The Fall of the West(ern): Perry Mills gets a new roll in the barrelPermalink +
Wed, May 27, 2009, 3:58 pm // Guest writer
Tuesday, May 26, Division One of the Washington Appeals Court handed down a ruling in the case of Perry Mills v. Western Washington University. It’s a long and complex tale: http://perrymills.blogspot.com.
The public record is mostly dominated by the university’s attempt to fire whistle-blower Professor Perry Mills and, failing that, to silence him. The ugly secret the university has tried to hide is the misappropriation of student course fees in the theater department. After blowing the whistle on his superiors, Mills found himself in hot water.
No criminal complaint has been filed, but state law is clear about diverting funds.
In March 2003, in response to a complaint from Mills, the university began an audit on the missing student course fees. Mark Kuntz, the department chair who diverted the money, was appointed to the audit committee and also to a committee to rewrite the university policy on student course fees. In May 2004, Kuntz wrote the first memo demanding Mills be fired. By July 2004, the cover-up was complete and the sanitized audit report was officially released.
It immediately drew fire from a former dean, who memo’ed the university auditor, “To have claimed, as the [Provost’s] response does, that no action will be taken because no policies were in place is absolutely false and misleading; I should think that there is a legal implication to this sort of denial.” The audit report pivots on the university ignoring the funds were earmarked by being collected for a single purpose and could not be used otherwise. In sworn testimony, Kuntz admitted the funds should have been returned to the students.
The apparent failure of the cover-up was followed by the university’s attack on Professor Mills career. In October 2004, Mills was suspended from teaching and escorted from campus by university police. Kuntz had once again manipulated the university by producing student complaints later found to be baseless. As successive accusations were knocked down, new ones were created.
The see-saw legal battle was initiated in 2005 by Mills suing Western in Federal Court for suspending him without disclosing any charges or holding a hearing to determine the facts. The university was directed by the federal court to hold such a hearing, which the university closed to the public by ejecting this reporter. The need for secrecy ultimately proved to be their downfall because closed hearings are illegal.
Here’s the story from the Whatcom Independent.
The state appeals court nullified the university’s actions and directed them to start over from the beginning.
The university has numerous options, including: appealing to the state Supreme Court to vacate the appeals court ruling; holding another hearing – this time open to public scrutiny; or reaching a settlement with Mills. Currently, they are weighing their next action. A public hearing will very likely dwell on the university’s alleged retaliation for Mills blowing the whistle on the financial irregularities.
Tuesday’s appellate ruling awards attorney’s fees to Mills and that number will probably have five or six digits. The award amount will be set by the court later.
The university’s attempted cover-up will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars when the bill is finally totaled up. It’s long past time to let a little sunshine into those ivy-covered halls.
Related Links:-> The State Appeals Court decision released on May 26 - a pdf file
Wed, May 27, 2009, 3:58 pm // Guest writerGuest writer Paud de Armond has followed this issue closely.
Tuesday, May 26, Division One of the Washington Appeals Court handed down a ruling in the case of Perry…
7 comments; last on Jun 03, 2009
Fri, May 22, 2009, 10:35 pm // Guest writerWe have a guest article to start our Memorial Day weekend. Marian Beddill has a philosophical fable for us to read and, she hopes, post a comment.
11 comments; last on Jun 06, 2009
Thu, May 21, 2009, 6:00 pm // Larry HorowitzThe Associated Press (AP) has created an interesting interactive chart measuring the economic stress by County.
According to the AP, Whatcom County has a Stress Index of 9.86 for…
1 comments; last on May 22, 2009
Wed, May 20, 2009, 12:25 pm // Larry Horowitz“At present, we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it gross domestic product.” So says renowned entrepreneur and visionary Paul Hawken at his…
1 comments; last on May 21, 2009
Wed, May 20, 2009, 9:12 am // g.h.kirschIn the early days of the nation, back in 1789 at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, a woman approached Ben Franklin and asked, "So what will we…
5 comments; last on May 30, 2009
Mon, May 18, 2009, 11:30 am // John ServaisJust a short bit about NwCitizen this morning. A few thoughts. Nothing heavy. But some things I'd like the regular readers to know.
The idea of this 'blog',…
3 comments; last on May 20, 2009
Thu, May 14, 2009, 6:28 pm // g.h.kirschPaul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, asks, “What do you suppose it is like to be elected president of the United States only to find…
4 comments; last on May 16, 2009
Thu, May 14, 2009, 12:08 am // g.h.kirschEvents have forced those who earlier warned of global warming to modulate their hysteria and instead ring the alarm for catastrophic “climate change” instead.
Why the nuance? If
2 comments; last on May 14, 2009
Wed, May 13, 2009, 2:34 pm // Craig MayberryThere has been some behind the scenes controversy over Cascade Radio Groups decision to allow Ken Mann to continue to be on the air from 5pm-6pm five days…
7 comments; last on May 21, 2009
Tue, May 12, 2009, 5:10 pm // John ServaisNon news dominated the Sunday Herald. I mean news spun out of thin air by Sam Taylor and the editors of the Herald. There are tens - hundreds…
7 comments; last on May 21, 2009
Fri, May 08, 2009, 10:34 am // John ServaisWe have five months of political campaigning ahead of us, starting with filing week of June 1 to 5. Five months is way too long - and stretches…
Wed, May 06, 2009, 12:54 pm // Sheri WardThe Whatcom County Homemade Music Society (HMS) recently received a Mayor’s Arts Award for its contribution to the local music scene, presented in the Whatcom Museum Rotunda Room…
Wed, May 06, 2009, 11:01 am // g.h.kirschWhile after a hundred days the Obama administration may be spinnin' and grinnin', the rising chorus of criticism on the left evidences the disillusionment and disenchantment growing among…
4 comments; last on May 07, 2009
Mon, May 04, 2009, 12:25 pm // g.h.kirschFor those who still remember the idealism of their youth, this link will take you back to Kent State Univ
3 comments; last on May 06, 2009
Sat, May 02, 2009, 1:04 pm // g.h.kirschClearly, Doug Karlberg's announcement, he'd be a candidate for Doug Smith's position at the Port of Bellingham, was the highlight of the week for local political junkies.
6 comments; last on May 04, 2009
Election InfoAuditor Election page
State Results - Nov 3
Whatcom Results - Nov 3
Coal, Oil & TrainsCoal Stop
Community Wise Bham
Powder River Basin R. C.
Local Blogs & NewsBellingham Herald
Bham Business Journal
Bham Politics & Econ
Friends of Whatcom
Get Whatcom Planning
League of Women Voters
Western Front - WWU
Local CausesChuckanut C. Forest
City Club of Bellingham
Futurewise - Whatcom
Lummi Island Quarry
N. Cascades Audubon
NW Holocaust Center
Salish Sea Org.
Save the Granary
WA Conservation Voters
Whatcom Peace & Justice
Governments- Whatcom County
Port of Bellingham
State Results - Nov 3
US Supreme Court
US The White House
NWCitizen 1995-2007Early Northwest Citizen
Weather & ClimateCliff Mass Weather Blog
Nat Hurricane Center
Two day forecast
Watts Up With That?
Edge of Sports
Famous Internet Skiers
Good Web SitesAl-Jazeera online
Change The Mascot
Foreign Policy in Focus
Julia Ioffe/New Republic
Middle East Times
New American Century
Personal bio info
Portland Indy Media
Project Vote Smart
Stand for the Troops
Talking Points Memo
The Crisis Papers
War and Piece
Quiet, Offline or DeadBellingham Register
Bhm Herald Politics Blog
Citizens of Bellingham
Cordata & Meridian
Facebook Port Reform
Intrnational Herald Tribune
N. Sound Conservancy
No Leaky Buckets
Protect Bellingham Parks
The American Telegraph