Tolerated and participated in by Dean Richard Ranta, his assistant dean/dance instructor, Vice Chancellor Karen Weddle-West and University President Shirley Raines and her staff—
dateWed, Aug 25, 2010 at 10:59 AM
subjectSandra Sarkela
hide details 10:59 AM (18 minutes ago)

Assistant to President Raines,

Thank you for forwarding this message.

Dear President Raines,

I hope you are enjoying the fresh new beginning of the school year.

I had another meeting with Dr. Sarkela yesterday, after she refused to discuss my contract matters with me via email. Luckily Dr. Gray Matthews was present during this 2.5 hour meeting. I feel most of this meeting was Dr. Sarkela using a tone of voice with me that was not professional.

It was very interesting to hear her rhetoric and interpretation of her staff members’ emails telling me information that I could not find in the student handbook or department webpage.  I would be more than happy to provide you any emails I have exchanged with members of the Communication Department here.

Please allow me to tell you the context in which Dr. Sarkela spoke of my immigrant mother who risked our lives to bring me to the US after escaping Communist rule in Vietnam so I could get an education.

I told Dr. Sarkela that my mother urged me to get help outside of the department because I kept hitting a brick wall when speaking to different members of the department who would tell me things in writing such as: if I didn’t take a certain class, I would not pass my comprehensive exams— and then another staff member told me in writing that I shouldn’t take this certain class that co-incided with a stand alone section of 2381 that was just assigned to me in addition to teaching two other lab sections, in order to “fulfill my contract”.

Upon this, Dr. Sarkela remarked, “Maybe your mother should come to school then.”. I told her that I respect my mother’s wishes to find out more about my work and school schedule because my mother went through untold obstacles for me to be here today.

Dr. Sarkela then delivered a story about how when she was 23 years old, she had to teach Vietnam veterans how to speak again. I’m not really sure what this has to do with me and my Vietnamese mother.

We are very shocked someone who is currently heading a Communication department, teaches women’s communication and women’s studies would make a comment about and to another grown woman this way. There were other things that came out of Dr. Sarkela’s mouth that were quite surprising also.

I feel completely disrespected by certain members of this department, while conversely I’ve been able to clearly communicate with and enjoy spending time with people like Dr. Marina Levina and Professor Steven J. Ross.

Another example of the surprising responses from the department administration is: I emailed a couple simple questions during business hours last week, I got an email back from the graduate coordinator saying she “needed downtime”. I also came by for a meeting with this person, confirmed by the department adminstrative assistant, and no one was there and no one responded after I left a phone messsage.

Dr. Sarkela also told me to not speak with other students during yesterday’s meeting as well***. I find this a bit disconcerting, as this is a democratic society where I should be able to speak with whomever I want.

Dr. Sarkela very strongly urged me to withdraw from the program yesterday completely after I moved my whole life from California to study at and add diversity to your institution.  I have a few emails telling Dr. Sarkela I wanted to go over my contract with her for clarification and that I was more than happy to fulfill my 20 hours of work and to teach according to accreditation standards.  I was expected to teach without being given a textbook for the classes to even look at first.

I expected to be welcomed to U of M, but instead I have been treated disrespectfully as a human being and yelled at by my interim chair in a tone not befitting– and why? because I sought help from outside a department that was not assisting me properly and was trying to get me to do different things at the same time.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Sandra J Sarkela (ssarkela) <>
Date: Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 8:13 AM
Subject: RE: Thank you for the meeting today
To: xxxxxx
Dear xxx,
By way of clarification, I spoke of your mother with the utmost respect and mentioned her only after your repeated comments that you felt “pressured” by her questions.  I look forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Sarkela
From: xxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 10:40 PM
To: Sandra J Sarkela (ssarkela)
Subject: Thank you for the meeting today
Dr. Sarkela-

Thank you for including Dr. Matthews today. With his addition, I feel communication was vastly more productive.

Next time we speak, I would appreciate it if you didn’t say things to me like the ones you did today with Dr. Matthews present:

How old are you?

How old are you?

Maybe your mother should come to school.

I would not like to be addressed this way again. I would prefer you never refer to my mother this way.

I would never repeatedly ask you how old you are.

I will write you my decision Thursday via email.

Thank you,


After the student would not withdraw, Sandra Sarkela signed a “Termination Form” in retaliation that was received by The Graduate School and Human Resources- maliciously trying to get rid of ethnic female student and damage student’s reputation after student said she wanted to stay to fulfill her contract properly.

This news came late on Friday, August 27, the day before classes began. The email said student no longer had any income (no more assistantship at all) and now owed The University of Memphis full out of state tuition. This was written by Dr. Amanda Young.

Dean Richard Ranta would not investigate, stating he heard “a very different side of the story” from Sarkela and crew.

No responses from Moira Logan, Assistant Dean, aka dancer who couldn’t make for more than a year in New York City (her words).

Vice Provost Karen Weddle West also wrote in email to intimidate student.

The Legal Department of The University of Memphis then made move to reinstate.

September 10, 2010 meeting with Sheri Lipman and Dr. David, aka Gray, Matthews. Matthews- representing Dept. of Rhetoric/Comm again tried to get student to withdraw stating “Why would you want to stay in a place that makes you so uncomfortable. It’s a really small department- you’d have trouble finding enough people to be on your committee.” to which student responded she had great relationships with other professors who did not participate in malicious termination attempt.

Student is survivor of 9/11.

Sarkela had student teaching 3 classes, more than other students teach. Sarkela said there was a teaching waiver because student had never taught before. It turns out students have to request and sign a waiver. Student never did this-

8/26/2010 Student emails Sandra Sarkela to bring up discrimination, plea for advisement. Sarkela denies advisement.***

8/27/2010 Day before classes- Amanda Young emails student that she is “terminated”, has no income and if she wants to stay in her classes, she now owes the university 20,000.00 + (out of state tuition).

8/30/2010- 9/1/2010– The Department of Rhetoric & Communication Studies places “termination form” in student’s graduate school file and student’s employee file. 2 stamps show receipt by both offices: Career Sabotage. Student has flawless records in school and employment.

Students asks for help from Vice Provost Karen Weddle West who was aware of termination, being copied in 8/27/10 termination email. Weddle-West taunts student via email.

Student asks for help from Dean Richard Ranta, Assistant Dean Moira Logan. No help is offered. Ranta emails only that he heard “a very different side of the story”.

Student is then “reinstated”, to only be intimidated, humiliated, mentally tortured:

9/10/2010 Student is forced to meet with Sheryl (Sheri) Lipman, head counsel for University of Memphis and Vice Chair Gray Matthews.  Lipman refused to let student record meeting. Things said: Why would you want to go to school somewhere you’re so uncomfortable? This department is too small, there won’t be enough people who want to be on your advisery board. Lipman admits in email what was said.

9/13/2010 Witness testimony offers the story that Sandra Sarkela used tax payer dollar and class time to deliver tirade to her husband who was physically present in the class.

9/17/2010 Sandra Sarkela makes unfavorable comments to another female student. Student drops out of Sarkela’s class, also contacts Vice Provost. Vice Provost talks Caucasian female student out of dropping out of the program entirely by saying she doesn’t have to perform her assistantship and the university will still pay for her classes.


9/23/2010 Professor of media class asks class “Is it ok for someone to put up a blog with lies about the University of Memphis and get away with it?” while looking at student complainant.

9/23/2010 University lawyer, Sheri Lipman, and Affirmative Action Compliance Officer, Michelle Banks, enforce retaliatory plan of Dr. Amanda Young, writing to force student to working in a room with an attendant, shared by the public that prohibits water with a large, plastic, red placard reading NO WATER with broken air conditioning.

Lipman, Banks and Young ignore incident report where female student hyperventilated, pulled muscles moving large boxes of books- did not report incident to HR or fill out form in retaliation.

Michelle Banks emails student : you get paid for doing no work.

President’s assistant also emails to order student to work in room with no water, under surveillance (as to deter protected actions) for 20 hours per week.

Meanwhile, other graduate assistants are allowed to have coffee and tea mugs and drinks where they work.

10/6/2010 Student turns in 20 page document of work 2 days early. Sandra Sarkela emails back attacking email.

Student informs Lipman, Banks and Young via email that she talked to OSHA about workplace conditions.***

10/8/2010 Lipman emails and calls student a plagarist because Lipman and Young missed the sources listed in the document* (more attempted Career Sabotage. Student has unblemished academic record), and emails to tell student she had done work all wrong because she put the value of used books, and orders student to put publisher’s value of books (new). Misrepresenting university assets? Lipman’s email orders student to remove photos of books and change numbers.

On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 9:40 AM, Sheryl H Lipman (slipman) <> wrote:


I understand that you believe you are being asked to do something illegal by noting the new price for the books that you are working with.  Please know that these values are not being used for any illegal purpose, including any tax purpose.  In fact, as a tax exempt organization, I’m not sure how these values of the books could be used in any improper way.

You must stick to your work schedule and correct the document using Dr. Young’s extensive feedback.

Thank you, and have a good week.


from xxxxxx
to “Sheryl H Lipman (slipman)” <>
date Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 9:59 AM
subject Re: valuing of books
hide details 9:59 AM (15 minutes ago)
Then why not put the actual values?

from Sheryl H Lipman (slipman) <>
to xxxxxx
date Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 10:06 AM
subject RE: valuing of books
hide details 10:06 AM (4 minutes ago)

I don’t know, but the reason doesn’t matter.  That’s what you’ve been asked to do, and that is the same process being followed by others who are doing similar projects.

Sheri Lipman

University Counsel

201 Administration Building

Memphis, TN 38152

Phone: 901 678-5496

Fax:     901 678-3489

[see Pepperdine article: Constant Critic, Two Headed Snake, Conqueror]

Work is not academic. It is cataloging book summaries and how much used books are “worth”.

No one from department will answer student’s email.

Continuation of women all bullying one woman.

Pepperdine Article on Workplace Bullies

Workplace Bullying- the Namies

Lautenberg of New Jersey introduces bill to end bullying at colleges and universities, workplace

U of M receives ARRA Recovery Fund money for “diversity/affirmative action”.**


Because of the 11th Amendment, state schools often get away with a lot with their “immunity”:

Abusive Coach at University of Memphis

African Americans denied Tenure after applying 3 times, Other EEOC cases- University of Memphis- “Minority Hiring a Scam”

University of Memphis’ Anti-Gay Gym Policy

Side note: City of Memphis not proceeding with policy against gay discrimination


Two gunmen in two months. NO texts to students

September- 2 rounds, sharpened daggers

October – 2 rounds

Football player gunned down on campus, family files Wrongful Death suit against U of M