer to receive and respond to records access requests, it is difficult to see how sending records access requests to such an officer could constitute harassment.
One of SUNY Albany's Records Access Officers had been sent a May 1, 2012 FOIL request for "UA's 'internal complaint procedure'"; a June 4, 2012 FOIL request for UAlbany's Honor Roll of Donors and records of University at Albany athletics department donors and athletic event sponsors and co-sponsors for several years; a June 4, 2012 FOIL request for a "Violation of Academic Integrity Report and related concerns"; a July 18, 2012 FERPA/NY Personal Privacy Protection Law request to correct or amend records that may be inaccurate, irrelevant, or misleading; an August 2, 2012 FOIL request for eighteen SUNY Oaths of Office. All the requests might be characterized as having been exercising the constitutional right to petition government for redress of grievances in some manner.
SUNY Albany sent no acknowledgement of the July 18, 2012 9:20 AM "FERPA/NY Personal Privacy Protection Law request" and no acknowledgement of the August 2, 2012 FOIL request and did not fulfill either request. Documents provided by SUNY Albany to OCR in Case Number: 02-12-2157 included an e-mail "FW: FERPA/NY Personal Privacy Protection Law request" sent on July 18, 2012 9:31 AM to Vice President for Student Success Christine Bouchard, Clery Act Compliance Officer John M. Murphy, and others by a member of the Office of the University President, apparently by Senior Assistant to the President Susan Reich Supple, who was using the President's e-mail account firstname.lastname@example.org to write "I am not sure who is in what loop — but in case you do not know, Chris [Bouchard] and Murph [John Murphy] have had extensive communication with Philippo." An e-mail "RE: FERPA/NY Personal Privacy Protection Law request" was sent by SUNY Albany's Records Access Officer on July 18, 2012 9:33:32 AM to email@example.com and cc'd to Ms. Bouchard, Mr. Murphy, and others; Christine Bouchard wrote Clarence L. McNeill on July 18, 2012 9:41 AM in the e-mail "Fwd: FERPA/NY Personal Privacy Protection Law request": "Follow up [...] Looks like she [the Records Access Officer] is not replying [to the FERPA/NY Personal Privacy Protection Law request]." Evidently, and ironically, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Personal Privacy Protection Law requests get fairly widely shared at SUNY Albany - only to have the requests ignored.
Clarence L. McNeill sent a threatening e-mail on August 3, 2012 claiming "offices responsible for handling requests for documents, including student records, have complied with your requests", also reminding of his prior threats, and cc'd presmail, Christine Bouchard, John Murphy, J. "Frank" Wiley, John Reilly, and Janet Thayer on the threat, and he subsequently also sent the threat via the United States Postal Service. Contrary to his claim, the July 18, 2012 and August 2, 2012 requests had been ignored, not complied with; the request for the Student File had only been complied with after about four months of obstruction; and parts of the other requests had also not been complied with, e.g. the July 4, 2012 9:13 AM request had included a request for "the written University at Albany policy that reports of retaliation should NOT be made to the Director of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility but to some other office". As the Committee on Open Government knew, that policy was not sent nor was a denial of the request issued. Perhaps it was not sent nor denied because there is no such policy and perhaps Clarence L. McNeill was lying (and arguably engaging in harassment) when he stated regarding retaliation for having reported sexual harassment: "That would not be reported to me." Director of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility Clarence L. McNeill, "RE: retaliation?" December 9, 2011 12:44:30 PM EST. E-mail from Clarence L. McNeill to Chris K. Philippo.
Reports of retaliation are in fact meant to be reported to the Director of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility Clarence L. McNeill, as he knows:
"Reports of retaliation should be made to the Director of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility" http://www.albany.edu/studentconduct/27173.php His denial that it's reported to him was top-posted in reply to an e-mail citing that very policy that it is reported to him.
If indeed there is no policy to substantiate Clarence L. McNeill's December 9, 2011 12:44:30 PM EST claim and if Clarence L. McNeill was instead lying and thereby obstructing access to the campus judicial system following my reporting academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation to him, then indicating that there were no responsive records to that request should, as such, have been easy and in no way burdensome or harassing - although it would have further incriminated Clarence L. McNeill. Granted, Clarence L. McNeill's own statement was incriminating in and of itself.
The number of things requested, and the number of people contacted, was considerably smaller than the “requests for booklists [sent] to nearly four hundred [SUNY Albany] faculty members” made by a commercial requester, a bookstore. The NYS Department of State Committee on Open Government did not find commercial FOIL requests sent to nearly 400 different people to be burdensome or persistent: http://docs.dos.ny.gov/coog/ftext/f11905.htm nor did the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Third Department: MATTER OF MOHAWK BOOK COMPANY, LTD. v. State University of New York, 288 AD 2d 574 (2001) http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=688499261112129695
When the request for SUNY Oaths of Office made to SUNY Albany was increased to nineteen and sent to the NYS Department of State on October 09, 2012, that agency complied with the FOIL request within a short amount of time and did not claim the records access request to be harassing. The response indicated that a number of the people at SUNY Albany lacked Oaths of Office. As such, if the Committee on Open Government did in fact advise the State University of New York at Albany not to respond to FOI requests by Christopher Philippo, given the above and given the statements in N.Y. PUB. OFF. LAW § 89 3 (a) that "Each entity subject to the provisions of this article, within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, shall [i.e. must] make such record available to the person requesting it, deny such request in writing or furnish a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request and a statement of the approximate date, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request, when such request will be granted or denied, including, where appropriate, a statement that access to the record will be determined in accordance with subdivision five of this section" (no allowance appears to be provided for not responding to a request at all, for failing to provide even an acknowledgement, or for providing advice not to reply to a request) and "An agency shall not deny a request on the basis that the request is voluminous or that locating or reviewing the requested records or providing the requested copies is burdensome because the agency lacks sufficient staffing or on any other basis" That an "agency shall not deny a request on [certain bases] or any other basis" would seemingly exclude denying records on the basis of allegations that the records access requests were somehow harassing, regardless of the merit of the allegation or lack thereof), or on the basis of receiving advice not to respond.
If my request is too broad or does not reasonably describe the records, please contact me via email so that I may clarify my request, and when appropriate inform me of the manner in which records are filed, retrieved or generated.
I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.
In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.
Dear Mr. Philippo:
We have received your request pursuant to the Freedom of Information for records containing "Advice given by the NYS Committee on Open Government between June 3, 2012 and August 3, 2012 to stop responding to Freedom of Information requests made by Christopher Philippo."
No such records were prepared by any staff person or member of the Committee on Open Government. That being so, I hereby certify there are no records to be disclosed or that are being withheld.
Executive Director Freeman, it is good to hear from you and I appreciate and am relieved by the response being made in a very timely fashion and moreover by the content of it. I trust the response engages in no pettifogging of the request, since I did ask if any clarification was needed, and none was sought.
That said, a Witness Interview Statement to the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights includes, in italics (please excuse any inadvertent typos): "Attorney - Advised OCR that this action [the August 3, 2012 threat e-mailed to Christopher Philippo and subsequently sent via USPS postmarked on his and his mother's birthday, requiring his signature at his mother's home on the 18th anniversary of his father's death, SUNY Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Technology Planning John W. Philippo] had not been precipitated after one or two requests to the University. These requests had reached the point where the NYS Committee on Open Government had advised the University to stop responding to the complainant because in the view of that office his persistent FOIA requests had risen to the level of harassment. This committee is the state agency responsible for administering the FOIA requests." The FOIL response appears to take issue with the veracity of the attorney's statement to agents of the federal government. The Witness Interview Statement indicated that there were two representatives of the "Office of the General Counsel University at Albany State University of New York" participating in the interview. The attorney who made the statement thus would seem to have been either John H. Reilly or Janet M. Thayer; which attorney specifically made the statement was not specified as far as I can see.
Given that the FOIL response appears to take issue with the truth of an allegation made by the Office of the General Counsel University at Albany State University of New York to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights in a Witness Interview Statement, I hope you will take no offense at my need to appeal your response to settle the matter as definitively as possible, and that you might indeed welcome the opportunity to have your response to the FOIL request supported (as I am inclined to believe that it will be).
Incidentally, you may or may not recall that I'd been informed in a FOIL response, "These grades were on Blackboard and available to you by logging into your class account." OCR's response to the FOIA request indicated that the professor I'd reported for academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation had e-mailed Jeanette Altarriba, Clarence L. McNeill, and also apparently someone from SUNY Albany's ITS Faculty Resources that he had removed my Blackboard access and that I "should have no further access to the course Blackboard page." The FOIL officer did not tell me the truth, though it may be the case that a false statement had been provided to the FOIL officer which was in turn uncritically provided to me. The alleged head of the SUNY-wide judicial administrators group Clarence L. McNeill had written me that he would provide my grades, but he never did. E.g. Clarence L. McNeill in his e-mail "RE: retaliation?" of December 9, 2011 12:44:30 PM, after falsely claiming to me and my mother that retaliation for having reported sexual harassment "would not be reported" to him (top-posted to my e-mail quoting the policy that it is reported to him), in addition to informing me and my mother that he'd provided my mother's home address to the professor I'd reported to him for academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation, Mr. McNeill claimed, "As promised, I will forward you the breakdown of your grades today". He did not send them that day or on any other, and he also subsequently claimed that he had not actually provided my mother's home address to the professor I'd reported to him for academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation as he had claimed to me and my mother that he had done - a contradiction which Clery Act Compliance Officer John M. Murphy in turn noted to me, Vice President for Student Success Christine Bouchard, Clarence L. McNeill, Police "Chief" J. "Frank" Wiley, and to presmail (George M. Philip, though an e-mail included in OCR's response to the FOIA request indicated that an assistant was using that e-mail account; it appeared to be Senior Assistant to the President Susan Reich Supple.) Nobody else would help me obtain my own grades, hence the FOIL request for my own grades.
Had the professor provided them as professors customarily do, rather than blocking my access subsequent to my reporting him for academic dishonesty and sexual harassment, or had Clarence L. McNeill provided my grades as he had at least twice promised that he would, then I would never have needed to contact so many people for assistance in obtaining my grades - a number of people that was far short of the nearly 400 people at SUNY Albany contacted by a commercial requestor that was not found to be burdensome or harassing. The check that I was required to send to the Records Access Officer for my own grades that my tuition should have covered still has never been cashed, and peculiarly no explanation of why it was not cashed has ever been sent.
In Mr. McNeill's e-mail and letter dated August 3, 2012, he wrote in part "I will determine when and if your communications will be addressed by the University" and he threatened "If you continue to contact others at the University, the University may consider your actions to constitute harassment, and consult with local authorities about the University's options to protect its interests", and also reminded me of his earlier threats. The Witness Interview Statement Clarence L. McNeill made to OCR indicated he claimed that he had told me "to use him as his point-of-contact because he would gladly gather the information for him and he requested the complainant 'stop sending these emails to various offices on campus.'" It was not a request given that he'd threatened me, and he had not indicated to me he'd "gladly" (it's not clear if that was specifically his word, or a paraphrase of what he'd said) gather information for me - he'd indicated my communications might not be "addressed" by him or the university at all.
People at SUNY Albany, in documents provided to OCR, called me complicated, almost fanatical and as obsessed as ever. The fact that threats had been sent to me and my mother by Clarence L. McNeill following my reporting academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation to him has still gone unaddressed and I see nothing complicated, fanatical, or obsessive in my not wanting for me or my family to be threatened for my having reported academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation; at risk of speaking for others in an unwarranted manner, I do not believe any reasonable person would disagree with me. I find the matter a relatively simple one: "Retaliation is an intentional act taken against an individual who initiates *any* sexual misconduct complaint, including stalking or intimate partner violence, pursues legal recourse for such a complaint, or participates in any manner in the investigation of such a report. Any act of retaliation is prohibited and is subject to judicial referral" and "Any threat of retaliation or other attempts to prevent the reporting of sexual misconduct will be prohibited and is subject to disciplinary action. Reports of retaliation should be made to the Director of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility [i.e. Clarence L. McNeill, despite his written denial that it is reported to him]" ("any" is in boldface at http://www.albany.edu/studentconduct/27173.php ).
I hope and frankly anticipate that the response to the appeal will also be that there are no responsive documents. The FOIL response did not indicate to whom an appeal may be made. Is the FOIL appeals officer for the Department of State still Susan Watson, General Counsel?
Once again, there is no record falling within the scope of your request. Consequently, there is no record that has been withheld. Further, an appeal may be made when an agency possesses a record and denies access to it. In short, there was no denial of access to a record that could be appealed.
Susan Watson is no longer the FOIL appeals officer for the Department of State. That role is now carried out by Nina DiSalvo.
Thanks for your response. As you seem to have indicated fairly clearly that there is no record of the NYS Committee on Open Government advising SUNYA to stop responding to me, there remains the question of why an attorney from the “Office of the General Counsel University at Albany State University of New York” (John Reilly or Janet Thayer, presumably) would have claimed such advice had been given, and why SUNYA did ignore FOIL, PPPL, and FERPA requests I made. It would seem more than appropriate for NYS Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales to look into the question of why such a claim would be made to OCR about the NYS Department of State Committee on Open Government by someone from the Office of the General Counsel University at Albany State University of New York. If you would please bring it to his attention (likewise NYS Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, NYS Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, etc.), that would be greatly appreciated.
Relevant, perhaps, to the claim made to OCR: a threat was sent to me from SUNYA the day after I'd requested from SUNY Albany's Records Access Officer the SUNY Oath of Office of John Reilly, Janet Thayer, and others. It turned out (when I subsequently sent the request to the NYS Department of State and received a response from them) that some of the people whose Oath of Office I'd requested did not have one on file with the NYS Secretary of State as required, which may have been part of the motivation for the threat having been sent to me (the threat was cc'd by Clarence L. McNeill to John Reilly and Janet Thayer apparently because he believed they would want to know I'd been so threatened).
It's perhaps worth mentioning that I'd turned to John Reilly for help with respect to (among other things) threats sent to me by Clarence L. McNeill, a false police report filed about me by Michael W. Barberich in retaliation for my having reported Michael W. Barberich for academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation.
E-mails below are slightly altered: addresses removed, some signatures, formatting changes. They can be shared unaltered through other means if necessary.
From: "Christopher K. Philippo"
Subject: Incident #: 23944-11 T/F police report?; December 9, 2011 C&D order: UPD enforcing/not enforcing?
Date: July 19, 2012 at 11:41:50 AM EDT
To: John H Reilly
Dear University at Albany Senior Counsel John Reilly,
As the University at Albany Senior Counsel, would you say University Police Department Incident #: 23944-11 Date: 12/06/2011 Time:1310 is not a false police report? Or as the University at Albany Senior Counsel, would you say University Police Department Incident #: 23944-11 Date: 12/06/2011 Time:1310 is a false police report?
As the University at Albany Senior Counsel, would you say University at Albany judicial administrator Clarence McNeill's December 6, 2011 9:51 AM e-mail with the subject line "Good Morning" is a cease and desist order? The time and subject line of the e-mail must be added to the December 9, 2011 cease and desist order; the time and subject line do not appear on the December 9, 2011 cease and desist order.
As the University at Albany Senior Counsel, would you say Clarence McNeill's December 9, 2011 12:44 PM e-mail, cc'd to my mother, with the subject line "RE: retaliation?" and/or its attachment ChrisPhilippo.doc , is/are "legitimate, valid and enforceable by the University Police Department" as stated by Clery Act Compliance Officer John M. Murphy in his July 3, 2012 3:43 PM e-mail with the subject line "C&D Order"?
As the University at Albany Senior Counsel, could you tell me why Clery Act Compliance Officer John M. Murphy claimed to me in his July 3, 2012 e-mail that "There is no indication of a copy being sent to your mother"?
Christine Bouchard assigned Mr. Murphy the job of answering my questions, but the above answer of his would appear to indicate he'd never looked at the header of the December 9, 2011 12:44 PM e-mail, where my mother's e-mail address appears in the "Cc:" line.
As the University at Albany Senior Counsel, could you tell me if UPD and/or Chief WIley in fact received one or two cease and desist orders pertaining to me in December 2011?
As the University at Albany Senior Counsel, could you tell me if UPD and/or Chief WIley in fact filed one or two cease and desist orders pertaining to me in December 2011?
As the University at Albany Senior Counsel, could you tell me if UPD and/or Chief WIley are in fact enforcing one or two cease and desist orders pertaining to me?
As the University at Albany Senior Counsel, could you tell me why UPD and/or Chief WIley did not contact me in December 2011?
As the University at Albany Senior Counsel, could you tell me why Officers Clapper, Officer Nagy, and Chief Wiley told me that UPD had complied fully with my Freedom of Information Law/Freedom of Information Law/Personal Privacy Protection Law request when they had not sent me:
• the December 6, 2011 9:51 AM e-mail that is supposedly a cease and desist order
• the December 7, 2011 e-mail by which Mr. Murphy alleges Mr. McNeill claims to have forwarded to UPD the December 6, 2011 9:51 AM e-mail that is supposedly a cease and desist order
• an incident report relating to the December 6, 2011 e-mail and/or the December 7, 2011 e-mail
• an incident report relating to the alleged violation of the December 6, 2011 9:51 AM e-mail that is supposedly a cease and desist order
• the December 9, 2011 12:44 PM e-mail
• the December 9, 2011 cease and desist order
• an incident report relating to the December 9, 2011 e-mail and/or cease and desist order?
I note that you have worked together with Clery Act Compliance Officer Murphy and Chief Wiley:
"The investigation was run by university counsel John Reilly and associate vice president for student success John Murphy, who interviewed women's lacrosse head coach Lindsey Hart and assorted players. University police chief Frank Wiley assisted the inquiry."
Singelais, Mark. "School says no hazing at party but UAlbany investigation did find alcohol use." Albany Times-Union. June 22, 2006. http://albarchive.merlinone.net/mweb/wmsql.wm.request?oneimage&imageid=6405287
Despite them reporting to Ms. Bouchard and not you, and despite your having been a colleague of theirs for a number of years, perhaps even a friend, being that you are the University at Albany Senior Counsel, and that Ms. Bouchard is not answering my questions, would you please answer my questions?
Relevant also, perhaps: SUNY Albany's Records Access Officer objected to my asking her if I could receive my grades from Michael W. Barberich's class when they became available to her, rather than having her wait to receive all the different items I'd requested in my FOIL request. She responded by cc'ing John Reilly on her response in which she refused to do so without explaining why she cc'd him or indicating his role at SUNYA, and Mr. Reilly likewise did not explain. I was charged $30.00 to obtain my grades for Mr. Barberich's class, and the response claimed without any record to support the claim "These grades were on Blackboard and available to you by logging into your class account." It was not clear if the claim was made by the Records Access Officer or by someone else - perhaps by Michael W. Barberich. Mr. Barberich had interfered with my access to Blackboard after I'd reported his academic dishonesty and sexual harassment (see e.g. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7Mt-S77wZKfZzEzRFgxRmxzQ1E/edit?usp=sharing where Mr. Barberich stated, in addition to falsely accusing me of sending inappropriate messages after I'd reported him for academic dishonesty and sexual harassment, "I removed his access to the course. Some time Friday evening his access was restored. I have recently removed his access again.") The reason why I'd made a FOIL request for my own grades was because Mr. Barberich had not provided them to me, Clarence L. McNeill had threatened me not to contact Mr. Barberich (not that I would have) and Mr. McNeill claimed he would provide them to me but then he never did, and others would not help me obtain them either. I still don't know how I received a final grade of an A in the course, because the grades I was provided don't seem to add up to one, and I was told "no documents exist responsive to this portion of your request" with respect to the changes in the grading criteria that had to have happened due to Mr. Barberich failing to see that all students would be provided questions to answer as he'd promised, and Mr. Barberich allegedly having cancelled the final exam, among other things.
I also note, with some measure of concern, the attitude of Mr. Barberich's wife with respect to whistleblowers:
"Albany Donna Bottari was so steamed that a fellow Saratoga Springs school bus driver reported her erratic driving in May 2002 that she told a co-worker she was going to arrange a 'hit' on him, according to a court decision released Thursday. Not a good idea. Following a two-year court battle, the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Bottari must be fired. The 4-0 decision reversed a move by Saratoga County Supreme Court Justice Thomas D. Nolan Jr. to reinstate Bottari last summer. […] 'We're disappointed with the decision,' said Therese Assalian, a spokeswoman with the Civil Service Employees Association. 'We agree with the lower court, and we're considering our options. 'That might include taking the case to the Court of Appeals, she said.'"
Bolton, Michael Morgon. "Bus Driver Firing Upheld" Albany Times Union. January 30, 2004: B4. http://albarchive.merlinone.net/mweb/wmsql.wm.request?oneimage&imageid=6274649
"In May 2002, petitioner, a school bus driver employed by respondent Saratoga Springs City School District, was reported by another driver, Brian Winne, for driving her own bus erratically. A few days later, petitioner confronted Winne and verbally berated him. Petitioner also told another coworker that she was going to 'get a hit out on [Winne]' because he filed the report against her. [...] petitioner had erratically operated a school bus, had used threatening and obscene language against Winne and had threatened to 'get a hit man to take Winne out.' […] petitioner's poor judgment and lack of remorse, the disturbing nature of her comments"
In the Matter of Bottari v. Saratoga Springs City School District, 3 AD 3d 832 - NY: Appellate Div., 3rd Dept. 2004. http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter//3dseries/2004/2004_00446.htm
Ms. Assalian threatened a local public school with expensive litigation if they did not rehire someone who unrepentantly threatened to have a whistleblower murdered for having reported her for erratic driving. I'm a whistleblower who reported not some person unrelated to her but her husband at a public university, and I had reported him not for erratic driving but for academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation. Her husband unrepentantly filed a false police report about me with the corrupt SUNY Albany Police in which he made me out to be some kind of active shooter when I was not on campus nor headed there. He claimed to believe I was "unstable," a wannabe "martyr" and an imminent danger to his "personal safety" and the "safety" of the students in class (a class he'd cancelled too late for me to receive notice if I'd intended to go, a cancellation he did not inform the police about if the report can be trusted). One obese adult learner with disabilities and health problems cannot present a threat to 160 students, most of them teenagers in reasonably good health, many of them athletes - not unless armed, which is what Mr. Barberich was evidently implying to the armed SUNYA Police. The Police evidently found his report so obviously false they did not send anyone to the lecture hall (which was likely empty or nearly so) or to his office; the report makes no mention of them doing so, and they did not call me or my emergency contact to determine my whereabouts. Given that SUNYA once had an armed unstable student in a lecture hall that the SUNYA Police failed to disarm and who shot a student, Mr. Barberich's report must have been understood by the police to be 100% indisputably beyond any doubt a false one, otherwise the failure of the police to respond is appalling and inexcusable. The SUNYA Police further falsified the report by indicating I was not a student and they posted a false summary of it to their online crime log. They did not inform me of the report until months later when I unexpectedly received it in response to a broad FOIL request whereby I was looking for something else. Clarence L. McNeill subsequently threatened me not to contact anyone on campus other than himself, thereby threatening me not to contact the SUNYA Police or the Records Access Officer, among others.
I also note, with some measure of concern, that Mr. Barberich's wife was mentioned in a number of articles about Steven Raucci wherein she claimed her organization knew nothing about his crimes and could not have prevented him from being a union president despite his being management.
“Capital Region CSEA spokeswoman Therese Assalian said the Schenectady CSEA Local 407 chapter had been placed in ‘administratorship’ on Monday, which means that the state CSEA will take over day-to-day operations of the bargaining unit. She said the local chapter also has a vice president, treasurer and secretary, but state CSEA believed it was best to step in as a result of the allegations against Raucci. Assalian believed Raucci has been president since 2001 and receives no salary for the position. She was not aware of any issues at the local chapter. She said the local chapter functions fairly independently, although it receives support from the regional and state organization. Assalian said it was somewhat unusual — though not unheard of — that Raucci would be union president while holding a management position. ‘It’s not something we can control or change.’”
Cook, Steven and Michael Goot. “Raucci charged in Schodack case; Alleged arsonist Steve Raucci posted $200,000 bond Tuesday and was released — into the waiting handcuffs of a Schodack police detective.”
Daily Gazette [Schenectady, NY]. February 25, 2009. http://dailygazette.com/news/2009/feb/25/0225_raucci/?print
"Since his arrest a week ago on a first-degree arson charge, and the discovery of a small explosive device in his office at Mont Pleasant Middle School, a portrait has begun to emerge. It shows a man who'd grown up in a family involved both in organized crime and a murderous personal dispute. Carney painted him as someone who'd coveted power and sought to strike fear into the hearts of anyone who stood in the way of him, his associates or even his school and union. ‘He has a more than 20-year history of intimidation and vandalism, and that's his pattern,’ Carney said on the Vandenburgh show. […] The state CSEA has taken over daily leadership of the local unit at Schenectady schools, said Therese Assalian, a regional spokeswoman."
Hutchins, Ryan. "Dark portrait of suspect grows; Prosecutor says school official routinely used fear as tactic."
Albany Times Union. February 27, 2009: A1. http://albarchive.merlinone.net/mweb/wmsql.wm.request?oneimage&imageid=754490
“Superintendent Eric Ely put out a statement Friday saying the internal report the school district finally released about now convicted arsonist Steven Raucci proves administrators were unaware of Raucci's intimidation and mistreatment of his co-workers.
“But evidence presented at Raucci's trial last month in Schenectady County Court painted an opposite picture -- from assistant superintendents giving Raucci a framed photo of Marlon Brando in 'The Godfather' to Ely knowing there was a criminal probe over Raucci's conduct.
"The report, which the district released Friday morning after fighting to keep it secret for almost a year, places no blame on district administrators, saying employees did not report Raucci's abuse for fear of retaliation by him.
“While one assistant superintendent retired and another’s contract ends in June, no one was ever disciplined after the report was completed — even though it found that Raucci threatened employees by saying, ‘I’d kill you, your wife and kids,’ if he was ever crossed"
Stanforth, Lauren. "Just how unaware were district's administrators? DA says plenty of evidence about Raucci's conduct." Albany Times Union. April 17, 2010: A1. http://albarchive.merlinone.net/mweb/wmsql.wm.request?oneimage&imageid=10272107
I also note, with again I think some reasonable concern, that the Raucci case was reported to have involved tipoffs to Raucci and that when I reported Mr. Barberich to Clarence L. McNeill, Clarence L. McNeill had tipped him off that I'd reported him. Mr. Barberich's retaliatory police report about me was filed the day after Clarence L. McNeill tipped him off that I'd reported him and wanted to pursue charges.
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Taylor, Lisa A"
Subject: Re: FOIL requests
Date: June 26, 2012 at 7:14:43 PM EDT
To: Christopher Philippo
Yes; once I receive the check I can send the documents that are responsive to your request. Thank you.
On Jun 26, 2012, at 6:45 PM, "Christopher Philippo" wrote:
Thank you; I will send a check for $30.00 to your attention at the below address, payable to the University at Albany for the fulfillment of the FOIA/FOIL requests I made on June 4, 2012.
From your e-mail, I take it that I may not have my own grades or the new grading criteria for the Fall 2011 course I had completed in December 2011 until the $30.00 check is received, is that correct? I do look forward to finally learning what they were for the first time.
Christopher K. Philippo
On Jun 26, 2012, at 12:53 PM, "Taylor, Lisa A" wrote:
The cost for reproduction of documents in response to your FOIL requests dated June 4, 2012 is $30.00 (.25 per page as allowed by section 87.1(b)(iii) of the Public Officers Law). Please make a check payable to the University at Albany and send to my attention at the below address. Once the check is received I will mail you the documents that are responsive to your request.
University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Christopher K. Philippo"
Subject: Re: US FOIA/NY FOIL/NY PPPL Request: Violation of Academic Integrity Report and related concerns
Date: June 4, 2012 at 10:33:57 AM EDT
To: "Taylor, Lisa A", "Reilly, John H"
Cc: "Robert J. Freeman"
Thank you for letting me know. While I'm curious as to why you cc'd UA Senior Counsel John H. Reilly (I have kept him on in my reply) and you keep neglecting to include Mr. Freeman, Executive Director of the NYS Department of State Committee on Open Government which deals with FOIL/PPPL (who I'd cc'd) in your replies, I know that I will not receive any further communication from you until you have all the information you need, as you have stated. I look forward to hearing from you at that time.
Every single one of my other professors at UA, I'm pleased to say, provided me with all of my grades prior to the end of their courses (which was true of my professors at other schools as well). UA also does deserve credit for having some very good and exceptional professors, ones whose courses I was very grateful to have taken. There were others who were just OK, and I'd expect that to be the case at any university. The remainder: well… those I have a bit of trouble understanding, I must say.
Christopher K. Philippo
On Jun 4, 2012, at 10:08 AM, Taylor, Lisa A wrote:
I have provided a final response date for this request and now need the time to research and find any responsive documents. Once I have a response I will communicate that to you. This will be handled as all FOIL requests sent to this office are handled and I will not be sending any additional communications until I have the information needed to respond.
From: Christopher K. Philippo
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2012 9:42 AM
To: Taylor, Lisa A
Cc: Robert J. Freedman
Subject: Re: US FOIA/NY FOIL/NY PPPL Request: Violation of Academic Integrity Report and related concerns
On Jun 4, 2012, at 9:15 AM, Taylor, Lisa A wrote:
This email acknowledges receipt of your second FOIL request today. You may expect a final response on this request by July 2, 2012.
Thank you. This one should hopefully be easier to respond to, given the specificity of the requests.
Might it be possible to respond to each as they become available, rather than waiting until they are all available?
My grades, for example. I should have received the grade for the Information Literacy Project Part 1 ideally in November 2011, but no later than December of 2011 (i.e. the month in which the course concluded). Mr. McNeill had twice promised my mother and me that he would e-mail them on behalf of the professor in December 2011, but he never did. I requested them of Assistant Dean Brian E. Gabriel on May 18, 2012.
It is now June 2012, and I'm being told that I may not receive all of my grades from within a Fall 2011 class until July 2012? If the University at Albany considers that to be "sufficient promptness" and "a timely way," perhaps those phrases should be updated on the website and printed materials to indicate that students may not receive all of their grades for a course until about seven months after it ends?
Thank you for any help you can provide,
Christopher K. Philippo
"sufficient promptness": "Policy Reminders for Faculty Appendix 1: Principles of Teaching Responsibility" http://www.albany.edu/undergraduateeducation/18529.php
"a timely way": "Policy Reminders for Faculty 4. Grading" http://www.albany.edu/undergraduateeducation/grading.php
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 17, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.
Thank you for your help.
I responded once, and I cannot answer your questions, for this office is not involved in the day to day functions of the State University.
There are no files associated with this request.