SUNY report to OCR of campuses' review of complaints

Christopher Philippo filed this request with the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights of the United States of America.
Tracking #

14-01006-F

Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Christopher Philippo

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

* The report by the State University of New York (SUNY) to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of each campus’ review of complaints filed during and since academic year 2011-2012 at SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Buffalo State College, and SUNY Morrisville.

"By January 31, 2014, SUNY will provide to OCR a report of each campus’ review of complaints filed during and since academic year 2011-2012 at SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Buffalo State College, and SUNY Morrisville. At a minimum, this report will identify any complaints that were not handled consistent with the criteria set forth in Section C above; and, will indicate the action that will be taken to address any problems identified."
http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/suny-new-york-agreement.doc

"OCR reviewed 159 individual cases of alleged sexual harassment from four of SUNY’s individual campuses visited during the review (SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Buffalo State College, and SUNY Morrisville). OCR determined that the vast majority of these cases involved reports of sexual assault or violence sufficiently serious to create a sexually hostile environment for the affected students. In some of the instances, OCR found deficiencies, including complainants not receiving prompt or adequate investigations of their complaints; not receiving notice of the outcomes of their complaints; not being provided equal opportunities to attend prehearing conferences and/or present evidence and witnesses at the hearing."
https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-reaches-agreement-state-university-new-york-address-and-

During and since academic year 2011-2012 at SUNY Albany, I had made complaints of (among other things) academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation by Michael W. Barberich and academic dishonesty, quid pro quo sexual harassment, and retaliation by Jeanette Altarriba. In 2011 Michael W. Barberich had been a visiting assistant professor, and Jeanette Altarriba in 2011 Jeanette Altarriba was an interviewer on the search committee for a Coordinator for Sexual Assault, chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault, Department of Communication Chair, and Cognition and Language Laboratory Director. Michael W. Barberich has since been made a Lecturer, and Jeanette Altarriba was promoted to Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education.

I had also turned to Vice Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Education Sue R. Faerman for help. Sue R. Faerman never replied to me, despite Clarence L. McNeill allegedly having contacted her as well, writing in his November 22, 2011 1:54 PM e-mail "Re: Violation of Academic Ingrity Report": "I have also taken the lead in forwarding this description [sic] on to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education for her records", and despite (or because of) her involvement in the retaliation by SUNY Albany for my having reported academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation - e.g. John M. Murphy's July 27, 2012 3:54 PM e-mail "C. Philippo to Sue R. Faerman; Sue R. Faerman's July 30, 2012 9:47 AM e-mail to Clarence L. McNeill "FW: acknowledgement of Undergraduate Vice Provost's receipt of November report?" in which she wrote "I have looked through my folder of e-mails from CP, and this seems to be the only e-mail that I have that I haven't previously forwarded to you (or received from you or Jeanette) in the past year. I do have some earlier material (from 2008) and will forward that separately." https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7Mt-S77wZKfeDBRQ25Lczg2SGM/edit?usp=sharing It appears that rather than properly address things I reported to her, rather than even acknowledge that she'd received the Violation of Academic Ingrity Report I wrote (SUNY even refused to provide it in response to a FOIL request even in redacted form, claiming FERPA prohibited providing me that report I had written), she had created a file on an undergraduate student who was trying to report academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation. Sue R. Faerman has since been given the new position of Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, despite SUNY Albany having significantly shrunk in size with the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering splitting off to become a separate university.

I had also turned to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan D. Phillips for help; she never replied to me. Susan D. Phillips was appointed and reappointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, even being named its chair, despite such significant problems at SUNY Albany as: its longstanding "party school" reputation; the Louis Roberts plagiarism scandal and remaining questions regarding it; the "kegs and eggs riot"; the SUNY Albany Police mismanaging their sexual offender registry for years; the long history of failure to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act; the abuse of the sabbatical system; Assistant Vice President for Student Success, Director of the Office of Conflict Resolution & Civic Responsibility, and President of the SUNY-Wide Judicial Administrator group Clarence L. McNeill's written threats to me and my mother subsequent to my having reported academic dishonesty, sexual harassment, and retaliation to him; etc.

I have yet to be informed what action that will be taken to address the complaints I had made. I fear the same might be true for other victims and witnesses, particularly given the lack of consideration SUNY and the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights had already given to victims and witnesses by not making them party to the agreement.

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 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Christopher Philippo

From: Cook, Elise

Dear Mr. Phillipo,

Please find attached above, the response to your above mentioned Fee Waiver Request.

Thank you,

Elise Cook
FOIA Public Liaison
FOIA Service Center
US Department of Education
(202) 401-8365

From: Christopher Philippo

Might I inquire as to when the response to the request for the report by the State University of New York (SUNY) to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of each campus’ review of complaints filed during and since academic year 2011-2012 at SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Buffalo State College, and SUNY Morrisville will be forthcoming?

The rhetoric:

"Perhaps most important, we need to keep saying to anyone out there who has ever been assaulted: you are not alone. We have your back. I’ve got your back." - President Barack Obama
http://www.notalone.gov

“the safety of our students and the security of our campuses is our top priority” - Governor Andrew Cuomo
Press Releases. September 13, 2012. http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/091412stmtsunythreats

The actuality:

"the State is not an insurer or guarantor of the safety of SUNYA students"
McEnaney v. State of New York, 267 AD 2d 748 - NY: Appellate Div., 3rd Dept. 1999. http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=14949034404515783354

President Obama doesn't have anyone's "back." Governor Cuomo doesn't prioritize safety of students or security of campuses.

Women who work at the State University of New York at Albany who were bullied and sexually harassed by male professors there told me that they were afraid to report it - and didn't. They saw my experience of reporting sexual harassment and having the SUNY Albany administration respond by sending threats in writing to me and to my mother as confirmation of their fears.

Contacting the head of the SUNY-wide judicial administrators' group Clarence L. McNeill proved to be not just unhelpful, but dangerous: he began threatening me and my family. Contacting Tamra Minor, SUNY Albany Title IX Coordintor, Chief Diversity Officer and Assistant Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion for help proved to be of no use. Contacting Jeanette Altarriba, interviewer on the search committee for a Coordinator for Sexual Assault, chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault, Department of Communication Chair, and Cognition and Language Laboratory Director, proved to be of no use - she refused to grant academic accommodation instead requiring me to be further subjected to the unprofessional, offensive, and alarming behavior of Michael W. Barberich as a condition of receiving my degree and graduating. She assisted in Mr. Barberich's retaliation, and she falsely claimed to people at the university that I'd been sent a cease and desist order and twice violated it when I had in fact not been sent a cease and desist order. Somehow SUNY Albany saw fit to promote her rather than fire her and have her criminally charged.

When the SUNY Albany Police Department (armed, with a history of firearms violations going unaddressed in any meaningful way) refuses to take reports from victims or witnesses, or backs threats made against victims or witnesses and their families, yet will take retaliatory, demonstrably false police reports from perpetrators (like Michael W. Barberich), one would have hoped the government would recognize that as a serious problem and intervene in a way that demonstrates their recognition of it being a serious problem. That has yet to happen.

"[University at Albany Investigator Matthew A. Griffin] said [Wendy] Knoebel told him in April [2011] that she was considering filing for divorce from her husband […] Griffin said at that time he advised her to bring any guns she had at home to the police station for safekeeping because a divorce could trigger ‘emotional’ reactions"
Lyons, Brendan J. “SUNY police officer also faces gun charge; Cop arrested on drug charge allegedly asked colleague to move gun.” Albany Times Union. July 23, 2011: B1. http://albarchive.merlinone.net/mweb/wmsql.wm.request?oneimage&imageid=15255123

I have trouble squaring Mr. Griffin's advice with certain things, like the statements in the SUNY policy item “Firearms on State-operated Campuses” http://www.suny.edu/sunypp/documents.cfm?doc_id=367 regarding possession of firearms on campus and perhaps with something noted by the FBI, that "Risk factors at times associated with potential violence include […] bringing weapons onto a work site; […] breakup of a marriage or romantic relationship; other family conflicts; financial or legal problems; or emotional disturbance.”
Rugala, Eugene A. and Arnold R. Isaacs, Eds. Workplace Violence: Issues in Response. Quantico, VA: Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“In a sworn statement given to State Police on May 19, a fellow SUNY investigator, Matthew A. Griffin, said that Knoebel had called him on May 17 and asked him to remove two pistols from her locker at the UAlbany police headquarters. He said Knoebel was comfortable storing her departmental weapon in a police armory safe but she asked him to take another gun, a .25-caliber Ravens Arms pistol, to his private residence for safekeeping.Griffin said he did not know at the time that Knoebel was facing imminent arrest on federal drug charges. He told State Police that he only learned of those charges the following day, May 18, after he had already returned Knoebel's unregistered handgun to the police station and logged it in as evidence." (Lyons).

“Firearms on State-operated Campuses” §§ II (C ) and V (A); 8 NYCRR § 590.4; and the SUNY Police Manual § 75.21 seem to indicate that all firearms should be kept in the university police arsenal, tagged. There's no indication that Ms. Knoebel's weapons were tagged, or of where their ammunition was. Why did Ms. Knoebel have her departmental weapon and an unregistered Raven Arms .25, popularly known as a "Saturday Night Special" or "junk gun" in her personal locker? Ms. Knoebel and Mr. Griffin are no doubt well aware of the reputation of such guns?

"This type of handgun, commonly known as a 'Saturday Night Special,' presents particular problems for law enforcement officials. Saturday Night Specials are generally characterized by short barrels, light weight, easy concealability, low cost, use of cheap quality materials, poor manufacture, inaccuracy and unreliability. These characteristics render the Saturday Night Special particularly attractive for criminal use and virtually useless for the legitimate purposes of law enforcement, sport, and protection of persons, property and businesses" (1153-1154) [emphasis added].
Kelley v. RG Industries, Inc., 497 A. 2d 1143 - MD: Court of Appeals 1985. http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4146105566330191972

That case goes on to cite prominent individuals' testimony at Senate hearings, for example, "Patrick Murphy, Police Commissioner of the City of New York, added […] 'There is absolutely no legitimate reason to permit the importation, manufacture, or sale of these weapons, or their parts. They are sought only by people who have illicit motives, but who may have some difficulty securing a better gun. No policemen, no Army officer, no security guard, no businessman or merchant, and no sportsman would purchase one of these weapons for any lawful purpose'" (1154 n. 10).

Is it realistic to expect that students, faculty, staff, visitors, families will feel safe reporting sexual harassment and assault to an incompetent, corrupt "police department" with a history of mishandling sexual assault cases, firearms violations, etc. or that if they do report that those reports will be handled properly?

My Communication Department Advisor Dr. Jennifer Stromer-Galley had warned me that Michael W. Barberich might do anything to keep his job if I reported his academic dishonesty, faculty ethics violations, and sexual harassment. She warned me that Jeanette Altarriba had a good relationship with the Dean. She encouraged me to try to "accept" the academic dishonesty, faculty ethics violations, and sexual harassment and instead report how SUNY Albany's Institute for Teaching, learning and Academic Leadership (ITLAL) is using and misusing the proprietary group learning system Team-Based Learning to artificially inflate grades, even offering professors monetary bonuses to adopt it. Dr. Stromer-Galley is no longer at SUNY Albany, yet Michael W. Barberich and Jeanette Altarriba still malinger there.

Albany County Sheriff’s Office Senior Investigator Shawn Spring, Jr. conceded that the Donna Bottari case (see below) probably governed why SUNY Albany responded by sending threats to me and even to my retired, widowed mother when I reported Civil Service Employees Association Capital District spokeswoman Therese Assalian’s husband SUNY Albany untenured visiting assistant professor Michael W. Barberich for academic dishonesty, faculty ethics violations, sexual harassment, and retaliation. Despite acknowledging that, Spring would not help me by taking a report or investigating anything except one thing: he claimed he investigated the question of to whom crimes by a SUNY Police Chief could be reported and the result of his investigation was that he could not find anything. He knows I can’t afford to hire a lawyer, but he nevertheless advised me that merely in order to report crime I first need to hire a lawyer to find out what law enforcement agency is the proper agency to report to (when he, a Senior Investigator, supposedly could not find out the proper law enforcement agency!). The Albany County District Attorney’s Office had stated in the past if SUNY Albany students were being ignored at SUNY Albany to approach the DA’s office directly; I tried that, but the DA’s office won’t help with the threats my mother and I were sent, or with the sexual harassment and retaliation I reported either. The City of Albany Police don't even respond, which is not that surprising given that their chief has been a SUNY Albany student, a SUNY instructor, and has a rather poor history when it comes to proper management of his department:

"Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff was surprised to find out that his officers have conducted some 655 strip searches dating back to January of 2009".
TU Editorial Board. "Why so many strip searches?" Albany Times Union. December 12, 2012. http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/why-so-many-strip-searches/23305/

"'I'm looking into our handling of it,' Police Chief Steven Krokoff said".
Lyons, Brendan J. "Cops chided in finger-biting case; Victim says police slow to probe attack that nearly cost her finger." Albany Times Union. January 31, 2013.http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Cops-chided-in-finger-biting-case-4236663.php

"Police Chief Steven Krokoff says his department was 'insensitive' when it conducted a training exercise that involved police firing blank ammunition and using flash grenades near occupied apartments at the Ida J. Yarbrough Homes.
"The chief said the department will review how it conducts 'neighborhood-based training' after Thursday's operation drew criticism from residents who said they were frightened by a chaotic scene that seemed real to them.
"Krokoff released a statement as photos of the incident spread on Facebook. The pictures showed armed officers in tactical gear as well as fake blood and spent shell casings that were left behind at part of the public housing complex that is now deserted and slated for demolition."
Stanforth, Lauren. "Police training exercise draws criticism; Residents of Ida Yarbrough describe explosions and gunfire; chief apologizes." Albany Times Union. March 25, 2013. http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Police-training-exercise-draws-criticism-4379839.php

"Q [Steve Barnes]: Pop quiz: Geographically, in square miles, how big is the city of Albany?
"A [Steven Krokoff]: 60?
"Q: It's 21.8
"A: Shoot. I knew that.
"Q: Wasn't it on the chief's exam?
"A: Yeah, sure. [...]
"Q: Pop quiz: How many 'likes' does the Albany Police Department's Facebook page have?
"A: Just above 8,000.
"Q: Wow — it's 8,104 as of this morning.
"A: That's something I follow."
Barnes, Steve. "Conversing with Steven Krokoff, Albany's top cop." Albany Times Union. April 18, 2013. http://www.timesunion.com/entertainment/article/Conversing-with-Steven-Krokoff-Albany-s-top-cop-4445351.php

"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.

"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.

“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.

"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.
Gavin, Robert. "Raucci can keep pension, court says; High court says victims can't sue convicted felon to confiscate his pension." Albany Times Union. February 20, 2013.

“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.

“union officials ignored complaints that defendant’s status as both unit president and director of facilities — a management position — resulted in a patent conflict of interest, served to further cement defendant's reputation as being untouchable."
People v Raucci 2013 NY Slip Op 04845 Decided on June 27, 2013 Appellate Division, Third Department http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-third-department/2013/103996.html

Having, at a public school or state university, an employee who threatens to hire a hitman to kill a whistleblower, or who would while under the influence of drugs drive schoolchildren entrusted to their care, or who would terrorize employees for over a decade even through the use of bombs, or who would encourage a potentially emotionally unstable coworker to bring all their personal weapons onto campus in violation of firearms policies, or who would not properly maintain a campus sexual offender registry - while filing reports claiming it was being maintained, or who would not report sexual assaults - even a gang rape - to the county district attorney ASAP in order to ensure the case for the prosecution would be strengthened and better services provided to victims, or who would file a false police report in retaliation for having their academic dishonesty and sexual harassment reported, etc. really seems rather unwise.

Sincerely,

Christopher K. Philippo

From: Christopher Philippo

It would be very desirable for the public to know when the response to the request for the report by the State University of New York (SUNY) to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of each campus’ review of complaints filed during and since academic year 2011-2012 at SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Buffalo State College, and SUNY Morrisville will be forthcoming.

In a call to WAMC Northeast Public Radio's Vox Pop radio program today I noted on the air to host University at Albany Professor Emeritus of Communication Dr. Alan Chartock and guest University at Albany Counseling Center Director Dr. Estela Rivero that "I had filed a FOIL request for [the report by the State University of New York (SUNY) to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of each campus’ review of complaints filed during and since academic year 2011-2012 at SUNY Albany, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Buffalo State College, and SUNY Morrisville] back in March and I still haven't gotten a response to it. That may have to do with my having filed a complaint..."

Dr. Chartock broke in, saying "You're going to have to take that up with the University Counsel, Jim [sic], uh, Chris, I'm so sorry. I wish we had more time for you but we don't right now; thanks a lot," at which he quickly hung up.

I've repeatedly contacted the State University of New York General Counsel William Howard, among others, for help, but Mr. Howard's never responded. I had in the past contacted Dr. Chartock for help, but he never responded. For example, my July 3, 2012 at 12:43:57 PM e-mail to Shirley M. Tilghman, John Monfasani, Rosemary Armao, and Alan Chartock, "Fwd: McNeill's Dec. 9, 2011 cease & desist order: valid & enforced by UPD or not?"

Emeritus University at Albany Professor of Communication Dr. Chartock's apparent disinterest in problems in the Communication department at the University at Albany, and in SUNY's handling of sexual assault, etc. arguably underscores something Dr. Monfasani wrote me on Aug 1, 2012, at 12:54 PM: "Communications [sic] is one of the depts. I view as a real problem. There are others, but the only way things will turn around is if we have an administration that once [sic] them to turn around." The University at Albany has yet to have such an administration.

Dr. Estela Rivero had been, to some extent, in the loop on the University at Albany's retaliation for my having reported academic dishonesty, faculty ethics violations, sexual harassment, and retaliation. Dr. Jeanette Altarriba on December 8, 2011 1:30 PM wrote Dr. Rivero, among others, falsely claiming that I'd been sent a "'cease and desist' order," and falsely claiming I'd violated that [non-existent] order - after I'd reported her in addition to having reported Michael Barberich.

Dr. Rivero, somewhat to her credit, responded to another of Dr. Altarriba's e-mails on December 9, 2011 3:38 PM "As you can imagine I have been monitoring your e-mails on this student. I'm just writing to you because I'd like to request copies of the communications from this student that are causing such concern. You include some quotes in your e-mail but it [sic] hard to evaluate from the brief quotes and the one e-mail I have seen. I see it as a part of CUBIT's role to monitor situations such as this, as Clarence our chair is doing, but at least on this one I don't have enough information to form an educated opinion as to the level of danger that might be present. You have not formally asked for an opinion but I note the level of concern seems to be increasing. So if it's feasible to provide more info that would be helpful.... Thanks Estela" It seems from that e-mail of hers that CUBIT might have been keeping Dr. Rivero out of the loop to some extent. Given that Dr. Altarriba had decided to force me to remain in the class of Michael W. Barberich and continue to be subjected to his unprofessional, offensive, and alarming behavior as a condition of receiving my degree in Communication and graduating from the University at Albany, that is perhaps to some extent unsurprising.

The Vox Pop program misinformed the public, portraying the Office of Conflict Resolution and Civic Responsibility at the University at Albany as helping with issues the radio program discussed (alcohol, suicide, sexual assault, etc.). The reality is that Clarence L. McNeill, director of that office and head of the SUNY-wide judicial administrators group proved himself all too willing to threaten me and my family in writing in order to prevent complaints from being properly handled. He escalated the retaliatory false accusations against me, knowing that Dr. Altarriba's retaliatory false accusation had pushed me to the point of suicidal ideation - an accusation she made when she knew almost from the start of the semester that Mr. Barberich's academic dishonesty, faculty ethics violations, and sexual harassment were highly offensive and distressing to me. Clarence L. McNeill wrote (among many other things) "Please take this as a final warning. You need to forget about Prof. Barberich", threatened litigation, and wrote my mother and informed her he'd provided her home address to Mr. Barberich, something he did after Michael Barberich had filed a retaliatory, demonstrably false, police report about me.

Handling complaints of academic dishonesty, faculty ethics violations, sexual harassment, and retaliation in such a way is quite dishonorable to say the least - utterly lacking in any respect for due process. The Vox Pop program falsely stated that due process rights are respected: nonsense.

"Lee Kindlon, practicing attorney of Kindlon, Shanks & Associates represents Terra, and has represented many students in the past. […] Kindlon fired off about the methods UAlbany employs during their hearing processes. "Some of his issues are that during the hearing process, the officers who testify against students are not cross-examined, and the officers are also instructed not to comment on questions asked to them by the students.
“'[The officers] come in and give their version of events,' Kindlon said. 'And then when the cops are expected to answer questions from the accused, or the students, the cops are instructed not to answer any questions by the city. So it’s a very, very, very one sided set piece of testimony.’
"Kindlon continued, 'And then instead of the school doing what it should do, following basic standards of due process…basically, if you can’t cross-examine your accuser, since the time Sir Walter Raleigh, that accusers testimony needs to be discarded. However, in SUNY Albany the accuser, the cop, can say whatever he or she wants, and then you’re not allowed to cross-examine that cop.’ […]
“McNeill believes the university deals with these situations fairly”.
Mineau, Lauren. "Bruised, arrested student alleges police brutality." Albany Student Press Blog. December 12, 2012. http://blog.timesunion.com/asp/2706/bruised-arrested-students-alleges-police-brutality/

I was never even granted one of those sham hearings.

There is very little evidence so far that the University at Albany or SUNY system administration or OCR are serious about addressing complaints that were mishandled - making the public release of the report concerning the matter that much more crucial.

From: Chin, Coleen

Dear Mr. Philippo,

Please see the attached letter in response to Freedom of Information Act Request No. 14-01006, that you filed with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

Coleen Chin

Senior Attorney

United States Department of Education

Office for Civil Rights

32 Old Slip

26th Floor

New York, New York 10005

Tel.: (646) 428-3809

Fax: (646) 428-3843

coleen.chin@ed.gov<mailto:coleen.chin@ed.gov>

Files

pages

Close