An End to the Beginning

Another year at Butler University has come and gone. Although it has certainly not been one lacking its fair share of disappointments and disheartening incidents, there have been some positive developments.

Toward the end of the this spring semester, students seemed to be engaging just a bit more than usual. This is certainly a welcome change, one that hopefully can be continued in the future.

This forum will not be going anywhere. Although Jon is graduating and will be sorely missed, the Underground will continue on. In the fall, we will be operational from day 1. I'm excited to see what we can do.

Jon and I extend our thanks to all who provided advice, commentary, or a contribution. Should any issues arise during the summer, please e-mail.

Until Fall '09.

- Caleb


BUPD Officer Arrested

The Dissenters received a tip about the arrest yesterday of BUPD Detective Glenn Alan Criswell. There are a few accounts of the story on the internet, read it here. Or here and here

Criswell is charged with misdemeanor accounts of battery and interfering with the reporting of a crime. The allegations resulted from an altercation with an ex-girlfriend who was the victim of the alleged crime. We understand that the police department has removed Criswell from his normal duties and he is now performing administrative tasks.

We would like to remind everyone that Det. Criswell headed BUPD's investigation of a missing laptop that lead to Cori Jackson's suspension. Indeed, Criswell made a detailed statement to The Butler Collegian on the matter. We interpreted some of the language in that statement to indicate that Criswell assumed Jackson's guilt prior to any extensive investigation. See our earlier post on the matter.

This interpretation fits with a statement made by Jackson in the original interview transcript, this excerpt occurs during the first meeting between Criswell and Jackson:

"He [Criswell] takes me upstairs [and] before I can even sit down he slams his hand on table and says, "I know you did it!’ And I said, ‘you think I did what?’ The officer replies, ‘no, I know you did it! I know you took the guy’s laptop.’ And I said, ‘with all due respect sir, you’re entitled to your opinion but I know what happened.’ And, I tell him everything and he doesn’t believe it. He says, ‘I’m not buying what you’re selling..."

We point out these observations not to demonize Det. Criswell, but to criticize the notion of credibility that Dean Irene Stevens indicated was part of the disciplinary procedure. We have no updates with regards to Jackson's suspension appeal, but in the original decision made by Stevens it seems that Jackson's credibility lost out to that of other parties (Criswell included).

Though Stevens claims that credibility is not the sole factor influencing disciplinary decisions, it nevertheless figures into it. Unlike courts of law, Butler's policy allows for personal and subjective deductions to play an official role in life-changing decisions.

Credibiliy can change direction on a dime. If anything, this goes to show that students should be evaluated on an even keel with other professionals at our university. Students may be young and inexperienced in many areas, but no one (student/administrator/public servant) can make an accurate assessment about the actions others have taken in the past or will take in the future based on credibility alone.



Evaluation: Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Interdisciplinary Programs

As with our former evaluation of Associate Provost for Student Academic Affairs, we have completed our review of finalists for the second associate provost opening - faculty affairs and interdisciplinary programs.

You can find a full description of this position in our initial post on the topic. We encourage you to give it a glance and also to utilize the candidate information that was distributed through campus email.

Links to the infamous "Survey Monkeys" are below. Herein, in the absence of substantive input and influence, you may "share you concerns" with those possessing actual decision making power. Although a sham, we encourage you to utilize the mechanism we have been granted, such as it is. Please note: survey responses must be completed by 5pm tomorrow.

Being the involved and active student that he is, Jon was unable to meet every candidate and thus has not written an evaluation. Hopefully mine can suffice.

Make your voice heard:


- Caleb

An Evaluation: By Caleb Hamman

I was able to meet with all three candidates: Lynn Maurer, Laura Behling, and Fahima Aziz. After evaluating each of them, it seemed to me Laura Behling was clearly the person for job.

This associate provost position differs significantly from the first. Mainly, this individual's responsibilities will relate much more closely to faculty. Still, because I am a student, I evaluated finalists on the same three criteria as last time: their ideas on facilitating effective and genuine student learning, their ideas on student faculty interaction, and their own administrative abilities. Obviously, the two former categories involve significant faculty interaction with students. Thus I see these criteria as still being very relevant.

Fahima Aziz was the last of the finalists to visit Butler. Aziz appeared to have considerable skill in administration, and delivered what was assuredly the longest and most detailed PowerPoint presentation I've seen in some time. My main criticism of Aziz is that she appeared too administrative. If she had larger thoughts on university education, student learning, and student-faculty interaction, she didn't express them. I was given little reason to believe Aziz would be anything other than a technocratic, top-down operator of the administrative machine.

Lynn Maurer had many positives. She continually went out of her way to talk about difficulties faced by minority and female students. She called for shared governance of the university community and noted the importance of experiential learning for allowing students to develop into active citizens and genuine learners. Maurer also valued interdisciplinary programs, such as gender and peace studies, and saw them as useful mechanisms for facilitating community engagement. As a whole, I thought Maurer was a good candidate. She would definitely be my second choice.

Laura Behling blew me away. No PowerPoint - just an hour long conversation in the writers studio. Behling sat in chair and actually talked to the people present. Without prompting, she shared ideas about education, faculty-student involvement, and transformative learning. She referenced the work of individuals who have written deeply about these issues, and shared her own thoughts on the ideas in question. Behling took the time to tell us about her personal life, and asked questions to those who were present, valuing their own input and ideas. Simply put, Laura Behling was the best candidate for either associate provost position. She surpassed her fellow finalists by no small margin.


A Dissenter's Comment on the April 1 Article in the Collegian

Though Caleb and I were not authors of the April 1st Collegian article, we consulted and suggested some minor changes to the final piece. As such, I feel it permissible to respond to it.

In the article you may find what brief comment Irene Stevens was willing to make and a more in depth contribution by detective Criswell. These are important to consider because they contradict some of the original statements made by Cori.

The contents of the video are of the greatest interest to me, as there are major conflicts between Criswell's and Jackson's statement on the video.

I would also like to take a moment to point out three interesting aspects of the situation as presented in the Collegian piece. The first reiterates Anonymous’ citing of Criswell in a comment on yesterday's post. Criswell also said that, as 24 hours had passed since the incident, he didn't expect to find the laptop. This is typical reasoning in police work that in cases of theft and abduction criminals work fast to move the evidence. Despite being logical deduction, it shows that Criswell had already assumed that Cori was, in those 24 hours, acting with a criminal's mentality. I find this disturbing because, If we assume that the detective works without bias (that we are treated and protected equally under the law), this suggests that all students act as criminals in his mind.

Second, the statement by Criswell says that DeMarco was 100% certain the laptop was in the bag. The time when he was questioned is crucial here. If questioned directly after the incident there was no time for him to consider other possibilities; the likes of which he considered when, as Cori said in his interview, DeMarco made an appearance at the disciplinary hearing. We may all be 100% on things at one point, but furhter contemplation often reveals fuzzier details. If DeMarco made the same statement within the last month, then it conflicts with statements Cori made in our interview. As such, DeMarco's insistence as presented in the article is by no means certain.

Finally, the press release cited in the article presents an unusual discrepancy. It says that BUPD presented an affidavit of probable cause to the prosecutor on February 18th. The next sentence in the press release states that the prosecutor felt there was sufficient evidence and issued a warrant. If a warrant was indeed issued on Feb 18th, how was it that more than a month passed before BUPD notified Cori of the warrant (during which time his whereabouts could have been predicted around his class schedule)? In addition, let's remember that between the time Butler's release says a warrant was issued (2/18) and the time Cori turned himself in (3/26), Cori went through the entire disciplinary process with Stevens, including a scheduled hearing.

It seems, according to the release, that BUPD has demonstrated immense incompetence in allowing a wanted felon to roam campus. Either that, or the press release is mistaken; vague at best.

In an email exchange shared with Caleb and I, Stevens remarked of our original post that we were assuming all the proof was present. Her indication was that reaction to the situation was largely uninformed. I fear that the same might be said of the official statement released by the University. We should not presume that we have been presented with everything there is to present. Most importantly, we should not consider the statements by the University or the detective as any more authoritative than Cori's. I expect further development and surprising twists in this situation.